Real Good You Guys JoJos Bizarre Adventure

first_img These last few weeks have seen a lot of negativity, frustration, anger, and vitriol, and that’s just what I’ve been doing on Twitter. I think we could use some positivity, so here’s a new feature that highlights good things. Just good things. Anything with a remote geek hook that’s worth your attention if you’re remotely interested in its genre, medium, or concept. Anything I can point to and say, “It’s real good, you guys.”And we’re going to start with some real good anime/manga. It isn’t obscure, but it isn’t Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon, either. It’s influential, beloved by a strong and growing following in North America (and has been A Thing in Japan since the 80s), has an ongoing anime series that remarkably does the source material justice. It’s also really, really, really weird. Or, if you prefer, Bizarre.Yes, I’m kicking off RGYG with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s real good and it isn’t particularly obscure these days, but it’s worth a look if you’ve only seen glimpses of it in the form of anime memes or clips of the really old OVA anime. You thought this was a Dio joke, but instead it’s me, attempting to give a thoughtful summary and light-on-spoilers synopsis to this decades-old manga and anime series!Just going through the details of the series don’t really convey the strangeness, so I’m going to toss in some panels from the excellent Out of Context JoJo Tumblr. The panels posted there are not modified in any way, and even if you had the context for what was going on it wouldn’t make it any less weird. That’s the beauty of JoJo: At any moment a really messed up thing could be happening and you’re forced to just roll with it because the insane non-rules established within the series allow them to happen.JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga series by Hirokhiko Araki, started in 1987 and running through today. It’s about the trials of the Joestar family, a lineage of heroes fighting for justice across the globe over the last century and a half. At least, that’s the broad framing device of JJBA. It’s a massive disservice to say JJBA is “a manga about the Joestar family, and they’re heroes, and they have powers.” That’s kind of like saying Junji Ito’s Uzumaki is about odd geometric phenomena involving spirals. It’s factually true, but you’re missing everything that makes it interesting and compelling.JJBA is indeed about the Joestars, but it isn’t a single big fight-filled shonen saga revolving around a family that fights together. It’s split into multiple parts, each with its own “JoJo” main character dealing with a very different threat in a very different setting from the part before it. Each part is a self-contained story that can have familiar faces and deal with some of the events of previous parts, but is very much its own thing. One saga is a world-hopping journey to fight a psychic vampire’s minions. The next saga is a murder mystery in a quiet seaside town in Japan. After that, teenagers struggling to be organized criminals in Italy. It goes weird places, and never lacks for variety.The “Bizarre” in the name is very, very well justified, but you might not understand why until you get into it. The first two parts, “Phantom Blood” and “Battle Tendency,” are actually fairly normal for anime/manga fare. “Phantom Blood” is about the young English gentleman Jonathan Joestar fighting his adopted brother Dio, who starts off as a huge dick and becomes a super-powered vampire thanks to an ancient stone mask. To fight him, Jonathan learns how to use Hamon (or “Ripple”), life energy powered by the sun and focused through breathing. “Battle Tendency” picks up two generations later with Jonathan’s American grandson Joseph. He has to fight the creators of the vampire-making stone mask, Aztec super-vampire body-building shape-shifters who want to become ultra-vampires through the power of double-vampirism. There’s also a cyborg Nazi. Wacky, but pretty standard anime concepts when you get down to it.Then part three, “Stardust Crusaders,” comes along and introduces Stands, and that’s where things get bizarre and amazing. Stands are psychic projections of your life energy with unique and very specific powers, so-called because they manifest by appearing to stand next to you. No, really, that’s why they’re called Stands. This part’s JoJo, Jotaro Kujo (Joseph’s grandson), has the Stand Star Platinum, who is really fast and can punch things really hard. There’s also a fire Stand, a sword Stand, a green rock-throwing Stand, and so on.And based purely on that you would be justified in thinking this was just some Shaman King-ass ghost Pokemon garbage. Araki clearly realized this problem early on in “Stardust Crusaders,” because he goes in a wildly different direction with Stands. Sure, the main character has a punchy Stand that punches, but surprisingly few Stands can be simply faced down and punched. Like the murderous ghost assassin stand that only appears in dreams, projected by a baby. Or the electrical outlet Stand that magnetizes your body, so you get crushed by flying metal. Or the shadow Stand that de-ages you into a fetus. Or the boat Stand. It’s just a boat, psychically projected. By a gorilla.When your Stand’s power is punching really fast, and almost none of the enemies you face can simply be punched because of the increasingly strange and esoteric ways their Stands work, you need to be clever. Suddenly every fight is less like a shonen-style brawl between martial artists, superheroes, or ninjas, and more like a high-stakes puzzle that needs to be solved. This is what makes JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure so compelling: Problem-solving. What could so easily just be Dragon Ball Z or Naruto-style punch-ups become engaging, confusing challenges that are overcome by figuring out weaknesses, planning based on surroundings, and using occasionally bafflingly complex logic?It’s a slow build-up that never stops, either.Part 1: My adopted brother is a vampire, and I must fight him with my light-breath martial arts!Part 3: I have to punch this gorilla before his psychic boat kills us!Part 5: I can turn rocks into frogs, but if I let this lighter blow out a mob boss will murder me with his phantom, which only exists in shadows!Part 8: A rock-person drug dealer is melting everyone in the house with his handprints because we know the secret of his fruit!It keeps getting more and more goofy and insane, to the point that the current arc (Part 8, JoJoLion) is full of nothing but the most baffling weirdos you’ve seen in a manga. It’s a ride that constantly ratchets up not in world-threatening power and intensity (I’m looking at you, Dragon Ball Super and your tournament of universes), but in sheer weirdness. And it’s great.The anime currently covers parts 1 through 4, and can be watched on Crunchyroll and Hulu. The majority of the series is subtitled-only, but Toonami has been drip-feeding dubbed episodes, and is currently at the beginning of part 3 (Stardust Crusaders). You can also pick up the manga in trade paperback form online or at your local anime or comic shop (if they have a manga section).Also, Josuke and Jolyne are the best JoJos. Fight me.It’s real good, you guys.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Finally, Ash Ketchum Is A Pokemon Master‘One Punch Man’ Get A Video Game, Probably Has More Punches last_img

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