Be a fan of de JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in these times it doesn’t have to be easy. More than a year and a half after the conclusion of the very good adaptation of the fifth series Golden Wind (read our review of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo), there is still no news on the processing and on the release period of the anime based on the sixth part of the manga, Stone Ocean. The reasons are probably to be found in the increasing commitments of the animation studio David Production, a company that has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an associated increase in prestige and consideration in the sector.
Fortunately, the wait can be (partially) alleviated thanks to So Spoke Rohan Kishibe available on Netflix starting February 18, 2021. Here’s our review of the animated series. 4 OVA taken from the manga of the same name by Hirohiko Araki, spinoff of the fourth part Diamond is Unbreakable.
Mystery to Morio-cho
Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe was born as a manga written and drawn by Hirohiko Araki and published in different magazines of the Shueisha publisher, including Weekly Shonen Jump, starting from 1997. The series has nine chapters, the last of which came out in 2018, collected in two volumes that arrived in our country thanks to Star Comics respectively in 2015 and 2019, on the occasion of the exceptional event that saw the master Araki guest of the Lucca Comics and Games.
The animated adaptation of Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe consists of 4 OVA – or OAV, a term used to designate the animated productions that come out directly in the home video market – made by the David Production studio from 2017 to 2019. Each episode, with a standard duration of 24-25 minutes, adapts a single chapter of the print series.
Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe has been licensed by Netflix which released the 4 OVAs on its platform starting February 18, 2021, complete with dubbing in Italian in our country. The protagonist of the work, as the title suggests, is the mangaka Rohan Kishibe, a figure that first appeared in the series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, considered l’alter ego di Hirohiko Araki same.
Each episode sees the eccentric character grappling with mysterious and bizarre happenings in the city of Morio-cho, where the events of the original work are set, based on the infamous ones Stand or other supernatural entities. Circumstances that will force Rohan to resort to his power Heaven’s Door to be able to save your skin.
JoJo but it’s not JoJo
From the opening minutes of the first episode, the vision of Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe represents a breath of nostalgia for all fans of JoJo and of the fourth series in particular. Thanks to the excellent work of David Production it seems to be witnessing a direct continuation of Diamond is Unbreakable, no longer focused on the misadventures of Josuke Higashikata and devoid of an underlying plot. In Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe we find it all the quirkiness, style and creativity of the original work, with the poor mangaka struggling with the most disparate vicissitudes involving Stands, mysterious presences and situations that once again confirm the genius of the author Hirohiko Araki. The series, which does not connect directly to the events of the original work but presupposes the vision in order to know at least the context, is however much more than a simple fanservice for all lovers of the character of Rohan and the atmosphere of the saga.
The episodes of Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe in fact they are distinguished by a darker and more disturbing tone compared to Diamond is Unbreakable, with tips of violence and body horror which seem to recall what Araki did in Golden Wind, and which make this spinoff – borrowing the terminology of Japanese magazines – the seinen equivalent of the original work, which is instead a shonen in all respects.
A great merit of this production which, unfortunately, further increases the regret for failure to adapt the remaining five chapters of the paper version, and which makes us regret the absence of a long-running series totally centered on Rohan Kishibe, one of the most successful and memorable characters of the entire saga of JoJo.
From a graphic point of view, Thus spoke Rohan Kishibe is one of David Production’s best works on Araki’s material, despite the absence of historical director Naokatsu Tsuda. In the OVA we find all the visual style already appreciated in Diamond is Unbreakable, characterized by sequences with chromatic choices worthy of an acid trip tremendously spot on for the bizarre and crazy atmosphere of the events narrated.
Thanks to the reduced running time and the absence of time and production constraints of the television broadcast, the drawings and animations are excellent as well as the direction, capable of returning a great feeling of tension in the most excited moments. He also promoted the music of Yugo Kanno as well as the opening and closing codes. The first in particular is purely instrumental and very well introduces the more serious and mature tone of the production.
A positive note, finally, also for the Italian dubbing of Netflix, edited by Pino Pirovano at Nexus Tv, which he sees Dario Sansalone (Ryo Asuka in Devilman Crybaby) in the role of the protagonist: his vocal timbre and his performance turn out to be very suitable for charisma in Rohan Kishibe. Unfortunately, the voice actors chosen for the other characters of the original series such as Koichi and Josuke cannot be evaluated, who only appear for a few seconds at the beginning and at the end of some episodes.