VIZ Media Announces Release of Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga

VIZ Media offers JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fans and budding artists tremendous insight into the art of creating manga with the June 6, 2017 release of Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga.

The new hardcover release features unique instructions on drawing techniques, as well as fascinating explorations of character development, conceptualizing storylines, and scripting dialogue as set forth by Hirohiko Araki, one of the most esteemed creators at work today. Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga published in a deluxe hardcover print edition under the Shonen Jump imprint and will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN.

Hirohiko Araki is the author of one of the longest-running and most beloved manga of all-time, the epic fan favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (also published in English by VIZ Media). According to him, “manga is the ultimate synthesis of all forms of art,” and in this book he reveals the secrets behind how to make the magic happen using concrete examples from his own work. Read all about his “golden way” of manga: the character histories he draws up for each of the characters he creates, his methodology for storytelling inspired by the great Ernest Hemingway, and many other aspects of manga creation in this how-to guide penned by an industry legend.

“This extraordinary release delivers an in-depth examination of Hirohiko Araki’s complete creative process for his manga, and explores what aspiring manga creators can learn from novelists, fine artists, and filmmakers,” says Nick Mamatas, Editor. “We invite readers to explore this special release, and gain fresh inspiration for their own artistic endeavors.”

Manga creator Hirohiko Araki made his professional debut in 1981 with the Wild West inspired story, Buso Poker. He experimented with several genres, including mystery (Mashonen B.T.) and action-horror (Baoh), before beginning JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in 1986. Propelled by imaginative storylines, weird imagery and individualistic artwork, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the longest-running and most popular shonen manga ever. Araki’s current works include a new series set in the JoJo universe, JoJolion.

Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume Two

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 2 is set in 1938 and focuses on Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan Joestar.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 2
Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 2, 2016

Volume 2 sees Joseph Joestar meeting Caesar Zeppelli, and the two of them don’t hit it off. Caesar wants nothing to do with Joseph and thinks he’s a weakling because his Hamon isn’t very strong. Of course, this creates animosity between these two characters, and this animosity is a running theme through most of this volume.

Another new character is introduced in Volume 2: a Hamon master named Lisa Lisa. She was Caesar’s master, and he and Joseph go to train under her in order to become stronger. It’s hoped that with some training, Caesar and Joseph will be strong enough to defeat the Pillar Men. I really liked the idea that the Hamon master that they train under is a woman, since that’s not a very common thing to see in a shonen manga series. Araki even talks a little about this in the special interview at the back of the book, and he mentions that having a woman in this kind of role was very unusual when he originally wrote this manga back in the late 1980s. To be honest, the character of Lisa Lisa this is what stood out to me the most after I finished reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 2.

Even though the animosity between Joseph and Caesar is a driving focus in this volume, Araki is still able to start showing some important development for Joseph. Sure, he may still be the same loud and impulsive character we’ve known since the first volume, but he’s beginning to figure out how to control his Hamon. Hopefully Joseph will eventually be able to learn how to control his temper and impulsiveness as well.

Once again, Araki utilizes some music references for naming his characters. Lisa Lisa likely gets her name from Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Her servants are named Messina and Loggins, after Jim Messina and Kenny Loggins from Loggins and Messina. The three Pillar Men awakened in this volume also seem to get their names from music: Esidisi (AC/DC), Wamuu (Wham!), and Kars (The Cars).

When it comes to the art, Araki continues to have a very distinctive style that draws the reader into the story. The images also look very sharp, and there are times when it almost feels as if the characters are about to leap off the page.

Readers who follow the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga series should enjoy what they read in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 2. Not only does it progress the second story arc, it also includes the action, fights, and humor that fans have come to expect from the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume One

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 1 is set in New York in 1938 and introduces Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan Joestar.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 1
Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 2, 2015

Early on in the volume, the focus is on developing the character of Joseph Joestar, and it quickly becomes apparent that he’s nothing like his grandfather. Jonathan was always the gentleman, while Joseph always seems ready to pick a fight and expresses a in flipping up women’s skirts. About the only thing Joseph fears is his grandmother, Erina, who has become a tougher woman in her later years.

It was actually kind of sad to find out what happened to Erina in the intervening years between the end of Part 1 – Phantom Blood and where this volume begins. Not only did she lose Jonathan, her son and her daughter-in-law also perished. Joseph is one of the few family members she has left, so it’s not surprising that she is protective of him and can be tough with him when she needs to be.

When Joseph and Erina first move to New York, Joseph encounters and befriends a young black man named Smokey. I appreciated the depiction of racism and how both Joseph and Erina don’t subscribe to the racist philosophies that would have existed during that time period. I thought that Araki including this in the story was a nice touch.

