When Jonathan Joestar was just a baby, his mother tragically died in a carriage accident, and his father George was saved by the kindness of a stranger, Dario Brando. At least, that's what George believed, unbeknownst to him that Dario was just attempting to steal from the victims. Thus, when Dario later dies and his son, Dio, comes to his doorstep, the wealthy George eagerly adopts the boy. But what should have become a budding friendship between two siblings quickly becomes a nightmare for poor Jonathan, as Dio is cruel, calculating and will go to great lengths to become George's primary heir. Little does Jonathan know that this unfortunate childhood is only the harbinger of things to come...
Dio the Invader
A Letter From the Past
Youth with Dio
The Dark Knights
Bloody Battle! JoJo & Dio
The Final Ripple!
New York's JoJo
The Game Master
The Pillar Man
Notice: Consider this a review of the first 3 arcs.Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a very long 80s shonen manga, still on-going even after all these years. It is the second most GAR action title after Hokuto no Ken, full of martial arts, superpowers, gore, and other mindless fun stuff. It received a partial adaptation in a set of 90’s OVAs which were decent but also very slow and dull. Starting in 2012, it got a more proper version that will hopefully last enough to get to the juicer parts later on. PRODUCTION VALUES The series is animated by a minor studio called David Productions. They are not bad in terms of production values but they never made something significant in terms of plots or directing. In this particular case, they did a fine job, sticking close to the original manga style of manly bodies with rather bishonen faces. Still not as GAR as Hokuto no Ken but close enough to get a similar excitement. The animation is choppy and uses a comic book style of static images where the sound effects are shown on screen. It’s not something bad; it makes it look uncommon and saves budget. Voice acting and music themes are also very close to what the feeling of the series is all about. There are countless mames you can create out of the cheesy blood-boiling dialogues, and you can have the opening themes replaying 10 times in a row without ever becoming boring. Also, no squeaky voices and shitty jpop; thank God. There are many weird stuff in this show, so it’s not something everybody can easily appreciate. The characters for example are drawn WAY too muscular and talk in over the top macho ways. So it’s like reading a cheesy action comic book that will feel awkward to those not accustomed to the style. It’s definitely very rare to encounter today and hard to get used to if you are accustomed to artworks of the likes of Naruto or Clannad. It’s not like the newer stuff are better; in fact they feel childish and simple if you consider how much more detailed are the character figures and the backgrounds in Jojo. SCRIPT & CAST The story is separated into many arcs, and not all of them have the same characters. I mean ok, the protagonist is always someone called Jojo but he is not the same person. Basically, you get various generations of the same family and each one of them has different adventures and styles. The fighting scenes are very fun to watch, as they are over the top with all sorts of weird weapons and fighting patterns. They have their problems though; the choppy animation is making them somewhat hard to understand what is going on, plus there is partial censorship. But this is not a show you will be watching just for the action; it is the coolness of its characters that mostly does the trick. Part 1 (episodes 1-9) It begins with the childhood lives of two boys with very different backgrounds during 19th century England. The one is Jojo, a kind-hearted and aloof noble who grew up pampered in a rich noble family, the other is Dio, an intelligent and ruthless peasant who was forced to grew up in a very rough environment. As soon as they meet, Dio tries to take everything away from Jojo, in his quest to show to the world what someone of poor heritage can do compared to one who has it all but has no ambition for something greater. They are practically polar opposites and that makes their interaction very emotional. Of course the one who stands out is Dio for being so damn manipulative. Sounds like it’s a historical drama without anything supernatural about it, but that changes when Dio’s schemes are revealed and he has in his possessions a mask that turns people to vampires. Jojo and his gang decide to fight back with mystic martial arts and begin to hunt him wherever he goes. Sounds stupid and corny? Yes, but it works. The final two episodes in the arc are super awesome when it comes to shounen showdowns, with several plot twists and even some basic field tactics. They are still rushed as hell and there are several characters where you have no idea why they were there to begin with, but other than that, it ends with a bang unlike anything else you can find in others of its kind. Part 2 (episodes 10-26) The plot is now taken to America of the early 20th century and is about the grandson of the first Jojo… also called Jojo. He is far more violent and cool than his grandpa; thus a far more interesting character. His opponents are all sorts of creeps, from a former ally who joined the dark side for craving youth and power, Nazis who seek mystical forces to take over the world, and several superhumans, the very creators of the masks which turn people to vampires. This arc is far more interesting, as it has a far more global threat feeling to it. It is not just a skirmish between minor nobles in some backwater area. It is a global threat that includes supermen and the Nazis in various parts of the world! Also, the second Jojo is pure awesomeness; he is not a wussy like the first, he owns everybody with snotty remarks and on the run over-the-top battle tactics. At the same time the villains no longer feel so cool like Dio because… he kills them all too fast, lol. Part 3 (episodes 27-74) We begin in Japan during the 1970s, where the third protagonist (also named Jojo of course) teams up with a bunch of other dudes and his grandfather (the second Jojo) and set out to fight Dio (the enemy of the first arc) in Egypt. Although