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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I have no reason to disbelieve any of you, but Joe is my favourite JoJo.

And while I’ve already been proven wrong when I’ve said it twice, it defies belief that a show can got more gloriously bonkers than Stardust Crusaders.

Again, I fully expect to be proven wrong
 
If you think Stardust Crusaders is bonkers now, just wait until you get to the back half. The first half of the show is weird stuff but it’s like bland mayo compared to the back half that might as well be ghost peppers by comparison.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Oh this is a rewatch, I am well aware of the joy I am in for for the rest of Stardust.

It’s everything beyond that That’s uncharted territory
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Diamond quickly overtook Stardust Crusaders as my favorite part of JoJo anime. Like. I was in almost the exact same mindset as you Octo going into it, but... man. MAN!
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
You just need to get there. I loved Part 2 and never thought anyone could overtake Young Joseph too, but you just need to get there. All of Jojo is good, but Part 4 is special IMO. Part 3 has some all-time-great stuff, but it is by and large an introduction to the concept of Stands and a lot of the things that are done there are positively tame compared to Part 4 and onwards. Honestly if you've already seen Part 3 and haven't seen Part 4, don't rewatch Part 3 and go to Part 4. YOU'LL UNDERSTAND SOON

(also watch Part 5)
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
It took me entirely too long to pick up on the reference in Zeppelis name.

And I’m only pretty sure that Machina is supposed to be Metallica
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
The one that took me forever was Phantom Blood having two guys named Dire and Straights; only one of whom ever appears again.

I think Part 4 is my favourite; I'm a huge fan of the extremely small, intimate scale of the whole thing, particularly because it comes immediately after the massive globetrotting adventure of Part 3.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
It took me entirely too long to pick up on the reference in Zeppelis name.

And I’m only pretty sure that Machina is supposed to be Metallica
Metallica comes in Part 5, I don't even know who Machina is? Are you talking about Messina, the dude who trains Joseph? Cuz the two dudes who train Joseph are Loggins and Messina named after...uh, Loggins and Messina
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Its wild how often people receive horrific bloody wounds in Stardust Crusaders and don’t react at all.

Also the sheer amount of shockingly graphic murders that follow the team everywhere they go
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Yeah, how is Interpol not all over those guys? Is the Speedwagon Foundation covering it all up?
 
Its wild how often people receive horrific bloody wounds in Stardust Crusaders and don’t react at all.

Also the sheer amount of shockingly graphic murders that follow the team everywhere they go
I know it's an ongoing theme, but if you think that's bad/shocking just wait for later series. Araki seems to just really get off on body horror and gratuitous violence or something, and keeps managing to find new and incredible ways to one-up himself in every chapter. The stuff in Part 5 makes Part 3 seem like a kindergarten shit. But it's all stylized and done in ways that it never becomes grotesque or revolting, it's just... bizarre for lack of a better word. And from what I've seen of Part 8, it's taking things to a whole new level where the main character is some insane chimera of Josuke and Kira. (Beeeeeg Spoilers)

Yeah, how is Interpol not all over those guys? Is the Speedwagon Foundation covering it all up?
The 80s was kind of a wild time in history.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Yeah, its weird that Jojo one is the most overt "trappings" of horror in that its vampires but its basically Fist of the North Star in style (speaking very broadly). As it goes on, it actually becomes more akin to what horror is when it actually gets away from them and has the shounen "battle gauntlet" formula but things get weirder. Characters have amazing powers but toughness gives way to physical squishiness and physical vulnerability in exchange for versatility and powers that can do amazing things with the right bit of cleverness. No more training (except in Steel Ball Run). Bad guys rarely announce themselves unless that gives them the advantage and usually its characters trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. Its more horror at its heart when it removed horror in the superficial sense.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
The gruesome violence against people and animals is what turned me off from watching this show. In a way, I’m amazed as many people love it as much as they do. I’ve seen a clip of a guy biting a dog’s face off and spitting it in his owner’s face before killing him. Hunter X Hunter got really close to crossing over the edge for me in the Chimera Ant storyline, but JoJo is too much from what I’ve seen.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
JJBA is the show that I'm always happy to see people be so excited about, (because it's nice to see your friends excited) but have come to terms long ago that it's Not For Me, so I don't usually give my opinions on it. No sense in bringing the mood down y'know?
 
