• Friday, October 31, 2014

ANIME REVIEW

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE

Tahmid

Episodes: 47 episodes out and ongoing
Genre: Action/Adventure/Supernatural
Writer and Illustrator: Hirohiko Araki

The story doesn't follow just one character or a group, it follows a lineage. When one arc finishes it is time for a different protagonist to take the stage. Phantom Blood takes place in 1880s Great Britain with Jonathan Joestar. Then it's Battle Tendency in 1938 New York and Stardust Crusaders in 1989 Japan. All the protagonists carry the nickname of 'Jojo'. Each of them has different oppositions to deal with using what powers they have at their disposal. For the first two arcs, Ripple (sun energy) is the weapon of choice. Then it becomes Stands, which are unique proxies based on Tarot cards. Each of the Jojos is different. Jonathan is a gentleman, Joseph relies on tricks and planning, Jotaro is rude and brash. But they'll have you rooting for them all the same.

JBA has some great music. My favourites are the opening and ending themes from the Stardust Crusaders arc. STAND PROUD (Jin Hashimoto) has some great instrumental work going on in the background that you wouldn't want to overlook and Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles) just makes you a happier person who wants to dance like it's 1985. Hirohiko Araki is a big fan of rock, which one can tell from his choice in soundtrack and how he names characters. There are characters named (or named after) Wham!, AC/DC and probably Dio as well.
Each arc allegedly uses a different art style. It isn't necessarily the designs that change but more how objects are rendered and animated. More than once I've felt like Hirohiko Araki can only draw certain types of faces. It's like he uses templates. I mean, almost every man is a six foot something muscular giant with broad shoulders. In 2009 Araki's artwork from JBA was featured in an exhibition in the Louvre. I like his art but you should judge for yourself.

Some of the concepts in JBA are childish and simple when you think about it. It never seems that way because of how it is portrayed. It feels… surreal? No, that's not it. A severed head spits at his decapitator. Vampires have laser-beam eyeballs. The word I'm looking for is bizarre.

The voice acting is over-the-top. This is particularly true for Speedwagon who can't help but use his uncanny observation skills and penchant for dictation to express astonishment at everything, bless his anime soul. It feels a bit like a Shakespearean drama. Characters dictate ongoing affairs via external monologue. In combination with the voice acting it seems like they're doing it on purpose, so it gets a pass. Narration might have held purpose in the manga where it might not have been clear what was going on but it serves little function in the anime. From the second arc onwards there's less announcing of transpiring events and one will have acquired a taste for it by then anyway.

If you want something more serious, you might want to try the manga instead. You won't have to deal with the dramatic voice acting. As for me I'll stick with the anime until Stardust Crusaders has finished. After that I'll wait for the next season or just start reading the manga.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is the only anime you should ever have to watch. That and Boku no Pico.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, September 04, 2014

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