This is review number one hundred and seven four. The anime is part of the Fall 2012 lineup. I’m so close to closing this year and moving onto the next. I’m so behind that it’s making me unsteady. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. It’s a twenty six episode anime about a lot of muscular men fighting each other to the death using their awesome muscles and their tasty brains. It also includes a lot of graphic scenes like a mother eating her own baby or something like that. It’s an awesome anime that I want everyone to try. Seriously, just watch it.
The show is about “Jojo” and his battle with the stone mask. This mask has the ability to turn people into vampires that possess extra ordinary powers and remarkable abilities that they use to terrorize the world. “Jojo” has taken the responsibility of beating the hell out of those stone masks users and restore peace in the world. He is determined to vanquish evil even at the cost of his life but evil comes in many forms and doesn’t die that easily.
Taking the Pants Off
I’ve heard of Jojo for a long time now. I don’t read manga though so I never really bothered to look him up. I’ve played some of the games involving Jojo and they were in Japanese so I was mashing the buttons like I was ten years old, and I was. There were a couple of OVAs released but this was the very first time the manga got an anime series adaptation. I was a bit excited because I love watching these old classics. They possess the trend of their era that was slowly phased out because of the ever evolving nature of anime and manga. Shounen back in the 1980s was all about overly muscular guys shouting at the top of their voice while delivering an earth shattering move. Shounen in the 80s was all about blood and decapitations and bashing your head in. It was a celebration of the manly spirit and the desire to punch people in the face. Things mellowed out as time passes, we soon get slender handsome guys on our Shounen and BL is dangerously becoming a trend. Admit it, Shounen partners got to have sexual tension between them nowadays. So reliving the past is an opportunity I want to experience. You don’t get more old school than Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures.
The anime is about “Jojo’s” fight with the stone mask. It’s the simplest explanation here but the scope of his battle is actually pretty big. Things started out pretty simple though. The anime adapted the first two arcs of the anime. The first arc is about Jojo and his brother Dio. Jojo and Dio grew up hating each other but often brushing aside their disdain and jealousy to avoid getting in trouble. Dio is a bit of a schemer though and soon learned about the powers of the stone mask. He turned into a vampire that can regenerate his body, has superhuman strength and can turn the people he bites into dangerous vampires as well. Dio was convinced that he is a god and has decided to take over the world with his army of the dead. Jojo was the only person that can stop him. The fight is pretty one sided though because he is just a bag of meat compared to a practically invincible Dio.
There is only one way to defeat Dio and that is by using the power of the sun. Dio doesn’t come out during daytime though so Jojo needs to find a way to bring the sun out at night. Jojo soon learned the power of the ripple. The ripple is like some form of awesome skill gained by gathering the energy of the body through breathing. If you can gather some ripple power on your fist then it can act substitute for the burning power of the sun and it can defeat a vampire. The odds are still against Jojo though because he needs to master the ripple, fight Dio and his army alone and effectively defeat the bastard. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Jojo is a persistent guy though and he believes that Dio must die. Their brotherly feud will soon decide the fate of the world.
The second arc is about “Jojo” and some ancient invincible people that has ties with the masks. Dio was just a human that borrowed the power of the mask, these ancient beings are more deeply connected to it and they are awakened by some people clueless about their destructive capabilities. They are soon revived and now they try to finish what they started which is obtaining ultimate power using the stone mask and then ruling the world. Jojo is actually an interest for these people because they have fought a lot of ripple users all their life. They know Jojo is a threat and they plan to eradicate him before anything else. They would soon wage war all across Europe beating each other up and finding ways to completely eliminate the other.
