JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Figuration Libre

If you want to praise JoJo I think you would talk about its sense of humor combined with its unique narrative, especially the visual aspects of it. Like, it is fun to watch a vampire whose head was just split in half putting it back together, but having it a little off, so he has to adjust the two pieces, which seems to make him slightly annoyed.

Even better is to watch two dudes fight, where one throws a steamroller at another, and then both repeatedly punch it to make the machine hit the opponent. There are hundreds of awesomely stupid things like that in the series, and they all work because of how the show presents them. It is not all about actions scenes either, this anime can make even a static image work. Like this one, when an ark antagonist assumes a ridiculous pose and the anime treats it like focal point:

Dio Brando

It isn’t just one particular antagonists, they all do the poses

The whole anime is like this. People act as if they are actors on a stage, they strike poses that look like they belong to an athletic dance performance; the events are unpredictable and ridiculous while the characters are always in dire predicaments. You never know what would happen, would they outsmart their enemy or would they just overpower him or her, or will they get out on a sheer luck.

The anime went through four generations of JoJos already, each had their unique visual style, interesting quirks and interesting people to hang out with. There is a lot to say about each of the JoJos, a lot to praise in each season. But if I were to guess what would not make it to the list of praises I’d name the art style and animation.

JoJo is one of those (un)fortunate anime that were adopted from a manga with a got a huge and dedicated fan base. It is a common theme now to try to appeal to such fans by treating the source material with an utmost care. This usually means that the script, the key scenes, the character designs, all would be made as to follow the manga as close as possible. But JoJo took a step further, adopting an animation style that brings the characters closer to their manga look. This can be seen in the Stardust Crusaders, where character designs are notably heavier, which limited the fluidity of the animation and the diversity of the facial expressions. Take a look, can you imagine these faces moving very much? Right.

D'Arby

Polnareff and Kakyoin

Joseph Joestar

But even when the art style is this restrictive you can find animation gems. There was an episode where two brothers were trying to attack Jotaro Kujo (the third generation JoJo) and his friends. The younger brother had a power that allowed him to read near future in his comic book. It is not clear to me how much of an advantage this gave them, but the comic book did look pretty awesome. Here, take a look.

Boingo's comic book

This comic book inspired two alternative ending sequences made specifically for the episodes that feature this comic book. I’ll post a few screenshots from the second ending below ^^

You can watch the whole thing too, I definitely recommend it. Here is the first one:

What I found especially interesting is that this art style looks very similar to something called Figuration Libre, a French artistic movement. Here some examples of how this art looks (these are works of Robert Combas).

Do you see some similarities? When I first saw that JoJo’s ending I was very impressed by how unique it was, and I was even more impressed later when I realized it was an artistic influence of this not very well known French art style. I think this is the role those progressive art movements should play, discovering new forms of expression, new interesting aesthetics, and then giving them to the public by influencing popular commercial works, such as illustrations, decorative artworks and TV animations.

So what I wanted to say is, even in a show like JoJo you can find some awesome pieces of art, if you look carefully. It would be easy to brush aside this ending theme as some lazy weird joke, since the animation imitates still motion which creates an illusion of simplicity, and it would be easy to ignore it because the the art style looks so childish, while in fact it is very deliberate. Good job, whoever is responsible for this awesome piece of animation ^^b

JoJo's scenery

Just putting a few cool looking pictures here, which have nothing to do with Figuration Libre. Don’t mind me.

D'Arby

^^/

Kakyoin eating eyeballs

Okay, I’ll stop now -.-

If you want more art style talk, check out this post on Madoka Magika and postmodernism. If you wanna read more about JoJo, here are a few reaction posts on the first and second seasons.

Spring season 2014 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

The title meant to say that among the great variety of titles that are going to be released this season I am picking only one. And that is the newest incarnation of JoJo series – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. Once again I’m going to see how those overbuffed guys will fight Dio’s minions in order to save Jotaro’s mom. Why not :P

JoJo Stardust crusaders mess

yeah, I think I can dig that

I haven’t read the manga, yet I did watch the OVAs, both the original and the one made in 2000. So I think I am familiar with the plot. Though I’ve heard that the OVAs I’ve seen are somewhat rushed, and there was manga material left out, that gives me hope to see something new too.

If that is your first time seeing Stardust Crusaders, don’t worry I’ll try not to spoil the upcoming events. Also I don’t think you really need to know anything about the previous seasons too, so if you don’t feel like watching the 2012 JoJo series (which is a prequel to Stardust Crusaders), don’t bother. On the other hand you’ll miss a pretty good anime.

JoJo Stardust crusaders Jotaro

Jotaro, new JoJo

So what do I think about this show. First, I liked the opening in the original OVA much better. And I liked the ending theme in the 2012 series much better. Is that a fair criticism? No.

Also I think this anime would have been better if they used more hand drawn look for the art style. But I do appreciate that they are experimenting with their attempt to make it look like “moving manga” or something of the sort.

