The best way to watch Jojo’s bizarre adventure
It looks like there won’t be any stop on Jojo’s anime train. With the announcement that there will be an anime for JoJo’s bizarre adventure Part 4: Diamond is Not Crash – sorry, I mean Diamond is Unbreakable, it seems more and more likely that every arc in Jojo’s manga will be animated. So maybe you, as the person who missed the train when it left the station, are looking for the perfect place to start this franchise before its animated form gets too long and intimidating. Since the manga story spans multiple generations over different time periods, it can be confusing at first glance what to do with it all.
It is at this point that a horrible, devilishly bad, and fundamentally bad person will try to mislead you. Slipping over your shoulder and whispering into your ear, they’ll inform you that you should skip the first two arcs, Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency, and jump straight to Stardust Crusaders. It is, after all, that the franchise has really taken off in Japan, and it is indeed technically true that you can watch Stardust Crusaders without seeing the first two arcs. They pretty clearly lay out the facts you need to know early on in Stardust Crusaders, and there’s no real chance you’ll get lost. However, skipping Phantom Blood and especially Battle Tendency is like skipping the part where you eat an entire box of fancy chocolates so you can get to the part where you feel bloated and ashamed.
Okay, maybe that’s a little hard. But I’m here to tell you why you should watch Part 2: Battle Tendency before you start Stardust Crusaders, and also why you should even watch the sometimes-maligned Part 1: Phantom Blood.
Let’s start with why you should watch JoJo’s bizarre adventure in general since the 3 generations work on the same sheet of hymns. Jojo’s is what you would get if professional wrestling creators were allowed to make their own anime. He’s got the same dramatic bravado, where each character feels and talks like they’re on top of the world until the moment their opponent reveals they have the upper hand thanks to a trick on their part. When a character reveals his method of gaining an advantage, he couldn’t be more delighted with his accomplishment and will use that moment to “take the mic” and say brilliant nonsense about how much he rules and what his opponent isn’t worth. worth it. takes to just watch them. The excessively exaggerated muscular proportions obviously have repercussions on this reason for professional wrestling.
Saying “it’s like professional wrestling!” Is not a huge selling point for most sane people. I’m not a fan of the medium myself as most of it is … well, rubbish. So maybe it would be better to point out that Jojo’s is more like what pro wrestling wants him to be able to do. He successfully creates his own weird internal logic that explains his supernatural abilities in a wonderfully absurd way. Because this is a cartoon, the dramatic breaks and the artificial slowing down of time work much better. The visual direction, especially the color design, helps with this bombastic presentation to make everything look like the most amazing thing just happened. It all lends itself to this pantomime presentation where every panning camera and musical signal makes you want to cheer on the heroes and boo the bad guys, all while putting the biggest smile on your face because you know how good it all is. stupid and you love him for it.
Stardust Crusaders has it all, but the main difference between this one and Battle Tendency is a matter of stakes and pacing. Battle Tendency takes 17 episodes to complete, while Stardust Crusaders has 48 impressive episodes. Which might be nice if Stardust was a constant thrill of perpetually rising stakes, but it isn’t. It’s an episodic series where our heroes defeat a succession of villains as they slowly advance toward a single goal. The goal never changes, the battles don’t really get harder, our heroes never really get stronger, and all the times when it seems like something really dramatic has happened turns out to be smoke and mirrors. This is good if you want to see Jojo and a comedy first and foremost. What to laugh about, then forget.
In Battle Tendency, every fight is the most dramatic, heartbreaking, and difficult the main character has ever faced. Each victory comes after being pushed to its limit to reveal that another more frightening villain and a more powerful opponent awaits you. You could call her shounen power creep, but that negative trope only kicks in when it starts to feel like you’re running out of ways to make your villains and heroes stronger and start gaining power in a way that makes them feel stronger. frivolous previous plot points. As long as you can make the next adversity the hero has to overcome is the next logical step in their progression, that doesn’t become a problem. People don’t criticize Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to get shounen power creep. Every episode can still be brilliantly funny in the same absurd way as Stardust Crusaders, but if fighting a new villain in Stardust can sometimes feel like it’s just a chore for our heroes, in Battle Tendency it always will be. the most exciting moment yet.
However, while there may be disagreements over how Battle Tendency is relative to Stardust Crusaders, most fans seem to at least agree that Battle Tendency is worth your time. It’s with the first generation, Phantom Blood, that more and more people are saying we have to take the plunge. This was long before the author of the manga Araki understood how he wanted to tell his story. You don’t have to watch it to fully understand who Dio is and why he’s so scary since the start of Stardust does a commendable job of explaining why. You don’t need to know what Hamon is before you start Battle Tendency as they explain it at the beginning as well. And yes, Phantom Blood is a bit weaker compared to some of the later arcs. Don’t be put off, though – it’s worth 100% watching, and not for the sake of continuity. Especially since it’s still a great anime on its own.
The first thing to understand is that Phantom Blood does not suffer from the accursed adaptation “must be exactly like the manga, warts and all” that plagues many flawed manga. We’ve had a few decades to look back on Phantom Blood and realize that all of it doesn’t really need to be here – and so the show, thankfully, is drastically reduced to key moments. This helps him never to get bogged down, so that we can revel in the early days of Dio as he asks people how much bread they have eaten in their lifetime. It’s structured much closer to a gothic horror story than the adventure story of later seasons. In doing so, he loses a lot of the silliness that makes subsequent seasons so funny. It’s also thanks to its stoic leader Jonathon Joestar. Not that it still can’t be very silly, but it comes more from how everyone is dramatically reacting and striking trendy poses while doing it. It’s not the Battle Tendency riot, or even Stardust Crusaders, but it’s still a unique and interesting sight.
Phantom Blood still retains that gravity that makes every moment feel the most incredibly dramatic thing that never happened. The striking use of color, changing as the wind turns in battle, remains. It’s a clash of honor versus betrayal, righteousness versus deception, and every other classic Good versus Evil tale that has ever existed. The show’s heightened sensationalism makes that feeling fresh again. Stardust Crusaders may have much crazier things in their battles, but they never catch the same exhilaration as Phantom Blood. He gets very close to it, at the very end when the crew finally confronts Dio (oh and I guess, since you’re twisting my arm, the fight with Vanilla Ice has that too). The show finally picks up on that breathlessness you feel, when it feels like that’s what it all came to – but it largely missed the rest of the time.
Either way, Phantom Blood is only 9 episodes long, so if that doesn’t work for you, you’ll find out right away. Stardust Crusaders, on the other hand, it’s almost 50 episodes. You have a better chance of familiarizing yourself with the incredible theatrics, over-the-top melodrama, and insane action of JoJo’s bizarre adventure if you do just the right thing: start at the beginning!
Did you start to watch JoJo’s bizarre adventure with Phantom Blood, or did you switch to Stardust Crusaders? Did you come back and watch the first two seasons? How do they compare, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments!