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Manga / Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan

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Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan (岸辺露伴は動かない Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai, lit. Rohan Kishibe Does Not Move!) is a Spin-Off of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, more specifically its fourth part, Diamond is Unbreakable, which focuses on the eccentric mangaka Rohan Kishibe. In these stories, Rohan recounts various bizarre supernatural happenings, often centered around the town of Morioh.

Two OVAs of these stories were made by David Production. One based on "Millionaire Village" was given to those who purchased the entire set of Diamond is Unbreakable blu-rays or DVDs, while "Mutsu-kabe Hill" was bundled with the second volume of Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan. After the completion of Golden Wind, David Pro released two more adaptations of "At A Confessional" and "The Run" on December 8, 2019. A live-action drama mini-series airs on NHK in the 3 days leading to New Year's Eve from 2020 onward, while Netflix picked up the OVAs for distribution internationally in 2021.


The stories feature Unusual Chapter Numbers. In release order, they are:

  • Episode 16: At a Confessional — While researching the inside of a confessional booth, Rohan is mistaken for a priest and hears a man's unusual confession.
  • Episode 2: Mutsu-kabe Hill — Rohan tells his editor the story of his encounter with a real Yōkai.
  • Episode 5: Millionaire Village — Rohan visits an isolated mountain village, whose inhabitants are blessed with great fortune but held to extreme standards of etiquette.
  • Episode 6: Poaching Seashore — Chef Tonio Trussardi asks Rohan to help him catch the extremely rare disk abalone for a seafood dish.
  • Episode 4: Mochizuki Family Moon Viewing — Rohan tells the story of the Mochizuki family, who are cursed to die unless they celebrate the harvest moon together.
  • Episode 7: Monday, Sunshower — Rohan tells the story of a strange day where everyone seems to be oddly fixated on their cell phones.
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  • Episode 8 (originally 9): DNA — A friend of Yukako Yamagishi asks Rohan to help cure her daughter of several strange symptoms.
  • Episode 9 (originally 10): The Run — Rohan talks about an incident at a gym.
  • Episode 10: Hot Summer Martha — Rohan uncovers a mirror under an old sacred tree, which quickly causes troubles with his life.
  • Episode 11: Drip Painting Style — Rohan tells the sad story of the time he was invited to interview a "decent person". The series' first two-part story.

Associated with the series while not being officially part of it is the one-shot Rohan at the Louvre, also featuring Rohan who investigates a supposedly cursed painting. Similarly, Kishibe Rohan Meets Gucci has Rohan going to the Gucci factory in Florence to inquire about his heirloom Gucci bag that makes things put into it seemingly disappear. There are also a series of short stories by various Japanese authors collected in anthologies with titles like Kishibe Rohan Does Not Shout and Kishibe Rohan Does Not Frolic. One of these short stories, "Kushagara" by Ballad Kitaguni, became the basis of an episode of the NHK mini-series.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: In Episode 2, Naoko Osato accidentally murders her boyfriend Gunpei by pushing him into metal golf clubs, piercing his head. The rest of the episode all but confirms this wasn't accidental at all, however.
  • Accidental Pervert: During his youth, Rohan entered a bathroom at the moment Nanase was getting undressed, because his grandmother used confusing signs for the genders. However, he doesn't get any flak for it and he also immediately apologizes.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Kyoka Izumi becomes a Manic Pixie Dream Girl whose easygoing and gentle personality clashes with Rohan's brooding and more unpleasant behavior. One gag consists of her being regularly kicked out from Rohan's house.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The OVAs add extra scenes usually consisting of cameos to the original stories. The same happens with the Live-Action Adaptation, with for instance more scenes and some exposition happening during Rohan and Kyoka's trek in the mountains.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the manga, Ikkyu the butler from Millionaire Village is simply a representative of the gods and tests buyers. In the NHK drama he purposefully makes the trials difficult so that buyers will fail.
  • Adaptation Inspiration: In the TV Drama's version of Millionaire Village, the story changes from a straightforward test of etiquette to a lesson in what manners consist in. In the original, Rohan simply must find a way to properly eat a corn on the cob and knows that it is done by grabbing both hands. In the adaptation, Rohan loses his hand and Ikkyu purposefully gives him the corn so that he cannot grab it with both arms and fail. Rohan grabs it anyway and manages to win because Ikkyu was setting up Rohan for failure, and Rohan calls him out on trying to embarrass the other party, which completely disregards the purpose of good manners.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: In the live-action adaptation, Heaven's Door as a Stand is not shown, only its effect of turning people's faces into books is shown. In the third episode, it changes to completely turning its targets into actual books.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: In Episode 8, Yukako is shown to be still wearing a Sailor Fuku, despite being 23 at the very least going by Rohan's age in Episode 2 and his use of a smartphone.
