【Interview】 jojo Hirohiko Araki favorite Prince

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki

【Interview】Talking about Hirohiko Araki Prince

It has already been five years since Prince passed away suddenly, and the phantom album 「Welcome 2 America,」 which was recorded in 2010 but kept in storage, has been released after 11 years by the lone genius who still captivates artists and listeners around the world. It contains a message against the control of information, racism, and prejudice by the mass media that has been bothering him for many years, and gives us an opportunity to reexamine the problems we are facing today.

One person who loves Prince and projects the influence he had on him strongly into his own work is Hirohiko Araki, the manga artist of 「JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure」. Araki, who is known to be a big fan of Prince, has just ended the history of 「JoJorion,」 the eighth part of which began serialization in the June 2011 issue of 「Ultra Jump」. Currently, 「Jojo」 loss (a feeling of loss) is spreading across Japan, and when we offered an interview to Araki to talk about his love for Prince, he took the time to say 「For Prince’s sake」. Here is a rare interview in which he talks about his love for Prince hidden in the 「JoJo」 series and the music that supports his activities.

Quotes billboard-japan

–Thank you for your hard work on the “JoJorion” series. How do you feel now?

Hirohiko Araki: I’m creatively satisfied with the work because it’s not somehow finished, but properly finished. When you keep working every day, the damage to your body remains. …… I feel like I’m resetting that now.

-The series has been running for 10 years, which is the longest in the series. The series started in 2011, so the disaster is clearly depicted in the story, and as Mr. Araki commented in the comics, some of the descriptions are reminiscent of the coronavirus in terms of approaching the 「dilemma」. It reminds us that it was a turbulent decade.

Araki: It’s been turbulent, and I felt it was also a decade of coming up. I would say that we are going toward one goal. The story before that (Part 7), 「Steel Ball Run,」 was also about the protagonist’s pursuit of a goal, but in Part 8, I feel like it was an era, or that it was completed what should be completed

-On the other hand, during the last 10 years, there was the death of Prince in 2016.

Araki: Yes, that’s right. It was a shocking event, and I became ill myself. …… I felt a sense of emptiness, or rather, I couldn’t believe it. Michael Jackson too, but he died too young, his musical works didn’t cease, and I don’t feel like he was a person from the past. I play music while I work, partly to feel the musician’s thoughts, fashion, and attitude toward the times next to me. Prince has been walking with jojo, so when I thought that was going to be cut off, I thought, “What am I going to do now? I thought, 「What am I going to do」? It encourages me to think that musicians and artists are delivering the music they created while suffering and going through troubles.

-I think some fans had a hard time believing the news of his passing, as there was a time when Prince had abandoned his name and he himself had become a mark of love.

Araki: He is also a musician who seems to be in a fantasy, so there is certainly a feeling of not being able to believe the news of his passing.

Click on the image to go to youtube. ↓

             ▲「Somebody’s Somebody」

-When did Mr. Araki and Prince meet in the first place?

Araki: Prince is an artist that I gradually came to like. I had only occasionally listened to 「Soft and Wet」 (from the album 「For You」 (1978)) and the album 「Dirty Mind」 (1980), but I began to like him more and more with each album. All of them, including 「1999」 (1982), were good albums, and then 「Purple Rain」 (1984) shockingly heated me up. I had the image that he wasn’t someone who suddenly became a big seller, and although he betrayed me artistically, he was a solid musician and artist, and I became the kind of person who would definitely buy his work when it came out. I am at a loss if you ask me what is his masterpiece. All of his songs are that good.

-You said that you had heard 「Soft and Wet,」 but did you check it out from the time of your debut?

