Breakdown, breakdown! Let's analyze JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and do it shining justice!


February 20, 2017

Getting the Most Out of Games


Before I do anything else, I need to ask you Star Wars fans out there a question: what do you think of Darth Vader? 

I’m curious, because I don’t have a leg to stand on.  I’ve seen the Star Wars movies (save for Rogue One, for now at least), but I can’t say they’ve ever occupied a major space in my mind, or formed a crucial part of my nerd identity.  They were just movies I could watch, enjoy, and move on from.  More to the point, they were movies that -- by a twist of fate -- were almost completely absent from my childhood, and even then I saw them in an imperfect form (The Empire Strikes Back was my first, and it would be years before I even thought about watching Return of the Jedi).  So even if I know the key talking points and the details, I don’t have the bond with them that others likely do.

That’s part of the reason why I’m starting with a question about Darth Vader.  I know who he is and what he’s about -- more or less -- but it’s surface-level stuff compared to the true fans.  Smarter writers than me could probably go on at length about why he’s “badass”, or the thematic heft behind his presence in the canon, or why his stint in Soulcalibur IV was such a pivotal moment.  I don’t have the understanding of the character, so that’s why I need others to explain the appeal.

Of course, the other part of the reason I’m starting with a question is this: I recently learned that there’s a Darth Vader RC car.

February 16, 2017

I’m Back to Rise (Basically)


Hey guys, I just had another thought about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.  I’d better write a 7,000 word post to explain a middling and overall inconsequential point.

…Nah, just kidding.  I’ve done more than enough JoJo posts for now.  And you know what that means.

February 13, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Intermission)


And here we are at last.

So.  Let’s go ahead and breakdown, breakdown JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure one more time…for now, at least.

February 6, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 8)

All right.  Let’s talk about “Chase”.

I think that all of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure openings are special -- top-notch work, and a joy to behold and listen to alike.  Personally, that extends to the sixth opening “Chase”.  It’s not my favorite, but it’s still plenty impressive.  From what I can gather, not everyone feels the same way; there have been complaints that the song doesn’t fit JoJo (and belongs with other shonen/anime as per its “generic” nature).  Or, alternatively, they’ll say that the dreary aesthetic and harsh tones are too stark a contrast for a show that revels in its randomly shifted -- and shifting -- color palette.

My argument is that it always seemed as if “Chase” represented a logical progression for the Diamond is Unbreakable anime.  I guessed as much once “Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town” dropped.  Okay, first opening?  Lots of happy sounds and poppy visuals, which can help an audience start falling in love with Morioh and its people.  But since this is JoJo, a series that revels in horror and suffering, it was only a matter of time once the plot kicked in -- and of course, it kicked in right around the time when “Chase” made its debut.  You can’t exactly have the cast dancing and goofing off when one of the story’s major, plot-propelling moments is a serial killer’s murder of an innocent middle school boy who just happened to learn too much.  All because he wanted his sandwich.

So yeah, I like “Chase” as a song, as an opening, and as a representation.  Still, there was one thing that bugged me for the longest time.  I kept asking “Hey, what’s with that weird stony heart with an anchor on it?”  Luckily, I did eventually get my answer -- and like Diamond is Unbreakable at large, it was glorious.

I’ll SPOIL you anywhere
I’ll SPOIL you anytime
You know I’ll SPOIL you
There is no escape (from SPOILERS)

January 30, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 7)

Hey, welcome back to Cross-Up.  You know, writing about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure posts has gotten me thinking.  I’ve come to realize that --

NO.  

SHUT UP.  

EVERYBODY SHUT UP.  

No long, meandering intros.  No tangential anecdotes.  I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.  So you know what?  Screw it.  Screw everything else.  We’re getting in there, right here, RIGHT NOW.

JoJo.  Part 4.  Diamond is Unbreakable.  

LET’S GO.

The SPOILERS we have fly flowing free
As we bicker the day away
Dancing all the while in this
Crazy noisy bizarre SPOILERS

January 23, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 6)

You know what really gets to me?  Jotaro’s hat.

I don’t have a problem with the way it looks.  It’s just that for the longest time -- before I seriously started getting into JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure -- I was under the impression that he never took it off.  Plus there’s his look in the Stardust Crusaders anime; with his black uniform and black hair, it looks as if his hat is essentially a part of his skull.  Where does one end and the other begin?  Nobody knows.  Granted that ambiguity was drastically reduced in the Diamond is Unbreakable anime by virtue of Jotaro’s white outfit, but still.  The point remains, I think.

…Is what I would like to say.  But in the very first episode of the anime, Jotaro’s hat gets blown clear off.  And then in the very first arc of the second half of the story, it gets blown off again.  It’s like, how can anyone say that the hat never comes off when it comes off almost immediately?  And on more than one occasion?  The mind boggles.  I blame memes, I suppose; it’s another instance of JoJo being pared down to absolute basics.  A generalization.  And when you generalize, you’re that much more likely to get it wrong.

So I guess I’ll get into specifics -- and use most of the rest of this post to explain why I think Stardust Crusaders is the weakest of the JoJo parts so far.  Hold on to your butts hats.

Their SPOILERS have begun!  Their SPOILERS are running out!
They will SPOIL this!  They won’t stop!
SPOILERS! (HA!  HA!  HA!  HA!)

