Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

9 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art/Animation: 8/10
Action: 9/10

Creative fight scenes, amazing opening and ending song choices, lots of hotblooded manliness.

Animation quality drops a bit during first season.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Animax/Crunchy Roll
2014

Anime is the hottest it has ever been in years. Cartoon Network’s Toonami block in bringing in over a million viewers every Saturday night and streaming services like Crunchyroll are providing fans with direct access to aniame right after it airs on television in Japan. Kill la Kill just ended spectacularly and fans are anxiously waiting for the next season of Attack on Titan.

For fans looking for the new hotness in anime, what’s next?

The choice is obvious: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, a story of that spans over a century and chronicles many generations of the Joestar family bloodline and their over-the-top battles they have with vampires, ancient Mayan warriors, and assassins equipped with spiritual familiars!

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is based off the Shonen Jump manga of the same name by Hirohiko Araki. It has been a huge success in Japan for over 25 years and had established a cult following here in the states as early as the nineties. But with a new animated series that debuted in 2012, the following is growing more by the day.

What has made Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure stand out in a weekly anthology magazine alongside the likes of Dragon Ball ZOne Piece, and Naruto is that it has a flair for having the unexpected and going against the grain in what a shonen fighting series is expected to be. And it’s FABULOUS.

Battles are won with strategy and wits, rather than brute force or raising power levels. While characters are super macho with huge muscles early on, the cast all develop an eccentric fashion sense(imagine Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star dressed like Prince). During battle and even conversation, characters strike absurd, sometimes flamboyant, poses influenced by the fashion show runways, but taken to a whole new level. The series lives up to its name, to say the least.

David Production has handled retelling the story of the manga from the very beginning, going back to the 1880s in Great Britain. Our first protagonist, Jonathan Joestar, starts out as a pampered wimp with a silver spoon in his mouth. One day, Dio Brando is adopted into the family and sets his sights on destroying Jonathan’s life to become the heir to the Joestar family and all of their wealth. Jonathan soon reaches a breaking point and shows Dio what-for with a brawl that includes a manly headbutt from Jonathan himself!

During that fight, Dios’s blood spills onto a Mayan stone mask that immediately reacts by unleashing bone hooks that appear to be deadly. Years later, Dio plots to use this stone mask to kill Jonathan in an “accident” only to discover that it can transform a human into a vampire. Dio goes through with this transformation, which sets off a century-long battle with the Joestar family!

After the final battle between Jonathan and the now-vampiric Dio, we are taken 1930s New York City where we meet Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan. While Jonathan grew up to become a kind and chivalrous gentleman, Joseph is as loud and cocky as they come. He’s inherited the secret fighting art called “Hamon” that Jonathan had learned to fight Dio, though he is not trained in it whatsoever.

Joseph Joestar will have to master it very quickly because the curse of the stone mask returns once again to haunt his family and threaten the fate of humanity! The creators of the stone mask have been unleashed on the world: three ancient Mayan warriors named Cars, Wham, and ACDC. (For the uninitiated, many characters in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure have been named after western musical acts.)

Joseph will travel from New York to Mexico and then to Europe to fight these pillar men, ally with a Hamon rival with a chip on his shoulder and even the Nazis along the way, and discover the true heritage and tragedy of his family bloodline. This part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has been my favorite and it finishes with a volcanic climax to boot! It’s awesome.

The latest season, titled Stardust Crusaders, ventures to 1989 andfollows the third generation Joestar, the half-Japanese, half-English Jotaro Kujo. He’s far more reserved than his grandfather, Joeseph Joestar; however, this mountain of a young man is also a juvenile delinquent with an attitude problem. Stardust Crusaders is the most popular Jojo’s arc in Japan and the production values are much higher to satisfy the expectations of fans.

Hamon martial arts and vampires are a thing of the past and characters now possess psychic abilities called “stands” that resemble spiritual familiars. Dio Brando has returned, triggering everyone in the Joestar family to have their own stands, including Jotaro’s mother. Jotaro’s mom has got it going on but her body can’t handle having a stand. Our heroes determine that if Dio isn’t killed soon, she will die!

Dio, through reasons I will not spoil, is now psychically connected to the Joestar family and knows their plan. As the Joestars journey from Japan to Egypt, Dio sends one assassin after another to kill them, each possessing their own unique stand powers! (Why Dio doesn’t send them all at the same time is beyond me.)

Each episode thus far has had a battle with a new assassin, testing the mettle of a different member of Jojo’s RPG-like party. Thanks to the uniqueness of each stand combined with Araki’s penchant to have battles won through cunning as opposed to brawn, every episode has remained fresh and exciting while avoiding the repetitive monster of the week formula seen in shows with a large roster of villains.

For longtime fans of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, the anime delivers well in bringing Araki’s vision to life. For those new to the Joestar family and their misadventures, this series will be a breath of fresh air, providing characters, story, and action far more creative and intelligent than what you will find in Naruto and Bleach.

The entire Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure anime can be watched on Crunchyroll, with new episodes airing every Friday at 12:30pm. The original manga series is now back in print, courtesy of Viz Media.

 

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Kent Ward
Author: Kent Ward View all posts by
Kent Ward was created from the combination of anime, classic videogames, and pro wrestling. His obsession with crazy cartoons from Japan led to the founding of Propeller Anime, a prominent anime club in Orlando, FL. Kent also runs Ongaku Overdrive, a music festival dedicated to all sorts of music inspired by anime, videogames, and all things geeky. You can follow him on twitter @FistoftheMFK.

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