This was one of the most highly requested shows to cover this month and it hasn't disappointed thus far!
I don't know a whole lot about the Jojo franchise other than it's a long running manga that started back in the 80s and is remarkably STILL releasing today. That's quite the marathon.
I was a little confused as to which series to watch as Wikipedia listed quite a few different ones with differing subtitles so I wasn't sure if I could hop in to any of them and be fine.
Instead I opted to go riiiiight back to S1E1 of the Phantom Blood / Battle Tendency arcs found on Netflix.
Visual flare is clearly the objective of this show and it comes in bucket fulls and to follow the design choices of the source material so closely is a real history lesson given than there's almost three decades between their productions.
Because of this, there's some unique traits I haven't seen in other shows so far this month. Things like the very blatant line going down the character's cheeks to unmistakably define their exquisite genetics which combined with a bending of the rules as to where thick or thine line work can go gives this a really distinct look. That flexibility allows more extreme warping of the faces in exaggerated moments which is where the characters live 80% of the time haha
Environmental art and some articles of clothing also feel vintage with general bluriness or a slight grain distortion which feels cosy, it flings me back to being a little'ne watching cartoons for the first time!
We haven't broken the glass ceiling just yet though because we've not talked about how wild the visuals get when the brothers internalize or throw up fisty cuffs. They seemingly don't give a fuck whether they're using space imagery, checkerboard, awkwardly places arrow trails or simply hitting Ctrl + I to invert the whole canvas' hue - and it absolutely lands!
I don't know if there's any significance to this other than character recognition but I did notice that regardless of what's happening with everything else in the scene, both Jojo and Dio's iris' never change colour 🤔
Another first for me this month is the use of Japanese wording (typically Katakana) popping out the screen and taking up a large amount of the real estate. This is a common tool used in Manga for relaying sound effects like the POWs and WHAMs which often vanishes for the show adaptations because, well, we have audio. Every single use of it so far has been stellar and they make for great freeze frame moments that'd look sick on anybody's phone lock screen.
Jojo isn't playing anybody else's rule book and I can't wait to see how much more trouble they get in to with these visuals. It's so exciting!!
The premise thus far is pretty simple. One dad saves another, owes an eternal debt, cashes it in on his death bed and the hero's son becomes part of the Joestar household but with the secret intention of methodically dismantling Jojo's entire life to become the inheritor of wealth due to appearing as the more worthy son.
I assumed this would be a slow burn but holy shit, does Dio get straight to work. Within 15 minutes he'd done the following:
- Kills Jojo's pet Danny by cremation
- Assaults Jojo's girlfriend to steal her first kiss then slaps the shit out of her.. The fuck?
- Out boxes him in a public ring for direct humilation, as well as an eye poke, not cool.
- Effortlessly spreads a rumor that Jojo is a snitch who can't be trusted
- Out classes Jojo at the dinner table
Christ... I mean, he's efficient huh? No friends, no lovers, no pets and the waning respect of his father. Fair play Dio, I might just write you in to my will too 😱
I hadn't expected a timeskip quite so early in the show but we're zipped 7 years in to the future and the absurdity of their physical builds almost rivals Gears Of War characters but again, fuck the rules, we're just vibing here!
Now there's plenty of shows where continuous top of your lungs screaming can get old reeeeally fast (Black Clover was that for me) but given the absurd nature of everything unfolding in these episodes complimented by swift meaty combat makes every speed line, face warp and use of motion blur actually kind of brilliant. The determination each of these brothers feels really oozes from the screen and Dio has to catch himself on more than one occasion to calm down so there's a nice self awareness to it.
I'm so glad I've been watching the Japanese audio version of this show because the British slang is tolerable when it's text on but out of interest I flipped over to the English dub and hooooly... Nope. Awful accents. It's the being an American and saying Mary Poppins quotes to get in to character for me 🙉
That aside, foggy London town is the setting where the mystery of the mask begins to unravel. Its clinching bones were enough of a teaser in the first episode to carry me onwards and it turns out, it creates vampires. Oh shit.
I was sufficiently grossed out by the vampire wearing Dio's neck skin like a condom but there's no dying that it's a much cooler visual for blood sucking than the typical hicky on the neck.
The sun makes quick work of Vampy and Dio's shattered collar bone is a learning moment of the power the mask can bring. It'll be really interesting to see whether he decides to self inflict with the mask or simply raise an army of Vampires to write off Jojo and that uncertainty is why the storytelling here is simple but great. I'm theorizing and I'm committed to finding out what happens next, bravo!
F IN THE CHAT FOR DANNY
Danny may be gone but my interest lives on. The flashy and absurd nature of the show means 20 minutes passes in the blink of an eye, meaning that binge watching will be a breeze. RIP my work productivity!
This is sitting VERY high up my list for continued watching and with the announcement of Season 6, I've got some catching up to do to ride that hype train later this year or early 2022
As always, cheers for reading and keep those suggestions coming! The list is ever changing as I try to explore as many unique sub-genres as I can this month.
I've yet to find the time to catch up on the day I missed but some time this week will be a double review day to get us back on track 👌
Full list for AniMAY can be found here: