JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Review

What? Another JoJo’s review? It’s true, immediately after finishing the first season (first two arcs) of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure I continued into the second without skipping a beat. I love this anime so much, but it pains me knowing I’ve probably already seen my favorite parts — more on that later though. If you haven’t already checked out my review for the first season you should check it out here before continuing.

Years after an ancient evil was salvaged from the depths of the sea, Joutarou Kuujou sits peacefully within a Japanese jail cell. He’s committed no crime yet demands he not be released, believing he’s been possessed by an evil spirit capable of harming those around him. Concerned for her son, Holly Kuujou asks her father, Joseph Joestar, to convince Joutarou to leave the prison. Joseph informs his grandson that the “evil spirit” is in fact something called a “Stand,” the physical manifestation of one’s fighting spirit which can adopt a variety of deadly forms. After a fiery brawl with Joseph’s friend Mohammed Avdol, Joutarou is forced out of his cell and begins learning how to control the power of his Stand.

However, when a Stand awakens within Holly and threatens to consume her in 50 days, Joutarou, his grandfather, and their allies must seek out and destroy the immortal vampire responsible for her condition. They must travel halfway across the world to Cairo, Egypt and along the way, do battle with ferocious Stand users set on thwarting them. If Joutarou and his allies fail in their mission, humanity is destined for a grim fate. – My Anime List

From left to right with original names: Old Joseph Joestar, Kakyouin Noriaki, Joutarou Kuujo, Avdol Muhammad, and Jean-Pierre Polnareff.

This season makes some pretty major changes to the JoJo’s universe with the introduction of Stands and the dramatic decrease in the use of Hamon. The style of the show changes as well, more fitting the mold of a typical shounen anime, in my opinion. Instead of focusing more on training and perfecting their new skills like the earlier two arcs, Stardust Crusaders has a fight in nearly, if not every, episode between Joutarou’s crew and DIO’s minions.

That’s right, Dio Brando is back from the first arc and stronger than ever. Turns out that instead of dying in Johnathan Jostar’s arms like we all thought he managed to attach himself to Johnathan’s body and hide in the same casket Erina used to survives the ship explosion. Seems like another case of deus ex bullshit to me, but considering Dio was my favorite villain I’ll let it slide.

What I loved most about this season is that they technically bring 3 generations of the Joestar family into the mix. We’re introduced to Joutarou Kuujo, the new main JoJo; we get my favorite Joseph Joestar back though now 50 years older; and technically DIO is in possession of Johnathan Joestar’s body, so I’m counting it. The introduction of Stands was also really interesting and done much better than I was expecting. My only issue with it lays with it’s correlation to Tarot cards because of an early scene where Avdol is using them to help name Joutarou’s stand Star Platinum. It “stands” to reason (see what I did there?) that using a full deck would mean multiple Stands with the same names, but there are never any repeats. Just one of those anime things I guess.

Stardust Crusaders does have some major drawbacks however that I can’t overlook. Some of these are minor, but others are pretty major and really took away from the season for me. For starters, the death in the show takes a strange and distracting turn. Previously the death in the show felt like it had more meaning and took place in ways I wasn’t expecting. Stardust Crusaders on the other had decides to kill the only black character in JoJo’s crew TWICE.

I really enjoyed Advol’s character and was pretty distraught when he died so early in the series. That’s why I was excited when it turned out he was actually alive after being shot in the head and rejoined the crew towards the end of the show… Only to be killed again shortly after. For a character with such a powerful Stand and interesting background I feel like they really wasted his potential.

But that’s not the only death trend in the show that I couldn’t overlook. I don’t know what Hirohiko Araki has against dogs, but I counted at least FIVE dog deaths in this season alone! And I seem to recall more than one in the first season, so this is a trend that I find downright disturbing to say the least. Beside those two complaints it also seems this season has less character development than the previous two arcs causing each episode to feel more or less like the one before. You could cut several episodes from this season and I doubt anyone would really notice if they hadn’t already seen the show. So with that I think I’ll go into the ratings for this season.

Plot: 3/5

As much as I love this season, its only really held together by its comedy this time around. The action felt generic and I occasionally forgot they were on the mission to save Old Joseph’s daughter Holly. That said, this season oddly reminded me of Die Hard and Yu Yu Hakusho in ways that I can’t really explain. To be fair the season does have its fair share of heartwarming moments as well, but they’re watered down by the long length of the season.

Character Development: 3.5/5

As excited as I was that they brought back Joseph Joestar, his character didn’t necessarily age well — which is sad because he’s probably still my favorite character in the season. His Stand, Hermit Purple, is weak in a fight considering it’s just vines, and overall seems more inconvenient than its worth. I found myself far more excited when he reverted to using Hamon again. Joutarou, Advol and Kakyouin seem pretty static throughout the show, but Polnareff actually seems to get a good amount of development overall. He quickly became my favorite from the new crew narrowly passing Joutarou’s cool demeanor. Honestly I wanted to bump this score up to 4/5 for his sake, but like the plot I felt his progression was watered down over time. Kakyouin sadly gets the most of his development in the last couple of episodes.

Art: 5/5

Same classic JoJo style that I love about the series.

Music: 5/5

While I’m definitely going to miss hearing Roundabout by Yes at the end of each episode, I loved most of the new music for this season. Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles was an excellent choice and the artwork that accompanied it was spectacular. I wasn’t as thrilled with Last Train Home, I actually strongly disliked it in comparison, but not bad enough to lower the rating.

Overall I give Stardust Crusaders

4/5 Ora Ora Oras!

I still really enjoyed this season even though I think it was a step down from the first two arcs. I found most of the characters interesting as well as the creative ways of fighting portrayed by this season. There were plenty of times I thought the show dragged on, but nearly every episode ended on a strong cliffhanger as well keeping me wanting more. Not to mention it had one of the best final fights in the series thus far!

Below I’ve added a few of my favorite moments


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