At a Confessional
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan is a stylish, well written and surprisingly funny four-part anime series. This quartet of one-shot stories are armed with a wickedly unique aesthetic, a splash of strong colour and impressive writing throughout.
Adapted from the Diamond is Unbreakable spin-off manga, Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan takes place in the JoJo universe but those unfamiliar with the origins of this can easily jump in and enjoy this series.
At the center of all this is Rohan Kishibe, a 27 year old bankrupt manga artist. Around fans asking for coffee-stained autographs, Rohan tells four wildly different but deliciously dark paranormal tales.
The episodes work well, with a light string of continuity keeping everything together while the different stories feel like they could have been ripped right from a horror anthology.
Interestingly though, Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan takes on a rather comedic tone, with the stories told given more meaning and gravitas when Rohan himself is faced with these inexplicable events. I won’t spoil anything here, but suffice to say this series has a lot of charm and flair to it, making it incredibly easy to binge through the season in one sitting.
Aesthetically, Kishibe Rohan blends in the art style seen in something like Baki with the hypnotic, hedonistic colours displayed within Devilman Crybaby or Great Pretender. Having said that though, the visuals here are so unique that comparing it to another anime would be a disservice to some of the clever techniques used within this show.
Some scenes are shot entirely in black and white with thin slivers of red or yellow bleeding through while other times the earthy colour palette is completely upended as the paranormal element of a tale takes over. These colours then suddenly, and quite violently, shift to something far more stark and contrasting.
This artistry feeds into the sound design too. The haunting piano chimes engross you into the stories while the voice acting is excellent all round. While there is dubbing available for different countries, it’s recommended that you watch this in its native Japanese for maximum effect.
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan is a really stylish and well written anime, with a balanced dose of comedy and horror. The hedonistic visuals only heighten the uniqueness to this project, while newcomers to the JoJo universe can easily jump in without any prior knowledge to the source material. Of course, fans will get more out of this one but there’s undoubtedly a lot to like with this one. If you’re a fan of anime, this is a must-watch.
Verdict - 8/10