As a wise friend of mine once said, “Anime comes in many forms.” Sometimes what you are watching is a gut-wrenching story full of the feels and emotions. Other times it’s an action packed show of fights, struggles, and the constant battle of becoming stronger. Occasionally you find yourself just simply asking “WTF did I just watch?” And there is the rare occurrence that is all of the above and more. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of those occurrences. So if you enjoy the random and unusual then this my dear reader, is the show for you.
The greatest part about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure or JJBA as I will abbreviate it for my sanity for this article is that it is that. A Bizarre Adventure. Due to the size and intensity of JJBA, I will only touch on some of my favorite points and hooks. To really appreciate the wide scale of insanity that is JJBA, you have to look at its origin and often unrecognized occurrence in popular culture. JJBA has been around since ’86 originally published in Shonen Jump and has 8 different arcs across different eras and timelines and the manage to maintain a very similar 80’s style animation theme. There are so many memes and references from the “It was me, Dio!” to “OH MY GOD/HOLY SHIT” and my favorite of the steam roller and “Za Warudo”.
Now the very existence of these in the same show should be enough to convince you about how random and arbitrary it is, but even the in series references are hilarious and date how the show creator Hirohiko Araki has been writing this over the years. One of the first and consistent presences is the former London Thug “REO Speedwagon” who creates the “Speedwagon Foundation” that helps the Joestar family over the years. Another is the enemy for the fourth arc, “Red Hot Chilli Pepper,” who is an antagonist for the arc during the late 90’s. Pop culture aside, the show ranges from enemies who are vampires, super proto-vampires, stand users (essentially psychic powers manifested as an alternate version of you) and vampire stand users.
At the heart of this is the Joestar family and their allies. Now off of the Joestars themselves, there are several (and I’m only going up to the anime for this). The first one being Jonathan Joestar, who in the late 1800’s had first met Dio Brando (the aforementioned baddie and vampire) and learned the ancient martial art of Hamon, which allowed him to fight and destroy vampires by mimicking the sun’s power using what was essentially his Ki. During the second arc is his grandson, Joseph Joestar who is my personal favorite. Whereas his grandfather was the pinnacle of a British Gentleman, Joseph was one step up from a hoodlum in NYC, who had inherited the power of Hamon. Joseph is by far my favorite of the JoJo’s and his arc is, in my opinion, the best of them all. As far as his entourage go, he has an Italian Hamon user and a Nazi Terminator for allies. Yes, you saw that right, he has a Nazi Terminator with UV laser cannons as weapons and I’ll be damned if this arc didn’t almost make you like him. (I, however, do not condone Nazism in any way shape or form, I just like robots.) After that, Joseph’s grandson, Jotaro Kujo takes on the mantle of JoJo and proceeds to fight against their family’s oldest and evilest enemy, Dio Brando! This time they do not use the power of Hamon but stands, powerful psychic manifestations, of which Jotaro’s is called “Star Platinum” and uses extreme power and strength as well as being the source of the “Ora Ora Ora” meme with the repetitive punching. Most recently we are introduced to Josuke Higashikata and his stand “Shining Diamond” which almost matches Jotaro’s stand in strength and speed but has the added power of being able to rearrange whatever he hits, even to the point his punches can heal or repair what it destroyed.
I personally only watch the anime, and find it to be a great and wild ride and find that a surprising number of things reference it from Kill La Kill to No Game No Life, to Heroes, and even Terraria (reading about randomly on the wiki is actually how I found out about JJBA). All in all, I like to think that if you have a sense of humor and an appreciation for fighting, surprising plot, and great music, and memorable sound effects, this is the sort of show for you. It has an awesome amount of content and manages to refresh itself through the arcs with both new characters, enemies, powers, and settings. So if you find yourself with a day to do nothing, I highly recommend picking up this show and running with it because it won’t let you down.