  • Appearance Angst: Yoma Hashimoto is a model who becomes obsessed with personal fitness after growing to like his routine. His constant efforts to improve his physique chip away at his sanity, to the point of accusing his girlfriend of trying to "poison him" with his favorite carb-heavy spaghetti dish, complaining about the delivery man ringing the doorbell and ruining his sleep schedule, and glaring daggers at a man who reserved his personal trainer before him. He eventually snaps and murders his girlfriend, the delivery man, and the other gym-goer because he saw them all as threats to his fitness.
  • Ascended Extra: In the live-action drama, Kyoka Izumi's unnamed boyfriend is fleshed out into Taro Hirai, a recurring character who gets his own subplot.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Episode 7 features a fictitious insect species named "Coire electricus lawrencinia" that feed on electromagnetic waves and bioelectricity, and reside in mobile phones.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • Yoma has a single-minded focus on working out and nothing else, leading him to cover the his whole apartment in rock-climbing holds, stealing his girlfriend's credit card (incurring her wrath), and getting incredibly angry at a man who rings the doorbell an disturbs his workout, culminating in him murdering them and a man who his personal fitness trainer decided to train in his stead. Given that he's the avatar of one of the Greek gods (specifically Hermes), who have shown similar morality in their own stories, this makes sense.
    • The Moon Rabbit in Episode 4 holds very strictly to the curse against the Mochizuki family. However, he reads those rules in a bizarre fashion. Seconds before he can kill the daughter of the family with a hornet sting, her boyfriend proposes to her - and he immediately ceases the attack because she's no longer a Mochizuki.
  • Call-Forward: In the OVA adaptation of Episode 16: At the Confessional, Koichi tells Rohan he’ll be going to Italy and wants him to use Heavens Door to grant him the ability to speak Italian.
  • The Cameo: Several characters from Part 4 make an appearance in the series but almost none save Rohan play a major role. Funnily, Josuke sometimes appear but always from the back, he never talks nor is he acknowledged by anyone.
    • The OVAs adaptations feature those same characters gratuitously in original scenes.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: In Episode 2, Naoko was forced to hide her lover's corpse in a rolled-up carpet to hide it from her father, who was mere moments away from seeing the body.
  • Character Tics: Mai Katahira finds the second man she'll love when she sees that he shares several tics with her late husband.
  • Compelling Voice: Heaven's Door's oh-so broken ability to write commands on anyone nearly always comes in handy. When in a tight spot against the supernatural, it allows Rohan to make a Loophole Abuse by manipulating the human agents or vector of some supernatural force as he likes.
  • Color Motif: In Rohan at the Louvre, the only real story Araki has actually colored, colors are used in palettes of two or three. Each with significance.
    • The first part in the past is almost entirely colored brown to evoke the comfort of a good memory, as Rohan had met Nanase who he developed feelings for.
    • The short part with Rohan actually visiting the Louvre is colored with garish blue and pink.
    • When Rohan goes underground and goes near the cursed painting, the color palette changes to dark blue with large patches of black for the darkness, but also the impending threat of the painting.
    • Nanase herself is regularly seen in red or pink kimonos, to signify her feminity and prettiness.
  • Comic-Book Time: Although "Hot Summer Martha" is set at least 20 years after Diamond is Unbrekable as it takes place during the COVID-19 Pandemic, characters don't appear to have aged.
  • Confessional: Episode 16 involves a confessional in which Rohan, who has entered the priest's compartment by mistake, hears out the confession of the protagonist.
  • Creepy Child: Mao Katahira is practically a Humanoid Abomination with her strange appearance and ability to blend into the environment, but at least is polite and nice.
  • Demonic Possession: Episode 16 features a vengeful ghost possessing the daughter of the man who practically killed him.