And last thing, after seeing Joseph Joestar in the last series where he (spoilers!) killed indestructible immortal men that lived for thousands of years, well, after that seeing him take spirit photos as his main ability is kinda weird. Where is his ripple techniques?! Okay, sorry, I almost digressed into ranting.

JoJo Stardust crusaders Dio

By the way, I wonder if Dio can possibly be more powerful than pillar men?..

End of spoilers :P But seriously, it is really hard to write about this new anime without comparing it to 2012 TV series and previous OVAs. So I apologize, but I think my posts will be pretty much filled with references to those anime.

Till the next time (^_^)/

My other posts about JoJo – list.

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012), first episode

Before I go into details I wanna say that before watching 2012 series I have seen the OVAs (which are sequels), so I know some of what is going to happen and I will probably spoil it for you, so be prepared.

So watching the first episode of this series was pretty awesome. I wanna give you a brief-brief synopsis of the episode, in case you haven’t seen it but are still willing to read this potentially full of spoilers article. The episode tells us a story of two young man, boys more or less. They live different lives, one is a son of a rich person, chivalrous and nice, hot blooded yet kind. His name is Jonathan Joestar. Another one is a son of a crook, and so far he was leading a life of misery and poverty. His name is Dio. But it so happened that the Jonathan’s father owed the Dio’s father a debt. And as a repayment  he took Dio into his house.

Jojo 2012 episode 1 Jonathan Joestar

Jonathan Joestar

So what Dio does? He tries to destroy Jonathan’s life, so that one day he, Dio, can inherit the wealth of the Joestars. He doesn’t try to kill Jonathan though. Rather he is trying to humiliate him, make others laugh at him, make him unhappy. Dio goes to great lengths while doing that. He beats him, spreads false rumors about Jonathan, kills his dog, harasses his girlfriend.

Jojo 2012 episode 1 Dio

Dio getting abused by random drunkards

And all that is shown in the first episode. You can tell that the show is going to be intense. I don’t know how much I wanna spoil, but let me say this. Dio is an antagonist in the JoJo OVAs, and there he seemed to be more of a demon than a man. So it is not a happy-end power-of-friendship type of story. Actually, because I have only seen Dio as an adult I was surprised to see him as a kid, being abused by people whom he had to deal with if he wanted to at least get food and such.

Jojo 2012 episode 1 Jonathan and Dio

Dio is a much better fighter than Jonathan

Jojo 2012 episode 1 Dio

Just wanted to put this picture there ^^’

That this story is quite interesting in a sense that even if you don’t like those depressing stories about human relations, you may still enjoy watching this one. Because it is a JoJo series, and JoJo is never boring. I told you how much happened in the first episode, right? I forgot to mention that there was also a time skip and by the end of the episode Jonathan even managed to win a fight with Dio. This anime is just packed with events, and yet it doesn’t feel rushed. Though if you don’t like seeing people punch each other, well, maybe you should avoid this anime.

I am looking forward to the second episode of this anime. By the way, I think in the end, I didn’t spoil anything major from the OVA, how nice of me ^.^ Till the next time, see you (^_^)/

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (1993), the end

I finished this series and now I’ll try to make a compact review for it as I tried to do for the first three episodes of Gundam. Here we go.

Story. In terms of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure don’t have that much to offer. Good guys beat bad guys one or two at a time and that is it. I don’t particularly like the way the anime ended, mostly because Dio was defeated (spoiler, wow) and he was a cool character.

Pacing. Most of the show was dedicated to the fights against Dio’s minions, and that gets old if you look for the story development. But if you just want fights, you won’t be disappointed.

Animation. There are some small issues there, but all in all it is well made.

Characters. All the characters here are manly men and manliness is their dominating quality. Well, not really. They have different personalities and different ways of thinking. And if you are used to modern anime you might find the characters here refreshing.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure episode Dio

Dio

Character designs. Gigantic guys looking as if they just went out of the gym. You say that there are too many moe shows nowadays, so, why don’t you watch this instead :P

Music and sound effects. Nothing too impressive. I don’t even remember how it sounded.

Opening and ending. Ending is not interesting (just credits, like in regular movies), but the opening was quite strange and I was not able to figure out what it was about. Before each episode we saw a human sacrifice and a man, with a mask and there was no explanation.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure episode 10 Opening

But it is much better than a generic opening, like the one I discussed a few posts ago.

Action. This anime is all about action. Guns, swords, fists, sand, reflections, fire, poisonous gas and zombies, all that was used as weapons there.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure episode 10 poker

And don’t forget poker

Final thoughts. This anime is six episodes long. Even if you don’t like it, it won’t be a huge loss of time. Though I won’t recommend this anime, I am just saying that you may like it and that it is not bad.

Till the next time, see you (^_^)/

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (1993), first two episodes

I watched the first two episodes of the original JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series. This anime was made in 1993 and, as of you probably know, this is a continuation of the story told in the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2000), which was made in 2000. So first I watched well animated Jojo 2000 anime and now I went on to anime from 1993 (just want to make it clear, I as myself got really confused).

