A Few Thoughts on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Parts 1-3)


Hello, readers. A long time ago – about nine years ago, I think – I watched a little bit of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure with my partner at the time. All I saw was a little of the first arc. Although it was certainly weird-looking to me, it didn’t really kindle my interest or hold my attention. A few years later, I tried again on my own. I finished the first JoJo’s story and then lost interest again. I never considered it a bad anime, but for a long time, I couldn’t stay interested in JoJo or give it the full attention it deserved.

Recently, however, I started watching the anime with a good friend online. Since I could clearly remember the first arc, we started with the second JoJo story – the one with Joseph Joestar. This time, I was able to pay more attention and stay interested enough to enjoy it. I am currently slowly making my way through the third arc (Stardust Crusaders) with my good friend. Now that I’ve seen a good chunk of this anime, I wanted to share a few thoughts on it.

(The main characters in Stardust Crusaders)

-JoJo In General-

The first thing that jumps out at me about JoJo is the unique visual experience. The art and animation style is iconic, from the bulky male bodies with their distinct outfits, to the neon color alterations that show up in intense action scenes. Sometimes, the animation is impressive and high-budget, looking smooth and cinematic. The comic book style where sound effects show up in Katakana is also interesting to see. JoJo furthermore features a lot of spectacular violence, which some may enjoy for the spectacle (however, most streaming services show a censored version).

(I mean, true)

There’s no denying the visuals have both quality and creativity. Nevertheless, I should note that JoJo’s style isn’t one I’m particularly fond of. Some of the visual elements – mostly the absurdly muscular and hulking men – actually bothered me early on. I did grow more accustomed to it, and I appreciate it unique art style even if I don’t find it appealing personally. It’s the same with much of JoJo. I wouldn’t say I dislike it – in fact I respect it as a classic anime – but it’s hard for me to really get into it on a certain level.

One of the most enjoyable things about JoJo to me is the silliness of it all. I’m not upset that there’s nothing “deep” or personally fascinating to me, because I don’t have to take it seriously. There’s so much humor in the way things unfold in this anime. For one example, take the abundance of exposition and ranting that happens during fight scenes. The way the characters explain everything they are doing and how their powers work in the middle of a physical conflict is somehow amusing.

(Joseph attempts cross-dressing)

-Issues with JoJo-

Later, I’ll mention a few other elements that were humorous or entertaining to me in JoJo; but for now, it’s fair to mention a few issues with the anime. These are relatively mild, and I wouldn’t call JoJo a problematic anime by and large. There are occasional instances of racist humor, such as the portrayal of the Indian man in the restaurant in Stardust Crusaders. There was also the ordeal of seeing a sexualized, naked girl who was obviously child-coded and probably not older than twelve. (I mean Anne.) And who can forget Joseph Joestar peeping on his own mother bathing? (True, he didn’t know that at the time. But peeping would have been wrong regardless.)

(That is a child…)

A recurring issue that appears is JoJo’s treatment and portrayal of female characters and women in general. There are few instances of strong female characters who can keep up with the guys with regards to strength, abilities, or even wit. JoJo writes stupid, helpless women. The only exception so far was LisaLisa, who really kicks ass. Even so, the cast treats her much differently than they would if she were a hairy male teacher-figure. Joseph doesn’t respect her at all, initially, and wants to bully her for kicks. The pillar men, who address JoJo by name, only refer to LisaLisa as “woman.”

Putting LisaLisa aside, look at the overall attitude toward women in the series (at least, in parts 1-3). Women are portrayed as silly, shallow, and weak. “Good” women like Jotaro’s mother are infantilized rather than truly respected. The mild but still insulting Japanese slur against women, “ama,” is sometimes directed at female characters. On top of that, JoJo falls prey to the same “sin” as most anime series in the way it intensely sexualizes its important female characters. This is a considerable problem in the show if you ask me.

Those are the main issues I felt were important to mention. That being said, one might also include the warning that JoJo is incredibly graphic sometimes. That could be an issue for some. All in all, despite some flaws, I’m having fun with JoJo.

(Lisa Lisa)

-Why I Enjoy JoJo-

Let’s switch over to some things I love about this anime. I’ve already mentioned the unique visuals and art, but there’s even more than that. The music is great, for instance. Not only do all the openings so far seriously slap, but the instrumental scores and themes for specific characters are cool and memorable. I loved Avdol’s theme a lot. Another thing I love is the way the anime uses ridiculous poses for its characters at random times. Also, the completely over-the-top outfits just add to the delightfully gay energy of these characters and their wild poses.

(Check out his pose)

Besides art, music, and crazy poses, the best thing about JoJo is its capacity to be entertaining. You cannot get bored watching this anime due it being weird and unpredictable. “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” is aptly named, for it’s truly bizarre. The weirdness of JoJo is often off-putting, sometimes even bordering on disturbing. Other times, it’s so absurd and random that it becomes humorous. Whether it’s the unsettling kind of weird – like the ape who was a stand user – or the funny type of weird – like Kakyoin’s fondness for cherries – the elements of erratic insanity serve to be highly diverting.

There were so many moments where I found myself aghast, asking my friend, “What the f*ck?” There were just as many moments where I burst out laughing when something freaky happened. It’s a lot of fun, even when it’s kind of gross. That’s why I’m excited to keep watching more of JoJo. Hopefully, I’ll finish Stardust Crusaders by the end of March. (My friend and I are working through it quite slowly due to scheduling issues.)