Araki: Yes, even though he was an R&B artist, his sound and use of instruments were mysterious. He was showing us new culture and fashion while living in that era, and there were shocking jackets. 「Lovesexy」 (1988), using his own nudity, was almost perverted if it was bad, and 「Dirty Mind,」 wearing bikini pants, would have been completely out if it was a normal person! But when Prince does it, it makes me feel like it’s not so bad. The enigmatic 「what is he thinking」 part is Prince, isn’t it

Araki: As for the album itself, there is the order of the songs. There are many artists, but in the past, the two songs 「Heartbreaker」 and 「Livin’ Lovin’ Maid 」(She’s Just A Woman) from Led Zeppelin’s second album 「Led Zeppelin II」 (1969) were a pair. The feeling of finishing a song and going into the next song is important, and you have to be in that position, and Prince is often like that. For example, 「Purple Rain」 is 「Let’s Go Crazy」 followed by 「Take Me With U」. At the end of the album, there is 「I Would Die 4 U,」 「Baby I’m A Star,」 and 「Purple Rain」. These three songs are like a suite of songs that absolutely cannot be separated, and the connections and the way they are introduced are very good. There is a kind of flow of destiny in the album that cannot be moved, and it is indescribable. It’s overwhelming.

-I think 「The Gold Experience」 (1995) is also an album that is like a suite of songs in one.

Araki: Yes, it is. The songs on that album had to be in that order. You can’t put a popular song as the first song just because it was a hit. That kind of production method or attitude is present in every album, and it is very good. His music makes me feel like I am in a perfect world.

-In the questionnaire we asked you beforehand, your favorite Prince album was 「If I have to say something,」 it would be 「Purple Rain」.

Araki: I thought that was the pinnacle. But there are many. I also like 「Mountains」 and 「Lovesexy」.

-I think “Purple Rain” is not only an album, but also an impression of a movie, and it seems to be a set with that added to the album.

Araki: Yes, it’s true that it became a hit because of MTV, but the flow, the order of the songs, and the imagery all make it a perfect album.

-What do you think about the film itself?

Araki: There is a certain eccentricity in the fashion, or a certain weirdness, but it is interesting to watch. I’ve seen it many times. The purple image is very strong in the movie and makes me wonder where I am.

Hirohiko Araki ‘s manga work influenced by Prince

-You started the serialization of 「JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure」 in 1987, after the release of 「Purple Rain」 in 1984, and I see a lot of Prince’s influence and love in the series as a whole. You mentioned earlier the 「purple image,」 and the coloring of the spines of the comics and the characters is based on purple, and the title logo of 「JoJo」 is reminiscent of the logo of the movie 「Purple Rain」. Were you conscious of these things?

Araki: Yes, it is. I was aware about that, but it is also a dangerous color. It is too noble. It’s said to be a color used by great men, and I feel that if I use too much of it in my work, I will lose my reputation. But I feel that Prince is not concerned with uke or anything like that, taking nudes of his own body. I don’t think there are many artists who have used their own nudes as jackets. If it were a bad idea, it would reduce the number of fans. But I guess his could call it a sense of adventure. He has a sense of mission, and there is an atmosphere that he is doing it for the sake of it.

-There is one part of 「JoJo」 that I think is full of Prince’s love, and it’s in the first episode of Part 3, Stardust Crusaders. In the scene where Mohammed Abdul sows the bait, there are chickens named 「Michael,」 「Prince,」 and 「Lionel,」 and then Judgement uses Prince’s cryptic English notation 「Hail 2 U!」 for Jean-Pierre Polnareff.

Araki: I miss it. 2 U or 4 U or something like that is also shocking. It’s like a symbol, a world cipher, isn’t it?

After that, 「Jojo」 continued to have playful English notations like 「D4C」 and 「Wonder of U」, didn’t it?

Araki: There is playfulness, but there is also a strong image of the design that comes to the eye as an image, a letter design, and that kind of image.

-In Part 4, 「Diamond Is Unbreakable,」 you see the Prince’s symbol designed on the lapel of the hijikata josuke’s school run.

