Essay · Review

Manga Spotlight Week: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Manga Spotlight Week Intro

Manga Spotlight Week: Yotsuba&! | MSW: Kakegurui | MSW: Wizard’s Soul ~Holy War of Love~ | MSW: Devil’s Line | MSW: Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu | MSW: Mousou Telepathy |MSW: Koi wa Ameagari no You ni 

[Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure] has wonderfully likable protagonists and love-to-hate-them, evil antagonists. Character development is astounding, the plot is never predictable,

Where to even begin?

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has officially spanned 30 years. It’s been going longer than One Piece, but because of the way it’s structured, I guess people don’t count it.

Thanks to the recently fantastically adapted anime series, JJBA has gained a lot of previously unseen popularity. Due to extensive copywrite reasons, the manga has only just started to enter the Western market. Scans have been available online for years, but they were either poorly translated (search “Beautiful duwang”) or difficult to read due to busy black-and-white pages.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the die-hard fans from singing its praises, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.

JJBA is a pilgrimage. It tells the story of the Joestar dynasty, starting with Joseph Joestar in the 1800s, up to the current Jojo; Jousuke. To talk about anything past mid-part six is a spoiler for many, many things down the road, so I’ll stick to the basics.

It started as a vampire killing series, then muddled with villains called ‘pillar men,’ but then found it’s footing in the 1980s with ‘Stands:’ physical manifestations of a person’s fighting spirit with unique powers. Since then it’s been going strong, with the Jojo’s fighting their respective antagonists with their stands.

jotaro
The art of Jojo is A++. Pictured is Jotaro from Stardust Crusaders

There are a lot of ‘Why you should watch/read Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures’ videos. I think it all sums down to: it’s unique and never ceases to amaze.

JJBA is so old it wrote the book on Shonen tropes. Reading from the very beginning, it’s easy to think ‘oh I’ve seen that before’ but that’s because JJBA did it first and you’ve been seeing the copies.

Thus, it’s uniqueness. It never ceases to amaze because mangaka Hirohishi Araki is a master storyteller. He can write a protagonist into a seemingly inescapable corner and then brilliantly get them out. The world can be going all to shit, but somehow he turns it around in the end in a satisfying way.

Not to mention the endless new Stand abilities. They started simply as “strong,” “wields fire” and “stops time” and as evolved to “zombie plague,” “bubbles that steals aspects of an object,” and “softening tissue.”

jojolion
Crazy things happen as the series continues

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a series for someone who loves a long, constant burn. It has wonderfully likable protagonists and love-to-hate-them, evil antagonists. Character development is astounding, the plot is never predictable, and the art evolves over the years into a distinct style.

It’ll make you laugh, it will legit make you cry, and you’ll find a best boy/girl no problem.

  • Best for those who like: Shonen, battle series, mysteries, smart fights, strongly-written characters, dynamic story telling, creative problem solving, a strong canon and history, chapters that seemingly never end, fashion, music
  • Worst for those who dislike: slow starts, 1980s style manga/anime, monster-of-the-week, keeping up with series history, lots of exposition, several named characters to keep track of, sci-fi, complex story lines
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