I’ve talked about the JoJo franchise before. Kimyou na Bouken was fairly absurd and over the top, but it was also enjoyable and entertaining. In that series, we watched the first of the titular JoJo sacrifice his life to stop the villainous Dio Brando. We also saw his grandson Joseph, also called Jojo, take on a group of ancient warriors. Ending with his confrontation with the strongest of them all, Kars. Let’s take a look at the follow up with JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders series I and see if David Production kept the series going strong.
We open with Joutarou, the grandson of Joseph from the last series. He’s being released from prison after being taken in for fighting. Joutarou, however, refuses to leave. He claims to have been possessed by an evil spirit and doesn’t want to lose control and hurt people. His mother, Holly, contacts her father. Joseph goes to Japan and reveals that Joutarou’s evil spirit is actually a power called a Stand. The Joestar family has recently developed these powers coinciding with the return of Dio. After being defeated and decapitated by Jonathan Joestar, he managed to steal Jonathan’s dead body and survive underwater until he was pulled up by a boat. Thanks to his new found connection with the Joestar family, they’ve all developed Stands. Unfortunately, Holly isn’t strong enough to handle hers and it’s killing her. Joseph and Jotaro leave her in the hands of the Speedwagon foundation and, along with some companions, undertake the journey to defeat Dio in order to save Holly’s life.
The biggest issue with the series is just that it can get repetitive. There are several points where the dialogue consists of characters repeating information. The series also uses a very formulaic pattern where the group progresses to a new area, encounters a Stand user who’s working for Dio and they have to develop a strategy to beat them.
That being said, the series still excels at providing over the top, enjoyable action sequences that are, honestly, pretty creative. I also appreciate that there are major stakes for our heroes and they have to race against time. Heroes having to face major odds while racing against time might be nothing new, but it works well for a series like this that gets its appeal from being absurdly, entertainingly over the top.
The characters remain pretty archetypical. Joutarou is the bad boy with a good heart. Joseph has gone from the cunning protagonist to the elder mentor figure. Dio is still very much an evil for the evils character. We’ve still got a bunch of characters named after old musical artists like Devo, J Geil & Midler. That being said, I actually like the cast in this. They’re not complex, but they’re entertaining. They actually remind me of a silver age super hero team, in a positive way. JoJo & his amazing friends.
The artwork suits the series well. It’s full of machismo. Almost every major male character we see is huge and powerfully muscled. We also get added over the top effects and stopping to pose during fights is still a factor. I do love the action sequences in this though. The series takes this idea of Stands and their mysterious powers and uses them really creatively with a lot of different types, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Which makes for some really creative battles, including one that’s fought in the world of dreams and one that starts aboard a submarine.
The vocal performances continue to be really exaggerated. Ishizuka Unshou in particular has a lot of lines where he just yells exclamations. That being said, the exaggerated delivery does work given the aesthetic that the series has. I also like that the ending theme tune is Walk Like an Egyptian. It really fits both in terms of being kind of ridiculous and in terms of the whole, really fond of classic rock, naming convention. Kanno Yugo’s original music is pretty good. There is a nice soundtrack to this.
There really isn’t any ho-yay in this series.
This series is ridiculous, over the top, full of machismo and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. While not complex, it is an entertaining series with solid action and some really creative fights. If you’re in the mood for something that’s deliberately absurd, consider checking it out. If you want a complex narrative with deep characters, it’s not going to do it for you. For me, my final rating is going to be an 8/10. Maybe I’ll look at the second Stardust Crusaders series at a later point but next week is Komori-san wa Kotowarenai because I was looking for something short to review betwixt this and Brain Powerd and picked it randomly.