Gregzilla’s Thoughts on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
A while back I made a big ol post detailing my thoughts on a bunch of anime I watched recently. They mostly ranged from good to outstanding, but the only one I couldn’t really get into was JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Parts 1 and 2. I was told that both Part 2 and Part 3 could potentially be the points where I really get into it. Part 1 certainly didn’t do much for me, and while Part 2 was a definite improvement, I still found it kinda boring. After finishing Part 3, while I certainly can’t call this one of my all-time favorite shows, or even one of my favorite anime, I can at least say that I “get it” now.
Parts 1 and 2, for the most part, did not cater to pretty much anything that I look for in a show. I didn’t find the characters particularly interesting or emotionally investing (exception being Part 2′s extremely likable Joseph), battles felt too slow and drawn out with talking to really excite me, the animation was often pretty static, and the color palette swaps, while an awesome idea, usually looked very haphazard and unappealing. I have a great deal of respect for Araki and the series as a whole for being such a huge influence on manga/anime, but I didn’t find much to like in these two arcs personally. The only thing that really stood out to me was just how creative the situations and conflicts were, offering up much stranger and more unique obstacles for the heroes to overcome in increasingly ridiculous ways, albeit presented in a slow way that left me somewhat uninterested. This is where Stardust Crusaders clicked with me, as it vastly expanded on the creativity of the first two parts and turned it into something much, much more entertaining.
I was planning on writing a big review but it ended up being too rambling, so I’ll condense it into bullet points.
-The biggest appeal of Stardust Crusaders, for me, was how every battle feels like a guessing game. What it lacks in extravagant animation, it makes up for in the sheer strangeness of the situations. Shows like One Punch Man and Gurren Lagann really get me hyped with crazy fighting moves and animation, but SC gives me something different, in that it’s less about the spectacle and more about the heroes figuring out extremely clever and strategic ways to outsmart their opponents. It’s not like most other action shows I’ve seen, and it gives it a very unique identity. The addition of Stands makes the strategic approach to battles much more fun than the previous arcs.
-The main cast of characters is okay. Having Joseph stick around was a great decision, as I still find him the most likable character, and DIO has a great looming presence. Jotaro, while badass and fun to watch, doesn’t get nearly enough of the spotlight. Joseph and Polnareff tend to totally steal his thunder, and it really doesn’t feel like his story - even in the big group shots, it seemed Joseph was often the central visual focus while Jotaro would be off to the side. And considering how much time is spent with Polnareff getting into trouble, a lot of it felt like Polnareff’s Bizarre Adventure. And he’s fun and all, but constantly having him be the focus (and often causing more problems than solving them) actually made me sort of annoyed by him. Avdol is a pretty basic serious character, and Kakyoin….heck, I don’t think I could describe Kakyoin even if I tried, he’s just sorta there. I only really found him interesting right near the end, when they gave him a small bit of backstory. Iggy is great though.
-Once again I can’t find myself really getting into the color palette swaps. I think they’re a great idea, but whenever they appear they usually just look haphazard and weird. Lots of sorta sickly looking purples, greens, and yellows. It especially bums me out because both the show’s openings have some awesome looking colors, something the show itself rarely, if ever, matched up to. I also think the characters could have used some better colors in their shading, as I tend to find shadows with red/blue hues to look cooler than just lighter/darker values of the base skin color. Lots of shows do this standard shading, but I much prefer the looks of shows like Kill la Kill, which has much more colorful shadows.
-Jotaro’s outfit is rad.
-The world-trotting journey is made a lot more engaging by having downtime in which the narrator and characters talk about some of the culture of the areas they visit. It certainly wasn’t a necessity for the plot, but it adds a lot to the show and makes its world feel much more alive.
-What the FUCK is up with the animal abuse in this franchise, so many dead dogs, it made me sad :c
-While not all the baddies are memorable, I think the cast of villains overall is much better than Parts 1 and 2. Tons of the enemy Stand users leave a strong impression, both with their personalities and their ridiculous powers. Oingo and Boingo were a particularly fun, goofy pair of opponents, while others like Pet Shop and Vanilla Ice were legitimately intimidating. What a sentence that was.
-The ending was mostly satisfying, though I think more time should have been dedicated to the aftermath. The entire journey was kickstarted because a character was in a life-threatening situation that the heroes needed to save them from, so I wish they had actually interacted with that character once it was all over. A lot of times it was easy to forget that character was a factor until the others mentioned them.
-While Jotaro isn’t focused on nearly enough, whenever he is the center of attention, it’s a good time. He doesn’t have the charisma of Joseph, but his ability to keep calm in harrowing situations made it fun to see him go up against such outlandish and flamboyant enemies. This is particularly evident in his encounters with both the D’Arbys, which were both fantastic battles of trickery, simply by Jotaro messing with his opponents by remaining stoic and unreadable. This helps make him more than just a generic badass character.
I definitely have my issues with this show, and as far as all the anime I’ve watched recently, it’s probably on the lower end of my personal rankings. That said though, this was the first JoJo’s arc that I legitimately enjoyed, and I look forward to watching more. Ora ora and whatnot.