The story of the anime is pretty straightforward. It’s just about the good guys beating up the bad guys who, of course, want to rule the world. It isn’t really complicated. The story isn’t the main focus of the anime though. There is a nicely told story here but it was just a structure for the anime’s actual focus. Those are the fights. The fights in this anime aren’t the fast one on one bout you’d expect. It’s not about one guy overpowering another. It’s not as simple as that. The fights themselves have a story to tell and it has its own complexity. Every fight in the anime is about the two opponents outsmarting each other rather than beating each other senseless as fast as possible. The fight includes the two opponents gaining the upper hand for brief moments, they do long monologues to taunt or scare their opponent, the opponent fights back, they release a secret move that changes the flow of the fight, a few flashbacks and commentary from the people fighting or watching the fights and it ends with a really exciting finish. It’s an old school style of Shounen presentation that is really pretty fun to watch. Shounen nowadays has gone deep with a lot of focus on the complexity of the story. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure hails from an era where you draw in readers not with a great story but epic fights that involve two charismatic characters consuming page after page of the manga as they do their best to effectively finish their opponents. It’s like Dragon Ball but it has a more graphic atmosphere to it (a guy once hid inside a horse and swam around in the inside).
The fights are really fun to watch because they aren’t always fair. “Jojo” has faced people who are already dead, vampires that regenerate after being defeated in a fight, practically invincible ancient creatures, and a barrage of undead monsters. The opponents always have a trick up their sleeve that really changes the complexity of the matches and so you’re at the edge of your seat waiting for Jojo to break out of the situation. The psychology in the fights are really outstanding because even though they are a bit predictable, the excitement in the fights can really draw you in and the atmosphere of the battle is really just stunning that you can’t help but admire it. Even if Jojo is being beaten to a pulp, you just can’t help but admire the fight. This is really the thing that makes this anime amazing. Fights so nicely done it makes literary epics blush but still retaining an anime quality that is very Shounen.
The characters are pretty great. They’re the centerpiece of the anime so they are very awesome. The main character is “Jojo” and do notice the quotation marks. It’s there for a reason. Anyways, in the first arc Jojo was a true nice guy. He doesn’t want to kill people unless it is necessary and he is bound by his morality. He is a true gentleman and the enemies often take advantage of his goody two shoes attitude to overwhelm him. This was the great thing about “Jojo” in the first arc. He is often in the palms of the enemies being rained upon by countless disadvantages in almost every fight he is in. He would stupidly walk into traps, be pinned down that others have to help him and the enemies often get the first kill shot in the fights. He possesses the attitude of a true gentleman though and he tries his best to persevere in every situation he is making the fights very exciting to watch. He is often in the brink of death, like seriously a thumb away from being killed and you just can’t wait to see how he straight up good guy his way out of the situation. In the second arc, “Jojo” is much smarter and a little bit of a cheat. He doesn’t care how it is done as long as the result is the same. He is a lot more fun to watch because the enemies he faces are more powerful than in the first arc but he does everything he can to level the field. He would train immensely, use the opponents warrior pride against them, use the ripples in ways so cheap it’s just fun to see him go that route and even play possum to make the enemies look foolish. The wonderful thing about “Jojo” in the second arc is that he is can balance out a situation with ease. He would often be trapped in near death sequences but he would have tricks up his sleeves that baffle both the enemies and the audience that changes the tide of the battle. He can make his opponent sweat cold sweat and keep in mind, some of them are near invincible ancient nightmares from the past.
The enemies are pretty awesome as well. They all possess the narcissistic attitude a true villain should have. He would arrogantly talk about his victory and belittles the characters. There are a lot of enemies in the anime though. From no named minions to powerful killers to ancient creatures to even an omnipotent being closer to a god, these bad guys really make the anime awesome as well. Dio is the main villain in the first arc but there were several minions in Jojo fought as well including some powerful vampires with their own special abilities like immensely super human strength and lightning fast speed. Nothing complicated but it’s enough to overwhelm a human meat bag like Jojo. The second arc featured more villains and you’re never really prepared just how big of a battle it was until you see it unfolds. The ancient creatures are pretty interesting because they are near invincible but they still consider Jojo a threat. They also have unique abilities but the scope of their talent is something pretty exciting to see as well.
The side characters don’t really have much personality but they are pretty important to the story. In the fights, they don’t do much. They are either poor bastards used as a dummy for the villains to display their powers or they are close comrades of “Jojo”. Some of them are pivotal to the progression of the story since they have slowly become part of the war against the vampires. They help make the story interesting since they are the ones who witness Jojo fight with some pretty intimidating creatures. The interesting thing about the side characters is that familiar names and faces pop up in the long battle of Jojo against the powers that started with the stone mask so even though we know little about this particular side character, seeing him again in the new fight of Jojo was pretty sweet. It was also a nice surprise to see just how various characters relate to the Jojo especially if you’ve read the manga which tells of the many battles of “Jojo”.
