You may be aware of a certain series called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure from the memes: absurd poses, outlandish costumes and character designs, Yes’s Roundabout all spring to mind. But beyond all these inside jokes and apparent goofiness, what exactly is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?
That’s exactly the question we’re going to answer today. From the first member of the Joestar bloodline to the most recent, read on to discover the fundamentals of one of the most influential, over-the-top anime series in recent history with this JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure beginner’s guide.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Beginner’s Guide
Who Created JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is the creation of mangaka Hirohiko Araki, who despite being in his 60s has maintained an incredible youthful glow.
Araki began JJBA in 1987, and has been working steadily on the series and its spinoffs ever since.
What Is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure About?
This is a question without a simple answer. In its shortest version, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is about members of the Joestar family, as different descendants across multiple generations battle evil in all its forms, often connected to the family’s nemesis, the megalomaniacal vampire Dio Brando.
That’s the short version, because what JJBA is about changes from part to part. In Part 1, we follow Jonathan Joestar (called JoJo by his friends) in Victorian England as he battles against Dio, his wicked adoptive brother who has forsaken his humanity in the pursuit of power. Part 2 follows Jonathan’s grandson, the goofy prankster Joseph Joestar, in his globetrotting adventures across America and Europe. Part 3 in turn centers on Joseph’s grandson Jotaro Kujo, a brooding delinquent and the most muscular high-schooler to ever live, in a road tripping adventure of his own, and so on and so forth down the line.
For the first two parts, the battles in JJBA revolve around a mystical martial art called Hamon, that involves channeling sunlight into people’s breathing to improve their fighting prowess. However, in Part 3, Araki pivots to a new battle system: Stands, personifications of their fighting spirit (basically a Persona with a specific superpower) to battle each other, and Stand battles would become the backbone of the rest of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Each part centers around a new JoJo (though previous JoJos can occasionally pop in or join the adventure), a new setting, and a new antagonist.
How Many Parts Does JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Have?
There are eight parts of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga, with the most recent, JoJolion (pronounced like Evangelion, not like a JoJo Lion), concluding in 2021 after beginning in 2011.
However, only the first six parts have been animated at this time, with the most recent, Part 6: Stone Ocean, currently exclusive to Netflix. Each part has a distinct flavor to differentiate itself from other anime/manga and from other parts:
Part 1: Phantom Blood is a Victorian/Gothic horror story that involves doing sunlight kung fu against a vampire.
Part 2: Battle Tendency is more of a straight up battle manga series, focusing on different fighting styles and techniques in a manner reminiscent of series like Dragon Ball Z or Hunter x Hunter.
Part 3: Stardust Crusaders introduces Stands and covers an international trek through multiple countries and settings.
Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable narrows the scope to the strange happenings of the small town of Morioh, bringing the screwball energy of Twin Peaks into the mix.
Part 5: Golden Wind turns the JoJo formula into a mafia story, as new JoJo Giorno Giovannah tries to ascend the ranks of the Italian mafia.
Part 6: Stone Ocean relocates the action to a prison in Florida and follows Jolyne Kujo struggling to survive and unravel the conspiracy of her crime while on the inside.
Who Are the Main Characters of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?
Of the six parts that have been animated thus far, each one has their own supporting casts and villains. The main person to watch in each part is the latest JoJo, of course, so they’re the characters you’ll spend the most time with. Joseph and Jotaro both have presences beyond their first part, and bring a greater sense of continuity to the story as a whole. Also, whenever you’ve seen an image of a JoJo, it was most likely Jotaro.
There are a few characters whose presence and legacy stretch across more than one part: First and foremost are Jonathan and Dio, progenitors of the entire conflict for the series. Erina, Jonathan’s love and Joseph’s grandmother, is an important presence as well. Robert Speedwagon, a street ruffian-turned ally to Jonathan, has a presence that extends into nearly every single part of JJBA that’s been animated thus far.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in Video Games
An RPG adaptation came to the Super Famicom in 1993, while a fighting game also simply entitled ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ made its way to arcades in 1998.
An adaptation of Part 5, called GioGio’s Bizarre Adventure, came to the PS2 in 2002.
Arena fighting game JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle released in 2013 for the PS3, with a new version, called All-Star Battle R, also releasing for current consoles in 2022.
You can watch all parts of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure on Netflix (as Netflix is exclusively streaming it), and parts one through four on Hulu, and parts one through five on Crunchyroll, VRV, and TubiTV. You can also purchase the different parts physically.
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