The gruesome violence against people and animals is what turned me off from watching this show. In a way, I’m amazed as many people love it as much as they do.
I normally HATE horror stuff on principle, and usually only enjoy scary movies in an ironic capacity at best. But JoJo is kinda different. It's a cartoon, and an extremely outlandish and impossible one at that. It's so stylized that when things happen like what you mentioned before, it doesn't even phase me because I don't think for a second "oh man, how horrifying" but rather "woah wtffffff" and you usually don't even have time to digest what you're seeing before something even more ridiculous comes along to make you forget what just happened. It doesn't even register remotely as real. It's like looking at the fever dream scribbles of that one weird kid in middle school that used to draw some crazy stuff in their notebook.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
My headcanon is that JoJo takes place in a Mortal Kombat universe; it’s the only way to justify how quickly everyone manages to shrug off what should be debilitating or crippling injuries.

This is also how I justify the Wet Bandits continued existence in Home Alone
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
STOP IT WATCH PART 4

My headcanon is that JoJo takes place in a Mortal Kombat universe; it’s the only way to justify how quickly everyone manages to shrug off what should be debilitating or crippling injuries.

Part 4 and 5 have workarounds for this! Part 1/2/3 also have workarounds which is "it's anime, it doesn't matter, we're moving on to the next thing" which is why I love Jojo.

Jojo is super violent and I kind of forgot all about it? Like I recommended it to a friend who likes anime a few years ago and I completely forgot at first and I mentioned that it gets gory when she was a few episodes into Part 1 and she was like "Alex the very first shot of the entire series is a bunch of dead people" and I was like oh. Oh yeah. It's very up front about it's violence, but the violence is absolutely not the selling point. Usually gore is used to set up how evil the bad guy is, which is a cheap story telling method, but still.

Jojo isn't perfect at all; there's the highly uncomfortable "it's not rape"-rape in Part 5, every once and a while there's something low key or overtly racist, and then on top of that it's often super gory. So I don't begrudge anyone for not liking it. There's a quote from Araki where he said something like he always wants to surprise the reader, and that he feels that the "rhythm" of how the story is told is important and that it's important to keep changing the rhythm, and that's what makes Jojo special. It's got shonen tropes, but it's never afraid to bend it's own rules or just get super weird solely to mix things up and they know how to crank up the tension at the right times and in the right ways.
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
Licklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklick
What I love about that whole sequence is that the heroes uncovers the evil doppleganger because he eats cherries in a strange way, but then at the end, it turns out that the real Kakyoin actually does eat cherries that way.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
What I love about that scene is that the animation team went to town on making the weirdest damn cherry-eating scene possible.

In a show that’s been weird as hell from the jump, and spends every episode making everything more and more bonkers, that cherry scene is the thing that sticks with me the most
 
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I love that Kakyoin is the low key weirdest member. He's kind of up for whatever and he's hard to get a bead on. Best bit: stoic secret handshake high five with Polnereff.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Alright, I see the sentiment enough in this thread to want to speak to my own perspective on Phantom Blood in particular, and to do it I kind of have to talk about the entire series as a whole and my own history with it.

Stardust Crusaders has always been the pop cultural juggernaut of the series; it's the breakout arc that codified the formula and lead to the strongest merchandising efforts out of any distinct part before or since. That bled into the first ripples of the series to be seen outside of its domestic market: JoJo's Venture not only marks the level of craft Capcom at the height of their pixel art powers wanted and could expend on the license, but its retrospectively slightly off-brand localized title is an artifact of that unknown period when JoJo was just an oddity among others from an English-language perspective instead of the self-perpetuating phenomenon it's seen as now. Similarly, when Viz first put out the manga in the mid-2000s, it was Part 3 they published, in full but self-contained without anything but the series-internal recaps to anchor it to what came before, and no plans that materialized to follow what would come after. The fighting game-derived Dio memes proliferated in nerd subcultures, but there wasn't a sense that the series would ever break out globally--or at least in the English-speaking, largely North America-centric Internet spaces that dictate these perceptions--in the way it had become a celebrated fixture back home.

