I bet you thought you were going to find a review for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure here, BUT IT WAS ME, DIO!
I can’t believe how long it took me to get around to watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Honestly, I think it had something to do with how… well bizarre the show is. I mean it’s not every anime where they just throw in flashy colors, poses, vampires, zombies, musclemen and superpowers!… I mean sure, you can find a lot of those elements in a lot of different anime, but not quite like JoJo’s! I mean have you heard the closing theme song?
And as always,
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Seriously, I pretty much tell it all here.
Put simply, the theme of this work is ‘living’. Through the two main characters, I want to examine two ways of living. It’s all about singing the hymn of the battle between ‘human’ and ‘non-human’ … – Hirohiko Araki, creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
As far as the anime is concerned, the first season is actually two arcs – Phantom Blood and Battle Tendencies. Phantom Blood begins somewhere between the 12th and 16th century AD with an Aztec tribe performing a human sacrifice with a stone mask, giving it’s wearer the powers of a vampire. This prologue gives a hint into the mask’s power, setting the major plot point into action. We then jump many years into the future to a baby Johnathan Joestar and his parents after their carriage falls and crashes off a cliff. We then see an eerie character by the name of Dario Brando who attempts to rob the corpses of the Joestar family, only to learn that the baby Johnathan and his father George are still alive. George Joestar assumes that Dario is attempting to save him and tells him that the Joestar family is in his debt.
Years later Johnathan Joestar, known as JoJo, has grown into a young gentleman with plenty of friends. Dario’s son Dio on the other hand has grown up with an alcoholic father in poverty. Upon his father’s death, Dio approaches the Joestar family and is taken in by George to fulfill the favor. He appears a young gentleman himself, but takes out several acts of aggression against JoJo and his dog Danny — so far as to spread vicious rumors about JoJo and eventually burning Danny alive.
More time passes and JoJo and Dio are practically brothers. They’re set up to attend college soon and JoJo has spent a lot of time studying a stone mask his mother possessed before she died. However George Joestar has grown sick, and it’s later revealed that Dio has been poisoning him. JoJo confronts Dio and aims to have him arrested but Dio, who’s also been studying the mask decides to wear it and douses it in George’s blood, activating it. He becomes a vampire or evolved being and seems invincible. JoJo however risks everything and takes Dio down by burning him alive inside the Joestar mansion. JoJo attempts to live a normal life afterwards with his girlfriend Erina Pendleton, but is approached by a man named William Anthonio Zeppeli with mystical abilities called Hamon. Zeppeli informs JoJo that Dio is alive and has used his powers to create minions with the intent of conquering the world. They form a crew along with Robert E. O. Speedwagon (getting the music references yet?) and set out to destroy Dio.
Eventually they succeed and JoJo and Erina are married. However during their honeymoon cruise to America, they discover one of Dio’s minions still alive. After following him into the lower decks, they discover he’d saved Dio’s head and planned on using JoJo’s body as his new host. After a short bout, JoJo manages to set the ship to explode with a pregnant Erina and a small child safe in Dio’s casket. JoJo dies holding Dio’s head in the explosion. This bizarre series of events makes up the first arc Phantom Blood.
TWO GENERATIONS LATER
Joseph Joestar, grandson of Johnathan and Erina Joestar, walks the streets of New York during early WWII. They’re visiting Speedwagon who’s become a bit of an oil tycoon in Texas since the events of Phantom Blood. Joseph Joestar, also known as JoJo, is a hot head punk unlike his grandfather. He loves playing tricks, reading people, and has a natural ability to use hamon. After a run in with a family friend turned vampire, JoJo learns of the Pillar Men, statued men who created the stone masks and an attempt to bring them back to life by the German army. JoJo manages to infiltrate their base in an attempt to save Speedwagon who was taken captive and witnesses the rebirth of the first of the pillar men named Santana by the Nazi commander Stroheim. JoJo barely manages to defeat Santana by exposing him to sunlight, another of the vampire/pillarmens’ weaknesses besides hamon. We then learn that there are other Pillar Men around the world and that more were found in Europe.
