In lieu of Phantom Blood getting animated, here’s a post on Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Now to those who want to get into it, rather than think of it as a really long running manga with 100+ volumes (which can sound rather intimidating to get into), it’s more appropriate to think of it as 7 different stories that loosely tie into one massive verse. In other words, the reason why I decided to make a post like this is simply because JJBA is rather different compared to other long-running manga in that each part features an entirely different cast of characters, storyline and – here’s the really cool bit – settings. Just to emphasis the point further, this is not like say, One Piece where you have Luffy as the protagonist for 100+ chapters/ 40+ volumes.
Why is this crucial? Well, it’s simple. Because what most people know about JJBA comes mainly from either the fighting game or internet pop culture (or maybe even from the old 13 episodes of OVAs), i.e. mainly part 3 of the series. Part 1, which is currently being aired this month, is significantly AND drastically different from its latter parts and is thus far from an indication of what the series is really like.
Part 1 – Phantom Blood
Done in the style of those classic horror/ thriller. You have a vampire terrorizing the village and the protagonist must go and defeat said vampire and his hoard of undead minions Hokuto no Ken style – punching undeads and making them explode.
Part 1 is arguably the weakest part of JJBA in that at this point, I guess the author is still unsure what direction he wants the series to go. Thus, to those trying to get into the series because of the hype and got disappointed, please don’t drop it yet. Phantom Blood is far from an indication of what JJBA is like.
As an aside, when I said ‘weakest’, I certainly don’t mean that it is ‘bad’. Phantom Blood was enjoyable to read, just that relative to the other parts, it wasn’t as well-developed. Nevertheless, to those who have only watched a couple of episodes of the currently airing anime and aren’t impressed with its popularity or think that it’s overrated, hold your horses: the real show hasn’t even begun. This brings me to…
Part 2 – Battle Tendency
The protagonist in this part is the grandson of the Joestar from part 1. This part bears much resemblances to Indiana Jones in terms of styles – travelling to exotic lands, featuring ancient artefacts with mythical powers and so on.
Now this is where the bizarre adventures really start. While I think of part 1 as more of a prologue, part 2 is more of like a prototype. Here you can see Araki’s idea of the verse starting to form and this is the part where you will start to see the styles and concepts that will form the basis for future parts, namely weird abilities befitting of its title and most notable of all, fights that involve strategies and characters outwitting their enemies. If you got bored at part 1, then please at least hold on till part 2 to see if you’ll enjoy it.
Part 3 – Stardust Crusaders
The most famous part of JJBA. This is where Araki introduced the concept of Stands and hence, this is where all the ZA WARUDO and TOKI YO TOMARE comes from. All those ORA ORA ORA/ MUDA MUDA MUDA are from this part as well. Style wise, it’s an action adventure similar to part 2.
The OVAs that got animated years ago were from this part. Unfortunately, it cut out a huge chunk of the story, so I don’t recommend you to watch it yet.
Part 4 – Diamond is Unbreakable
Part 4 is basically a suspense/ thriller, whereby there is a serial killer lurking in a town and the protagonists must hunt him down. Along the way, they also encounter various other eccentric Stand users and engage in a whole bunch of little adventures. On the whole, this part is more slice-of-life-ish.
Part 5 – Vento Aureo
Set in Italy and it features gangsters and mafia members. Except with super powers. Yeap. That one-line summary doesn’t do this part justice but really, that’s the main gist of it. To me, much of the appeal in this part comes from dialogues between the main characters.
Part 6 – Stone Ocean
Stone Ocean stars the first female protagonist and is, most unusual of all, set in a prison. So it’s essentially a more unusual type of slice-of-life.
Part 7 – Steel Ball Run
Set in the wild west, with cowboys, lone rangers and epic horse-racings across the continent. And of course with bizarre abilities and fight scenes mixed into the lot.
While the other parts can be read in no particular order, SBR should be read last as there little callbacks and references that really heightens the enjoyment if you’re read the previous parts. Of all parts, this is my personal favourite, as I find it to have the best balance of character development and cool action. Art wise, this part is also the most detailed and consistent.
Part 8 – Jojolion
Still on-going. Seems like it mirrors Part 4, i.e. murder/mystery.