- Interview Hirohiko Araki and his heroines 「Jolyne」
Interview Hirohiko Araki and his heroines 「Jolyne」
A woman possesses a strong will, is gentle, and a bit vile. That is the ideal heroine.
It’s cool to be a little out of this world. 「Hirohiko Araki」「Jolyne」
This time, under the theme of 「JOJO’s Bizarre Heroines,」 we would like to talk about the appeal of female characters in the 「JOJO」 series. When you draw female characters, is there anything you are conscious of or particular about?
Araki: There is nothing in particular. I don’t distinguish between female and male characters, and if I had to say, I would say that there is a difference in my awareness of whether they are cute or cool. However, I am not very good at what is called cute, so no matter how I draw, I am often conscious of coolness. I said cool simply, but there are various definitions of coolness, and in my case, I think of a solitary person. Even if they are not recognized by society, they are doing what they believe is right. That is what makes them heroes and heroines. It’s cool that she is a little bit out of the world.
On the other pages, we have fashion shoots for four female characters, Eleanor, Suzi=Q, Jolyne, and Yasuho. If you had to describe each character in a few words, how would you describe them?
Hirohiko Araki ‘s Impressions of Heroines 「 Erina」「Suzi=Q 」「Jolyne」「yasuho」
Araki: If I had to contrast the four of them, I would say that「 Erina」 is the sincere, 「Suzi=Q 」is the bright and bubbly,「 Jolyne」 is the pop and vivacious, and 「yasuho」 is the most modern girl of the four.
Who do you feel most attached to in this group?
Araki: I like the girl I am drawing in the series at the time the most, so I would have to say 「Yasuho」. Yasuho is a bit mentally ill, and I like that (laugh).
-How about Jolyne? She was the first female protagonist in the 「Jojo」 series.
Araki: Of course, I have feelings for her. It was in the「Jolyne」 series that I was able to portray violence, such as a woman getting punched or having her arm cut off. Before that, it was very difficult to do that. Before I started working on 「JoJo」 I had drawn 「Gorgeous Irin」 (1985), in which a woman was the main character. Nowadays, there are many works in which women fight, but it was impossible in the 「shōnen magazine」 of the time, and it made me feel uncomfortable to draw it. I thought, 「This work is no good」 and stopped making it into a full-length work.
It’s hard for you to draw your own manga work and still feel sick when you draw it.
Araki: It was hard for me to draw action scenes. At the time, 「Alien 2」 was being released, and I thought Ripley, played by 「Sigourney Weaver,」 was a strong woman and cool, so I tried to try my hand at manga, but I couldn’t draw a girl getting beaten up because it was a little too cruel. And I couldn’t draw thin eyebrows back then. At that time, male protagonists in 「shōnen magazines」 all had thick eyebrows, which was the norm, so characters with thin eyebrows came to look like villains. Because of that era, it was still too early to depict a female protagonist in a shonen magazine. It was still the era of Stallone and Schwarzenegger (laugh). However, nearly 15 years later, the times have changed, and it is now okay to draw a scene where a girl gets punched in the face. I thought I could depict a tough girl in this atmosphere, so I decided to make Jolyne the main character in Part 6.
Expressing fantasy through fashion 「yasuho」「Jotaro」「Jolyne」
For example, when you draw a female character, do you start from the eyes, or is the procedure different from that for a male character?
Araki: There is no particular difference in that kind of drawing procedure. Rather, when I draw, I basically refer to the poses of female. So when I draw male characters, I do the same while looking at models who appear in women’s fashion magazines. Most models in men’s fashion magazines just stand still, but models in women’s magazines twist their hips and bend their necks, and their poses are interesting in many ways. I use male and female models as references for the contours and skeletal structure, but I use based mostly on women’s fashion magazines as references for posing, regardless of whether the character is a man or a woman.
How about fashion? Is there a big difference in fashion when drawing male and female characters?
Araki: Yes, I think the major difference between men and women is in the area of fashion. When I think of a character, I make a kind of personal profile. There are about 60 items in total, and by setting up the character’s personality, speech habits, favorite foods, and many other details, I feel that the character is becoming more and more three-dimensional, and comes to life like a real person. When I think about setting up a character, I am almost never conscious of whether the character is male or female, but as expected, the difference between the two inevitably comes out in the fashion.
The fashion in the 「Jojo」 series attracts a great deal of very attention from readers. How do you come up with such original design details, such as the flower on Yasuho’s skirt or the thick chain on Jotaro’s school run?
Araki: As for design, I often look at fashion magazines and other sources for reference. Putting chains on hats is, in short, a fantasy. It is not common to put chains on school uniforms, is it? So by doing so, it becomes a fantasy, or rather, it expresses the idea that this is a manga. The same goes for the many flowers on the skirt. The fact that this can be expressed in an easy-to-understand way is an interesting part of drawing fashion in manga.
Women are goddesses. by Hirohiko Araki「Jolyne」「yasuho」
Do you have an image of an ideal heroine?
Araki: My ideal heroine would be a woman who has a strong will to achieve her goal, but also has some kindness in her, and it would also be nice if she has a bit of a prickly side to her personality (laugh). I can’t tolerate a man’s prickly side, but I can tolerate a woman’s prickly side. I can see some reason in the background of the woman. Considering the current situation of our times, I think there are many more characters to read and sympathize with who are flawed or troubled in some way, rather than characters who are well-behaved. I think Yasuho, who is a bit mentally ill, would definitely make the manga more interesting than Elina, who is like the Virgin Mary.
This is a vague question, but what kind of an existent is a woman to you, Mr. Araki?
Araki Women are goddesses. A being that makes the world happy. Is that not good enough?(laugh)
No, it’s not no good.
Araki: But that doesn’t mean that I worship them excessively. I call them goddesses in the sense that I treat them with proper manners and respect, so it’s almost like a ladies first mentality. So, even when there is a dispute, I try to put women on top unless there is something wrong. When I think of women as goddesses in my life, most things go well. At least, that’s true in our family (laugh).
Is it okay to have a prickly side even if you are an ideal goddess?
Araki: It’s fine. Because all the women in Greek mythology are bad (laugh). The wife of Zeus, for example, is extremely angry and jealous. But I think that’s what makes the stories interesting, so of course it’s better to have a prickly side (laugh).
Thank you very much for watching, see you soon.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki