In every volume of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the front folded flap of the dust jacket usually contains a picture of Hirohiko Araki himself, and more than often a quotation. The quotes featured below the picture are always different from each other, and are usually about Araki expressing his opinion on certain subjects. These subjects can be about anything, including information about characters or the story itself. The following quotes and pictures below are from the volumes of Steel Ball Run.
In substance, I drew Steel Ball Run as the seventh part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure saga. However for the readers who might begin with this volume, I preferred not to insist too much on that filiation.
The problem is that to completely bury one's past work in order to create a brand new one is in my opinion, a bad habit for any mangaka. Indeed I think it's important to find a theme which carries on from book to book in the works of an author...
Since seasons pass and man evolves during his life, I think it's important to build what we call the "theme of a work" by basing oneself on the foundations of their previous works, and that wanting to cut oneself one from that past is a mistake we shouldn't make.
Thus, in Steel Ball Run, you will meet characters whose names are similar to some protagonists of the "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" saga. I'd want you to see them as incarnations from a parallel universe, and not as ancestors.
However, the theme of this part stays the same, an eulogy of the human. Let's see together what will happen to these people plunged in that strange race that is life!
Lately, I have taken a particular interest in a "ball" too. In fact, what I want to talk about is a 70 to 80 centimeters wide ball full of air an chemical resin used for physical exercice. I've been told that making it bounce while sitting or jumping while holding it in the hands straightens up the spine and pelvis. By instinct, I didn't understand how such faint movements could do that; so, being naturally suspicious, I had to watch professional athletes using it to convince myself of that method's effectiveness, which is also said to firm up internal organs.
One thing that amazed me about things related to the 'sphere shape'... I was watching an 'Aikidou' video, and this young man in a 'hakama' grabbed the head of a man who looked like he was 60 (Who was the master.) The master grunted, 'Hun!' and shook his head in the shape of a sphere. The young man flew approximately 2 meters in the air. It makes you think he just jumped on purpose, since he was thrown so easily. But I don't think it was fake, since the video cost over 10,000 yen. I'd like to be thrown once (somewhere soft).
In late 1980, when I had the opportunity to shake Tezuka Osamu-Sensi's hand, I thought to myself, 'Wow, the hand of a cartoonist is so soft and fluffy!" Also, When I shook the hand of Oyama Masytatsu, sensei of Karate, my reaction was, 'Whoa! So he actually smashes bottles and stuff with these soft hands..." And so I decided that all "Experts" must have soft hands. Nobody has ever told me that I have soft hands, but I'm sure that Gyro's hands are all soft and fluffy.
Women tend to do it more often, but have you ever been told that you looked like someone else? For my part, people used to tell me I looked like James Spader, the actor who played in Stargate for instance... But lately, I've been told that I looked more like Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, or to Prince's album 1999. Among other likeness that have been found, there's Jackie Chan, Masakuza Tamura, a dog, a horse, a cloud, a car and Rock the vampire from Osamu Tezuka's work... All of this is puzzling me!
I've realized that I've reached my mid- 40's and if I'm to live up to 70 or 80, then I've already passed the half-way point. This is a semi-difficult topic, but I'm starting to wonder if this is okay the way things are going. Am I walking the 'right path'? There is a need for 'satisfaction' and both Gyro and Johnny are seeking 'satisfaction' in this race. This is in fact the theme of this series. (Continued in Vol. 8)
Sometimes I wonder what 'the right path' is. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were to go down the wrong path, in pursuit of things like love, or justice. How are we supposed to distinguish between the '2' paths, the right or the wrong? Will anyone ever tell us? If we were to hurt the one we loved because we loved them, what are we supposed to do? Gyro and Johnny, and everyone else involved in this race, is the option available to them under these cirumstances to 'pray'?