the early and later parts of the arc are as awesome as the previous two, the middle part is consisting of a very long line of stand alone battles against minor enemies. Most of them are ok but they feel insignificant and there just to stall time. This makes the arc to last five times more than it deserves. Also, the third Jojo is a very bland protagonist, even if he is super macho. He has no real personality and is more of a cheap imitation of Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. Even Dio feels a bit tacked on, just for the sake of having something from all arcs being present. Thus as a whole, it is the weakest arc of the three. The pacing is extremely fast for a shounen show, since it constantly goes through decades worth of plot or months of hard training in just a single episode. It’s not like three times more slice of life would do any better but it would at least help us to better connect with each character. Each event simply goes by way too fast to be too fond of it and the constant switch in characters as well as how fast most secondary ones die, sort of makes you sad for not having more adventures with the same major characters. Nothing major, just saying it would be cooler if it did. Still, it felt more interesting this way than the older version where everything was damn slow. And it sure beats all those snail-slow shonen shows out there. LEGACY And let me be honest here; it is cheesy as frakk, people in it will act like complete blockheads, there is overblown dramatization, everybody describes whatever is going on even when it is obvious, and many things don’t make sense. Yet I love it; I grew up watching mostly 80’s cartoons and anime, so I felt right at home with this one. It is self aware of its campiness and that helps you to accept it as a fun ride and not as a clown pretending to be a scientist. Most characters are named after retro rock bands or singers, and it manages to be funny even when they use in-jokes for the DVD commercials. Such attention to cheesiness is hard to encounter in other shows. Now as far as newer viewers are concerned, this show is probably hard for most to appreciate since it has too much GAR in it. Newer anime are full of weak-willed protagonists with glasses, surrounded by bitches with huge racks, while this one is the exact opposite; it has very muscular and manly protagonists, while women act in a polite and are passive in manners. I see some calling it hard gay for having so much focus on pretty faces, huge biceps, and men who are really… friendly with each other. Also they are drawn in a style that makes twelve year old boys to look like they are in their 20’s. And the way they are posing in battles is like they are showing off for the Mr. Steroid of the Year contest, lol. It has its weirdness but it’s all part of the fun. Well to all them critics out there, I say SCREW YOU this was made back in the days when men in fiction were like Conan the Barbarian and women were kind and frail. I am no fan of this modern mentality of dorks being surrounded by bitches; nobody who wants to enjoy this show should. It has a lot of nostalgia in it, it is self aware of the corniness, and it is well made. That is all you need in order to have a blast with it.And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 8/10 General Artwork 2/2 (very detailed) Character Figures 2/2 (super manly) Backgrounds 2/2 (detailed and fitting with the feeling of the series) Animation 1/2 (basic) Visual Effects 1/2 (basic) SOUND SECTION: 8/10 Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series) Music Themes 4/4 (awesome) Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess) STORY SECTION: 7/10 Premise 2/2 (interesting) Pacing 2/2 (fast and filler free) Complexity 1/2 (not much) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 2/2 (solid) CHARACTER SECTION: 10/10 Presence 2/2 (GAR overdose) Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded) Backdrop 2/2 (they all have some and it’s relevant to the plot) Development 2/2 (fast developments for most of them) Catharsis 2/2 (solid) VALUE SECTION: 8/10 Historical Value 2/3 (quite famous) Rewatchability 2/3 (high if you like its style with some parts being skipped) Memorability 4/4 (extremely GAR to the point of forever remembering it) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10 Art 1/1 (looks GAR) Sound 2/2 (great songs and overdramatic cool voice acting) Story 2/3 (dumb but progresses fast and is presented nicely) Characters 3/4 (blockheads but super cool) VERDICT: 8/10
"DUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDU!!!@#!" - Villains' battlecry (JoJo's Bizzare Adventure). Ridiculous battlecries, poses stupid beyond belief, cinematography that insults the intelligence, people shouting the name of the "secret technique" they are using and then explaining it, inconsistent logic, strategies that have nothing to do with winning and everything about "drama", training sequences, overly serious narration, idiotic monologs, situations which defy not only common but every convoluted sense, stock characters, a plot lacking drama, no character development... Oh, Shounen, how loathesome you are. I haven't watched Shounen for ages after I started moving towards more artistic and mature genres. Once the transition to other forms of anime was complete, internally scoffing at Shounen due to snobbery became a vice of mine. But, time has passed, and my snobbery has been toned down plenty. Thinking that one of the more highly recommended ones with a fresh perspective and an open mind would probably allow me to take some joy in viewing, if for different reasons, made me sit down and watch JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Oh, how wrong I was. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has everything that is bad about Shounen. Still, I powered through it. Perhaps there was a point to the ridiculous throwaway plot and throwaway characters. Maybe I'm missing something that makes people recommend this. I thought to myself that perhaps the existence of all the bad things does not mean there are not any good things. Perhaps there is some redeeming feature hidden in the dungheap of Shounen idiocy. Maybe if I turn off my mind the way I do with parodies and "play or die" type shows will work. Perhaps my attempt to think is where I go wrong with this. Instead, I feel that watching this has made me dumber. The combination of attrocious writing, subpar sound, bad animation, and general reliance on the fact that people love Shounen... when added together, comes down to a single fact: If you are above the age of eighteen sixteen twelve, you shouldn't be watching this. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is aimed at young children, not teens. Don't let the "explicit violence" fool you, there is no real darkness here. This is the standard "evil villain is pure evil, good guy is pure good, it is obvious from the start that the good guy will win because determination". Yup. That's about it. Writing (Story and Characters): No one expects Shounen to be masterpieces. No one expects the plot to be anything more than "good guy stops ultimate evil, saves world". No one expects there to be characters containing more than one dimension (determined heroes, evil villains, loyal sidekicks, wise masters, et cetera). And yet, people say that JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is fun. And that was what I was expecting, some good mindless writing for some fun. The problem with the writing is that it is on the wrong side of self-aware. It has moments ("DUDUDUDUDUDU!@!#") where you think that they understand that being so over the top is hilarious... but far more likely they actually thought that it was actually cool. If anything, it is definitive proof that people in Japan can be just as utterly moronic as people in the rest of the world. The plot is the standard generic crap you'd expect. Supernatural villains, therefore the heroes must be the peak of humanity to save them. And of course they are. That is actually the one strength that keeps this anime from being complete garbage - while it is an obvious cliche, it is at least honest about it. There is also a cool thing that happens one third of the way through that made me think that perhaps, just perhaps, the story may actually stop being terrible. Unfortunately, that is just the exception to the rule. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manages to somehow become even dumber. Characters being one dimensional is one thing. The problem is that one dimension is "annoying". The main protagonists can be described as a boring cliche, the other characters which are expected to add color can be described as tired cliches, the villains are annoying cliches, and in general, if you expect anything original out of anyone, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a slap to the face. Still, I went in to this series expecting that. After all, Shounen can manage to work their way around that through adding unique features and original character development. I thought to myself that perhaps this is one such case. WRONG! It is one Shinji away from being the worst cast of characters of all times. The writing is downright horrible. The only redeeming feature is that JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is honest about what it is. It doesn't try to be deep. It doesn't force characters to be interesting. There is a good twist on things that happens once. I don't like Shounen. It is not that it is all bad, just that it is usually very, VERY, VERY bad. And my god, is this one such case. Art (Animation and Sound): Say what you will, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has its own style. The music sounds is forcefully energetic, the voice acting is over the top, the character designs are extreme, and the obvious attempt to stay true to a manga feel are everywhere. Long story short is that, unfortunately, the style sucks. It is actually stupid. Don't get me wrong, "stupid" is probably just what they were going for if you consider the writing. From the poses which are supposed to be cool but look like a parody of modern dance, the character designs which are a throwback to the worst of the 80s and early 90s, the stilted fight scenes... it just all screams "hurr, dis cool mistah?". Animation is about bring pictures to life. Somehow, no one got that memo during the creation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. For some unknown reason the staff thought the viewers would prefer endless poses. It plays out more like someone playing with dolls than anime made post 2010. As I mentioned the character design is retro, or more accurately, so outdated that it does not belong anymore. And by god, are the poses contagiously imbecilic. I'd recommend a drinking game where every time someone strikes a pose the viewers take a shot of vodka, but after three episodes you'd be hauling people off to the emergency room. Professional sound production exists in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. While the soundtrack tries way too hard to be cool and energetic and ends up a parody of energetic soundtracks, it is professional. The voice acting is, in proud Shounen tradition, way over the top. There is just enough going over the top that the effect is "it's so bad it's good". There are moments where you just have to laugh at how retarded it is ("DUDUDUDUDUDU"). The anguished screams as someone mourns the person they met two days ago are actually genius in that way. This is the only part that is self-aware enough to actually be rather awesome. Still, below average, as even the good bits are drowned by the fact that the people who made this were ultimately serious. The artwork, while crap, has its moments. By no means is this above average in any way. There is some artistic merit for some of the things that happen here, but it grows incredibly tired by the tenth episode. Still, it is not the worst. And who am I to judge? Just because I like things like fluidity, art, clever use of visual/audio effects, and stuff like that makes me the wrong person for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Overall: I don't like most Shounen, yet tried to come and view this with an open mind. That being said, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was a horrible experience for me. It isn't as bad as some anime out there, but it makes "average" seem like genius. Don't watch this unless you are very young and think Shounen is cool.