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 1993 episode 2

Some weird looking mask that is probably important

This anime starts off with a scene of beheading of a woman. That was probably put there instead of disclaimer, to show the parents that they probably want to keep their elementary schoolers away from this show for a while. On the whole this show is just as violent as the 2000 series, though.

Characters look the almost the same as in 2000 series (which is not surprising, considering both are based on the same manga). The action and the story, all that has the same feel. Even so that the animation is older, it is decent and won’t make you itch or something. It is apparent that when they were making this show they didn’t know how to portray certain scenes in the best way, but I am talking about a few specific scenes, while on the whole there aren’t many problems.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 1993 episode 1

Also, they seem to be taking the idea of panel-to-panel animation on a whole new level

The only thing that is making me worried is the pacing of the story. I watched 2 episodes out of total 6 that this show have and so far they were able to defeat one insignificant guy and that was it. I am afraid that they will have to rush things or that they will not cover the whole story of the war against Dio. I know that they will get to fighting Dio in this show (spoilers, yeah), but I wonder if they will be able to defeat him in time.

I will watch the rest of this show some time soon. Don’t know how soon, but whatever. I will write a reaction post on it then. Till then, see you (^_^)/

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 2000, that truly is a bizarre anime

I just finished watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series from 2000. It is 7 episodes long. And if you watched this anime, you are probably going to laugh, after you read this.

The deal was that I got into it without any knowledge of what I am going to see and without knowledge of other JoJo franchise (Obviously I knew that it is a manga based series, but that was it). I started watching it, and it was ok, but kind of slow. I don’t mean that the pacing wasn’t good, I was just wondering who the show is going to end. When I went through the first 5 episodes I started to think that the end is going to be sudden, as they don’t have much time. After I went through the 6th episode I was really worried. They made no progress and there was only one episode left.

Then I finished the 7th episode. The show ended. And it ended in the middle of the nowhere. Good guys were heading towards the bad guy. And that was it. I was surprised and I decoded to look for the next season or something that would give me the rest of the story. Didn’t find one. And I kept bumping into stuff like “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure 2000, episode 8”.  I knew that both the old Jojo series from 1993 and the new from 2000 have not got so many episodes. And the latest season is a prequel, and the animation there is different.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure episode 4 Jean-Pierre Polnareff

Jean-Pierre Polnareff, the main character of the series. I too thought that the anime was about Jojo, but well, I was wrong

So, I was really confused and I asked people on a forum. And I got an answer. Apparently, the 1993 series is the sequel to the Jojo 2000. That is weird. That means that if you want to watch it in the chronological order (plot-wise), you will get better animation at the start and worse animation at the end.

Also, I want to mention one little thing. Here:

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure episode 6 hotel book

Look at the picture. I put a red line under a couple of words that are written in Cyrillic letters. That sounds like “Vam Ienna” and I bet that there are no such words in any language that uses Cyrillic abc.

Also, look at the word that I marked with a green line. It is “chAat”. Just why would they capitalise the first ‘a’ letter? Well, there is stuff in this anime that is much more weird than that, but I love languages and so I had to put is out.

I guess I will watch Jojo 1993 series. I’ll probably write about it too. See you then (^_^)/

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, episodes 1 and 2

Another old anime here. It is not too old being made in 2000, but it somewhat inherited the style of the anime from the 90s. There are all the necessary elements here: manly men, needless violence, questionable plot, bad English dub.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure episode 2

Here is how the animation looks like. As you can see all the men look as if they just out of  a gym

Unlike other old anime I have reviewed, this one is not only centered around men, but it also gives you a feeling that the people who worked on it didn’t want to deal with female characters at all. All the major characters are guys. There one female character in the beginning, the protagonist’s mom, but even she got ill and was taken out of the picture. Maybe the mangaka didn’t like to draw girls or something O.o

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure episode 2 girls

The protagonist’s classmates are all gasping and shocked. That is all they do.

The second thing that I want to mention is the dub. It is not really bad, but I would put it on the same category as the dub for Riding Bean, maybe slightly above. Your ears will not bleed, but if you are used to the modern English dubs, you may feel uncomfortable.

Now about what is good or just interesting about this show. First, before I watched it I thought that Chad from Bleach was the most grown-up looking hight school student in anime. Well, now I know about Jojo. Look at him:

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure episode 2

He is 17.
Yeah, 17 my foot.

And look at him and his classmates:

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure episode 2 Jojo and his classmates

He could have been their father, judging by the looks

I think I have to put it there. If you are a young kid, you probably better wait a little before you watch this. There are sexual themes and graphic violence in the show.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure episode 2

That is not even close to the graphic violence I was talking about. I just don’t want to post pictures of a ripped off heads here.

I will watch the rest of the season (by the way, I assume that I am watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 2000, I hope I am right; I wanted to watch the older version made in 1993, but I could not find it). If anything interesting happens I will write about it. See you (^_^)/

My other posts about JoJo – list.

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