Movies that I've seen recently and thought were fantastic were works by Micheal Mann (like 'The Insider' and 'Collateral'), the Jason Bourne series, and besides those, the TV series '24'. The main characters in these works all have a sense of professionalism, and they act without hesitation: it's as if their determination transcends normal notions of 'good and evil'. I can sense a deeper sense of humanity through these characters. When I place myself in these characters' shoes, I can feel myself tearing up, and though all of these works are suppose to be 'cool', I always feel a burning sensation in my gut. And the Number 1, in that respect, is 'Heat'.
It's something that was given to me, but I have a swimsuit calender hanging on the wall of my workplace. In short, I have 12 pictures of girls in bathing suits in my office. Nothing naughty. But anyways, every time the month changes, I have to flip the page to the next girl, and somehow, that makes me feel incredibly melancholy. 'Goody bye, September girl. I guess we'll never meet again.' That's how it makes me feel. And then I *flip*, and think, 'Wow, October's not bad either!", and that makes me think of how I'm already betraying the September girl... So, what I'm trying to say here is, that a year goes by really quickly.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about 'numbers'. For example, 'money'. Though everyone thinks that it's better to have a lot than a little, it seems like once someone gets too much of it, they become burdened with it. This also applies to that wonderful, beneficial invention of cars- too many of them, and they become an inconvenience. Bad for the atmosphere, too. And us humans? I believe that each individual life is important of course, but if one day there existed a country with more than ten billion people... That's a scary thought.
There are things called 'angry seasons' for me. It's a time when I strangely start to get aggravated by the world's rules and regulations; but even more bizarrely, when that phase goes away, I start to think that those same things that I was irritated by are now great!
Most recently, two horror movies called 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning' and 'The Texas Chain Killer: Beginning' came out, and mistakenly I bought the wrong DVD. Hey! (Note: 'The Texas Chain Killer: Beginning' is called 'Hoboken Hollow' in America)
But when my 'angry season' passes, I'll probably think that it was good that I bought two interesting-looking horror movies.
I often see the phrase 'horse and man as one' in racing magazines or in historical novels, and it supposedly means that the rider can synchronize his or her movements with their horse, so that they're almost one entity. When I draw Gyro and the others on their horses, I feel like I really understand what that phrase means, though I don't ride horses myself. I can't tell you specifically which ones they are, but when I sometimes get a racing panel to look just right, it feels good, because the figures seem to fit well with one another. It just leads me to believe that humans and horses are biologically suited for one another.
So I've recently found out that some people are intimidated by me-- people I've met for the first time during interviews always say 'man, I was so nervous the whole time!' That worries me. Apparently, people perceive me as similar to a character that I made in the past, 'Rohan Kishibe', and that's why they get so nervous. I'm not the same as him, though. I'm the type of person that, when eraser bits or a drop of ink gets into my tea during work, will drink it anyways.
I really want people to say 'man, I always relax in front of Araki', instead. I guess I need to work on myself more.
I love horror movies more than eating a good three meals a day. The cheaper they are, the more B-rated they are, the more I love them. I watch these movies with the utmost respect for them, and their cinematic vision somehow gives me a sense of ease. However, There are some elements of horror movies that I can never agree with: Number 1: Whenever one of the characters try to call someone on their cell phones, they either have no service, or they've run out of batteries. Number 2: Even though the character only has a limited number of bullets, they get trigger-happy during the worst times and then they run out of bullets later. Number 3: When the camera slowly zooms in on a main character's back, but when he or she turns around to look behind him or her, no one is there. What's the point of using that camera technique if no one is there?! I can't forgive this. I always want to tell them to go and redo the damn scene.
Do you know the song "In the Desert Under the Moon"? When I was a kid, one friend used to listen to me sing it and always had a tear in his eyes. At the time, his sensibility stupefied me but I realize that I am highly sensitive too. I'm sensible not to a song but a certain type of background: a curved and sloping street with a wire fence on the side, like what can be found near schools. Well, this straight up kills me. Whenever I come into such a street, be it in Japan or elsewhere, a wave of nostalgia takes me and a tear appears in my eye...I don't even know why. Anyway, I'm always bawling when I take a photo of these streets.
