Anime Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
A world ravaged by vampires and ancient men of power, powerful Hamon energy must be harnessed to defeat the evil undead. When Hamon isn’t enough, the powerful mental companions known as Stands take centrestage. The world of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is everything its namesake would have you believe – It’s an adventure and hoo boy, is it bizarre. From beautifully manly men, to the most dangerous of manipulators, JoJo, or whichever variant of JoJo we’re talking about, has to rid the world of an evil that plagues the Earth.
But enough about that, is the anime actually any good?
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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure takes place over several arcs, which also has a different JoJo for each arc. All JoJo’s are in some way related to the Joestar Family Tree, of which the first arc is dedicated to Jonathan Joestar, the most gentlemanly giant you’ll ever encounter. He’s a big softy, who wants nothing more than to be best friends with his newly adopted brother, Dio Brando, a sophisticated, but malicious man who will stop at nothing to make the Joestar family suffer. From stealing Jonathans first kiss away from him, to incinerating Jonathans pet dog, Danny, Dio wants to make the Joestar family, and most importantly, make Jonathan’s life a living hell.
After the conclusion of the first arc, we are met with a very different character – Joseph Joestar, who is one of the more recurring characters throughout the rest of the arcs. In a stark contrast to Jonathan, even though Joseph is kind enough to those he cares about, he has a much more aloof attitude. When he’s dragged into an ancient war against the Pillar Men, he decides that sometimes, the best strategy is to run. But don’t let his supposed cowardace take you for a fool, as he’s a trickster whose knowledge and adaptability knows no bounds. Being cursed by the Pillar Men, Joseph fights for his life, as well as the life of everyone else, as the ancient beings look to take the world back under their control.
In the third arc, we’re met with Jotaro, a serious, quiet giant of a teen. Unlike his predecessors, Jotaro is known to be violent, aggressive, but most of all, calm. He takes everything in his stride, having to learn about what a Stand is after thinking he was being haunted by an evil spirit. His grandfather, Joseph Joestar, tells him of what a stand is, as well as what it can do – and how Jotaros stand is tied in with the rise of an old enemy that has come back. The old enemy has taken control of a lot of people, all of whom have Stands, who are all out to kill off the Joestar family blood line – The one tie the old enemy has.
From an artistic perspective, it’s fair to say that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is up there with some of the best art styles I think I’ve ever encountered in an anime. There is a certain manliness to it, even when they are doing the most fabulous poses. However, along with their poses, the characters are big, brawny and all in all, they look like they could hold their own in a fight. But yet, they own it with a sense of style and grace. All of the characters look distinctive, yet they all share a similar trait, in lines that run down their cheeks. It’s an interesting way to create a more defined look for the face.
On a strange, but hugely compelling note, the series seems to make use of effects of colours. Although each character has official colours, an episode may display them at parts, or even the whole episode in different colours. These seem to suggest moods, emotions, health or otherwise. It’s a neat feature!
Arc One (Jonathan) images
For contrast, here are three images from Arc 3 with Jotaro.
Arc Three (Jotaro) images
Everyone who told me about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure warned me about how great Roundabout is; this being the end theme of the first arc. Written and performed by the band Yes, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure goes through and has a number of older songs which it transitions smoothly into when an episode ends. Accompany this with a strong opening theme (although these themes hold nothing to the licensed music used in the end themes). The fact that the fourth Arc, Battle in Egypt, actually uses the song ‘Walk Like An Egyptian‘ is simply smart and hugely entertaining as a whole.
I feel like it’s hard to dislike JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, but there are a few fragments of the anime which shows the story was written in the 80’s. Whilst some of the 80’s influences are hugely welcomed, such as the addition of themes such as Roundabout and Walk Like An Egyptian, some attitudes come across a bit odd in this day and age. There is some blatant sexism within the show, with dialong along the lines of “You are weak like a woman”, which is the sort of attitude which was prevailent in the 80’s. Whilst I wasn’t put off the whole show for it, I can understand there will be some out there that will dislike these messages that are thrown in – The idea that women in the JoJo universe are typically weak and just there to be eye-candy. It’s disappointing, it’s sad – But all in all, it isn’t an extreme in the show. In later arcs, this dies down pretty much completely, but the first four arcs have these moments.
With that small gripe out of the way with, there is literally nothing else bad that I can say about the anime adaptation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s all in all a hilarious, but yet sometimes downright gripping anime of beautiful people doing beautiful poses whilst beating other people up, pummelling them in beautifully brutal ways. Now, tell me how you can go wrong with that and I’ll tell you where the door is. Over to you though – Have you seen JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure? What do you make of the cast? What’s better, Hamon or Stands? What is your favourite arc and character? Mine is the first arc with Jonathan! Share your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.