Kishibe Rohan of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure universe is known for his manga-drawing abilities and his peculiar, yet useful, Stand, Heaven’s Door. In this world, Stands are supernatural powers that certain dedicated souls can harness and hone. They’re often depicted visually, representing their user’s energy and psyche. In his spinoff Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, not only does Kishibe receive more opportunities to be fleshed-out as a character, his supernatural abilities do, too.
The compact series prominently features Heaven’s Door throughout. In episode 2 (Netflix labels it as episode 2, but it identifies itself as episode 16 because the show is non-linear), Kishibe uses it to save the life of a little girl who harbors an organism within her that gains its power from dying in front of others. God-like in his actions, he uses his classic Jojo’s Stand to reverse her demise and bring her back from the dead. He later uses it to protect a manga editor he’s with by rewriting the mind of a butler who serves as a mouthpiece for the “Gods of the Hill,” saving her and her family from their sinister reach. Though often arrogant and discourteous, Kishibe does spend a good deal of his time using his Stand for helping others. In the final episode, he even uses it to save himself from a monster-possessed gym fanatic who’s working to ensure his defeat in a treadmill battle and, ultimately, kill him.
All of this makes for engrossing, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure-style anime, but how exactly do these powers work? The series depicts the young mangaki being deliberate about when and how he uses his abilities, which allow him to rewrite peoples’ brains and souls (and also gives him the power to alter what already has and will happen, like in the case of the young girl), as well as learn information about the lives and histories of who he’s “reading.” Whoever he’s using his power on literally becomes transparent, their underlying “writing” exposed as pages flip in the paranormal wind, showing what makes up who they are and what their life has consisted of thus far.
As with the aforementioned examples, Kishibe usually uses Heaven’s Door to save either himself or others from peril. He seems to take his powers seriously, judiciously deciding when to use them. Yet, even though Kishibe is a good Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise character at heart, he’s still human. Just as Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan highlights the universe’s evil and some of the least-flattering facets of human nature, his character has been historically known to, at times, also use his Stand for the less-noble cause of collecting inspiration for his beloved manga.
He’s a young person with his own priorities, and with being able to alter reality as easily as he does, the plot and art of his manga is a cumbersome weight to carry. Even so, he does it well, saving himself and others in ways that viewers don’t precisely see coming. His Heaven’s Door Stand power should become only more complex and interesting as the series progresses.