I’ve talked about JoJo twice now. The first series and the first series of Stardust Crusaders. So far, it’s been an entertaining series full of over the top absurdity and machismo. So, let’s recap the first series of Stardust Crusaders and see where we are. Dio Brando returned, with his head attached to Jonathan’s body. Thanks to his influence the Joestar line including our protagonist, Joutarou, developed powers called Stands. In order to save his mother, who wasn’t strong enough to control her Stand, Joutarou set off on a journey with his grandfather, Joseph, and several other companions; Avdol, Kakyouin & Polnareff. The five made their way to Egypt, clashing with Stand users sent by Dio. When we’d left off, they’d taken a submarine and were very close to arriving in Egypt. With the clock running out for Holly, can this group of manly men stop Dio in time? Let’s delve into JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders series 2 and find out.
We open with our heroes travelling in the desert when a helicopter from the Speedwagon foundation shows up to drop off a stand user to aid them. This is Iggy, a small black and white dog. Our heroes are also told that Dio’s recruited a bunch of other Stand users, these ones with stands based on the Egyptian pantheon instead of the major arcana in tarot. Undeterred, they continue their journey, challenging Dio’s stand users with names based off of musicians as they continue to their climactic battle.
As is the trend in this franchise, the story is pretty light. They encounter a stand user. There’s a battle. They get one step closer to Dio until the end when we reach our climactic clash. It’s a basic plot and it has all the subtlety of a steam roller. That being said, it works for the whole over the top absurdity that the franchise is going for. The biggest problem with the whole series is that there are some cohesion problems. For example, the way Dio’s stand works. We’re told it lasts for a specific amount of time, but the characters have an awfully long time to monologue, converse and still act considering the amount of time it’s supposed to work. One might even say that there’s no conceivable way for them to do all the things they do in the supposed time frame. The effect that Dio’s blood has on other people is also inconsistent. The final battle also involves a pretty blatant case of a character gaining a new ability he’s never shown any indication of having before. Hooray for plot contrivance.
Now, you can forgive those issues to a degree since the series is more over the top absurdity than serious. And I will credit it, as the other instalments, for being quite good at that. It is an entertaining series to watch and there are some surprisingly good dramatic moments too. Suzi Q visiting her ailing daughter. The scenes where certain major characters die are surprisingly good, given that this isn’t a complex cast.
The cast of characters remains very much archetypical but with the occasional moment where they surpass that. JoJo and his amazing friends remains an endearing little band of heroes. Dio is still the least subtle villain since the Abomination. His minions either have no motivation behind serving him or they’re serving him because he’s strong. The musical artist naming scheme is very much intact. We have such characters as the brothers Oingo & Boingo, Vanilla Ice, the D’arby brothers, Mariah and so on.
I do like to poke fun at this series a bit for the blokes being over-muscled with abs for days and for having action sequences where posing scenes are an important part, but I have to admit that the style does have its charm. It’s the overly macho aesthetic that just suits the series. I’ll also continue to give the franchise credit for having a lot of unique, interesting action sequences. Although this particular series loses some credit for putting the focus on Mariah’s ass for no reason during her episodes. That’s not how class works. Also for having a dog in the main cast but drawing it oddly enough that it’s really not cute like an actual dog.
There’s a lot of exaggeration in this series. Throughout most of it, the lines are delivered in a very deliberate, over the top way. The actors can be more subtle at times, especially when dealing with something tragic, but expect a lot of yelling and loud declarations. I will say that both Koyasu Takehito & Ishizuka Unshou excel at going from the over the top ridiculous lines to the quieter, more subdued ones. The soundtrack is pretty decent. It’s definitely weaker than the music in the first Stardust Crusaders series, but it’s all right.
The closest you get to ho-yay is a really absurd scene where a couple blokes get stuck together.
If you’ve seen the other two series in the franchise, you know roughly what to expect with this one. Absurd machismo dripping from its every frame. Exaggerated dialogue and performances. Creative, interesting battles. If you’re a fan of that kind of aesthetic, you’ll probably like it and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself watching it. Although, I didn’t like it as much as the first part of Stardust Crusaders. My final rating for JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders series 2 is going to be a 7/10. And next week I’ll be reviewing Drifters.