JoJo is sent to master hamon is Italy from Caesar Zeppeli and Lisa Lisa. Eventually JoJo, Caesar and Speedwagon confront three Pillar Men by the names of Wamuu, Esidisi, and Kars. JoJo manages to scar Wamuu’s face, the first human to do so, and is nearly killed because of it. JoJo talks him out of it saying given a month he will become strong enough to defeat them. Wamuu and Esidisi take him up on his challenge, but not before placing rings in his body that will release poison if he’s unable to defeat them in a month. The Pillar Men leave and JoJo and Caesar go to train with Lisa Lisa, mastering hamon in the process. During their final test, Esidisi infiltrates their island and attempts to kill JoJo in his search for the Red Stone of Aja, a gem they need to complete a new stone mask. JoJo proves victorious however, reducing Esidisi to brain matter. The disembodied Esidisi briefly takes control of one of Lisa Lisa’s assistance Suzie Q, but is eventually removed and killed by JoJo and Caesar. They then learn the stone was shipped off to Switzerland.
The crew heads there reuniting with Stroheim and his German troops who are also after the Pillar Men. Ceasar attempts to take them on himself after being insulted by JoJo, leading to his fight with Wamuu where Ceasar is killed. Upon learning this, JoJo and Lisa Lisa challenge Wamuu and Kars to a one-on-one. JoJo has a chariot duel with Wamuu leading to one of the best fights in the season. After a narrow victory, JoJo is able to remove the last ring from inside his body. Lisa Lisa’s duel with Kars goes south however when he uses a double to cheat and strike Lisa Lisa down. This leads to his fight with JoJo in which Kars in nearly defeated after being struck by one of JoJo’s hamon punches. Around this time the German army shows up with a massive UV ray attempting to burn Kars to a crisp. However just as they fire, Kars puts on one of the stone masks with the Red Stone of Aja in it, intercepting the UV rays and causing him to evolve into a “perfect being”. This terrified everyone in attendance, JoJo included, causing him to run away full speed. Kars was able to transform into other forms of life and took on wings to chase JoJo who took one of the German fighter planes in an attempt to flee. Once Kars caught up to him he attempted to drown him in a volcana, but even that didn’t work. Kars had JoJo down after dismembering him and beating him down with even stronger hamon that JoJo could manage. Just before Kars delivered the finishing blow, JoJo instinctively blocked with the Red Stone of Aja in his hand, amplifying Kar’s hamon attack causing the volcano to erupt in what can only be described as some deus ex bullshit. Kars was launched into space where he was frozen as a half animal half mineral compound who wished for a death that would never come. JoJo was assumed dead, but surprise surprise he shows up to his own funeral — married no less to Susie Q.
This strange turn of events finally lead Lisa Lisa to confess that she is JoJo’s real mother (a fact we learn earlier thanks to Speedwagon). We then see the fates of all the other supporting characters before seeing a much older JoJo walking through an airport. He’s bumped into by a Japanese man who he later kicks just for being Japanese. It’s revealed that his daughter has been married to a Japanese man for 20 years and that his grandson doesn’t even know his face. He curses the Japanese before pausing and pulling out a walkman. He puts in a tape and the credits roll playing the opening theme song. As the final episode ends, we see a man we can only assume is a Joestar locked up in prison.
Between the two Joestars in this season I have a hard time choosing a favorite, but I’d have to go with Joseph. Possibly because he has more screen time, but I think it really comes down to his carefree comedic attitude towards everything. From the practical jokes to predicting what his opponents will say, Joseph is just a joy to watch. Johnathan was amazing too in his own ways, but I think the third season will have to do a lot to beat this. It’s hard to say exactly what makes this show so compelling, but I’d say it’s the combination of it’s witty plot development, music, art, and use of the bizarre. It’s really in a class of its own.
I give season one of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
5/5 Hamon Overdrives
But only one gif, because it’s hard to find good rating photos for JoJo’s. Who knew?