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JoJo is very hard to describe. Simply saying it's a fighting series revolving around different members of a family fighting superpowered enemies doesn't do it justice.
Each and every part feels unique, helped greatly by the contrasting personalities and characterization of all the main protagonists. Jonathan is a lovable goofball, Joseph is a wacky Combat Pragmatist, Jotaro is a serious brawler, etc. About the only character traits that they all share is 1. overwhelming badassery and 2. a good heart, though the latter is sometimes hard to spot through their gray morality.
The story doesn't seem like much at first, but as it keeps building on itself in each part, you'll begin to realize how much Araki loves writing it. Many characters have callbacks in later arcs, and every arc has a different type of story, almost feeling like a different genre altogether.
What really makes the series special, however, is the heart put into it. Every moment, whether awesome, funny, heartwarming, or tearjerking, feels real. Every Joestar runs the gamut between these emotions, and you'll be hard-pressed to not find at least one whom you can empathize with.
JoJo is also known for its names - specifically, the names of its characters and Stands, and to a lesser extent its locations and plot devices. With the exception of parts 4 and 8, which feature primarily Japanese characters, just about every name is some sort of musical reference, ranging from hard rock to pop to folk. While it's understandable if you don't recognize all of them at first glance, you'll laugh in surprise when first introduced to AC/DC (sorry, Esidisi) and Black Sabbath. It helps greatly that the name JoJo itself is a Beatles reference, just so you have an idea of how prevalent this is.
If there is any one overarching flaw to speak of, it is that not all arcs are created equal. Part 1 is criticized for its somewhat generic shonen feel, part 4 takes too long to reach the main conflict, part 5 feels too Monster of the Week, part 6 features a universe-wide Reset Button, and so on. However, you're sure to find a favorite, and every arc has its strengths.
In summary, JoJo is less a manga and more an experience. Read it (or watch it, as the anime is fantastic) and experience the highs and lows of humanity and emotion.
If I were to try and explain Jojo's Bizarre Adventure to my parents, I would start by saying it is basically Japanese He Man. That would go some way to contextualising the show's notorious "flamboyant masculinity", but as to the individual episodes, I would have to steal someone's summary from reddit: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is like those two kids arguing in the playground. The first says, "Ha I shot you, you're dead!" and the second replies, "Nuh-uh, I was wearing a bullet proof vest!" and the first replies, "Yeah, but I was using armour piercing bullets!" and the second replies, "But I also had magnets hidden in the armour, to deflect the bullets!", and the first replies, "Well my bullets are made of wood, which aren't magnetic!", and so on. The joy of Jojo is in watching this same pedantic argument play out between two very stern, burly men in a fight to the death.
In the briefest summary possible, the series follows the Jostar family and their 100+ year long, globe-hoping, inter-generational conflict with vampire supervillains. The Jostar's and their enemies have superpowers that let them fight each other, each character is loosely inspired by pop star costume aesthetics, everyone is built like a brick shithouse, but also struts their stuff like a fashion model.
Prior to watching the anime, my only exposure to Jojo was through endless, de-contextualised memes online and people saying "OHOO!" over and over. I was thus surprised to learn this is all based off one of a 30 year, best selling manga series, and not just some new, modern parody of comic book Super Heroes in the same vein as One Punch Man. Like One Punch Man, Jojo has a tongue size of a surfboard, crammed into its cheek. As someone who generally dislikes the tropes of fighting anime, especially where most of the run time is devoted to combatants explaining their special moves to each other in excruciating detail, it's a delight seeing this stuff finally taken to the point of comic absurdity. Meanwhile, the over-the-top design of its characters lends ''Jojo a very distinct aesthetic. It is also perhaps the first anime I've seen where they bother to draw noses on the characters.
So if you haven't watched it already, I recommend giving the show a go. It takes a while to ramp up the silliness, and the second season is where it goes particular bananas, but persevere.
In my previous review I said I found Diamond is Unreakable to be the weakest arc so far. Having finished Stone Ocean I now take it back.
Now to be fair, it's likely that one of the reasons I didn't like this arc as much was because I accidentally got spoiled about some stuff near the end, so the impact wasn't as strong. There's also a fair amount of good in this arc as well. Pucci is a great step up as a villain from Diavolo of Vento Aureo, and I liked the main characters a lot. But even then, I felt that Stone Ocean was a very disappointing arc.
