a.k.a. JoJo no Kimyo na Boken
High school punk Kujo Jotaro has found himself in prison. Not because of anything he has done, but of his own will. He is aware that an Evil Demon resides inside of him, and wants to seclude himself from the world before any harm comes to those around him. The fate of Jotaro lies in his grandfather Joseph Joestar, who must not only enlighten him about his Inner Stand ability, but the awakening of their family’s greatest rival as well.
summary by Kei
Highs: Non-stop fun and freaky action
Lows: Disjointed, miserable soundtrack, pacing problems
Dio, Enya, Iggy, Polnareff, and Vanilla Ice? Could this be the strangest concert line up known to man? Bearing no resemblance to their namesakes whatsoever, these names are instead used by various characters in Hirohiki Araki’s aptly named series: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
As soon as you sit down to watch this show you are almost immediately thrown in the midst of battle. As soon as you think there is a lull, another opponent (foolishly) stands in the way of Jotaro, only to be pummeled in a Fist of the North Star-esque barrage of punches. What really sets this apart from other action series then? Araki’s form of dramatic storytelling combined with over-the-top attacks and characters results in a menagerie of violence (sometimes very graphic) that for its time was very unique. This formula of hyper-violence and battle of wits continues for all 13 episodes barely giving you enough time to think at all. Admittedly some of it is just pure fluff action, but there are lots of moments where this series shines, especially a very edge-of-your-seat gambling match (poker amidst all this manly action? It’s called a bizarre adventure for a reason.)
I suppose some background is in order. In 1993, a six episode OVA series for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was released that chronicled the final moments of the most popular series from the JoJo universe. Nearly a decade later, seven more episodes were made, but rather than continuing the story, these episodes followed the beginning of the story arc leading up to where the original OVA began. One half has no ending, while the other has no beginning. So naturally, together they are more powerful than you could possibly imagine, right? There must have been some communication issues during that decade of production as these two halves of the puzzle don’t line up together that well at all. It seems as if it needed another episode or two in-between to truly bridge the gap. Combine this with the most forgettable soundtrack I’ve encountered and a beginning sequence at the start of each episode that takes up a good five minutes of time, and you’ll catch yourself looking at the clock.
Some may say it’s dated, which in some case is true. The source material for the anime only finished around the start of the first OVA series. There was a good 9 years of other action shows in-between the completion of this series, but a good chunk of them must give a nod to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The manga series has run for 25 years now, and countless series respect, parody, or take great inspiration from the JoJo universe. If you enjoy fast-paced action or even just strange character designs, you’ll be sure to enjoy JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.