Cross stitch pattern of Jotaro Kujo from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Thanks to Pragmatic for the sprite. Check out my review of the first three episodes of the Phantom Blood arc below or download the PDF here: Jojo Pattern
Grid Size: 175W x 94H
Design Area: 12.36″ x 6.57″ (173 x 92 stitches)
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Back in the 2000’s I remember there being a marketing push for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and at the time I was just completely uninterested. Well, I finally got around to watching some of it, and though it’s not my thing, I am glad I tried it at least.
First three episodes of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: go! Okay, this may have been a mistake, but I watched the original version instead of the re-edited version that crams the whole Phantom Blood arc into 3 extra long episodes. Things move more slowly when you watch the full version, but I still feel like things have been cut from the manga. If you’re planning on not watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, then maybe just watch the re-edited version so you can see if you like the concept, but if you know you’re going to like it then I suggest you watch the full version like I did.
So, here we go. We open with some shady dude picking through the remains of a carriage crash in 19th century England, and as it goes the plot saves our main character and his rich dad from the wreckage. Right away we’re hit with this unusual character style. Now don’t let me choose your art style for you. You do you, but the character design in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure just drips machismo. Every male character has perfectly chiseled features and Jojo’s dad has a chin you can lay bricks with. Look, I understand the manga was written in the 80’s so the art is going to reflect that, but even as a kid Jonathan “Jojo” Joestar has these huge broad shoulders and attack eyebrows that just get bigger and attacky-er over time until he’s this hulking behemoth of a man with huge rippling muscles barely contained under his adorable collared shirt and bow tie. It’s just so strange to see him with his wild spiky blue hair and steroid induced physique in a setting that’s more attuned to pruning your azaleas in the garden of your country manor while snooping on your neighbors. It kind of makes you wonder “why England?” There was that fad for all things British in the 60’s and 70’s, but that should have died down by the time Jojo was being written. Oh well, it shall forever be a mystery.
Right, so, years after the crash Jonathan has been growing up in the lap of luxury until one day Dio shows up saying he’s the son of the guy who saved them who is now dead. Jonathan’s dad adopts the poor boy, but it turns out he’s a real piece of work. Dio is confrontational from the get go, but only when Papa Joestar’s back is turned. You’re supposed to feel sorry for Jojo here, but at this point he’s just a little snot who deserves to get a wake up call. Then we get that moment where Dio proves he’s evil by killing Jonathan’s dog, Danny. Now this may have been expanded on in the manga, but in the anime Jojo never actually finds out that Dio was behind it. He has his suspicions and it’s pretty obvious he burned the pup alive, but there’s never any evidence and Jonathan never does anything about it like the little coward he is. Now, I’m sure that the studio tried very hard to show Jonathan in the best possible light, yet he still comes across as a total loser. At first I thought it was strange how Jojo pretty much lets Dio walk all over him while they’re little but now that I think of it, that’s pretty realistic and it gives him a natural motivation to improve himself. Nice. Kudos for making things interesting.
What’s not interesting is Jojo’s tacked on relationship with this random girl Erina. She get’s almost no characterization whatsoever and is just there so Dio can show how awful he is by stealing her first kiss. Oh so evil… just the worst. Are you picking up on my sarcasm here? This act holds exactly zero weight. It would have worked if we were given a set up scene earlier where Jojo tried to kiss her and she stopped him and said she was waiting for marriage or something. Actually, Jojo initially shows almost no interest in her at all, which is fitting because it’s exactly the amount of interest I have in her.
