JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a long-running shounen turned seinen manga series created by Hirohiko Araki that began its run in 1987 on Weekly Shonen Jump. The series, currently in eight parts, follows the journeys of the Joestar bloodline with each member nicknamed Jojo. It's notable for having a very small online presence in English-speaking fandom up until the release of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The Animation in 2012, despite having widespread success and popularity in Japanese-speaking circles. This is because of issues with the naming convention of many JoJo's characters, who are named after popular English-language musicians and songs, and low popularity compared to more visibly "anime" series such as Naruto and Robotech.
The series is divided into parts, each following the adventures of a new protagonist belonging to the Joestar family and bearing the "JoJo" nickname. The plot of each part generally consists of the titular JoJo gathering a group of allies, mastering their supernatural ability, battling various enemies, and ultimately confronting the part's powerful main villain. The first six parts form a saga detailing the conflicts between members of the Joestar family and various villains, while the latter two parts follow a continuity reboot, taking place in an alternate universe with plot parallels to the original. The manga is Shueisha's second largest ongoing series by volume count, with its chapters collected in 126 volumes and counting.
The series is famous for its iconic poses, frequent references to Western popular music and fashion, and creative designs and battles. Many of these battles center around the concept of Stands, psycho-spiritual manifestations possessing unique supernatural abilities.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 2: Battle Tendency
November 1987 - 1989
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3: Stardust Crusaders
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
GioGio's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Vento Aureo
GioGio's Bizarre Adventure 2: Golden Heart, Golden Ring
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 8: Jojolion
May 19, 2011 - Current
Rohan Kishibe Goes to Gucci
August 23, 2011
Jolyne: Fly High With Gucci
December 22, 2012
The protagonists of each series are as followed:
- Jonathan Joestar: The main character of the first part, Phantom Blood. An kind Englishman whose life takes a turn for the worse when his family adopts series villain Dio Brando who quickly makes it his mission to make Jonathan miserable. Following the death of their father after Dio turned himself into a vampire with an ancient mask, Jonathan decides to become stronger with help from the eccentric master of Hamon William Zeppeli & street crook turned loyal follower Robert E.O. Speedwagon to stop Dio's plans.
- Joseph Joestar: The grandson of Jonathan and protagonist of its second part Battle Tendency. Joseph is a wily trickster who was born with a natural affinity for Hamon and pitted against the Pillar Men, who plot world domination by becoming the ultimate lifeform. Along the way, Joseph teams up with fellow Hamon masters Caesar Zeppeli, who is the grandson of William Zeppeli, and Lisa Lisa, who turns out to be Joseph's mother.
- Jotaro Kujo: the main character of Stardust Crusaders and its single most popular character. When first introduced, Jotaro is the grandson of Joseph Joestar who willingly locks himself in prison under the belief that he's possessed by an evil spirit which would later be identified as a Stand, a concept that would become a mainstay in the series going forward. Jotaro allies with his grandfather alongside his friend Muhammad Avdol, fellow Japanese student Noriaki Kakyoin, Frenchman Jean Pierre Polnareff and a dog named Iggy on a journey to Egypt to save his mother from being killed by a Stand created by Dio when he stole the body of Jonathan Joestar.
- Josuke Higashikata: the bastard son of Joseph Joestar named and the protagonist of Diamond is Unbreakable. This part follows his life with friends Koichi Hirose & Okuyasu Nijimura as they team up with Jotaro and Joseph to defend their town of Morioh from evil Stand users like the serial killer Yoshikage Kira. The part initially gained notoriety for poorly made Chinese fan translations that generated many memes within the fandom.
- After Part 4 is Vento Aureo starring Giorno Giovanna, the son of Dio Brando. Unlike his father, Giorno wants to be a good person by becoming a gangster to stop drug transportation across Italy. He joins the gang Passione under the guidance of Bruno Bucciarati and later comes into conflict with Passione's don named Diavolo.
- Part 6, titled Stone Ocean, follows Jotaro Kujo's daughter Jolyne Cujoh after she is wrongfully imprisoned for murder. There, she joins with cellmates Ermes Costello, Emporio Alnino, Narciso Anasui, Weather Report and Foo Fighters to stop Enrico Pucci from continuing with his master Dio's plans.
- Steel Ball Run is the first part in a reboot of sorts of the series taking place in 19th century America where paraplegic horse rider Johnny Joestar enters a race held by the president of the United States to claim pieces of the corpse of a holy figure.
- The current part is Jojolion, following an amnesiac sailor sharing his name with Josuke Higashikata who travels to regain his lost memories.