  • Destination Defenestration: In Episode 9, Yoma and Rohan run on treadmills side by side in a gym and decide to play a game of who can take a shared remote first. To spice things up, Yoma breaks the window behind them with a 20kg weight, and the loser will fall from the eight floor. Although Yoma ends up being sent through the broken window, Rohan thinks that it wasn't enough to kill him.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Rohan sometimes meet powerful supernatural beings he knows he cannot mess with, so he usually uses his Heaven's Door to circumvent the rules these beings follow. However, during Episode 10: The Run, he learns that he's crossed a red line by taunting and pretty much cheating against the embodiment of a god in a "fair" challenge. The last page only focuses on him thinking about running the hell away from the place, hoping he hadn't invoked the wrath of the vindictive god Hermes.
  • Emotion Eater:
    • The Mutsukabezaka sustain themselves on people's affection and guilt. They use people as hosts and set up Accidental Murders to trick people into hiding and taking care of them forever.
    • The forbidden term "Kushagara", while not having any actual meaning, manifests a seemingly physical Ear Worm which resides in its hosts' throats in order to drive them insane while feeding on their deadly obsessions in finding its nonexsistent meaning, until the host eventually dies from neglecting to eat or drink. And they spread by word of mouth from the host sparking an interest in the term within curious or concerned victims.
  • Etiquette Nazi: The gods of the mountains Rohan and Izumi come to visit, as well as their staff, are VERY strict on etiquette, and Japanese etiquette at that. If you can follow the etiquette then the gods will make you rich, but any breach of etiquette equals someone or something dear to you dying on the spot. And something as innocuous as stepping on the edge of a tatami counts as a breach...
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Rohan is part of the stories, but more as a witness or someone who is literally narrating to the reader. The Japanese title of the series itself (which translates as "Rohan Kishibe stays still") suggests that Rohan isn't the protagonist, but a passive observer. However, a couple of one-shots do make Rohan the protagonist.
  • Framing Device: Most of the one-shots are Rohan Kishibe sitting down on a table and telling a story. Of course said story is the main draw of these one-shots, but Araki has included Rohan as a narrator/witness to make them more interesting.
  • Healing Herb: In Poaching Reef, Tonio hopes that the disc abalone, a rare and tremendously high-class sea snail, can act as an ingredient for his cooking powerful enough to even heal his girlfriend's cancer.
  • Healthcare Motivation: In Episode 6: Poaching Reef, Tonio must resort to poaching for a very rare abalone species so he can cook a cure for his girlfriend's incurable disease.
  • Hereditary Curse: In Episode 4: Mochizuki Family Moon Viewing, the eponymous family seem to be afflicted by a curse making them all prematurely die on the same day of Harvest Moon. Only spending the whole day and night at home looking at the moon will prevent that, and a creepy specter will bring punishment to any transgressor.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • The Moon Spirit stalking the Mochizuki Family looks like a decrepit masked man in a suit, who has slanted eyes, the ears and paws of a hare, and is really malevolent, enjoying killing off people.
    • Mao Katahira has no eyebrows nor eyelashes above her eyes, yet has long eyelashes below and has sideburns; finally she has grown a tail which when touched, makes Mao camouflage herself into her surroundings. She also only speaks in reverse, doesn't make noise when she walks, and somehow wets everything she walks into. Her mother isn't really creeped out but fears that Mao will face bullying. Rohan investigates her, but determines that he condition is entirely natural, there's nothing "wrong" with her in the sense that she's the way she is supposed to be. No explanation is given for that.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan one-shots are also named "Episode X". Doubles Unusual Chapter Numbers because the episode numbers are out of order, the first one-shot being "Episode 16".
  • Irregular Series: The series has no set schedule, with gaps between installments ranging from one month to over a decade.
  • Loophole Abuse: Several instances of this happen throughout the one-shots:
    • Episode 2 has Rohan escape the spell of a local Yokai by making its host unable to see him, as the Yokai specifically need to "die" in front of somebody but Rohan made it so the host couldn't acknowledge his presence. Said Yokai briefly appears to screech at Rohan in anger.
    • Episode 5 features Rohan going against the Etiquette Nazi of a mountain god. By forcing the god's servant to reveal his secret and write a command on him once, but then succeeding in a trial and making the servant commit three breaches of etiquette, he manages to save his editor's life as well as the lives of the editor's loved ones to "compensate" for the god's side breaching etiquette.
    • In Episode 9, Rohan has a Absurdly High-Stakes Game against the God in Human Form Yoma Hashimoto, who's become the avatar of Hermes. Both must try to take a remote at a precise moment or fall out of the window of the 8th floor of the building they're in. Rohan genuinely tries to catch the remote and is bested, but has written a command so Yoma Hashimoto must push the stop button on the remote in Rohan's favor anyway. Rohan hopes that outsmarting the god won't incur his wrath but flees rather than wait for Yoma's impeding return.