First, like Diamond is Unbreakable, a good chunk of the story is just the main characters staying in an area waiting for things to happen. Now it's true that it's justified since the setting is in a prison, but it makes things even less interesting because the setting guarantees that the villains will be following a formula. Pucci hires an enemy to try and kill the main characters. Granted this was also the formula for Part 3 and most of Part 5, but at least the main characters of those parts were making progression while they were being attacked. For Stone Ocean you can change the order for some of the arcs and not alot would change. Thankfully, they eventually break out of the prison by the last third of the arc.
Another thing that bugged me was the stands. While there are still some stands I found cool, the majority of the stands I found pretty boring. Plenty stand arcs became tedious for me to read through such as Jail House Lock, Underworld, or Heavy Weather, and a lot of the stands themselves I just didn't think were interesting like Kiss (owned by a main character, so unfortunately it appears a good amount of the time), Goo Goo Dolls, or Dragon's Dream. Most of the stand encounters felt like they were becoming a chore for me to read, something that rarely happened for me in Parts 3, 4, and 5. Not to mention that multiple stand concepts get recycled within this very Part (two stands about shrinking others, and two stands about gravity manipulation)
Also, spoiler warning for the ending:
The deaths of Jotaro, Ermes, and Anasui felt very rushed, and the final fight between Emporio and Pucci didn't feel satisfying for me due to how incredibly convoluted things got with the altenrate universe thing.
This is the only Part that I regret reading so far. There are a fair amount of awesome moments, but it wasn't worth the uninteresting story and the boring stand fights for me.
I'll be honest. This was a very disappointing arc, and while I do like it a lot, I consider it to be the weakest of the four parts I've seen so far.
Josuke is a pretty good main character. He's a smart-mouthed, devious, and frequently pissed off character who still cares about the people around him. Reminds me a bit of Yusuke from YuYu Hakusho. But something that's weird is that it's a pretty big change from how he acted in the first couple of chapters. He's introduced by calmly and politely respecting a few bullies harassing him (until they insult his hair) and apologizing to Jotaro for all the trouble he caused. I guess you could argue that his personality changed after his grandfather died, but it's a pretty big personality change.
The stands in this series though are quite awesome. There's plenty of unique and creative ones but the majority of them are still interesting and provide plenty of good battles or intense moments. Even the stands not meant for combat provided pretty awesome moments. While Part 3 also had a pretty good cast of stands, there are a lot more stands from Part 3 that I didn't like than there were from Part 4. And Yoshikage Kira, while I didn't like him as much as Dio or Kars, was still a great villain and his goal of wishing to have a quiet life (albeit, while still being a serial killer) is pretty unique for shonen villains, or really most villains I see in general.
But my biggest issue with Part 4 is the plot of it. There's no real Big Bad (Kira's the closet thing to one) and it's even more Monster of the Week based than Part 3 was. This normally wouldn't bug me, but in Stardust Crusaders, they were at least progressing to Dio. Half the time in Part 4, the characters are just going on about their lives while waiting for things to happen. There's not much of an adventure going on, and it makes most of the enemies serve less of a point. Hell, most of them aren't even given a reason to be villains.
And the amount of villains who ally themselves with the heroes (or at least change their ways) is huge. Yeah the other parts had a villain or two do a Heel–Face Turn before, but in Part 4, this happens to at least 12 characters (and that's not even including Antonio who's whole arc built him up as if he was a villain).
I do like this arc. It was funny, intense and had plenty of good moments. But almost every positive thing that this arc did, at least one of the previous arcs have done better. If you plan on reading JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for the story more than the action, I'd say to give this one a pass.
And Araki has one hell of an imagination. We get a lot of...Interesting scenarios, ranging from sniper duels with rats, fights with sentient plankton in prison, life-or-death catch in prison, hell, even a life or death game of rock-paper-scissors. With the hero stands usually being more direct, and the villanous scum usually attacking indirectly, it all leads to delicious chess matches, that leave you both on the edge of your seat, and on the Thinker's pose.