This is the part where I come into the view of the series, probably around my late teens or so. I don't know what prompted me to start reading it through scanlations (I picked up the aforementioned Viz paperbacks later on)--probably just general omnivorous tendencies as a reader. It puts me in a silly and self-contradictory spot where I could obnoxiously front about being into it "before it was cool" (read: pre-anime) but of course, more than a decade past it becoming a mainstream megahit when understood in its home-grown context. The point is that interacting with JoJo as an English-speaker in those days, as ludicrously famous as it in reality was, was different when it wasn't coming at you from every content creator and influencer direction imaginable; the fandom around it was more isolated and fragmented, experiencing the media through weird and flawed means. The yellowed, machine-lettered Part 3 scans were standard, the unintelligible and since memetic "Duwang" transliterations of Part 4 similarly the only option for interacting with the narrative. I don't miss these things, but the sheer wall they posed for gleaning whatever you could of the work had a filtering (and inadvertently gatekeeping) effect that most people would rather not want to bother with, and who could blame them? I questioned my own interactions with the series through such bizarre and shoddy means, but it also told a story of the passion of the people putting this stuff out there, even if they had not the best technology, the best editorial or graphic design skills, or the best source material to work off of, as well as the people who still wanted to follow the story through such a warped medium. JoJo kept trucking along, and I read all of it that existed at the time--up to whatever part of Steel Ball Run was ongoing then.

Then The Anime happened. Oh, woe! This niche underground comic I like that continually sells millions and drives huge swathes of pop culture is now available for anyone with a torrent program or a streaming subscription to watch! How can I ever feel special and learned and cool about my interests ever again? I'm sure some genuinely felt this (and I can convincingly enough mock the sentiment because I have enough self-awareness to know it's not entirely absent of myself) but the truth is I never much thought about the David Production animation. It raised the profile of the series globally to an unprecedented degree, and now JoJo is the kind of well-trodden, self-defining genre unto itself that it has long been in Japan. Finally there's parity! Just because of how people consume media, it has become the pre-eminent way to experience the series, which I don't begrudge anyone for if their preferences lean in that direction, because as neutrally as I can put it the anime is "perfectly competent" at adapting the source material. I would never take it over the comic, while others may state the opposite. As an ongoing project for the past decade, I've mostly kept my distance to it, and don't habitually re-read the series either. What is JoJo to me then--what would compel the long-term interaction I once had with it and that would prompt musing like this now?

I think it's the first story arc, Phantom Blood, that has most of my lingering affection, that occasionally sets the old passion aflame once more when it crosses my thoughts now and again. It's the series at its best for me in all the ways that matter in the comparative ways it's been told across decades; maybe I wish JoJo as a whole was something different, but in the material that exists as it is this is the closest to a narrative ideal I have seen the series be. A lot of it is due to the specifics of Araki's evolution as an artist and how that shift informs the shape and aesthetic of his stories; this is a point for the manga as far as my interests in the work go since those differences aren't as keenly felt in the more standardized production model of the anime, created over a much shorter stretch of time even if in animation it's also very much a long-runner. Phantom Blood lives and breathes the stereotypes and trends of its time; Fist of the North Star is the common reference point to an influencing peer, but that's a series I want nothing to do with, and I think the crucial point of disambiguation is that JoJo in its primordial state borrows the template of mountainous men squaring off and emoting enormously, which is only to its dramatic benefit as the emotional gigantism is reflected in the language used by the ever-present narrator as well as the visual art that goes along with it--yet it doesn't trespass into the distastefully, violently macho and chauvinistic even as it establishes a definite masculinity as an ongoing narrative force within its own storytelling and presentation. Much of that has to do with what kind of person the lead character is.

Jonathan Joestar is the entire point of JoJo as an ongoing generational narrative to me. He is what makes the appeals to a family legacy and destiny matter in the subsequent stories, the emotional fulcrum from which every other distinct JoJo branches off of and through whom they are measured by, even if they never meet. There is maybe an inclination to view Jonathan as a prototype to a kind of protagonist Araki would go on to write, as he lacks the common characteristics shared by most of his literal progeny: he is not hot-tempered, not prone to mischief, not a social outcast, not eager to punish those who've wronged him with violence. He lacks the kind of easy dynamism that makes jokesters like Joseph easy to both write around, proactively prod along, and for audiences to relate to and root for if not on a personal level then for the sheer interest of seeing them bounce off others. In this purview, Jonathan becomes "the boring one"--heck, he's almost visually identical to Joseph anyway, so there is the feeling that he only matters as a narrative catalyst, for being the First Joestar and nothing more.