    • Kushagara from the anthology has Rohan try to make Jugo forget his deadly obsession with the titular forbidden word, but to futile results as the term is banned from being written, causing his command to fade away. He instead decides to make the latter forget the entire past month. It manages to reset his memories back to before he learned of the term, causing his irremoveable "obsession parasite" to lay dormant and inactive within him. He later uses the same loophole on a bookstore owner who also became obsessed with the word from Jugo's encounter.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Akin to Mikitaka from Part 4, whose debated status as an alien either makes him a weird stand user (mundane by Jojo standards) or an actual one (magic by Jojo standards), we are Left Hanging as to whether or not some of the entities encountered by Rohan really are fantasy creatures or just trippy Stands. This is discussed in-universe by the cast of Part 4 frequently when Rohan ends his stories. Given that Vampires, Zombies and Pillar Men exist in this universe, nothing is off the table.
  • Mind Probe: Rohan's ability to open up people as literal books and freely read their entire lives leads to recurring Info Dump or The Reveal.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Rohan is like Araki, a mangaka in perpetuous search for material which is a good excuse for him actually going out of his way finding supernatural creatures.
  • Mythology Gag: In the OVA, Rohan's explanation of the rules per his game with Yoma in Episode 9 is portrayed with a pastiche of Jojos Bizarre Adventure Heritage For The Future's Video Game Interface Elements, just with Rohan's Sigil Spam of pen nibs replacing most of the hearts. It even has one win mark for Rohan, signifying that he's already won a previous game.
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: Kushagara is this. Mangaka Jugo Shishi finds the the titular word in a list of banned words his editor gave him, with no definition or explaination for why it was forbidden. His subsequent search for this nonexistent word over the following weeks causes him to severely neglect eating or sleeping, putting his life at risk. It's soon revealed that the obsession over this word manifested a physical Ear Worm inside him that's fueling this, and it spreads to other victims when they spark a curiosity in the word as well. This was the reason it was forbidden.
  • Off with His Head!: In Episode 16, the ghost of the asian beggar decapitates the protagonist of the main story after he fails a trial. Or rather the protagonist's Body Double.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: The fictitious "Coire electricus lawrencinia" are a species of centipede like insects that feed off electromagnetic waves and live in cell phones, controlling humans to feed to prey with heart conditions. They are presented as a genuine soon-to-be-unveiled species.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The first one-shot features a vengeful ghost of a beggar the protagonist let die who then makes him rich and possess the protagonist's daughter on the happiest day of his life to take everything from him.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Whenever Rohan is directly dealing with whatever threat is introduced in a chapter, you can bet that it won't involve Stands. Also subverted in that usually whatever Rohan's dealing with is completely unaware of Stands as well, and thus Heaven's Door can serve to get him out of a jam.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: In Episode 2: Mutsukabe-hill, Gunpei the gardener is killed by a fall into a metal golf club. The wound on his head keeps on bleeding and bleeding. Actually 300 milliliters a day but much more if the corpse is moved. And the corpse keeps bleeding for decades even after it becomes a shriveled husk, with no sign of ever stopping.
  • Precision F-Strike: The dub of Episode 2: Mutsukabe Hill, until the release of the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is the first time "fuck" has ever been used in the anime outside of fansubs.
  • Present-Day Past: An example in Episode 5 - while it can be inferred by Rohan's age that it takes place in 2006, the characters use huge internet-connected tablets able to connect to Google Maps which was still in its infancy back then and 2010's-style smartphones clearly contemporary to the time it was published.
  • Product-Promotion Parade: Rohan Kishibe Goes to Gucci is this, as a collaborative work between Araki and the Gucci brand. It featured several of Frida Giannini's latest works and a speech by an employee lauding the quality of Gucci's products.
  • Public Service Announcement: Kushagara ends off with one which states for audience's safety that the titular forbidden word used was merely a placeholder for the actual forbidden word, which was banned from being written or displayed in any media.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Episode 8 has this vibe, as Mai Katahira looks for the biological father of Mao, and finds him charming especially because of his uncanny similarities to her late husband. However, the man is clearly too old to be a reincarnation and has never met her.
  • The Reveal: Rohan often learns something that flips upside down his perspective on his situation:
    • In Episode 16: the protagonist reveal that the whole story he's confessed and his subsequent survival was made possible because he made a Body Double take the wrath of the beggar's ghost in his stead.