There are some flaws in the anime that are hard to ignore. There are many battles in the anime and they have the same format. One thing I really hate is the over narration of certain scenes. For example, to get the point across, let’s say the enemy has brought out a can of soda.
Side character: Oh no, look at his hands. He is holding a soda. My god! It’s a can of soda.
*opponent opens can of soda*
Main character: Huh? He opened the soda. Good god, what is he scheming? I can’t tell but that soda really bothers me.
Side character: L-look at that! He’s drinking the soda. What is he planning?! This is bad. The refreshing power of the soda is quenching his thirst. This looks bad for Jojo. Jojo! Look out, he‘s about to do something!!!!
Antagonist: Ha! I’ve now drank the soda that entered my mouth after I opened it. Now witness the power I obtained from drinking the soda. Prepare yourself for I will now unleash a deadly attack from the soda I drank. This attack will leave you disabled and it will give me the victory.
(inside thoughts) Main character: Oh no. What is he planning? This doesn’t look good. If I’m hit with whatever attack he unleashes, it might really kill me.
So yeah. The purpose of the countless narrations was to add tension to the scenes and to let the personalities of the characters seep into the scene making it more fun to watch. The sheer sight of intimidation, the countless victory speeches and the countless shock and awe from the narration adds depth to a simple concept but it is often overdone to death that I simply wish the characters to shut the f*ck up. In the second arc, particularly, the narrations were relentless. This style of enhancing scenes is still used in Shounen today but in moderation. I understand now that too much of it does kill the mood at times. It doesn’t really ruin the anime but it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine that I believe was done too much especially since there are so many fights in the anime and they all had people narrating the stuff we can see like simply doing a pose or explaining the damage of a technique we can blatantly assess with our eyes.
The pacing of the anime is also fast. No one seems to care about the pacing though and I did search for some comments about it. People are just satisfied a twenty six tear old manga finally gets a series but still, the pacing was fast. Since the story isn’t the focus then I guess it doesn’t ruin much but certain scenes are often fast forwarded to skip to much more important scenes. Various trainings, character flashbacks, character introductions, and time skips in the anime affected the narrative of the story a bit. The anime started with a brotherly rivalry and ended with an ancient being trying to control the world so you can just imagine how much was trimmed to accommodate that huge blowout of the story. The things left out don’t affect the overall story though. It just feels very fast and certain things don’t sink in long enough because the status quo changes abruptly in the anime. You often have to get used to certain beings dropped or changed because the pacing was a bit too fast. The fight’s pace isn’t affected though so it’s not that big of a flaw. Like I said before, the fights are more important than the overall story anyways.
This is an amazing anime. The whole setup of the anime is amazing and I’m glad someone had the brilliant idea to bring it back. I don’t read manga so classics like this are completely unknown to me. I’m an ignorant anime addict and I’m not afraid to admit it. We need more of this classics revived. I want to see more stuff from an era I wasn’t able to experience. This show is really a great appreciation of the work from a time where manga and anime was still beginning to capture a worldwide audience.
Sight and Sound
First of all, the animation is awful. The characters don’t often move. They don’t blink and only their mouth moves with the rest of the body completely stationary. It’s a bit hard to watch at first because certain scenes look like it was flash animated because they look a bit robotic at times. They aren’t smoothly animated and it looks like a laughably low budget project. Don’t let the art fool you though. I believe the whole thing was done in purpose to capture the style of the author. You can see that the anime often have the color scheme change or various sound effects added in. This was to pay homage to the unique style of the manga and the era it lived on. I actually love it because it’s a different change of pace from all the moe induced anime I’ve watched since I started this blog.
