‘The multigenerational tale of the heroic Joestar family and their never-ending battle against evil.’ JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most iconic anime and it is nothing short of bizarre. What JOJO’s Bizarre adventure brings to the table is unique and to date has not been achieved by any other anime. With an ever-growing fanbase and popularity, it is difficult to discern as to what makes JOJO’s so popular.
If you haven’t heard about JOJO’s Bizarre adventure you would have likely come across it via memes or would have seen cosplayers cosplaying the characters with ridiculous poses. If you are curious to check out this anime, I would definitely recommend you to watch it. I would even tell you that it is a must-watch. (The OP’s and ED’s deserve an article on their own so they are not mentioned here).
JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)
While JOJO’s has always been popular in Japan what kicked off its popularity outside of Japan is definitely the 2012 anime adaption David Production. The first season of the anime adapts the first 2 parts (Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency). While being the same season both the parts are of a different genre. Phantom Blood falls under horror while Battle Tendency is action-horror.
The first part comprises the first 9 episodes of the anime and it is undoubtedly the weaker part. It follows Jonathan Joestar (nicknamed JOJO) who is forced to deal with his foster brother, Dio Brando. Dio is adopted into the Joestar family as George Joestar takes in the orphan Dio to pay off a debt to Dio’s late father Dario. Dio aims to destroy Jonathan to take the entire heritage of the Joestar family. It is this small conflict that kicks off the ‘bizarre adventure’.
There are some major pacing issues and typical shounen tropes which can be ignored considering the manga was made in 1987 but they are still somewhat boring to watch. It is here they lay the groundwork for ‘Hamon’ and the ‘Stone masks’, which play a major part in both parts.
Though they introduce minor characters only to be killed off, the trio (Jonathan Joestar, Will A. Zeppeli, and Robert E.O. Speedwagon) are endearing to watch. Dio is undoubtedly the most iconic villain throughout the series.
The second part, Battle Tendency (Ep10-26) follows Joseph Joestar (also nicknamed JOJO) grandson of Jonathan. This is where the series truly kicks off. From the get-go, Joseph is drastically different from Jonathan, not only in his iconic tagline and pose but in all aspects except for their willingness to do good which is a constant in the Joestar family.
The supporting characters this time around are more developed and have much more screen time. In all of the cast, the character who stands out the most is Caesar Zeppeli. Though he is only a typical shounen rival, in the beginning, Caesar’s story makes him stand out from most rivals.
Apart from all this the most endearing aspect of Battle Tendency is Joseph. His ridiculous schemes and bravado are a treat to watch and unlike any of the other JOJO’s.
Stardust Crusaders (2014-2015)
Stardust Crusaders is definitely the most popular part of JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure since it introduces ‘STANDS’. (A Stand is a physical manifestation of a person’s “life energy” it generally presents itself as a figure hovering over or near the user and possesses abilities. A Stand can also represent the manifestation of an individual’s innate “fighting spirit” and embodies, to an extent, the individual’s psyche)
This time around we follow Kujo Jotaro, the grandson of Joseph Joestar. Jotaro is a delinquent who lives an ordinary life until an enemy from the past resurfaces (Surprise, surprise, it is I DIO). To save his mother (Holly), Jotaro teams up with Joseph and others and travels to Egypt to defeat Dio. Though the storyline is simple, the main highlight in this part is the journey the JO Bro’s go through.
With the introduction of stands, the fights become much more unique and captivating. Each stand is unique to each individual as they represent the mentality of the user. With such a wide array of stands, each fight is unique in its own right and comes down to one’s wits.
Apart from the fights Jotaro’s journey and the Jo Bro’s play a very important part in the stories. Characters like Noriaki Kakyoin, Avdol, and Polnareff add a lot of impact to this series. While previous parts contained a lesser number of side characters and they also had poor character development (an exception being Caesar), this time around most of the side characters has better character arcs.
The recurring problem with JOJO’s is that each time a new JOJO comes the previous one is side-lined. This becomes apparent in stardust crusaders as well, Joseph who was such a badass in Battle Tendency is a mere side character this time around just to give the spotlight to Jotaro.
I know sometimes Stardust Crusaders was a bit slow, but for some reason for me personally, it has the best “aftertaste” out of all the other parts. You really feel this journey of friends and when you remember it, it is almost like you feel nostalgic. Like you were there with them.
Diamond is Unbreakable (2016)
With Diamond is Unbreakable, David Production truly upped their game not only in terms of animation quality but in sound design as well. Each little effect is unique and memorable. The weird synth background noises, whenever there’s a MENACING or BAM, shot are all consistent and sync perfectly with what you see, though they’re very hard to explain because they’re really just literal effects from the manga. All of them.
Compared to other parts, Diamond is unbreakable has the highest number of characters. Rather than focusing solely on the protagonist, it is more focused on the ensemble cast. From weird aliens to ghosts there are all types of characters. While changing the setting from world-ending adventures to a small fictional town shouldn’t work but it still does. Despite the story being limited to a single town, it is the characters in the town who bring life to this town.
The new JOJO in town is Higashikata Josuke, a high school freshman residing in the town of Morioh. He is the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar. He spends much of his life blissfully unaware of the Joestar legacy and stands. Upon meeting Jotaro he is informed about stands and his father Joseph. It is this meeting that starts the whirlwind in Morioh. The first part of the series falls in line with Stardust Crusaders but it is when Kira is introduced that the story takes more of the thriller turn.
It is here that the stands become more complex and trickier to defeat. While the length of the series may feel dragged out to a few but it is still worth it. The final episodes are the most exhilarating ones so far. It has been my favorite part so far.
JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure has been animated by DAVID Productions (Design Audio & Visual Illusion Dynamics) who have previously worked on shows like Fire Force, Cells at Work, and Captain Tsubasa (2018). The name while acting as an acronym is derived from the story of David And Goliath, showcasing good animation with great storytelling and characters despite being smaller than other well-known studios.