Speedwagon, an old friend of Jonathan Joestar’s, is an important part of the story. He makes a shocking discovery while he is part of an expedition in Mexico. This discovery involves betrayal by an old friend and the introduction of this series’ new enemy, the Pillar Men. Joseph finds himself entangled in this situation when a rumor reaches him that Speedwagon was killed in Mexico. When Joseph travels to that country to investigate, he finds himself coming face to face with a group of Nazis who are stationed at a base there.

Not surprisingly, the Nazis were trying to experiment on one of the Pillar Men without truly understanding the ramifications. When the Pillar Man gains enough strength to begin attacking, it leads to an epic battle between Joseph and the Pillar Man. But during this section of the volume, it seems that Joseph has started to grow up, at least a little. He may not like the Nazis that he’s forced to fight beside, but he does come to respect one of them by the end.

Near the end of the volume, it’s made clear that there are more Pillar Men out there, so this should be the driving force for the remainder of Battle Tendency. I expect we’ll be seeing Joseph going after the remaining Pillar Men in order to save the world from their destructive power.

When it comes to the art, I have to say that I felt that Araki made Joseph’s design a little too similar to Jonathan’s. The main thing that allows the reader to tell them apart is the fact that Joseph wears very different clothing. Other than that, they look so similar it’s almost eerie. But the quality of Araki’s artwork hasn’t declined between Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency, and it continues to engage readers and draw them into the story.

Readers who have enjoyed the Phantom Blood arc should also enjoy JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 1. Even though this story may be set nearly 50 years later, it includes many of the elements that defined Phantom Blood arc, as well as the action and fight scenes that fans have come to expect from the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Hirohiko Araki to Publish Episode 7 of Rohan Kishibe Manga

The December 2015 issue of Shueisha’s Jump Square magazine is announcing that Hirohiko Araki will publish another chapter of his Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai (Rohan Kishibe Does Not Move) one-shot series in the January 2016 issue on December 4, 2015. The one-shot is titled “Episode #07 Getsuyōbi – Tenkiame” (Monday – Sun Shower).

Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine published the sixth episode in October 2013. Shueisha published a compiled book volume of the different Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai stories in November 2013.

Source: ANN

Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume Three

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 is set in the 1800s and continues the story of Jonathan Joestar (who goes by JoJo) and his conflicts with Dio Brando. Dio gets a hold of a stone mask that’s an ancient artifact of the Aztecs and is now attempting to take over the world.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3
Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 3 picks up in the middle of a fight between JoJo’s group and the two knights that Dio has sent to destroy them. Much of the first half of this volume focuses on the fight sequences, so there are plenty of panels that focus on the action and not as much on dialogue. However, there are moments during these fight sequences where text is included to provide some exposition so the reader can understand what’s going on.

At one point during the fighting, this volume provides a flashback with some backstory for Will A. Zeppeli. This flashback provides important information that explains something that Zeppeli does during the battle, and it also introduces a character who appears later on in this volume.

After JoJo’s group makes it past the battle with the knights the story moves on to the final confrontation between JoJo and Dio.  As one would expect from an action manga like this, the final battle is epic and escalates until the protagonist finds a way to get the upper hand. Of course, with the escalation comes several instances where it looks like JoJo has won, but then Dio does something to try to turn things around.

Near the end of this volume, it looks like JoJo will finally see a happy ending after everything he’s gone through with Dio since Volume 1. Unfortunately, there’s a last instance of chaos that rocks the story and the ending isn’t as happy as the reader had hoped for. However, with this ending, the stage is set for Part 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

In addition to fighting and action, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure also incorporates musical references in the characters’ names. In this arc, there are references to REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Poco, Dire Straits, Wang Chung, Doobie Brothers, Bryan Adams, Yes, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I picked up on some of these references right away, while others I found out about after doing some research. But for readers who have a fondness for music, they’ll either appreciate the homages or groan at them.

When it comes to the art in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3, Araki utilizes a lot of detail. This also includes the many action and fight scenes that take place in this volume. And VIZ Media’s presentation helps the art look crisp and clear, and in some cases, the art almost looks as if it might jump right off the page. Araki’s art style is very engaging and pulls the reader in.

So JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 brings the “Phantom Blood” arc to an end.  While it may not have contained a happy ending, I think readers who have followed the story through the previous two volumes will still appreciate all the action and plot developments that take place here. I believe that fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will not be disappointed in what they see.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume One (Print Edition)

Prior to reading this volume, I had read a preview of this volume in the September 1, 2014 edition of their Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga anthology as well as a digital review copy of this release back in September 2014. This review will touch on the content of the manga, as well as what to expect from the print release.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 1
Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 24, 2015

The story begins by explaining about a stone mask and about how a tribe of the Aztecs tried to take over the world by using the power of the mask; the mask is able to bestow eternal life and the power to dominate. But this tribe abruptly disappeared, and now only ruins are left behind.

This volume focuses on two characters: Jonathan Joestar (who’s goes by JoJo) and Dio Brando. They live in and around London in 1880. Dio’s father is dying, and he asks his son to mail a letter and to go to the address on the envelope. Twelve years earlier, Dio’s father had found a carriage in a ravine and thought everyone was dead. He discovers a baby is alive, and that the baby’s father is still alive after he takes the man’s belongings. The man is JoJo’s father, and he believes that Dio’s father was saving him; because of this, Joestar believes he owes Dio’s father a favor.

After Dio’s father dies, we see that he’s not that caring of a son as he spits on his father’s grave and heads to live with the Joestars. We see that JoJo and Dio are as different as night and day; while JoJo is a polite gentleman, Dio is cruel and manipulative. Dio decides to psychologically torture JoJo until he breaks so Dio can inherit the Joestar fortune. It’s also established both in the flashback of the carriage accident and when Dio arrives at the Joestar house that the Joestars have the stone mask in their possession; it had been unearthed, and JoJo’s mother had bought it.

Over the course of this volume, we see Dio has no qualms when it comes to animal cruelty, assault and battery, sexual harassment, attempted murder, and murder if these actions will help him achieve his goals. By the end of the volume, Dio became a villain that I loved to hate.

I felt really bad for JoJo in the early chapters as Dio was inflicting his psychological torture. And I really felt bad when JoJo’s own father would scold him and compare him to Dio. But there were two heartbreaking scenes that especially made me feel bad for JoJo. The first is when JoJo makes a friend in Erina and falls in love with her, but Dio comes along and destroys everything by forcing Erina to kiss him and to make her ashamed of facing JoJo afterwards. The other is when Dio does something that causes the death of JoJo’s dog, Danny. Those two things took away the two things that brought JoJo some shred of happiness while he has to deal with Dio’s torture. These acts also illustrated just how much of an asshole Dio is and how low he’ll stoop in order to get what he wants.

About halfway through the volume, the story jumps ahead in time seven years. JoJo and Dio have gone to the same college and play together on the rugby team. At first, it appears they’re getting along better; however, as an inner monologue of Dio’s shows, he hasn’t changed a bit. Dio is graduating at the top of his law class, while JoJo is graduating after studying archeology. JoJo begins using his archeological knowledge to study the stone mask and believes he’s the only one who knows how it works. Little does he know that Dio also knows. This becomes important in the story that ultimately concludes this volume.

When it comes to the visuals in the manga, there are occasional panels that show people being stabbed or impaled; fortunately, they aren’t the major focus of the volume. However, there are a number of action sequences where JoJo and Dio get into fist fights. But I have to say that the fist fight scenes are not only exciting to read, they’re also amazing to look at from a visual point. I could tell that Araki went to some effort when drawing these scenes.

I enjoyed reading the story in this print version just as much as I did when I read the digital version a few months back. In some respects, I think I liked reading this print edition more because I have an easier time reading physical books than I do digital versions. I could also tell a lot easier just how crisp the artwork looks in this volume, and it felt like more of the art was “jumping out at me” than it did when I was reading the digital copy on my computer screen.

The actual content in this print version is identical to what I saw in the digital version. A lot of the volume is in black and white, although there are a few pages in color. The prologue that explains about the Aztecs and the stone mask is completely in color. The beginning of the actual story, as well as the first few pages after the timeskip, also have some color in them. What grabbed me about the beginning of the actual story and the beginning of the timeskip is the fact that the color used is rather minimal, and to me, helped to evoke a feeling that I was actually observing characters and events from the 1800s.

Both editions also include a brief interview with Hirohiko Araki, the author of the manga. He talks about the challenges he had when writing the character of Joe Joestar and the changes Joe went through physically during the timeskip in the story. This feature was much easier for me to read in the print version than it was in the digital copy due the small type that was used on that page.

Also of note for this release is the fact that VIZ Media has released it as a hardcover book instead of a paperback. I think the hardcover adds to the appeal of this release, and it also proves just how important VIZ feels this release is. While this increases the price for the volume, I think it would be worth it to fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure who have been wanting to own the early part of the series in their manga collection.

