JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Season 1

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Season 1

IMG_1661.PNGJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is the second season of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime by David Production, which is based on the manga of the same name written by Hirohiko Araki. This season focuses on the third part of the manga and the third generation of JoJo. Set in the late 1980s, this anime follows Jotaro Kujo and a small group of allies who have developed mysterious powers known as Stands – being able to summon a physical being to fight with and protect them – as they travel to Egypt in search of the evil and immortal vampire Dio.

I covered JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in general back in May last year, but now I am going to focus on the third arc in this ongoing epic family saga, Stardust Crusaders.

IMG_1654.PNGOne thing that JoJo has never failed to deliver throughout its duration is great battle scenes. They can be colourful, flamboyant and pose-ridden as well as sharp, clever and reckless. In Stardust Crusaders, JoJo’s group use the power of their stands to travel in search of Dio in order to save Jotaro’s mother (and Joseph Joestar’s daughter). On their journey, they must battle other stand holders sent by Dio, and these battles are as ranged as you can imagine – from battling master strategists to furious fighters (and even, weirdly, some animals) there is always someone new for the group to struggle against.

But it’s not just the action that’s enjoyable. There’s also the wealth of powers, teamwork, epic punchlines, excitement and unpredictability that comes with it. The characters and their quips are just brilliant. Jotaro is the strong, silent type; Kakyoin is his clever classmate; Avdol is the experienced fighter; Polnareff is a French swordsman with a big mouth and bigger hair and, of course, we have the ageing Joseph Joestar from the second half. The newest addition to the team is Iggy, a tricky Boston Terrier  who has been using his stand to escape from animal control for years.

IMG_1667.JPGThe animation has come on in leaps and bounds since Phantom Blood. We still have the brilliant colour pallets tinting and changing certain scenes and the unique art style really emphasis the super-charged air of masculinity that all the characters seem to have. Even when characters strike a pose mid-fight, surrounded by a spectrum of colour, you still feel the same atmosphere. I can’t understand how the animators manage to pull this off time and time again, but it’s impressive.

The animation style also compliments the amount of violence in the show. I have noticed an increase since the first arc, but it’s all done in such a stylised way that it doesn’t feel gory and unnecessary. It maintains a type of comic book feel that doesn’t have you squirming uncomfortably in your seat or turning your head in distaste. It’s fast become a signature trait for the JoJo series where characters engage in bloody battles with sadistic foes, but the colour selections and tints have a real impact on how the viewer perceived the scene. It’s an interesting play on the senses.

IMG_1664.PNGThere has also been a definite improvement in dialogue, too. During the first two arcs, one of my main criticisms of this anime was the fast that characters always seemed to be stating the obvious. It was like a running commentary on what everyone was doing. An enemy bending over backwards to avoid a projectile attack was often accompanied by the words “He bent backwards!” as a surprised support character looked onwards. I’m happy to report that there is a lot less of this now. It still does happen now and again, but it a lot less noticeable and is no longer getting on my nerves.

IMG_1666.PNGI really enjoy where this arc is going, and it’s the most interesting and amusing one to-date. As the group inches ever-closer to Dio, travelling to different locations across deserts and through cities, the tension builds higher and the stakes are raised.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the best-kept secrets in Japan, and I’m so pleased that, as a UK anime-watcher, I’m able to stream this truly addictive show. It’s action-packed, gripping, hilarious and, as the title would suggest, truly bizarre. I hope that there are plans for the anime to continue into further chapters of the manga and JoJo generations – it’s a crazy ride.