JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Season 2

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Season 2

image
JoJo’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.

image
The second season of Stardust Crusaders continues on from where the first season left off. The group have made it to Egypt, fighting and beating an inordinate amount of stand users on their quest to find and destroy Dio, an extremely powerful and immortal vampire responsible for the declining health of Joseph Joestar’s daughter and Jotaro’s mother.

If anything, the battle scenes have gotten more varied and complex with opponents that rely on brute force, trickery, magic, strategy, illusion, skill or manipulation in order to bring down the group. We still have the brilliant and colourful animation and artwork that is completely unique to anything I’ve seen before. And of course, there are manly poses in abundance.

image
As Jotaro, Joseph, Abdul, Kakyoin, Polnareff and Iggy get ever-closer to Dio’s mansion we see their relationships and determination deepen. They develop new techniques and powers that are wonderfully interspersed with the usual quips and punchlines. One of the ways that this season keeps things fresh is splitting the group up (and you just know that bad things are going to happen when the group splits up). We see Joseph and Abdul working together to defeat Mariah and her stand Bastet and watch Jotaro and Polnareff square off against Alessi and Set. We even see Iggy tracking down Pet Shop, a tricky falcon who is protecting Dio’s mansion with a stand of its own.

image
We also see the not-so-triumphant return of Mondatta and one of my personal favourites, Hol Horse. Polnareff and Hol Horse struggling against one another was one of the most amusing and memorable battles I’ve seen to-date. Whilst Stardust Crusaders is basically one fight after another, nothing seems repetitive or boring. Different combinations of characters bring different results – sometimes serious, sometimes comic, sometimes successful, sometimes tragic. Particularly towards the end of this arc, we see that victory doesn’t always come without a price. As the group gets closer to Dio’s mansion, the vampire’s protectors get stronger and our heroes can’t emerge victorious unscathed. Faced with wounds and relentless battles, it was only a matter of time before tragedy struck.

image
It says a lot for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure that it can be truly off-the-walls ridiculous, charged with masculinity and painted with psychedelic splattergore and still evoke such genuine shock and sadness when a main character meets an unexpected end.

The animation is still incredible, coupled with its unique colour pallets and comic book style artwork that is oddly accommodating to the amount of violence throughout the anime. This kind of stylised drawing really takes the edge off the constant fights and blood. It removes a layer of realism that would otherwise have every other viewer cringing away. It’s an interesting play on the senses which I’ve come to really appreciate.

image
When we finally get to see Dio in all his glory, he is very impressive and super-powerful. When Jotaro finally gets his chance to face him, you can really see how his fighting style and strength have improved since the beginning and the true power behind the Star Platinum stand and The World. What makes this battle different from the rest is that the two opposing stands are very similar. All through the anime we have seen a wide spectrum of stand users applying different means to slow down the group and never has Star Platinum been matched for strength and ability. To watch Jotaro struggle like never against Dio and his strong stand with a mastery over controlling time had me on the edge of my seat.

image
The final half of this season really ramped up the ante on every fight, the stakes being raised every time a new battle commenced. The real threat started when the team was greeted at the door by Dio’s sadistic buter D’Arby and everything happened in quick succession. The pace was almost breathtaking in the way it hurtled to its final conclusion, becoming an unexpected emotional roller coaster that suddenly stopped pulling its punches. My pet peeve of characters stating the obvious vanished – absolutely no time for that kind of things anymore. If something was going to happen, it just did. The sudden change to this unexpected approach had my mouth hanging open.

image
Stardust Crusaders has been the best JoJo arc to-date. Addictive, action-packed, thrilling and downright hilarious. More than anything, I am hoping for the serialisation of the next arc Diamond is Unbreakable in the near future. I don’t know if I can go too long without my JoJo fix.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is gloriously unusual and a truly unique experience. Serious situations are taken as jokes and superficial occurrences are taken with the greatest umbrage. Everything is covered with a thin layer of surreality and yet is so flashy and colourful it packs a real impact. At times it is so aptly bizarre that it defies explanation. I once heard it said that “JoJo is just JoJo. If you don’t like it, then you’re just not JoJo enough to handle it”. I think that’s about as accurate as it’s going to get.

image