As much as JoJo is about the Joestar bloodline, it's equally as much about Dio. Dio the invader, Dio the eternal adversary. Dio is there from the start, and then he dies. He dies several times, yet his influences never leaves the series; echoes of his actions continue to ripple forward and retroactively through the decades that comprise the larger narrative of the series. Phantom Blood, as much as it can be seen as an "origin story" to decades of twisty continuity, is also the only place in which Dio Brando the person appears in. It has nothing to do with his transformation into a vampire partway through it, or the sole means of his continued existence in later arcs. The series itself knows this, as those later incarnations are signaled by the bold typeface of the DIO mononym--he is a coordinated performance of hackneyed ideas and concepts of villainy; an engine of choreographed theater responding to an audience that's always there in his mind. Part 1 Dio is not invulnerable, and he is not so polished in the ways that the character places importance on, in appearing sufficiently sophisticated to satisfy his own ego. He struggles to execute upon his scheming, he panics when resisted, he retreats into drink in the ways he hated his father for, and curses his own weaknesses. The DIO that consumes the future of the Joestars is not seen through this lens as he builds up an industry of evil around himself to protect his own image from ever again seeming fallibly human, and it's how he shields those same weaknesses that never truly left him. The one person who ever made him confront those aspects of himself, who truly defeated him in a way he could not accept, was Jonathan--unassuming, quiet Jonathan, the object of Dio's years-long gaslighting and psychological torment in their youth, and the one person he could not break. It follows him to the end of his days, as it doesn't really matter that it's Jotaro and Joseph he faces--they're only extensions of Jonathan to him.

Jonathan is a flat character in his way, but he is not unchanging; Dio's arrival launches the arc that sees him transform himself from an astoundingly privileged and pampered gentry heir into becoming someone who's cognizant of his own privilege and comes to see it as a duty to live up to instead of a silver spoon to cling from. The mistreatment of Jonathan by Dio in their shared youth helps him ascertain his own ideals, while Dio descends further into his own insecurities and paranoia. Yet they are raised as family, as brothers, and that intimacy never leaves the relationship no matter what kind of violence occurs between them. Jonathan can't forgive Dio for the trauma he's inflicted on him, and he also can't disassociate the love he still bears for the man who was his brother; the pain of futilely reaching out to your family is palpable in their deteriorating sham of a family dynamic. This relationship is everything that Phantom Blood is, and the sense of interpersonal intimacy is almost entirely absent from every JoJo story thereafter. In a way, it reflects the published history of the series, as in its nascent form there were no expectations, no clear plan for what JoJo could even be. It's an experimental character piece told in the form of a martial arts horror comic, with none of the rigid formalism that define the later story arcs; it's unburdened by formula as the series could never be again after the introduction of Stands. I don't care about Stands as a vehicle for fights, because I don't care about the fights except as a vehicle for character interactions, and that is a balance that cannot be met as the nature of the comic becomes a weekly suspense puzzle of figuring out what's killing me now and how can I outsmart it before it's too late, before whisking off to the next multi-chapter fight. The JoJo arcs that work better in this framework are the ones that profess that same character and setting-based stability and intimacy that informed the series at its outset--Parts 4 and 6, namely--and it's a quality that marks the individual highlights within those stories. People latch onto Let's Go Out for Italian from Part 4 and deservedly so because it puts the focus on what's inherently the most interesting about the setting it's told in: the people in it, in all their weird mundane fixations.