    • In Episode 2: he learns that the strange story of a young heir murdering her boyfriend is caused by a colony of Yokais who feed on guilt and love.
    • In Episode 5: Rohan learns that his etiquette trial is being judged by literal gods in the mountains.
    • In Episode 6: Rohan sees skeletons on the sea floor and deduces that the rumoured night where inhabitants could poach for valuable abalones is a setup used to drown gullible poachers.
    • In Episode 4: it's revealed that an actual spirit is watching the Mochizuki Family and kills any family member who disobeys the rules.
    • In Episode 7: Rohan witnesses a swarm of electricity insect feeding on the heartbeat of a dead man, and deduces that these insects have been controlling a whole crowd to isolate that man and kill him.
    • In Episode 9: Rohan learns that Yoma Hashimoto, whom he's competing against, is a murderous avatar of the god of athletes Hermes, thus he's way over his head in challenging him to a game of speed.
    • In Kushagara: Rohan learns that the true form of the titular forbidden word is a physical Ear Worm that manifests and feeds from obession over the word, which takes form as a pouch among Jugo's pages when he uses Heaven's Door on the latter, something that has never happened before. While fearing the effects that could happen if he forcefully tries to remove it, the pouch starts repeating the forbidden word as whatever is inside it tries to break out.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Hot Summer Martha" is set during the COVID-19 Pandemic, which was going on at when the story was published. Rohan mentions the disease by name, and feels stressed out due to having to stay isolated in his home for so long. People are shown wearing protective face masks, with Rohan being disgusted at the sight of people wearing them improperly or failing to follow social distancing protocol. This does cause some timeline inconsistencies, as characters are shown as being the same age as they were in chapters that took place over a decade earlier.
  • Roguish Poacher: Rohan and Tonio temporarily become these when poaching for abalones, which they hope will help cure Tonio's girlfriend. They aren't as good at it as they think and nearly die as a result, but manage to bring home abalones home nonetheless.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The malevolent Moon Spirit in Episode 4 set ups how the members of the Mochizuki Family that way. The whole evening is a setup involving a toy helicopter crashing into a fishbowl, causing the fish to fall off, then the daughter knocks her father's glasses onto the branch, sending the goldfish into the grandmother's mouth, nearly choking her. However, the same series of mishaps causes the son's kiddie pool to pop after the father hits it with a pair of hot tongs, making the boy lose control of the helicopter which falls onto his grandmother to knock the goldfish out of her throat, saving her life. The pool water, however, washes a hornets's nest out, which the daughter is allergic to.
  • Rule of Three: The ghost of the Asian beggar in Episode 16 orders the protagonist to succeed in catching a thrown pop corn with his mouth three times or die.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In Episode 2, Rohan buys several mountains to block a road construction project, just so he could investigate the local spirits. Although he's broke, he considers worth it because he actually got to see a yokai.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Rohan's use of Heaven's Door against Yoma results in him being flung out the window despite winning their contest, Rohan, realizing he may have angered a literal avatar of the Greek god Hermes, decides to book it without even bothering to check to see if Yoma survived or not and hope that he won't be sought out.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted. Part 4 where Rohan was introduced is a Denser and Wackier and Lighter and Softer Jojo story than the rest, but Rohan's paranormal stories are pretty freaky and kept in check only by his and the story's flamboyent presentation. When some of his stories end however, the main characters of Part 4 reappear to lighten the mood and discuss their thoughts.
  • Spooky Painting: The painting Under the Moon that Rohan investigates in Rohan at the Louvre. It's a cursed portrait of Nanase, made out of pitch black paint, and which can conjure the undead to make everyone near it experience a gruesome death of someone related to the victims.
  • Sudden Principled Stand: When Nanase cries in Rohan's arms over an unknown tragedy, Rohan shows an exceptional degree of restraint for her sake and doesn't turn her into a book to pry into her past like he does before. It helps that he's had feelings for her.
  • Surprise Incest: In Rohan at the Louvre, Rohan had developed a summer crush on Nanase. However it's revealed years later that Nanase was one of Rohan's ancestors.
  • Youkai: A Yokai named the Mutsukabezaka appears in episode 2. It is a strange parasitic spirits that makes a host die in front of someone, forcing that someone to hide and take care of the corpse forever. Oh, and sometimes the victim becomes so attracted to the corpse they have children with it, whom are hosts to more Mutsukabezaka.

Alternative Title(s): Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe