First Impressions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Manga adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure by David Production

Premise: In the 1800s, Jonathan Joestar (Jojo for short) is the carefree son of a nobleman, but his life is turned around when his father adopts orphan boy Dio Brando, who plans to usurp Jojo’s position as heir. Throw in ancient Aztec artifacts, psychic martial arts, and supernatural beings, and things only get more bizarre from then on.

Iro’s Verdict: Wonderfully Bizarre

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has a troubled past when it comes to anime adaptations (when they made a movie of the first arc a few years back, it was reportedly so bad that the mangaka stonewalled it from ever getting a home release), so while I was hoping for the best, I was also expecting the worst. Thankfully, this first episode has shown me pretty much everything I could have possibly wanted from a Jojo adaptation. Crazy poses, dynamic manga sound effects, and silly color overlays abound, basically everything about the presentation fully embraces the campy tone this series thrives on. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a slow start, and the fact remains that this is adapting chapters of shonen manga that are 25 years old at this point, mediocre storytelling and all – it will not appeal to everyone.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Cliché Incarnate

Pain, lots of pain, Jojo is one of the most dreadful things I have suffered through in a very long time. I don’t know what I was expecting, but everything about this anime, the setups, the characters, the insults, and even the manga effects that take place on the screen; I hated all of it. There was nothing here that appealed to me, and quite a bit that made me want to shut the episode off before it ended; I did not, but have no kind words for Jojo.

Jel’s Verdict: Just wasn’t made for these times

I do not have much previous JoJo knowledge but I do know things get significantly more… bizarre as time goes on. Knowing that probably made me think this episode was better than it really was. But the most important thing is I enjoyed it and I’m finding it kind of interesting to get a look into a real iconic series that I’ve never had the chance to experience. I imagine there will be two very steadfastly opposed camps on this: those who shun its lack of cute animu girls, complex storytelling and “logic”, and those who see it as a breath of fresh air from the status quo. Kind of a strange thing to say about a series that’s over 25 years old, but such is the state of the industry these days. I’m hoping to stay in the latter group, so we’ll how it goes.

Dragonzigg’s Verdict: Take a Stand

I know nothing about JoJo the manga, but I know intensely likeable camp when I see it and this falls right into my wheelhouse. It’s refreshing to see something so unashamedly over the top and which revels in its old-school roots. The men are manly, the villains are intensely boo-able and the romance is accompanied by the narrator proclaiming ‘ROMANCE!’ in a dramatic voice and the least revealing bathing scene in anime history.

The show also has a not-so-secret weapon in the form of Dio Brando, and this entire episode is basically all about how he can be a dick in the most amusing possible way. There’s something delicious about a villain who makes no pretense about his evilness. I’m also a big fan of the elegant art style and the incredibly bruising looking punches complete with sound effects. Despite not necessarily having the smoothest animation in the world the show really stands out with a unique visual style. I had tremendous fun with this first episode and I can’t wait for more. (Iro’s Note: Stands aren’t until Part 3, Zigg)

Marlin’s Verdict: Nothing Special

I will take Iro at his word that our apathy(or even more negative emotions) towards this show are primarily due to the fact that the series as a whole actually isn’t that great until a certain point. I share mostly Lifesong’s thoughts on the matter, that it really wasn’t enough to catch my interest. I can see potential, but Iro and others keep talking it up on its camp factor. For me, Mobile Fighter G Gundam will always hold a special place in my heart as my favorite camp show, as well as my favorite Gundam in general. However, I really can’t see all the best parts of camp from that show that made me love it in JoJo. I may give it an episode or two more to prove me wrong, but if it doesn’t improve I think I’ll have to say goodbye to this adventure forever.

Gee’s Verdict: The Original Ridiculous Shonen

Those who have never read the 25-year running manga will likely see a lot of things in the first few episodes that seem cliche and campy. But believe me, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure wrote the book on campy crazy shonen. I won’t lie though, the beginning of Jojo is a slow burn, and it doesn’t really build up speed until about a third of the way into the first arc. However, this episode does a great job of adapting the first few chapters and honestly, establishing the only piece of information that matters. Dio Brando is an asshole. But it’s that sheer black and white dichotomy between the good guys and the bad guys that makes Jojo such a guilty pleasure for many. If you want to see some of the most truly insane things and characters you have ever witnessed in anime, stick with Jojo, because it’s going take you on a wild ride. If you’re looking for something less hammy and over the top though, you best look elsewhere, because Jojo set the bar for wonderful insanity.

6 thoughts on “First Impressions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

  1. It’s interesting the love-hate relationship the community has with Jojo’s. You’re either in Camp A, and you’ve read the manga religiously enough to enjoy the anime as a very solid adaption of Araki’s work… Or you’re in Camp B with no knowledge of Jojo and you don’t seem to realize it’s not as deep as most anime out right now (not that many anime are that meaningful) because you’re watching an anime based on a manga a quarter of a century old.

    • To be fair, a lot of the modern Shounen are trying waaaaay to hard to be cool and oh so edgy. [K], Zetsuen no Tempest, Code Breaker, etc. just to name a few of this season alone. In contrast to that, Jojo (and Magi as well) offer a more conservative approach that many older viewers will enoy more than these other titles who – with their blatant Rule of Cool logic – appeal more to a younger generation.

    • I’ve never read the manga and have little to no prior knowledge of the series, but I still enjoyed this a lot. It doesn’t need to be ‘deep’ because it’s a lot of knockabout fun, and I think the assumption that modern shows are ‘deeper’ than older ones isn’t always true. JoJo doesn’t seem to have aspirations to be much more than it is, but I found it very entertaining nonetheless.

    • I know that Jojo is old, but other than that I admit I really don’t know much. I’ve been told that Jojo has awesome things I should watch it for later on down the road, but right now I can only comment on the first episode; the first episode which I felt was trying to bludgeon me to death with ham.

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