Why does Jonathan's portrayal land so emotionally hard, then? He is an archetype through and through, and there is an argument to be made that he's too "flawless" to come across as exceptional. It comes down to symbols and aspirations for me: Jonathan sets the example that no JoJo since has ever met, and it's not for want of trying; the series wallows in sentimental iconography about him to communicate that he matters as someone to live up to. All the JoJos after him, if they compel as characters, do so because their imperfections shape who they are: Joseph the rascal; Jotaro the terse stoic; Josuke the goof-off; Giorno the... look, I can only do so much; Jolyne the angry resenter. All of them are heroic for reasons of narrative and who they oppose, but they have personal failings everywhere in their lives: Joseph's infidelity and Jotaro's misogynist outbursts are extensions of their characterization of the kind of person that is "fun to read about" as a protagonist of a serial like this, and also the kind of boys' comics personage that's permissible and even expected to feature as the lead. Jonathan is exceptional because his overwhelmingly defining trait is his empathy, respect and love for his friends, family, and yes, his enemies. Women don't get their stories told in JoJo (even if Stone Ocean has its merits) and Erina is completely ancillary to the actual emotional focus of the story, but at the end, when the literal disembodied head of his brother is burrowing its tendrils into his flesh, Jonathan's priorities are equally reserved for the mockery of brotherhood before him and the love of his life; the feelings he has for them are the same. Jonathan could have been a bully, he could've been a "justified" avenger, but even in aspects where the series traditionally fails, his presence makes those same plot beats feel a little more acceptable and inclusive just through the nature of his character and what he represents. There are so many JoJo stories that end with the despotic villain getting their comeuppance in the most over-the-top, hypnotically gruesome and in many cases, never-ending means of violent punishment they are now imprisoned in as symbolic purgatory for their crimes: Phantom Blood is the only one where a man ends his life smiling and embracing his own killer out of love.

I don't really know where my own relationship with JoJo stands these days; it has become more retrospective by default than anything. Part of it is because I have little interest in the adaptations that continue, as well as in the comic itself because of that same evolution of Araki as an artist and author that characterizes and delineates the different arcs even more strongly than the literal boundaries do. I don't need to be interested in his later work, and he is not obligated to cater to the preferences of his audience; he has enjoyed a long career and done many incredible things during it, so it's up to everyone to pick and choose what they may from the catalogue. There are fans for each and every Part who value a different one the most, and everyone's personal story with the series informs that call. At this point, I've comfortably landed on mine.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The show (and presumably manga) just wastes no time at all making sure everyone hates Dio, and what an absolute little jackhole he is even before he gains vampire/time control powers, which stands out all the sharper because of what a solid guy Johnathan is.

Also, I’m near the midpoint on Stardust Crusaders. Considering how anticlimactic the end of the episode winds up being (which is itself the joke), the fight against The Sun might be the one instance in the entire show where Jotaro loses his composure by being completely outclassed.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I love that each season finale tweaks the audio on the opening credits. Really makes it pop.

Also, I love that in a group that includes both Jotaro, Joseph and Polnareff, it’s the small cute dog who is the most short tempered and aggressive of them all.

Also, don’t give a dog gum. Ain’t a good treat.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
I love how Araki originally drew Iggy as this gigantic fuck-ugly dog before deciding on a whim to suddenly start drawing him tiny and give him basically a human face, and the anime splits the difference by having his character model gradually change over the course of an arc. For no reason.
 
Interesting takes on the franchise, Peklo. I likewise harbor a lot of affection for Phantom Blood, but the rest of the franchise grooves for me too.

Just because of how people consume media, it has become the pre-eminent way to experience the series, which I don't begrudge anyone for if their preferences lean in that direction, because as neutrally as I can put it the anime is "perfectly competent" at adapting the source material. I would never take it over the comic, while others may state the opposite.
This is the age old conundrum of source material first experiences. By nature of the industry, it's just going to be extremely unlikely that an anime adaptation is going to every make everyone happy with regards to the artwork of a show. There will either be pacing issues adapting something that wasn't written to be watched instead of read; there's going to be visual fidelity issues with regards to dumbing down/simplifying art styles to work in Tezuka Osamu's anime industry; there's always going to be directorial quibbles with regards to liberties taken in adaptation or voices not matching what people imagined in their heads. I get it, and it's a very natural thing to experience.

But I do think that very often - especially in anime where a large chunk of any given show's budget is dedicated to voice acting - that adaptations are worth watching (at least in part) even if you prefer the source material if only to see what something looks like through other people's imagination. The voice acting in JoJo (can't speak for the dubs) is generally really effing good. They usually bring in heavy weight pro talent that do an incredible job of giving voice to these characters. And giving imagery music to accentuate the mood can do a lot for a show. (Re: every Yoko Kanno soundtrack on a generic show made better by her participation.) And a well directed show can build up a palpable amount of tension by using timing in ways that comics have a much harder time of doing since everyone reads at different speeds.
 
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