Then we get this awkward six year time skip where suddenly Jojo and Dio are buddies playing rugby in highschool or college or whatever, it’s hard to tell. And they are both ripped, like Arnold Schwarzenegger ripped, like really anachronistically ripped. Yeah modern bodybuilding got it’s start in England, but it didn’t become mainstream enough to have competitions until 1901, but you know, you’re not here for historical accuracy, you’re here to watch anime about manly men with straightforward emotions posing dramatically and occasionally hitting someone. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
So Jojo is still conflicted about trusting Dio even though he hasn’t done anything bad in six years. And I’m thinking, dude, get over it. Yeah he killed your dog but that was a long time ago and kids are stupid. Turns out he was right to distrust Dio all this time because he’s secretly still evil. And, I’m going to nag about this a bit. Dio was a really troubled kid, son of a thief and alcoholic, his mom was implied to have died, and he killed his own dad to escape his situation. He’s had a rough life. However, we’re not supposed to feel sorry for him because he has the “mark of the devil” or some such nonsense. And it’s not explained why he has this mark or even if he chose to have it for himself. It seems like he was just born with it and that’s sad. I know he’s evil and all, but you would think that spending six years with a loving family would change a guy, you know. Apparently not because he has a plan to kill his new dad since it was so much fun the first time. Patricide: it’s what all the cool kids are doing! So Dio has been slowly poisoning dear old Dad for months by replacing his medicine with poison all while playing the role of devoted son. It’s not really clear why he’s doing this. I’m guessing for the money, but he’s already rich. I don’t know, for the evulz? I would get it if Dad was unsupportive of Dio’s endeavors and wouldn’t give him money, but that’s not the case here. I mean, he let Jonathan do his weird archaeology thing. I just don’t get why Dio is so evil other than to ruin Jojo’s life because he’s such a dweeb. I’m serious here, Jojo has his boxing and rugby, but off the field, he’s a total nerd geeking out on ancient artifacts and stuff. I love this dichotomy and I’m hoping it doesn’t just disappear down the line.
Anyway, Jojo uncovers Dio’s plan and instead of exposing him outright about it, he decides to go get some proof, because he’s the kind of guy who thinks ahead, except when he doesn’t and gets lost in the shady part of town. He gets surrounded by thugs, but since he’s more muscle than man nowadays, he lays the smackdown on them and wins over the heart of Speedwagon, a guy named in the same way a white girl gets a tattoo that says “desire” in Chinese. So, Speedwagon is so impressed with Jojo’s muscles that he decides to pledge his life to him or something and I’m guessing he becomes the Yamcha of the group later on because he does jack squat during the climax.
Jojo get’s his proof, then finally confronts Dio about the poison, but Dio hasn’t been twiddling his thumbs all this time. He’s been doing practical research on an artifact that Jojo was working on, and by research I mean killing a dude, which is totally the kind of research normal people do. This ancient mask apparently turns people into vampires, and if you think that comes out of left field, then you’re not alone. Everything up until this point has been pretty realistic, and if I hadn’t had a passing knowledge about Jotaro and stands, I would have thought this show was going for something more like a British mafia thing with gangsters and drugs, but I guess a supernatural element isn’t too bad.
So, Dio is about to be carted off by the police, because Jonathan is a practical kind of man who calls the proper authorities instead of taking matters into his own hands, a trait that more shounen protagonists should have, but suddenly Dio takes out the mask and a knife and tries to stab Jojo to activate it, but suddenly their dad throws himself in front of the knife, but suddenly Dio activates the mask and gets shot through a window, but… alright I’ll stop. Papa Joestar is dead but Dio is not. He’s a vampire now and kills everyone who doesn’t have a name. There’s this touching scene where Jojo is pointing a gun at Dio and can’t bring himself to shoot him, so Speedwagon does it for him, and before you say “aha, Speedwagon DID do something”, no it doesn’t hurt Dio at all. But it does bring up an interesting aspect of Jonathan’s personality. Dio is his brother. They’ve only lived together about six years, but they are a family. Underneath his strong exterior, Jojo is still that same sniffling coward that he was at the beginning.
And here, you’ll notice a shift in the visuals. As soon as Dio starts his rampage, all sorts of unnatural colors appear. If you’ve ever seen Gankutsuou, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The backgrounds become purple and green and every color seems more saturated during moments of high emotion. Oh and then the fire starts and you add yellow and red to the mix and this has got to be the most colorful fight scene I have ever seen. So, Jojo and Dio are on the roof and they fall into what can only be described as the world’s largest and tallest chimney because they are falling for quite some time. The colors are beautiful, but the fight is just weird. Suddenly Jojo has the knife used to kill his dad and Dio screams like a little girl. Then he gets impaled on a statue where he burns alive. It’s silly, but the whole show is silly. Jojo stumbles outside where he finds Speedwagon just standing there like a dunce. He get’s Jojo to a hospital and finally we get a scene where Erina shows up and I guess she was gone the whole time, not like anyone noticed.
You may think I must have hated Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but it’s really not that bad. The plots are stupid, but it’s not really about clever writing. The strong points of the show are it’s unique character designs, emotional use of colors, cool fight scenes, and over the top Bollywood action. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and if the characters were more engaging, I would probably be into it, but right now my favorite character is the bad guy and that’s probably not what the writers wanted. I think I’ll skip ahead to Jotaro’s arc and see if I just need a cooler main character. I give it a check it out if you want out of ten.