While writing 'Steel Ball Run', I recently noticed a common feature among the characters that appear in it, and that is that they have the desire to go home. That is, they're looking for places to go home to and meanings for their going home. The latter at least is for Gyro whom has a hometown to go back to. So far, the only one among all the characters whom was able to find that was 'Mountain Tim'. Even as the author writing 'SBR', as I write, it sometimes feels really harsh and it makes me really want to leave this race and "go home". But I can't go home yet. Not until I can find the meanings for the characters to go home.
Heads up to all the young people out there. Stop climbing trees as soon as you read this. However, ignoring my friendly wisdom is even more dangerous. Policemen are already looking for you. Especially throughout the Tokyo city center. I know, I know, climbing trees is just too damn cool to give up. But, consider the following: The moment you relinquish your tree-climbing desires is the moment you avoid falling on your ass and looking like a complete buffoon stuck in the hospital. Dislocating your pelvis, scraping your knees, or kicking the bucket can be just the beginning. Furthermore, your mental health comes in question the second your foot encounters bark. Now, a special message to any of you crazies reading this advice while hanging out on a tree branch, 'RETURN TO EARTH!' I understand you wish to defy gravity and the natural order of the entire planet, but climbing trees is the wrong way to do it. Hopefully, this message inspires every one of you to come to your senses and discover new found respect for your own well-being.
I'm afraid of 'false eyelashes' falling in my house...... Great long ones fall off in hallways and in the bathroom. When there's bad lighting they really freak me out. I imagine they might be moving, it's a real 'horror'. (I can't say who specifically, but) I picked some up and threw them in the garbage and this person said "Why're you throwing those away? I'm still using them!" Then they picked the things up and put them on a shelf. I was really indignant, but also I was even more afraid.
'Eh? Don't you know 'Wakery-kun?'... 'No. I'm afraid I don't.' 'Really? It's Wakeru-kun. Wakeru-kun!' 'Really, who is he?' 'Do you really not know him? Wakeru-kun, he parts his hair. He's incredibly popular. Sensei, you're from Sendai, aren't you?' 'Eh. yes. I am from Sendai, but...Is he like Shiga's 'Hikonyan' or Nara's 'Sento-kun', like a city's mascot character?' 'He's been a big sensation ever since I took his post. Sensei, I can't believe you don't know him in spite of being a pro mangaka and all, WAHAHAHA!' "How would I know..?' (The end. Was that good?)
The work known as drawing 'pictures' is 'infinite'. You can keep drawing on one sheet forever wondering where the best place is to end. And 'story'. For example, you can have the setup of a 'lover' falling to the bottom of a deep hole, but there's a situation where if a 'friend you don't like' can take the lover's place if you push them in, saving that 'lover's' life. Then what would you do in that situation? Would you push in the guy you hate? I have a feeling that's not the 'right action', if you think about it, the answers can 'infinitely' disappear. By the way, with 'drawings' they're completed when your own 'heart' wants them to end. That's my personal opinion.
Recently, something that has been on my mind is people that put on 'performances'. These people's biggest goal is to 'be the center of attention', so I honestly can't tell what is they're actually trying to do. Those people are abundantly talented so they try to extend into many different fields and never try to quietly master one single thing. Is it art, or is it politics? Is is a rescue operation or is it business? I feel like they're a particularly extraordinary and uncanny part of society. I can really think of no way to unite these clashing goals.
With this, Volume 24, the Steel Ball Run race is completed. Everyone, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being such loving readers. Just what was the 'holy corpse' that appeared here? I never explained it thoroughly right up to the end, but I wrote it as a symbol of 'purity'. I think that the sensation of 'purity' is an extremely important sense. Like how concepts such as the dis-function between good and evil, virtue and what should be respected, can be understood instinctively. You can be sure that the one who obtains the 'corpse' would also attain 'happiness'.