Long running shounen manga series’ are no strangers to anime adaptations, the vast majority of which tend to very quickly descend into a monotonous slog through countless drawn out battles which all blend into one, until they almost become parodies of each other. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure does not follow this trope, and instead goes against genre norms in order to create a show that stands out from, and towers above its peers. David Production managed to inject new life into the genre by doing away with anything that was superfluous to the story, and the action. The manga was already pretty crazy in and of itself, filled with larger than life characters, an insane plot and more musical references than you can count. David Production took all of that and added in copious amounts of vibrant colour, voice acting overflowing with verve, lightning fast pacing and a soundtrack that amplifies the scenes rather than merely complementing them. Plot wise, there isn’t a whole lot to write home about. It essentially follows several hulking young men as they smash their way through zombies with nothing but their bare hands in a tale of vengeance and destiny. With such a wishy-washy plot the series could have become dull pretty quickly, and it’s to David Productions credit that this is never the case for so much as a single second. It’s ridiculously over the top from the off, with characters that look incredible, and seemingly spend their entire lives shouting at the top of their lungs. The pacing is blisteringly quick that the viewer barely has time to catch their own breath before yet another crazy event occurs. But don’t mistake this for a case of poor pacing, every decision made is to ensure that the adrenaline never ceases to flow. And it’s in the battle sequences that the adrenaline really gets pumping. They are as fast paced as the rest of the show, with random grunts quickly dispatched so the show can focus on the main antagonists. Battle scenes in other shounen shows often get drawn out, and lack originality from fight to fight, but JoJo never disappoints like that. Instead each battle always brings something new to the table, with each character having a different set of powers or skills, different personalities, original locations and brilliant use of the environment. It all helps each battle seem totally fresh, something that other shows could learn from. Perhaps the most striking part of the show is its art style, which I can only imagine is the result of a seasoned disco dancer being knee-deep in an acid trip while roaming a fluorescent paint factory. The entire show is bathed in bright colours, with each character constantly being coloured differently from scene to scene. The poses the characters take during battle are all unbelievably camp, and come across as some kind of weird disco moves. Animation wise there isn’t a whole lot to talk about as the series tends to rely on still manga style images swathed in colour, repeating patterns and heavy shadows. Far from being a negative this distinctive style is one of the best features of the show, and gives it a unique feel. Like the rest of the show, the characters themselves are all extremely over the top. They each have a very distinctive look and personality, and although they are all entertaining it could be argued that they are very one-dimensional. Perhaps in a lesser show that would be a negative point, but this series is so flawlessly executed that the characters fit the world exactly. So perfectly that their lack of depth never becomes an issue. The mangaka was obviously a huge fan of all forms of rock music, with every character in the show named after a band, song, album or musician from the 1960’s right through to the mid 1980’s. And rather than appearing cheap it only adds another layer of charm to a set of characters that are already bursting with personality and exuberance. But what makes these characters isn’t the flashy visuals or the distinctive personalities, it’s the voice acting. The entire script must have been written in capital lettering, as virtually every line is delivered at the top of each seiyuu’s lungs, with raw passion and energy that adds so much to each and every character. The sound is spectacular throughout, with the aforementioned voice performances being a particular stand out, but the soundtrack itself is just epic. It doesn’t just complement the show, but adds to it as it switches from mood creating orchestral music to fast paced electronica, then some good old rock music before changing again to some stupidly fitting dubstep just to top it all off. The sound effects are all as over the top as the rest of the show, with plenty of impact sounds and zombie howls thrown into the mix for good measure. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is an absolute masterpiece within the genre, and anyone who has even a passing interest in shounen, or just over the top action, should put this show to the top of their watch list right away. As long as you can accept that this show is basically about badass dudes smashing zombies faces in with manly fists of rage, you’re sure to enjoy it.
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