-Specific Character Notes-

Although my opinions are probably weird, I thought it might be interesting to some readers to hear my personal thoughts on a few of the characters from JoJo. The first character to mention is Dio Brando. This charismatic man is the main villain of seasons 1 and 3. Since he was adopted into the Joestar family, the details of his childhood background are unknown (at least to me, right now). But we do know that he’s a cruel, selfish man bent on the pursuit of power.

Dio is an interesting character for several reasons. For one thing, he’s an example of a charming, sociopathic villain in anime. This type of character has always fascinated me. Charisma is a dangerous force if used by the wrong people. Another reason I’m interested in Dio is that he’s bisexual/pansexual. Although I haven’t seen much “evidence” of this in the anime, my friend says there are more hints in the manga. Regardless, the author of the manga (Araki) stated in an interview that Dio could go for a woman or a man. I’m not happy about the fact that the sociopath is the only bi/pan character, but it still makes him more interesting to me. (I’m also pansexual.)

(Dio Brando)

Joseph Joestar is also a diverting character. His personality is distinctly extraverted, resourceful, and cheerful. He’s quick-witted and impressively inventive when in a pinch. He’s also mischievous and quick to laugh. I’ve only seen three JoJos, but Joseph is my favorite so far. In terms of the MBTI model, he would probably be ESTP. This type loves action, adventure, and risk. ESTP characters in anime tend to be assholes, but that isn’t the case for this man. In contrast to his wild side, Joseph is also a deeply loyal person with admirable dedication to his friends and family.

General von Stroheim caught my attention as an entertaining character. My friend Nat, with whom I’m watching the anime, can probably describe his qualities better than me. Thus, the following paragraphs in quotes were written by Nat. (We’re considering doing an anime podcast sometime.)

“Hello internet! Nat here. Today I am going to talk about General von Stroheim and why he is my favorite character from JoJo part two.

“Let’s set some groundwork first. I am German and I think I don’t just speak for myself when I say that the obsession of Japanese animation with the aesthetic of Nazism and Germany around the 1940s is deeply disturbing to me. And it took me until I saw the literal Nazis in Jojo until I saw a take on the horrible past of my country that didn’t make me want to vomit. First off: Jojo is clearly set in an universe apart from ours. I mean, A German outpost in Mexico? Also, the German soldiers that we see lack any kind of redeeming qualities; they are sniffling, drooling, cowardly pig-humans and I love it! Its so refreshing to see an adaptation of Nazism in anime depict them in the light they deserve. And on top of it all sits general von Stroheim, a vain, cackling, manic person, whose only redeeming quality is arguably that he falls in love with Joseph for bravery related reasons.

(General Von Stroheim)

“Stroheim combines the over-the-top arrogance of the Nazis in Jojo with the shows trademark queerish-performative mannerisms and I LOVE it. Every time he is on screen he makes me laugh and seeing him come back for the final episodes made for a very interesting moment, because Jojo is arguably the only piece of media that makes you thing to yourself, “Oh thank god, the Nazis are here! Wait a minute…” In general, I love every kind of “The enemy of my enemy is my ally” -plotline, and since the show doesn’t endorse or even talk that much about Nazi-Ideology, I can forgive the fact that the Nazis take on a more heroic role in the finale. Stroheim also has an absolutely AMAZING musical theme. Coming from me, that means a lot, because I normally cringe till death whenever I hear Japanese vocalists try to pronounce German song lyrics; but they manage to pull it off here.”

Thanks, Nat!

Moving onto the next JoJo, there’s Jotaro Joestar. He is widely considered the most popular of the JoJos among fans. For the life of me, I don’t see why. While I understand that he’s strong and powerful, I don’t see him as a very interesting character in terms of personality or psychology. To me, Jotaro just seems like a kid with an attitude problem. Sure, he can be sweet at times; but he mostly acts cold or aggressive. He’s the sort of character that is regarded as “cool” even when he doesn’t say anything. That drives me nuts. I’m not saying Jotaro is a bad person or anything: he’s just definitely not my favorite.

To end this section, I’ll share some thoughts about two other characters from Stardust Crusaders: Kakyoin and Avdol. Kakyoin is a smart cookie and his character design is also likeable. Although he is one of the most sensible of the group, he also has a goofy side that I appreciate. Kakyoin helps balance out the otherwise reckless, loud Stardust Crusaders with his quiet insightfulness and logical mind. Then there’s Avdol. He is admirable, strong, and dependable. In the MBTI, he would be an ISTJ, a type associated with responsibility, honor, logic, and good reason. Unlike Jotaro, he’s conscientious and usually polite. Additionally, it was nice to have a character of a different ethnicity that isn’t often represented in anime.

That just about wraps up my thoughts at this point. Thank you for reading and enjoy your day. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments. Ja, ne!


4 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Parts 1-3)

  1. I love Jojo’s. I don’t really know, I can’t explain it, but it’s just so utterly outrageous in every sense of the word and it works so much… and seing how Araki’s writing evolved with time, being able to portray stronger themes in a way that fits right is wonderful. Don’t worry, the portrayal of female characters gets much, much better over time (shouldn’t take so long in the first place, but at least there’s some kind of redemption here).

    Currently, it’s 9th part has been very entertaining, even with only two chapters. I hope this time around you can finish your adventure with the series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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