The character design is very old school Shounen. The characters all have massive bodies that are bulked up with muscles. They are the true definition of burly characters that lets their muscles do the talking. It was a bit hard to get use to the overly muscular characters though especially since the animation was a bit crappy. The still faces of the characters don’t look appealing at all. There are times when they are purposely made to look cool but in normal scenes, the still possess just look awkward. You’ll get used to it though because the fights are decently made though. I love how the characters are designed. Jojo in the first arc really lived the era he was in. He looked like a gentleman who fisty cuffs when you insult a lady and I love the way he looks polished but still burly as hell. Jojo in the second arc was a bit more modern sporting a cheesy backwards cap and he very much look like an ill-mannered lumberjack which is a good thing, really. The various “Jojos” later on not introduced in the anime was even flashier because of their outfits.
This was the great thing about the anime though. Even the villains and the side characters are nicely conceived and they stand out in ways that you will remember. A gentleman with a scar on his face sporting a bow hat and a purple suit, an Italian with feathers in his bandana and wears a pure white attire and even a half man half machine german soldier, they all stood out because of their nice attire. They have some muscles on them as well. The slender looking characters don’t come out until the early nineties or the later chapters of the manga so there are none here. The villains also had a nice design to them. It’s really no surprise since the individual arcs had enough cool characters to feature them in a game. The first arc had a PS2 fighting game version and some of the second arc characters were featured in the All Star version released sometime with the anime. They are so nicely conceived that they will be forever chronicled along with the status of the manga. That’s pretty awesome, isn’t?
This anime is very graphic. The anime I saw was heavily censored but I will see it again when the BD is complete. There are scenes like decapitations, people sliced in half, limbs cut off, and people crushed like pancakes. The brutality of the anime nicely rivals great epics of the past. They tell the same brutality like the adventures of Beowulf or Hercules that rips open their opponents or stabs them violently or any other form of gruesome violence. This anime had some awesome graphic scenes as well. There are innocent people often being fed to the vampires and some are torn apart like tissues that are often a bit hard to watch. They add great moments to the fight scenes in the anime and you don’t really see a lot of gruesome anime like this. It’s a shame it was censored. I would love to see all the gruesome details hidden away. I do notice that there isn’t enough blood in the anime. Some characters get their limbs torn off and nothing really happens afterwards. No blood pool or anything. The acts of goriness were fun but the effects were a bit lacking. Maybe the censors were in the way. As it stands, the goriness was great but it lacked some blood and guts and other fun details you’d expect from carnage the level seen in the anime.
The soundtrack of the anime is pretty awesome. It was a nostalgia bomb of sorts for me because it features some pretty colorful soundtrack that captures its ear a bit. The jazz type songs with colorful male voices hitting high notes as they sing the song is pretty awesome. The anime had two OP. The first one is “JoJo ~Sono Chi no Sadame~” by Hiroaki TOMMY Tominaga. The second one is “BLOODY STREAM” by Coda. They both have the qualities of the nostalgia bomb I was pertaining to. Plus they are really catchy. I love the Ops because of how lively it sounds and the OP sequences were pretty great as well. They both summarize the events of the arcs they feature and the montage is done in CG. These are really awesome CG and its proof that the studio was aiming for a certain quality in terms of the animation. There were a bit of a spoiler in them but like I said before, the story isn’t the focus. The fights are the focus and the head on clashes of the characters in the anime.
The anime’s ED is “Roundabout” by YES. The song is in English and it’s a really nice song that nicely captures the spirit of the anime. The style of the song was nicely done and it is really catchy as well. There are two ED sequences though that both relate to each other. It tells of the origins of the stone mask. In the first arc, the sequence was about the inner workings of the mask and then some montages of the characters in that are important to it. The second arc’s sequence dives deeper into the functions of the mask and the actual purpose of it. It’s a really nice sequence about a blood trail in a sort of mayan wall carving that leads to the mask awakening and exploding revealing a creature in stone slowly consuming the blood trail. It’s done in nice CG.
9/10 “An amazing Shounen anime unlike any other.”
This is a solid show. There is no doubt about it. Just watch it and be in awe at how awesome the storytelling in the anime is. It’s an anime that shares the same qualities of Shounen today but it has a simpler style to it. It’s a style that will really make you want to watch it more and more. If you enjoy great Shounen anime like Dragon Ball but not as long then you’ll love this anime. I highly recommend it.