A lot of mangaka these days tend to do a lot of experimentation and step out of their comfort zone to try new and fresh ideas. Many others on the other hand, would rather stick to what their best known for because that’s what they’ve spent most of their life creating. One of those loyal mangaka is Hirohiko Araki, who’s Jojo series has won countless awards, become a worldwide sensation, and still continues to climb the charts in various avenues not just pertaining to manga. Hirohiko Araki’s success can be attributed to his incredible sales numbers not just in manga, but in games, anime, and merchandise. Just recently a Jojo cafe was opened in Tokyo so that in itself is enough proof to say that Hirohiko has certainly cemented himself in the upper echelon of mangaka aficionados. Let’s take a closer look now at just how everything began for Hirohiko Araki, and some of the works that catapulted him into stardom.
5. Jolyne, Gucci de Tobu
- Genres: Mystery
- Volumes: 1
- Published: December 2012
Jolyne, Gucci de Tobu is a one-shot series which was published by Araki himself, in recognition of the then new collection pertaining to Gucci. It looks at the life of Jolyne, who embarks on an amazing adventure and tries to unriddle the mysteries behind an antique piece that was inherited from her mother’s Gucci collection.
Araki’s characters have always had a knack for fashion, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that Gucci would call upon him to drive their campaign. The story behind it actually sells not only the product pertaining to Gucci but it also brings attention to the creativeness that Araki has when it comes to designing unique plots using his own character library. Jolyne just really loves fashion and style, which she inherited from her mother’s impeccable taste and so she desperately seeks out to uncover more details surrounding her antique piece. What’s great is that Araki sticks to his unique approach regarding his art style, and doesn’t shy away from it which retains authenticity.
Many fans of the series will most likely already know of Jolyne, but Gucci de Tobu allows us to dive a bit deeper into her personality and make her feel more fleshed out. This one shot felt like it was simply an expression of Araki’s pure talents and demonstrated that with enough ingenuity he could create something that would stand out not only to his hardcore audience, but also an array of fashion aficionados who perhaps weren’t familiar with the series and can now use this one shot as an invitation to a world they’ve never experienced.
4. Baoh Raihousha
- Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Volumes: 2
- Published: October 1984 - February 1985
A young man named Ikuroo has his life transformed when an evil parasite known as Baoh, is implanted into his brain by an evil organization known as Doress. The parasite grants him near immortality and allows him to transform into an astonishingly strong beast when he finds himself fraught with danger. Doress intends to use Ikuroo for some radical experiment to take over the world, but a young girl shows up named Sumire to rescue Ikuroo from his terror and the two manage to escape unscathed. Dr. Kasuminome, however, isn’t too enthralled that his test subject get away, and so he’ll use whatever weapons or superpowered underlings to ensure he doesn’t run too far.
Much of the art style that you’ll find are real inspirations from other works such as Hokuto no Ken and Riki-Oh, but Hirohiko Araki manages to throw his own flavor into the mix to create a wonderful blend of action and blood splatter everywhere. Much like his other works, you can’t simply read Araki’s treasures without being thrown into a bizarre world full of nonsense erupting at every corner. This is what truly sells Baoh despite how old it is because, you can clearly see just how much passion went into Araki’s earlier works as he made his way up the ladder to reach the level he’s at today.
A lot of manga throughout the 80’s found much of their success through the rise of Hokuto no Ken and its popularity, so many aspiring mangaka took the opportunity to take bits and pieces from what worked and Araki especially made sure to take the best parts. Baoh is simply a window to the past which draws you in with its nostalgic approach, gripping attention to detail even at a young age for Araki, and the direction that it took which eventually led up to the popularity of Jojo as we know and love today.
3. Henjin Henkutsu Retsuden
- Genres: Historical, Shounen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: June 1989 - September 2003
Henjin Henkutsu Retsuden is a spin off series which focuses on famous people in history who’ve made a remarkable impact on human evolution, and have changed the way we see the world today. Names such as Nikola Tesla, Ty Cobb, Typhoid Mary, Kou Yoshio, along with many more make their appearance in the series and it essentially just looks at various short autobiographies of these powerful individuals who all in some way had “Bizarre” habits. Nikola Tesla is widely regarded as the father of the electrical age, and inventor of the alternating current or AC for short, but he was also known for his random and bizarre ideas that would have people scratching their heads.
Stories like this are what you’ll find in this manga and it’s quite fascinating to know that Hirohiko went beyond the usual path he walks on and really studied a lot of history to bring out more ideas and possibilities. It’s nice to see that Hirohiko Araki was involved with history and that he would fuse his uniquely powerful art style to create a “bizarre” twist on what we know of these exceptional world changing individuals, and bring it to a new audience who may have never heard of these people before.
2. Kishibe Rohan Louvre e Iku
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 1
- Published: April 2010
Young Rohan has dreams to someday become a well known mangaka and ensures that his dreams will come into fruition. Fortunately for Rohan he met with a young woman who introduces him to the world of art, ranging from sculpture, music, and painting. One painting in particular was greatly emphasized which was supposedly a “cursed painting” by a Japanese artist that was acquired by the museum curator at the Louvre, and shortly after that this mysterious woman just disappears to never be seen again.
Fast forward ten years and Rohan is now living his dream as a mangaka, but is still left curious about the mysterious painting back at the Louvre, so he decides to embark on a journey that will provide him with clues in order to relocate this woman and seek more answers. However as he gets closer to the answers, Rohan starts to question just what it all means, and what this painting actually represents. Death? Misfortune? All of these run through his head on his path to salvation in this horror mystery series. Hirohiko’s ability to really step outside of his comfort zone can be noticed in this series, because for the most part the Jojo series has never really taken an approach to horror in any major way, so it’s nice to see him taking things one step further to ensuring that his legacy can spread well beyond the norm and increasing his fan base worldwide.
1. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Historical, Fantasy, Mystery, Shounen
- Volumes: 117
- Published: August 1987 - Present
This is the title that started it all and we simply can’t talk about all of Hirohiko’s spin offs without talking about Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken, or otherwise known as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure outside of Japan. Anywhere that you venture out to in Japan, whether it be a small cafe in Akihabara, or a major event like the spectacular end of year event known as Jump Festa, Jojo and his crew are synonymous with everyone. There’s just something about Jotaro that resonates with everyone from young high school kids to the more passionate adult, and Hirohiko’s work just speaks to us in such a way that we can somehow relate to it all.
While many of us know of Jojo through his very popular anime series, much of the popularity stemmed from the manga which drew a lot of attention back during its initial volume release back in August of 1987 under Shueisha, who at the time also was flourishing and still continues to do so today. The beginning of the Jojo story starts with the Joestar family, whose various members discover that they were chosen by destiny to take out enemies using their incredibly unique superpowers that only they possessed. The manga is split up into 8 parts which begin with the initial backstory known as Phantom Blood, and with each consecutive part released new members of the family are revealed. The first six parts take place within a single continuity, while the final two parts take place in an alternate continuity. All together they form an amazing action packed storyline that many can’t seem to let go of, because the minute you’re immersed into this spectacular Hokuto no Ken meets Riko-Oh dimension, it’s like walking into an action movie that’s vibrant and filled with blistering fast movements.
Those who are hardcore fans of the series may already know of the initial novel series that released in 1993, but for those who aren’t familiar a light novel was created which looked at parts of the Jojo story that were completely unknown to the original manga. It basically looked at Jotaro and his comrades traveling to the lair of Dio Brando but are caught off guard by three powerful stand users. If you missed out on the novel then be sure to grab a copy, because it may entail some interesting side bits that the manga may have held back. Many other light novels surrounding the series were created which began from 2001 up until 2012’s novel known as Jorge Joestar, which was written by Ootaro Maijou and illustrated by Araki himself.
With an ongoing series that’s currently sold well over 95 million copies worldwide, the series has cemented itself in history as one of the best selling Shounen Weekly manga which is an incredible feat. The Jojo series will continue to shine on in style with its very popular anime adaptation, along with various other entertaining game titles that are slated to release very soon.
Hirohiko Araki’s outstanding achievements will never go unnoticed, especially in a society that’s always fascinated with fantasy and over the top creativity. Japan will never let go of Araki and his works, and nor should you as the Jojo series will continue to relish in its success for many more decades to come. Whether you’re infatuated by the bizarre adventures of Jojo and his crew, or you’re drawn in by the very distinct art style that Araki has created, there’s always something to grab your attention and take you on a wild ride. Let us know what Jojo arc you enjoyed best in the comments section down below, and be sure to like, share, and tweet our articles to keep the community buzzing!
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