January 16, 2017

Final Fantasy XV (AKA the 5-Year Anniversary Post)


Hello and welcome to Cross-Up, home of various posts on Final Fantasy!  I’ve been at this since 2012, and it’s so nice to know that even one person out there has read and enjoyed my posts on all sorts of subjects, like Final Fantasy!  I know I’m not the most popular guy out there that talks about Final Fantasy, but it’s been an honor to discuss in-depth what I think about games that have Final Fantasy in the title.  I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon because there are more Final Fantasy games on the way, and I hope that I can continue to grow the blog as I talk about Final Fantasy.

After all, it is my Final Fantasy to become more than just a Final Fantasy.  And as a Final Fantasy, this Final Fantasy has helped me realize that it’s a long road to evolve as a Final Fantasy.  So with the help of Final Fantasy, I’ll Final Fantasy my way to the Final Fantasy and treat the world to the Final Fantasy it deserves, because Final Fantasy is a Final Fantasy that Final Fantasy has in every Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy our Final Fantasy.

So Final Fantasy your Final Fantasy, because Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy in Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy a Final FantasyFinal Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy.

…This is a post on Final Fantasy 15, so let’s talk about it.

Final Fantasy.

January 9, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 5)

All right, I know the purpose of this little miniseries is to show that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is greater than the sum of its memes, but…come on, man.  If it wasn’t for ZA WARUDO, it might never have gotten the legs it did in the west.

Okay, that’s a reductive way of looking at things.  I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about JoJo until I found out about ZA WARUDO, and even then it stayed as a simple meme until the anime came out (an anime I’d eventually get around to in 2016, years after its start).  And I know anime; I can’t imagine what it was like for people who don’t know anime.  Anyone who gained exposure by virtue of rapid-fire screams, a cafeteria’s worth of knives, and a steamroller swan dive gained an irrepressible image burned into their very souls.  But I guess any publicity is good publicity.  If a meme opened the door to a wider appreciation of JoJo, then I think we should all count that as a win.

It’s no surprise, then, that Part 3 of JoJo -- Stardust Crusaders -- had some traction going into the big anime premiere (by which I mean David Production’s run, if it wasn’t clear already).  “Oh, this is where that ZA WARUDO thing came from, right?” Billy McCrunchyroll might say one cool October evening.  “Well then, maybe I should give it a look.”  And the rest is history.  Along with Stands, I guess.  Stands are cool, which I’m sure various people have discovered well before this post.

But is Part 3 cool enough to match?  That’s what I’m here to find out.  Or…report on, I suppose.  That seems like a better fit.

BREAK YOU DOWN, BREAK YOU DOWN, BREAK YOU DOWN
Let these SPOILERS fly free
With this hallowed post, STAND PROUD!  (With spoilers.)

January 2, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 4)

I should probably start off this post by making something very clear.  There are tons of factors that decide whether a story -- a game, a movie, a book, a TV show, or whatever -- is good.  Even if that’s true, I think we can all agree that characters make up a good chunk of those factors.  As I’ve said, characters create opportunities; if they’re engaging, then they can take an audience to some incredible highs.  If they’re bad, then it’s the equivalent of jamming Mount Olympus into your eyeball.

It’s pretty easy to throw around the claim that “characters should be likable”.  And yeah, that’s a big part of it.  But let’s not get bogged down by strict definitions; “likable” doesn’t have to mean that the character is an admirable, noble member of society.  He or she doesn’t have to be a bang-up hero, because otherwise we would ignore villains by default.  It’s about making sure that, by writing and/or design, there’s something compelling about a character.  That should be understood by everyone, because it’s certainly something understood by JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and its creator, Hirohiko Araki.

So now that I’ve said all that, let me make a claim about Battle Tendency.  A huge chunk of the named characters are assholes.  And that’s awesome.

Your next line is…
What?  You didn’t tell me there were SPOILERS in this post!
…Except I kind of did.  I lead in with this red text for a reason, people.


December 26, 2016

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 3)

“There’s no way Joseph is the best JoJo.”

I’m not usually one to play the contrarian, even though it seems like that with some of my less-than-ideal opinions (like anything that has to do with Naughty Dog).  I’d like to think that I’m able to rise above preconceptions and biases to speak clearly and honestly about subjects.  But for the life of me -- and even now -- I cannot say that Joseph Joestar is the best lead JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has to offer.

Hear me out on this.  Joseph is the hero of Part 2 -- Battle Tendency -- which ran from 1987 to 1989 in manga form, and from December 2012 to April 2013 in anime form.  The former came out forever and a day ago, while the latter is fresher on people’s minds (thanks to all sorts of memes, to generalize).  Either way, there’s a LOT of content to go through.  Remember, there are eight different JoJo sagas out there, with the latest of the bunch still in production.  There’s a ton that people still need to be exposed to and given the chance to digest.  Even if we peel away 75% of the context of each arc, we still need to put every JoJo under the microscope.  Those who are 100% up to date with the manga can probably do that, but for everyone else?  How can you say “Joseph is the best” when at a bare-ass minimum, we’ve still got to get through Giorno, Joylene, Johnny, and Gappy Josuke?

Now, you can say “Joseph is my favorite JoJo so far”, because that’s much easier and more credible to quantify.  It’s an opinion with good grounding.  So with all of that said, I’ll declare this: no, Joseph is not my favorite JoJo so far.  But he’s still a good, good, good, good, damn good character.  And the same applies to Battle Tendency.

Like a bloody SPOILERS
Burning like a bloody SPOILERS
Some SPOILERS pound through your veins…and this post