Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan is an ultimately decent episodic OVA which follows one of Araki’s most eccentric characters; it recounts some of the ghastly events which the titular protagonist has experienced firsthand. By any and every stretch of the imagination, it is an enjoyable watch–particularly for those who are drawn into and fond of the Jojo’s universe. Though a claim such as this would come as no surprise, it is also important to note that these four episodes have the potential to be enjoyed by those who may not even be familiar with Araki’s work.
The overall premise for this OVA stems from the desire that lies deep within the heart and soul of Rohan Kishibe, the mangaka. This desire is an incessant need to bring the “real life” to his work. That is his quirk, nothing short of a fatal flaw perhaps, which has always been a part of his character since fans were first introduced to him in Diamond is Unbreakable. Kishibe’s desire to bring real life experiences into his manga tends to get the best of him from time to time, yet it is what drives him and encourages him to push limits and extend beyond what the eye can see.
This four episode OVA is comprised of supplemental chapters, all a part of of a spin-off series, which Araki has composed throughout the years. Though I could be wrong in claiming so, these Kishibe stories have the feel of a creator extending himself and stepping out of his own self-imposed limits. I mean this in the strictest sense that creators, especially mangaka, can feel tied down and constrained by what may be called the unspoken rules of creative works. Araki has composed a collection of stories about Kishibe’s exploits, and it has become a creative outlet for him. Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan is fun for Araki and fans, as each chapter seems to serve as its own episodic arc without the need of any outside context. This does not seem out of the question. It should be noted that possessing a general familiarity with Kishibe as a character and the Jojo universe as a whole would be ideal prior to stepping into this, but it is not necessarily vital.
What I found interesting about these four different episodes was how each one told their own tale in a quasi-didactic way. Though it would not be correct to state that these are four parables, each episode does in fact teach a moral lesson of sorts. If nothing else, they each do call attention to the darkness and misery that may arise within the lives of those who do not take heed and gird up their loins against temptation, impurities, etc. Each individual that Rohan-sensei encounters within these stories tends to possess a flaw of some kind which leads them into some sort of supernatural ruin. Experiencing these happenings firsthand encourages Kishibe to flirt with and discover the thin line that separates destiny and despair.
As an aside, the popcorn scene in episode 1 made me think of this scene from Escape From LA. It is honestly the same vibe. I don’t know, but I just felt the need to offer the comparison.
These four episodes all lie within the realm of the paranormal. Each episode presents Rohan-sensei, oft in a desire to encounter a fulfilling life experience, in order that he might be able to conduct research and thereby draw something great for his manga. I have had mixed feelings for the character of Rohan Kishibe since I first encountered him in part 4, but his development as a character was executed well throughout the series to make me a fan of his. These four episodes have solidified my appreciation for him as a character, as he demonstrates genuine compassion and humility throughout the course of these events. I am fond of him, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have established that the enjoyment of Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan may or may not be dependent upon how one feels about both Araki’s and Kishibe’s work. I do not feel the need to touch base on the animation quality, considering the studio and nature of the adaptation, one would be right in the assumption that it is well done. At any rate, this collection of episodic paranormal [semi-]parables serve well as a evening watch with a cup of tea. I found the show to my liking and appreciated it for what it is.
This was originally published on AniList.
Thanks for reading.