Rohan at the Louvre REVIEW

Rohan at the Louvre Book Cover Rohan at the Louvre
Hirohiko Araki
Seinen, Supernatural
Nbm Publishing
April 1, 2012
128
Joe Johnson
Ortho

Rohan Kishibe from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure goes on a journey to the Louvre to find the darkest, most evil painting stored in the famous art museum’s archives.

We open up with a question: Have you seen the blackest color in all the world? (well actually, maybe) For Rohan, who deals with ink on a daily basis as a manga artist, it is an intriguing idea that helps him fly to France to see this mysterious painting.

Rohan has a Stand (anthropomorphic super power) named Heaven’s Door that grants him the ability to read and write to someone’s soul like a book. This fact is very important to the latter part of the plot as he can now read the room literally and know what someone’s intentions and past – it ultimately leads to his survival at the end. As he travels deeper into the depths of the museum archives with a group of strangers — a translator, curator, and guards, each person is killed off in a gruesome manner. We don’t know what’s truly happening and after many twists, we find out the true meaning behind the blackest black.

As a oneshot, only Rohan is fully fleshed out as a character. The mysterious woman is only used as a storytelling device to move the plot along unfortunately, and you only get a brief glimpse of the art museum archive group’s past before they’re killed off. However, it doesn’t detract from the main theme of history within the context of art.

Artwork

Araki as an artist and storyteller manages to build up the suspense until the very last moment via his paneling and use of color. It goes from nostalgic yellow in the beginning memory to the pink in the museum part of the Louvre to the blue tints of the depths of the museum archive up to the final blacks at the climax at the very end. The climax of the story has each panel has you seeing everything as Rohan turns about at every moment as each person in his group dies and there seems to be no escape. He usually stands out with his bright blue sweater vest and eventually pales into a lighter wash as death quickly encompasses him at the end. In addition, Araki’s SFX usage increases as we get closer and closer to the climax as another emphasis on the doom and unforgiving atmosphere of the dark archives.

The artwork is pretty good – Araki drew it in his most modern style where everyone has a more realistic proportions and more restrained character designs. Jojo is one of my favorite series, so it was awesome to read a English version of it. Lettering was decent – it uses a standard font to not detract from the original art for casual readers.

Recommend?

It’s definitely worth having in your manga collection and a MUST if you’re a Jojo fan.

FUN FACT! Did you know that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 4 – Diamond is Unbreakable volume 1 will be out in May 2019? That’s 26 years after the Japanese publication and 2 years after the anime started airing. Rumors on why it wasn’t licensed quickly was because of song name licensing issues (Stands usually have a copyright song or artist name like Crazy Diamond, Killer Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and releasing the series in chronological order. However, since Viz is a manga publishing giant, fans were hoping that the manga would’ve come out sooner.