If you enjoy manga set in a historical time period and featuring supernatural elements, then you might enjoy reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I would recommend that manga readers should try to at least read the first volume of this series due to how much of a classic that it’s become over the years.

Additional post about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure:

Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume One

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume One is a manga by Hirohiko Araki, and it’s being released in North America by VIZ Media. At the time of this writing, this volume is only available digitally; however, it’s scheduled to be released in print on February 3, 2015.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 1
Written bu: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media

I’d heard a lot about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in various anime forums over the years, and finally got my first exposure to the property when VIZ Media published a preview of this volume in the September 1, 2014 edition of their Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga anthology. I thought the series had an interesting setup and that it had a lot of potential. I was pleased when I learned I could access a digital copy of the entire first volume.

The story begins by explaining about a stone mask and about how a tribe of the Aztecs tried to take over the world by using the power of the mask; the mask is able to bestow eternal life and the power to dominate. But this tribe abruptly disappeared, and now only ruins are left behind.

This volume focuses on two characters: Jonathan Joestar (who’s goes by JoJo) and Dio Brando. They live in and around London in 1880. Dio’s father is dying, and he asks his son to mail a letter and to go to the address on the envelope. Twelve years earlier, Dio’s father had found a carriage in a ravine and thought everyone was dead. He discovers a baby is alive, and that the baby’s father is still alive after he takes the man’s belongings. The man is JoJo’s father, and he believes that Dio’s father was saving him; because of this, Joestar believes he owes Dio’s father a favor.

After Dio’s father dies, we see that he’s not that caring of a son as he spits on his father’s grave and heads to live with the Joestars. We see that JoJo and Dio are as different as night and day; while JoJo is a polite gentleman, Dio is cruel and manipulative. Dio decides to psychologically torture JoJo until he breaks so Dio can inherit the Joestar fortune. It’s also established both in the flashback of the carriage accident and when Dio arrives at the Joestar house that the Joestars have the stone mask in their possession; it had been unearthed, and JoJo’s mother had bought it.

Over the course of this volume, we see Dio has no qualms when it comes to animal cruelty, assault and battery, sexual harassment, attempted murder, and murder if these actions will help him achieve his goals. By the end of the volume, Dio became a villain that I loved to hate.

I felt really bad for JoJo in the early chapters as Dio was inflicting his psychological torture. And I really felt bad when JoJo’s own father would scold him and compare him to Dio. But there were to  heartbreaking scenes that especially made me feel bad for JoJo. The first is when JoJo makes a friend in Erina and falls in love with her, but Dio comes along and destroys everything by forcing Erina to kiss him and to make her ashamed of facing JoJo afterwards. The other is when Dio does something that causes the death of JoJo’s dog, Danny. Those two things took away the two things that brought JoJo some shred of happiness while he has to deal with Dio’s torture.

About halfway through the volume, the story jumps ahead in time seven years. JoJo and Dio have gone to the same college and play together on the rugby team. At first, it appears they’re getting along better; however, as an inner monologue of Dio’s shows, he hasn’t changed a bit. Dio is graduating at the top of his law class, while JoJo is graduating after studying archeology. JoJo begins using his archeological knowledge to study the stone mask and believes he’s the only one who knows how it works. Little does he know that Dio also knows. This becomes important in the story that ultimately concludes this volume.

After reading this volume, I have to say that at this point, the series lives up to the potential that I saw when I read the preview in Weekly Shonen Jump. I’ll really enjoyed what I read, and I definitely want to read more of this at some point. And maybe at some point I’ll even find some time to stream the anime series.

When it comes to the visuals in the manga, there are occasional panels that show people being stabbed or impaled; fortunately, they aren’t the major focus of the volume. However, there are a number of action sequences where JoJo and Dio get into fist fights. But I have to say that the fist fight scenes are not only exciting to read, they’re also amazing to look at from a visual point. I could tell that Araki went to some effort when drawing these scenes.

A lot of the volume is in black and white, although there are a few pages in color. The prologue that explains about the Aztecs and the stone mask is completely in color. The beginning of the actual story, as well as the first few pages after the timeskip, also have some color in them. What grabbed me about the beginning of the actual story and the beginning of the timeskip is the fact that the color used is rather minimal, and to me, helped to evoke a feeling that I was actually observing characters and events from the 1800s.

If you enjoy manga set in a historical time period and featuring supernatural elements, then you might enjoy reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I would recommend that manga readers should try to at least read the first volume of this series due to how much of a classic that it’s become over the years,

I wrote this review after reading a digital review copy of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume One that was provided to me by VIZ Media.