It’s been a few months since the first chapter of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 9, and Hirohiko Araki has already kicked off the plot swiftly and stylishly. In the space of the last four chapters, a lot has happened, as well as more developments concerning the future of JojoLands. We’ve got a lot to cover, and a lot to look forward to with these chapters. Below I review The JojoLands #002 through Chapter #005, and discuss some of what may be in store for us in upcoming installments.
[Warning: some spoilers for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure story The JojoLands #002-#005 below!]
Kishibe Rohan returns! (kind of)
Chapter 2 follows Jodio and company on their way to a seaside mansion in preparation for their diamond heist. The heist is going smoothly, but at the end of the chapter, Jodio, who is on lookout duty outside the mansion, sees the sole resident swimming in the pool. The character is then revealed to be none other than esteemed mangaka Kishibe Rohan.
I am fairly confident that I wasn’t the only Jojo fan who screamed (very loudly) with joy when the end of chapter 2 revealed the identity of the mysterious, wealthy Japanese tourist. Rohan, widely thought to be Araki’s self-insert character in Jojo, made his debut in Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable. Although he’s been referenced once or twice in subsequent parts, as well as receiving his own spinoff manga series, he hasn’t been seen in the main Jojo manga since Diamond is Unbreakable’s final chapter in 1995.
Many fans speculated that the mysterious traveler mentioned in chapter 1 would be either Josuke or Yasuho from JoJolion. Rohan was a much more unexpected (and possibly delightful) surprise.
This is not the same Rohan we know and love from Part 4, obviously, as Jojolands is set in an alternate universe. However, it’s clear that this version of Rohan is similar (if not exactly the same) as the main timeline Rohan. He is an eccentric, wealthy, and prolific mangaka, who seems to have many unusual interests. Moreover, he even has the exact same stand, the notoriously overpowered “Heaven’s Door”, as his original. This is more than can be said for several Part 7 and 8 characters, who have different stands than their main timeline equivalents.
Over the course of the next few chapters, Rohan confronts the burglars who have broken into his house. He corners Dragona, Paco, and Usagi, before Jodio surprises him from behind with November Rain and ties him up.
By the end of chapter 5, the gang successfully escapes from the mansion with the coveted diamond, as well as a mysterious “lava rock”. But first, Jodio has a brief, but meaningful, interaction with Rohan. Rohan says that the lava rock comes with great power and responsibility (a la Spider-Man). He also tells Jodio to “embrace ambition” and not to “lose heart”. This seems to be in line with Jodio’s already-established goal of becoming filthy rich. It may also point to the larger themes of JojoLands.
Despite their altercation, Rohan seems to have a smidge of admiration for the burglars, especially Jodio. Although it’s unclear what part Rohan will play going forward, it seems possible that he will be a fickle ally, like he was in Part 4.
Jodio Joestar is diagnosed with ASPD
On the subject of Jodio, Araki reveals another fascinating aspect of our new Jojo’s personality in these chapters. Jodio’s high school counselor diagnoses him with Antisocial Personality Disorder. He is, in his own words, a “psychopath.” Among Jodio’s symptoms, according to the manga, are a lack of remorse and control over his own actions. This is consistent with the clinical definition of ASPD, or sociopathy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It’s no secret that ASPD is a highly stigmatized mental health condition. Though the term “psychopath” is somewhat outdated, popular media still uses it constantly. Countless villainous characters in films and television have been labeled as “psychopaths”, lacking basic empathy and control over their actions. However, ASPD is a very real condition, one that many ordinary people have learned to live with, oftentimes through therapy.
Having a prominent character. the protagonist, no less, of The JojoLands diagnosed with this condition, could potentially be a really important and valuable representation of people with this condition if done right. Despite the zaniness of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Araki is still known for doing his research, and doing it thoroughly, when it comes to portraying certain real-world issues.
Araki has had somewhat of a mixed track record of portraying mental illness in his work. Notably, the controversial character of Diavolo from Part 5: Golden Wind presumably had a form of DID (or dissociative identity disorder). DID is another mental health condition the media also often associates with villains.
However, the protagonist of Part 9 having ASPD may be a sign that Araki is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to portrayals of mental health. After all, Diavolo made his debut in 1998, and we’ve made a lot of progress in conversations surrounding mental health in the last 25 years.