Araki: There is also Dan Brown’s 「Langdon Series,」 but I was influenced by the Prince’s 「symbol mark,」 which seems to transcend human beings, and I am aware of various marks. 「Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure」 really a lot of marks.

The same is true of the mark for -morio town. Also, you mentioned that Josuke’s hobby is to listen to 「Prince」 CDs.

Araki: Even though he is a delinquent, he likes to listen to that kind of music, and he eats fashionable Italian food, so we came up with these settings to create the character.

-In Part 5, 「The Golden Wind,」 Giorno Giovanna’s stand was named 「The Gold Experience」. This is the first time the Prince’s work appears as the name of the stand.

Araki: I tried to avoid it as much as possible, but「JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure」 is so into diamonds, stones, and minerals, so I thought, If it were gold, what would it be?
That’s when I thought of 「The Gold Experience」. (The name has been changed in the anime due to copyright issues.

-What did you mean when you said you were avoiding Prince?

Araki: I felt it would be unfair to use only Prince (laugh). There are other artists.

Click on the image to go to youtube. ↓

-Do you think the message of Prince’s songs has influenced your work?

Araki: I don’t know much without reading the lyric cards, but yes. I listen to them all the time, so I am influenced by the way I think. Prince has songs that put sexiness at the forefront, but there is also a message of vitality that says, 「Let’s live positively」. His lyrics are sometimes a bit vulgar, at times but that is also good.

-Is the album 「The Gold Experience」 itself a work that you like to listen to?

Araki: Yes, I do. I feel that the songs from that period are the point of arrival.

The songs like 「P. Control」 are already hip-hop, aren’t they?

Araki: Because hip-hop was on the rise at that time. I felt that his music had overcome the point where it was going to become old music if it was bad. The three-disc set that followed, 「Emancipation」 (1996), is good, too. It’s long, but all the songs are good.

Click on the image to go to youtube. ↓

-In 「JoJorion,」 Sadasuke higashikata’s stand is named 「Soft & Wet」 and Yasuho Hirose’s stand is named 「Paisley Park,」 both from Prince’s works.

Araki:  「Soft & Wet」 had a 「feeling of going back to the basics,」 and I thought of the name of the stand because of the words that go with soap bubbles. For Yasuho’s stand, I was thinking of designing a traffic sign, so I came up with 「Paisley Park」 after thinking of images of places like 「P」 and 「parking,」 and then unified it with Prince. Another thing, in 「JoJorion,」 the name of the higashikata family’s stand is unified with 「King」. This is trivia that doesn’t really have anything to do with Prince (laugh).

Indeed, you’re right. How do you feel about the song “Soft and Wet”?

Araki: I have the impression that it is 「kbouncy electronic music」 or has a strange sense of rhythm. Later, M.C. Hammer sampled the song 「She’s Soft and Wet」, which was also good, and I fell in love with it again. His CⅮ wasn’t even recorded with live drums until around 「Dirty Mind」. That’s strange, because Prince plays real all the time. I would like to actually hear that part, or I would like to know about it. If it were Prince, I would expect that he would play all the drums, but for some reason he doesn’t do that.

Click on the image to go to youtube. ↓

「Paisley Park」 is a song from the album 「Around the World in a Day」 (1985).

Araki:  I was surprised that he went in a different direction from 「Purple Rain」. I like that part too. The cloud jacket was also a shock. he play in a light blue, cloud-patterned jacket. I guess you could say it was a crazy fashion of the 80’s at that time. I also liked the prince-like jacket with flutters around the neck of 「Purple Rain,」 but at the time, I was like, 「He’s going to wear this! 」I thought

Click on the image to go to youtube. ↓

-Did those fashions have any influence on the characters in 「JoJo」?

Araki: I think Bucharati’s clothes are influenced by that. The patterns. I designed the zipper and the speck-like markings. When it was made into an animated , the producers asked me,Can we reduce the number of speckles? (laugh).

Part 2 (*‘∀‘)b

Thank you for watching. See you soon!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki


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