With fights and powers this varied, and colorful, you might forgive the series a little, for having bland, and uninteresting characters as a result. Luckily, they're not. For the most part, these are just great characters. Barring the first Jojo, Jonathan, a lot of the main heroes, and their companions, are gigantic jerks in their own right. Even if some of them can kill without batting an eye, or snark with tounges sharper than blades, the heroes, at their core, are just so good. When you see the sheer willpower they exert, or how much they value the ones they love, it's hard not to admire them, even when they have their fair share of flaws. Araki wanted to celebrate the human spirit, and his heroes are living testament to the undying determination of man. The villains are similarly entertaning, yet in a completely different way; yes, a lot of them have rather cruel backstories, but a few redeeming traits do not change the fact that they're complete and utter assholes, you look forward to see getting pummeled into a juicy pulp. Even the side villains are surprisingly interesting characters, with deep backstories, and different flavors of assholeness.
Jojo is kind of a mess. Not even longtime fans can deny that it can get hard to follow. However, you can easily look over that, because of how fun it all is. Everything is (literally) bursting with color and creativity, and there's just so much heart put into it, that you can't help but look past it all. It's the kind of mess that you want to immerse yourself in; you want to see how far ol' Araki will go, and at times, you'll go all the way to the beginning just to see how much things have changed. I can talk more about it, but I think I've said all that needs to be said, Incredible to look at, even more fun to read, JoJo is an experience you can't find in many places. Check it, if you have the time.
JoJo is the kind of series that draws in more interest than readers. The premise of a bizarre, and heart pounding battle manga, that focuses more on tactics rather than plowing through grabs the attention of many, but at the same time, they're drawn away by the sheer length of it all. With eight parts, each long enough to be there own manga, is the tale of the Joestars one worth your time?
The big problem with JoJo is that it's all kind of a mess, at times. Araki's not afraid to experiment with his story, which is both its biggest strength, and largest failing; at times, the story presents many questions, and elements; half of which are neglected, as the series continues. A simple question, like, say, "How did Dio get inside the Coffin, when Erina was in the same one" seems a bit nitpicky at first, but it's hard to not let that small detail fester in your head. The fights, as amazingly fun as they are, can also get a bit hard to follow; the string of gambits that you come to expect from each fight sometimes gets tied up, in a hard-to-unravel knot, and you'll be re-reading whole mini-arcs, just to understand what the hell went on. With all this, what reason is there to follow JoJo?
The answer's simple, really; it's an absolute blast, all the way through. Araki's willingness to experiment is as much of a flaw, as it is a strength; it gives the series a unique feel that can't be found anywhere else, and it's just great read each part, to see how much things have changed. This also gives each part its own flavor; all of them being able to stand as great, unique stories in their own right. No matter how much the artstyle, the characters, or even the mainstay power changes, the core of the series manages to stay the same; pushing each character's will, wits, their abilities, and your suspension of disbelief to the damn limit.
Convoluted as they might get, a lot of the fights are nonetheless clever, fast paced and, well, bizarre. Even in the first parts, Jojo gets to show you everything a mystic martial arts based on breathing can do; ranging from leaf-gliders, to killer clackers, to killer bubbles. With the introduction of stands, however, things get even more crazy, as the only limit to the diversity of powers is the imagination of the author.
To be continued in Part II
Venturo Aureo: A very divided opinion on this one. Story-wise, it goes all over the place, going from the rather bland son of Dio wanting to become a mafia boss to protecting the boss' daughter from the crazed boss himself, the rather pointless inclusion of a third group when it either wasn't needed as it cost screentime for the big bad and his minions or was not executed well, the sudden deaths of main characters that seem pointless and forced when the series is usually good at portraying tragic deaths and the ending that was anti-climatic and dragged out. That being said, the fights with the Stands have taken a whole new level, being extremely action packed and paced when before it was only cunning that made the fights interesting. What stands out is the stand that involves the user's death to activate and the twisted former doctor Cioccolatta.
