I’m still trying to figure out which band or singer this “Pillar Man” is supposed to be referencing, but I’m drawing a blank. I suspect that the nefarious ‘Rudol von Stroheim’ is actually named for Erich von Stroheim - - breaking entirely from the whole rock tribute conceit.
See, von Stroheim was one of the most famous multi-hyphenates of the silent film era. Nicknamed ‘The Man You Love to Hate,’ he played a lot of heels, obviously. I remember him more for directing this epic melodrama, GREED, because I had to watch all 140 minutes of that interminable, silent mess in film school...
And this connection would confirm my suspicion that Araki must’ve been drawing inspiration from turn-of-the-century morality plays by the likes of Dickens and Upton Sinclair, et al. As I said previously, the first few episodes of this show very much felt like Araki got anxious reading heavy-handed tomes like OIL!, or watching heavy-handed motion films like FOOLISH WIVES, and figured they’d benefit tremendously from an injection of shonen kickass.
It doesn’t play as stupidly as any of those books that put monsters into Jane Austen novels because Araki isn’t reaching for the lowest hanging fruit. And he obviously drew in many other inspirations, and put the whole potpourri through several imaginative turns, as well. The conceit is kind of basically the same, though. Especially the way that JoJo#2 keeps losing his cool and disrupting the proper order of the plot. It's like he keeps pointing out the literary devices and tropes which surround him - - and then attacking them!
The show might not explicitly presenting itself as “What if a hot-blooded Shonen hero wandered into a Victorian melodrama?” but, ipso facto, that’s really what it boils down to. It’s basically a parody and, once again, you’re seeing a parody shonen playing as a better pulp adventure than a serious shonen.
And I harp on this because it proves a point that the most enduring series are the ones by creators who aren’t just taking inspiration from what’s immediately in front of their faces. This isn’t Stereotypical Anime. Oh, no. Not by a long shot.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|