Jodio’s diagnosis means that the character could be a groundbreaking representation of people with ASPD. The media has portrayed countless characters with ASPD as villains. It’s tragically rare for someone with this condition to be the hero in stories. Jodio’s heroism, as someone with ASPD, could help audiences overcome the stigma that the media has built up for centuries. I personally believe that heroism and kindness are possible for virtually all humans, regardless of mental health conditions.
Moreover, Araki has thus far portrayed Jodio as largely likable, endearing, and unpredictable, like any other Jojo. Although only time will tell how Jodio’s mental health will be addressed in JojoLands, I am so far hopeful that he will be a captivating and heroic character, despite the fact that many writers have written characters with ASPD as otherwise in the past.
It’s currently unclear whether Jodio’s mental health will be central to his character arc, or something of a footnote. Either way, I am hopeful that Araki will continue to portray him respectfully, accurately, and positively in future chapters.
Usagi Alohaoe — the new JoBro
Another character we’ve learned a little more about in these previous few chapters is Usagi Alohaoe. Although we first met him in Chapter 1 as a high school student who buys drugs from Jodio, we don’t learn his name until Chapter 2, when the gang sets out for their jewel heist.
What we’ve learned about Usagi so far is that he is 17 years old, peppy, carefree, and a drug addict. However, Meryl May Qi has vouched for him, and already the gang seems to be slowly accepting him. His name, Alohaoe, is a reference to the Hawaiian folk song, as well as a track from Elvis’s Blue Hawaii album. (Incidentally, it’s also the name of the spaceship in Space Dandy, my personal all-time favorite anime.)
Naturally, Usagi is also a Stand user, Stand name: “The Matte Kudasai”. This is a reference to the song by King Crimson, which further draws the parallels between Part 9 and Part 5. Additionally, the reference to King Crimson could be foreshadowing that Usagi may have more to him than meets the eye. Maybe he will turn out to be more villainous than anticipated.
“The Matte Kudasai” is another unique Stand, which can duplicate something that someone else “wants”. Its first use in the manga shows Usagi duplicating a security camera outside Rohan’s mansion, by getting Dragona to say that they “want” the camera. “Matte Kudasai” is sure to see some creative uses in future installments of Jojolands, as are the rest of the characters’ Stands.
Regardless of what Araki has in store for Usagi, it’s apparent that he’s a resident goofball of the squad. At the end of chapter 5, he steals one of Rohan’s drawings of “Heaven’s Door”, just for fun.
The cat chase begins!!
As for what we have to look forward to with the plot of The JojoLands, it’s clear that the “lava rocks” as well as the mysterious, Stand-using cats seen throughout JojoLands #002-#005, will be central to the plot.
During the heist, Jodio realizes that the “lava rocks” in Rohan’s safe are even more valuable than the diamond. Although it’s as-of-yet unclear what powers this rock may possess, it may be some kind of good fortune. It could also have power over the “Mechanisms” that Jodio describes in Chapter 1. When leaving the mansion, Rohan tells Jodio to handle the lava rock with care, and that there’s only one.
Although they haven’t shown up yet, it seems likely that the “lava rock” may be connected to the Rock Humans, who served as the primary antagonists for Part 8: JojoLion. The Rock Humans are people of living stone who exhibit extraordinary powers. They may even be the origin of Stand abilities themselves (at least in this alternate universe). It’s possible that the “lava rock” is some kind of sacred object for the Rock Humans with untold powers. What those powers may be, we’ll have to wait and find out.
Additionally, the first primary antagonists our heroes will face in the upcoming chapters are an army of Stand-using cats. One of these cats attacks Dragona, Paco, and Usagi during the heist with a string-based Stand ability. This string almost cuts off Paco’s leg, before he is able to break free using his ability, “The Hustle.”
After the heist, an army of these cats begins to pursue the gang, unseen by them. The teaser for next month’s chapter is titled “The cat chase begins!!”, which is sure to be a unique (and amusing) Stand battle.
Final thoughts on The JojoLands #002 – #005
Between new revelations about our protagonists, and the debut of some fascinating plot points, these latest chapters of The JojoLands are an exciting treat for fans that have left us eagerly anticipating chapter 6. For more about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’s manga and TV series go to viz.com! Meanwhile, chapter 6 will release on July 18 via UltraJump magazine.
What did you think of the latest chapters of The JojoLands? Let us know on our Discord or over on Twitter!