JoJo's Bizarre Adventure book club (Volume 4) 双首竜の間へ

Club schedule: 2 chapters each week, new week ends/begins on Wednesday.

Last time on JoJo’s: Jonathan, Zeppeli, and narrator Speedwagon confronted Dio standing upon a gigantic peak. To pad for filler time, Dio summons the dark knights Bruford and Tarkus from a 300-year rest to dispose of Jonathan and co. The knights have the advantage, but Jonathan hopes to utilize the Hamon that’s been taught to him to overcome and avenge his father’s death…

Volume 1 Discussion Thread
Volume 2 Discussion Thread
Volume 3 Discussion Thread

Welcome to volume 4, including this, there’s 2 more volumes of this book club. It’s been fun re-reading this and realizing how far I’ve come in my Japanese reading ability. It also tells me how much more I want to learn. I hope others feel the same way!

Participation Check

  • Not reading along
  • Planning to catch up
  • Reading along

0 voters

Schedule (note that these are the chapter titles as per my tankobon copy)

May 13 - May 20: 77リングの勇者
黒式の呪縛

May 20 - May 27: 英雄として眠る
騎士たちの遺跡

May 27 - June 3: 双首竜の間へ
あしたの勇気

June 3 - June 10: 老師の予言
怒りをたたきこめ!

June 10 - June 17: 遥かな国からの3人
怪人ドゥービー

Flipping through this volume, I’ve noticed that the art has improved so much from previous chapters. It looks rather good here, I think. Didn’t realize how much of a glo-up there was with Araki’s art in part 1 alone.

3 Likes

Just finished the first two chapters, 77リングの勇者 and 黒式の呪縛, and I’m concluding that this section is pretty damn difficult to parse through. Lots of explanation about the 77 Rings, Bruford’s hair, and underwater fighting. A short list of words I had to look up (which I was doing a LOT of):

細胞間(さいぼうかん)Intercellular
誇り(ほこり)Pride
地盤沈下(じばんちんか)Land substidence
振り解く(ふりほどく)To shake free from
軟骨(なんこつ)Cartilage
雑魚(ざこ)Small-fry

Vocab overload. But the moved Jonathan pulled at the end of the second chapter were worth the grind:

I just don’t like how Jonathan is carrying the entire fight on his shoulders. What’s this guy doing when you need him?

Curious to know what you guys thought about this portion, difficulty considered.

1 Like

This part is pretty tough, not gonna to lie! It’s been a real struggle for me. I’ll be finishing up the second chapter tonight, hoping it’s a bit easier to get through than the first…

1 Like

Yeah, there seems to be a bit of a difficulty spike!

There was really a vocab lookup overload this week! The first chapter especially was a real grind for me. I normally don’t do this, but in the end I gave up on looking up unknown words in the first chapter and just decided to be content with the most basic idea of what was going on/memory of this fight from the anime. That’s just where I was at, mentally, this week. I’ve noticed my wanikani review accuracy rate was waaay down too, so I figured I was overloaded and left it at that. For the first chapter, at least.

I really enjoyed the second chapter, though, and didn’t have much trouble getting through it (although I still had to look up a ton of vocab). By far my favorite part was the unnecessarily technical explanation of how Bruford’s zombie hair can move independently thanks to 膨圧/turgor pressure (which I definitely had to look up in English, too!) and the subsequent comparison to a tropical plant whose name I have already forgotten. I guess Araki was reading encyclopedia facts and writing about them in the 80s too! :joy:

These panels of Jonathan taking stock of his impending death and likening Bruford’s zombie hair to tentacles and a snake devouring and crushing a mouse were also really fun and evocative:

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 7.44.05 AM
Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 7.44.30 AM

I was delighted to figure out from context that 触手 means “tentacle”.

And holy crap, Bruford (our esteemed leader, not the character :joy:) was not lying about the glow-up Jojo gets in this volume. The art is leagues better! Barely any funny proportions, and some of the shading/half-tone usage is pretty striking and really helps the art feel less tonally monotonous. There’s a lot of panels where Araki mimics the texture of Bruford’s hair in the surrounding scenery. The action is also visually really easy to follow during the final moments of this fight. Overall just a huge step up from previous volumes.