Japanese fandom and English fandom have two very distinct cultures in the JoJo's fandom, probably due to the fact that many English-speaking fans of the anime are ignorant of the larger history of JoJo's and how it's a cultural touchstone in Japan, much like Star Wars or Star Trek would be for English-speaking fen. For example, Hiro Nakamura's powers in Heroes are a reference to the time manipulation powers Jotaro Kujo and Dio Brando share and the character makes direct reference to the series at least once. In general, the Japanese fandom for Jojo's is very old with many people being fans for over a decade before the release of the anime but the English speaking fandom is almost entirely made up of people who were exposed to Jojo's via the anime and is a much newer fandom that occasionally doesn't understand older fandom jokes.
Amongst these "older" fandom jokes is that of the infamous "Kakyoin, Did You Lay This Egg?" meme. Taken from a panel of one of manga quartet CLAMP's doujinshi featuring an Everybody Lives AU of the series' third arc, "Stardust Crusaders," "JoJo's Bizarre Married Life," while the panel itself has achieved memetic status, as fandom historian and YouTuber RedBard notes in her deep-dive on the subject, in "JoJo's Bizarre Married Life," the egg hatched into a child of Kujo Jotaro and Kakyoin Noriaki, named Kujo Jouta. Jouta, whose Stand is akin to a green version of Star Platinum, and named Charmy Green (a type of Japanese dish soap) also appears in a later installment of the doujin, even being featured in "CLAMP In Wonderland"'s OVA.
The English-speaking Jojo's fandom is also subject to anti rhetoric, particularly centered around the ship of Giorno Giovanna and Guido Mista, known as Giomis, which has faced accusations of pedophilia because of a three year age gap and is the subject of many anti rants.
Shipping in Jojo's varies from part to part, since very few characters carry over and each part can be read as stand-alone if necesscary. The most popular pairings on AO3, however, are the aforementioned JotaKak (from Stardust Crusaders), Leone Abbacchio/Bruno Buccellati (from Vento Aureo), Giomis (also Vento Aureo), Joseph Joestar/Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli (from Battle Tendency), and Dio Brando/Jonathan Joestar (from Phantom Blood).
As mentioned before, some of the characters in JoJo are underaged and there are ships where one character is older than another. Such ships are as mentioned before GioMis, with Giorno being a minor, Josuhan with Josuke (part 4) being the minor in said ship. To get around this, characters are often aged up to suit the ship, a commin practice in fandom as a whole. Vento Aureo and Diamond is Unbreakable having the cast be mostly minors have people do this often to avoid the sexualization of minors, but not everyone follows this rule which has made it a source of controversy among fans.
Racism within the Fandom
As with most fandom or any medium, the JoJo fandom has tinges of this. While one can find acceptance in some places there are alot of instances of fans excercising colorism and a few instances of outright racism.
First, the editing official art images to lighten characters' complexion or erasing certain ethnocentric features (Jotaro Kujo is the main target of this).
And as for racism, characters from certain ethnic groups are ignored, erased and occasionally sacrificed for more Eurocentric or "whitepassing" characters. An example of this are Stardust crusader fics where only Avdol ( a black Egyptian man) is neglected in like of more Eurocentric characters like Jotaro (who is mixed race but posses Eurocentric features), Kakyoin ( whom as far we know is Japanese but has red hair) and Polnareff (a Frenchmen with pale features) enjoy a higher level of popularity. AvPol (Avdol and Polnareff fics) almost always center on Polnareff instead of Avdol, a very common trend.
Another more controversal incident recently in occurred August 2020 when a fanfic titled "Saccharin Revolt " by user Missing_ Intestines_18 based on part 7 Steel Ball run surfaced containing blatantly racist content. The story took place in the American south with the Joestar family as wealthy slave owners. After opposing comments by hurt fans the fic was promptly removed. However, said comments explaining how hurtful the racially charged the fic was also vanished.
note: Vento Aureo and Steel Ball Run fans are known to be the most racist group within the fandom. Most of the fandom do not practice blatant racism,but erasure is present on a constant basis.
- Facing the Sun is a fic in which Caesar Zeppeli contracts the Hanahaki Disease from his unrequited love of Joseph Joestar.
- & Joy MMD featuring the main Jojo's from each Part up to 8!
Links & Resources
- "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure" tag on Pixiv
- "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" tag on AO3
- "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure" tag on FanFiction.Net
- everything you would ever need to know about JoJo's from Crunchyroll
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Explained from Critical Hit'
- When Stands Cry by Winona Peace
- Viz Talks "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" Digital Distribution Plans and Difficulties. Posted 14 Sept 2013. Accessed 29 Dec 2019.
- What was JJBA's impact on anime? Posted 15 Aug 2017. Accessed 29 Dec 2019.
- Hiro Nakamura (Heroes) - Muda muda muda. Posted 21 April 2015. Accessed 29 Dec 2019.
- why giomis is pure garbage (so is mista x trish). Posted 2 Feb 2019. Accessed 29 Dec 2019.
- "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" tag on AO3. Accessed 29 Dec 2019.