The anime adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond Is Unbreakable started airing this month! グレートですよ。To celebrate, here’s a translated Sakurai column from 2006 about Jojo and different types of media. Thanks to Soma for translation/editing help. Enjoy!
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Media’s Bizarre Connections
Originally published in Famitsu Vol. 178, 24 November 2006
The environment at Tokyo Game Show is harsh. The noise and congestion are especially rough. It’s great to get a look at all the new things coming out, but I saw many people walking with their heads held low, exhausted. In the midst of all that, there was one booth making most of the audience smile!
＊Noise: Loud noise poured out of giant speakers from all sorts of booths, making conversation impossible. I wore earplugs.
That booth belonged to Bandai Namco Games. Promotional videos for games like Captain Tsubasa and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure played on their jumbo-sized monitor, and the onlookers were smiling, or rather, grinning. Seeing recognizable scenes reborn as polygons dancing on the screen, I couldn’t help but grin as well. The editing was pretty amazing, making it a sight worth seeing.
If something’s fun to watch, then that’s a good thing, in any case. Among a sea of bloody, brutal games that are very focused on “defeating your enemy,” these games feature accurate recreations of famous scenes from the original works, to please the fans. That’s what Bandai Namco does best. It’s something only they can do, a precious talent indeed!
The manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a masterpiece. The series is popular among gamers as well. Personally, I like the second part, Battle Tendency. It’s fast-paced, with sudden, climactic moments. The daring main character uses creative tactics to fight against strange and fantastic enemies. Also, the poses and sound effects are too funny. Even now, it still holds up as a genius piece of work.
Anyway, back to the present. The Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure game was on display, so I tried it out. The game is basically a series of scenes from the first part of the manga, Phantom Blood, with the structure of a beat-em-up action game. It’s presented like a digital comic, where you see scenes from the original manga, characters speak their lines, you proceed to the action game part, and then that formula is repeated. I would say it felt familiar, in a certain way.
However, it was surprisingly difficult! I kept losing the very first fight against the “Bullies,” Speedwagon humiliated me, and the Jojo I was controlling got beat so badly that he didn’t seem like Jojo at all.
＊Bullies: Young Jonathan Joestar’s first opponents. Considering the fact that he fights vampires and other inhuman creatures afterwards, naturally these guys should be much weaker…Right!?
As I progressed through all different kinds of suffering, a man standing nearby watching me play had, interestingly enough, brought the Jojo manga volumes for Part 1 and Part 2, and he began reading them, just a few feet away from me! Hey now. Wait just a minute. Was that a challenge to the game? Or possibly, an insinuation directed at my unsightly display? I instinctively snuck a glance at his book, then realized, “Whoa, he’s following along with me.” While listening to the dialogue coming from the game, he was reading along in the manga. It was kinda weird. Is this what’s called mixing media?
Certainly, reading the original manga is sometimes better. It has greater detail, and a certain sense of speed. But, I also think that if it weren’t for this game, he wouldn’t have pulled out the manga volumes. It’s not a question of which form of media it is, it’s just one person’s way of enjoying the original work. Since that one way is through a “game,” their perception of it might fundamentally change. …Well, that doesn’t account for the quality of the game at all, but that’s fine, I think. Since as a result, the fun of gaming expands to a wider audience.
By the way, the first print of the game came with a great bonus DVD. It’s got an interesting interview with series creator Hirohiko Araki, and a cool promo video for “Jojo Poses.” …Huh? You haven’t heard of “Jojo Poses?” Then I’ll just have to demonstrate for you. Here goes — Zugyuuuuun!
Looking Back on “Media’s Bizarre Connections”
Interviewer: Ah, too bad. It’s really unfortunate that we can’t see your whole body in this picture.
Sakurai: Of course my legs are doing the pose as well (laughs).
Interviewer: Could you redo this photo for us?
Interviewer: We actually got a letter from a delighted Jojo fan.
Sakurai: If you look closely, my side looks a bit weak, doesn’t it…
Interviewer: You’re critiquing yourself about this now? (laughs)
Sakurai: Well anyway, let’s talk about the game. In the first part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, there’s a scene where Jojo’s pet dog is killed, and he shouts, “What the hell are you doing!? Unforgivable!”
TN** In the column text, Sakurai says “killed” (殺されて）, but in the original manga this line actually comes after the dog is kicked.
Interviewer: Right, okay.
Sakurai: As a matter of fact, when they made the manga volume this line was misprinted. It said, “What the hell you doing!? Unforgivable!”, but they corrected it later on. So, in the game, during that scene, naturally it says “What the hell are you doing!? Unforgivable!”, but after beating it once, it becomes “What the hell you doing!? Unforgivable!”, it seems…(laughs)
Interviewer: So detailed. I guess they had to put that in there for the fans, huh? You’re pretty knowledgeable, Mr. Sakurai.
Sakurai: Of course!
TN** Obviously the original misprint he is talking about was in Japanese (it said 何をするだ when it was supposed to be 何をするんだ), so I tried to translate this mistake into equivalent English.