Did anyone else find this image insanely creepy?

You do wonder exactly why Zeppeli and Speedwagon are just watching from afar. They feel pretty useless right now. Separating characters so that battles are always 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 is something Araki ALWAYS does, almost without exception. I’m pretty sure he finds it difficult to conceptualize/write battles where there’s the complex interaction of multiple characters with different powers, or he just thinks it’s easier for the reader for follow. I’m reading Part 6 Stone Ocean (in English) right now, and he’s still always doing that, but it’s written into the story much more smoothly, so you don’t find yourself constantly wondering, “Why doesn’t ____ help _____ out here?!”

1 Like

For sure! This chapter was honestly pretty stunning. The characters were so expressive (not just in their faces, but also in their movements.) I’m not sure if I’m the only one who feels this way, but I sort of feel like some of the general motion and “punch” the earlier parts had got lost when Araki transitioned to his current art style. Don’t get me wrong, his new art style is beautiful, but I feel like it’s noticeably stiffer lately. I like re-reading this part to see how expressive his art used to be!

I think it’s the face? His hair is also giving me some Junji Ito vibes! :joy:
If you don’t know who that is and you’re adverse to horror, don’t like him up, haha!
However, I really love the pose Jonathan is doing here! You can really feel both the motion and emotion. This is one of those cases where having clearly defined gestures lines in a pose can actually trump having perfectly accurate anatomy in a figure drawing, especially when the figure is to be used in a comic book/action-heavy situation!

I recently had gotten my friend to watch JoJo, and although she’s thoroughly enjoying it so far (she just finished part 3), one of the first things she noticed was how the characters nearly always 1-on-1 fights, even though they’re apart of a team. I understand why; Araki wants every battle to feel like a chess game, where the strengths and weaknesses between characters’ abilities have to be weighed in order to come up with a good strategy. However, the characters are literally apart of team; they should help eachother! :joy:

2 Likes

The explanation was excessive. The reader could just as easily accept that Bruford has magic hair without doing so much telling over showing. And I’m with you, I had to look up “turgor pressure” too.

Not at all, but I’m now noticing how tiny his head is compared to his rocker hair.

Or if multiple protagonists challenge one villain, it’s always where one guy will try to use an ability, get punished, then give up and hand it to the next guy, and so on. I liked a lot of the 1-on-1 battle-of-wits fights in the series, but imagine if Araki cared to combine abilities in single fights. Would be a lot cooler in a couple fights (particularly the ones where Jotaro does the heavylifting).

3 Likes

It’s Wednesday, May the 20th, so chapters 3 and 4 (77リングの勇者 and 黒式の呪縛) are up. Hopefully these two are a bit lighter. If I recall correctly they are. None of those lessons on biology and hair physics.

Suave posing, yo

2 Likes

Junji Ito, who I both love and am emotionally scarred by, is exactly where this image took me! :smiley:

1 Like

This looks like a lot of fun to jump in on, but I’ll be multiple volumes back behind you all… Hope you all don’t mind if I ask questions in some of the older threads.

2 Likes

It’s tons of fun! You’re not soooo far behind. There’s nothing wrong with quickly catching up on the first three in English and jumping into volume 4 in Japanese if you want to read alongside us, either! Welcome to Jojo!

3 Likes

That ending this week was just AWESOME. Them using weak magnetic force in the body and amplifying with Hamon (at least that’s what I think they did?) to create the leaf glider was one of the coolest moments so far in the series.

Including that epic spread, there were some dynamic scale shifts in the leadup to the Tarkus faceoff. The way this zoomed out to show the geological shifts made me sit up and take notice that things were Happening!

And I thought the shift to the ground shots here as they wonder where Tarkus is built a lot of tension:

I definitely saw what @TrinityBringer was touching on with the dynamic nature of Araki’s earlier artwork in the last chapter for this week.

What do y’all think was going on with Bruford in his final moments? Why the change of heart/angelic light coming from his face? Jojo villains seem to come around on our heroes pretty often, and it’s not always explained well. Maybe I missed something here though.