Stone Ocean: Easily the third best in the series, the protagonist's journey from disorganized teen to badass when her father (the badass Jotaro) is knocked out is very moving. The Big Bad is easily the best that the show has produced so far, his tragedy, his overpowered-ness and his resourcefulness made him a truly threatening enemy. The fights escalate as usual, being even more insane than before. The tragedy comes back at full force, making the deaths of the heroes as well as their own tragedies stand out more. The fact that is empowers the fact that girls can fight and not be there for support, works for this arc's advantage.
Steel Ball Run: 2nd best in the series, it captures the journey aspect of SC, well having the humor and crazy awesomeness of BT, building up a beautiful friendship that only gets stronger as the characters develop as people and their bonds strengthen, making the eventual deaths all the more tragic. Its only flaw is while the Big Bad is the most sympathetic so far, he's the 2nd least interesting villain in the series, which is made up for when he brings a Dio with the World's powers which leads to an epic brawl.
As of Jojolion, its not complete yet, so my opinion can't be made as of yet.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a very excellent manga to read. It's unlike any manga that I've ever read, being a multi generational story that focuses on one hero at a time, therefore even if you read one part, it functions as its own story without having to look back onto previous adventures to know what's going on. That being said, it does have its ups and downs
Phantom Blood- A by the book Shōnen story with a surprising twist at the end and a great villain. It's only flaw is its fast pace and standardized hero.
Battle Tendency- AWESOME Incartnate, the main protagonist. the fast paced comedy, the battle against the nigh invincible Pillar Men, all of which are memorable and the story is some of the best and unique I've ever seen in a manga. It's one of the few stories that perfects the rival story, making you feel sorry when he dies.
Stardust Crusaders- It's above average, its worst moments are the often pointless enemies that pester the heroes and only a truly threatening enemy comes along once in a while. But its those moments that are the most memorable, especially the Daniel D'Arby, J.Geil, Pet Shop and Vanilla Ice fights. It is also significantly longer allowing you to travel along the heroes' journey, and feel sorry when they die. But by far the best part is Jotaro, being a total Badass, if lacking in noticeable traits, and his final fight with Dio, which is some of the best I've ever seen in a manga in its pace, suspense and overall awesomeness. Plus the new system, Stands make the fights very unique since it relies on figuring out how to beat your opponent's powers' flaws rather than overpowering them.
Diamond is Unbreakable- It's average, it's more light hearted than the previous parts and the slice of life stuff aren't too bad since it allows the heroes a breather after a fight. The major flaws is the filler, that Joseph cheated on his wife to force a Joestar protagonist and that we never figure out who the person who saved Josuke was. That being said, the fight with the main villain, who is very unique in his humble ambitions, is epic and well thought out.
Jojo in probably one of the most influential manga ever. This is no surprise. The quality of the story is stunning. It is rare now to read a manga with a story that is decided from the start. Granted everybody just punches each other in the face, but on this short character moments i can find more development than in most 100 chapters of other manga. The problem with Jojo is that at face value is seems stupid, but when you go deeper there is a whole more to it. The style of the drawings is very rare to see and the anime is doing a good job at showing it. Overall i give Jojo a 11/10 rating.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventures is a manga that needs no introduction for dedicated and long standing fans of manga. For those new to manga,JJBA is an awesome and long running series that starts off as story of Jonathon Joestar,a young boy in Victorian England trying to put down Dio Brando,his charismatic and ruthless vampire nemesis,and evolves into a saga spanning more than a century in which several protagonists(all related in one way or the other to Jonathon or Dio) faces off against a host of exotic villains including serial killers,mafiosi and ancient super beings!
The story of this manga is exceptionally well written with just the right amount of thrill,action,horror,awesomeness and humor mixed into the stew.All the protagonists and the antagonists are well designed and interesting characters,and some of them count among the MOST BADASS characters ever created in any work of fiction ! The fights are very well choreographed,most of the combatants have very unique (and sometimes downright quarky)abilities and above all ,the fighters(even the minor ones) put their grey matter to good use,unlike many other contemporary manga characters. Additionally,keep in mind that this manga is definitely NOT a just series of battles strung together.There is plenty of humor,character development & meaningful bonding between friends and comrades,interesting and eventful stretches of globe trotting and even old school detective work involved(with some supernatural supplements). So next time you are looking for a good manga series to pursue,pick JJBA. Enjoyment is guaranteed !
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