September 26, 2016

Introducing: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Blogging

This is a post on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, so that brings with it an immense responsibility.  Expectations.  A duty that must be fulfilled without question.

So I guess I’d better get cracking.  Let’s run through as many JoJo memes as possible right off the bat. 

*deep breath*



SONO CHI NO SADAME!  JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOJO!  KONO DIO DA!  You were expecting X, but it was me, Dio!  I reject my humanity, JoJo!  WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!  Goodbye, JoJo!  Even Speedwagon is afraid!  MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA!  Sunlight Yellow Overdrive!  To be continued!  I’ll be the roundabout!  How many loaves of bread have you eaten in your life?  Hinjaku, HINJAKU!  Awaken, my masters!  The Joestar Secret Technique!  SHIZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  Holy Wubstorm!  German science is the best in the world!  Your next line is X!  X -- huh?!  Very nice, Caesar-chan!  Do you even pose?!  Yare yare daze!  ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA!  OH NO!  OH MY GOD!  HOLY SHIT!  SON OF A BITCH!  Rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero!  YES, I AM!  This must be the work of an enemy Stand!  Do you UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND?  Go ahead, Mr. Joestar!  ZA WARUDO!  TOKI WO TOMARE!  ROAD ROLLER DA!

And many more.

Pardon me for being presumptuous, but I think it’s safe to say that JoJo wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on if not for memes.  Unlike the now-standard, long-established Shonen Jump fare like Dragonball Z and Naruto (to name a few), the works of Hirohiko Araki didn’t have a major cross-medium push to help it land a huge audience in the States.  Not when it really mattered.  But the internet’s spread -- and with it, the ability to distill content into easy to parse, easy to pass around snippets -- managed to spread awareness.  The seeds were planted with the infamous ZA WARUDO meme, and things snowballed from there.  Now we’ve got a full-fledged anime, one that airs near-simultaneously across the world via streaming services, and the fanbase is growing by the week.

And if you ask me, it’s 100% deserved.  Why?  Because JoJo is more than just memes.  I repeat: JoJo is more than just memes.

The memes have offered a glimpse into the world of JoJo, but they’re horribly, horribly, horribly ineffective in showing off what the series is actually about.  The same goes for details and spoilers that are obtained via virtual osmosis.  Even if you know that Hamon (or the Ripple, if you prefer) predates the infamous Stands or that it involves lots of quasi-solar energy, it’s not nearly enough.  What’s the context behind it?  How is it used?  What does it say about the people that use it?  What are the risks?  What are the drawbacks?  How does it inspire awe in an audience?  Those questions and more need consideration, and the only way to get answers -- real answers -- is to watch the show.  Or read the manga, alternatively, but then you wouldn’t have a dedicated soundtrack behind the action.

It almost -- no, it definitely feels like exposing yourself solely to JoJo memes is the wrong approach to take.  Taken out of context, it’s easy to laugh and point at all of the fabulousness, the Engrish, the crazy powers, and the like.  It’s also easy to assume that everything is just a lead-up to minutes upon minutes of punches that could outpace the average burst of machine gun fire.  But holy hell, there is a LOT to unpack with this series -- and I’m happy to report that a lot of that content is good.  Better than it has any right to be, even.  Granted I don’t think JoJo is flawless or my new favorite thing ever, BUT it’s definitely up there.  Now I feel stupider than ever, knowing that I lollygagged for so long instead of plopping down for a full watch.

I don’t want to be that guy, but watching the show makes me wonder: what the hell happened to anime (and manga, by extension)?  A quick Google search tells me that Araki’s brainchild got its start in 1987, so I’d think that it had a marked influence on plenty of people -- fans and creators alike.  But it feels like the qualities that make JoJo great are lost on some of the other members of the Jump cadre; that doesn’t necessarily make them instant failures, but it does make me realize how much better they could’ve been.  And in the face of the modern anime industry, it almost feels like a godsend -- a respite against the sugary fluff that might as well be poison to guys like me.

But that’s a topic for another day, especially since that alone is going to take some serious unpacking.  The important thing is that, yes, I am going to start doing posts on JoJo -- real posts, not just lead-ins like this one.  Here’s the plan: I’m going to do successive posts on each of the parts in turn.  One post on Phantom Blood, one post on Battle Tendency, one post on Stardust Crusaders, and (well into the future, at this rate) one post on Diamond is Unbreakable.  Technically that means this little miniseries will go on long hiatuses in anticipation of the yet-undeveloped Vento Aureo and its successors -- and even then, there’ll probably be BIG gaps between the stuff that’s already finished -- but we’ll worry about that another time.

I’m 100% convinced that JoJo is more than just a bunch of 30-second YouTube clips to be spammed ad nauseum.  And even if others have used the virtual space to make a case for the series, I haven’t said much in the way of anything.  It’s time for me to change that.  Sitting down to plow through hours upon hours of archived content -- content that I’m still stumbling through as of this writing -- is a hefty endeavor, so I don’t expect everyone to take the plunge with such a high wall to clear.  So I’ll do them a service.  If memes reduce JoJo down to its basest form (and a distorted form, as well), then I’ll use my writing to do the opposite.  I’ll prove why the show is great, and save you readers a crapload of time in the process.

Now praise me for my nobility.  Bear witness to my altruism, and sing praises about me.  Or…you know, don’t.  I don’t even care.

That’s about all I’ve got for now.  Look forward to more JoJo posts in the weeks and months to come.  In the meantime -- as always -- I’ve got plenty more for you to read, uploaded and fully on tap.  Give ‘em a look -- or if you’re feeling generous, share my stuff across the social medias so I can spread the good feelings as far as they’ll go.

Well, “good feelings” with an asterisk.  It’s kind of hard to feel the love when you’re suffering through most modern Final Fantasy games.

Phantom Blood
Part 1
Part 2
Battle Tendency
Part 1
Part 2
Stardust Crusaders 
Part 1
Part 2
Diamond is Unbreakable 
Part 1
Part 2

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