Edited to add: these 2 chapters were much easier to get through than the previous two-- appreciated the lack of super specific vocabulary! I would be happy if that keeps up for awhile… :slight_smile:

1 Like

This fight has just been a pure joy to read! There were so many great pages, and I feel like Araki had a lot of fun with it. At least, you can see the hard work and dedication he put into it. Araki’s panelling was fantastic in these chapters; from excellent uses of perspective and exaggeration, to clever uses of sound effects and placement of items-of-interest to lead the reader’s eye to the next panel. Araki really showed that he knew his stuff about comics these chapters!

I think it was another case of “Johnathan, you’re a good guy, therefore I will support you :+1:” kind of situation, similar to what happened to Speedwagon. It’s maybe not the most natural thing ever, but I feel like it worked significantly better here due to the sheer size and scale of the battle. I always wanted the fight with Speedwagon to be longer. Maybe then his change of heart wouldn’t have been as unnatural?

1 Like

Agreed, this is a shining moment in part 1. The panel of Zeppeli and Jonathan holding up the leaf is great. Your screenshots are making me regret not reading this series in color first. Almost makes it look like a totally different story, in a way. I’ve seen several scans of Part 3 in color, and that one by far looks the best in my opinion. There aren’t as many colossal moments such as this leaf-glider one in Part 3, but some rather cool facial expressions.

Overall, this week’s set of 2 were fun, and as I guessed, much lighter than the last two. I’m still perplexed at Bruford siding with Jonathan in the conclusion of the fight, but I guess Araki wanted him to seem like a “chivalric” man of heart, sort of like Jonathan. Dunno.

Yes this has to be the weakest “power-of-friendship” moment in manga/anime. That fight was, what, 5 pages and they already formed an alliance? Just lacked any sort of tension. Although, you could say that Speedwagon giving in just like that was a testament to his character.

Time for the next two chapters, “双首竜の間へ” and “あしたの勇気”. IIRC this section is when (spoiler): Zeppeli kicks the bucket…Ya hate to see it.

2 Likes

I don’t exactly understand it, but it does help to provide a nice contrast between Bruford and Tarkus as villains.

Ouch! :joy: But for real it’s so hard to see Speedwagon as the man who will eventually found the ultra-important Speedwagon Foundation based on what you see in Phantom Blood.

I’m going to be kinda behind on reading this week. No need to hold things up-- I’ll catch up hopefully next week and add thoughts on readings as I’m able. I’m sure all of y’all know more-or-less what is going on in NYC and and elsewhere right now.

1 Like

I got a bit busy myself this week! I’ll try to be caught up by this Friday!

Chapters 32-33:
Not much for me to say here, really! We got more backstory for Zeppeli, and we meet another music reference, Ton Peti, AKA,Tom Petty. After that, Johnathan gets himself in a rather sticky situation, and Poko ends up saving the day. What do you all think of him? We got a little backstory for him, but that’s about it. I’m going to quite honest here; I always forget that this character exists. Perhaps it’s because he’s just a child with little-to-no further impact on the story? I’m not sure. He probably does more than Speedwagon in the entire part, but I still forget him. :laughing:

Chapter 34-35:
More backstory for Zeppeli which should be a red-flag for most people by now… We get this cool panel in the colored version, and then…
a

Disaster happens. I was rather shocked when I first saw this. Because it’s shonen, I expected at least a little plot armor for the main party, but no sir, even with all those flashbacks leading up to an epic moment, Zeppeli still dies. I was sad when he died, but he never was big favorite of mine, so I was more disappointed by his death than anything else. I still like him though, and I wish he would have gotten to join Johnathan in the final fight with Dio, but alas, it’s not his fight anyhow…

1 Like

なぁ…どこみんな? :cold_sweat:

Sorry, life has been extremely stressful the last few weeks. Hope everyone @Bruford is doing ok, I will catch up on 34-35 in the morning so I can continue on with you :slight_smile:

1 Like

Ah, no worries! Take all the time you need! I was just making sure that everyone was doing alright, since the thread suddenly went silent! :laughing:

1 Like