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JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders
Continuing where Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (TV) left off, Stardust Crusaders retains the quirky and creative elements its first series brought along as this series features the return of Dio Brando as the major villain of the series and introduces the franchise's notable fighting element of Stands, psychic manifestations of their wielder's power that have various powers and forms. Within this series, Joseph Joestar, his grandson Jotaro Kujo, and several others team up to trek from Japan to Egypt to slay Dio upon learning of his resurrection. Along the way, enemy Stand users hired by Dio attempt to kill off Joseph and the others before they can reach Egypt, each one having their own bizarre and varying powers they use against the group. These conflicts typically last for one or two episodes a piece and reek of an "enemy of the day" style storyline that many older action titles would milk, though this is made up for by seeing the rather crafty and creative ways that Joseph and his group are able to overcome each enemy Stand user they are up against in such an over-the-top matter that one can get giddy over the creativeness that the series oozes with its style. The series ends inconclusively as it continues on into JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders Egypt-hen. But I plan to continue on with Stardust Crusaders a little late on down the line to see what further quirky Stands will challenge Joseph and his group for the second half of this series.
Last updated Thursday, April 06 2017. Created Thursday, April 06 2017.
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders
(All episodes watched):|
Nothing if not bizarre--that's the way I'd describe the Jojo premise. This show sets itself apart from the generic martial arts show by being shamelessly absurd, but doing so in a fun and perky manner. It invents a whole new level of martial artistry power (pulls it out of thin air, literally), which, along with the flamboyant characters, enables us to suspend disbelief and enjoy ourselves. This sequel carries on the pattern of the previous one, namely that that every other generation of the Joestar family possesses fantastic fighting skills, which are needed to fend off an equally fantastic and thoroughly evil opponent. Dio, who is immortal but was consigned to the bottom of the Atlantic in a locked coffin back in the 19th century, is freed thanks to some careless treasure hunters in the 1980's (which is when this series takes place). Episode one of this sequel series was just as enjoyably ridiculous as the original one, and ought to be fun.
What a good anime needs is a clearly defined problem which the characters must solve. And here we have it: Dio has somehow infected Jotaro's mother with some sort of Stand illness. I don't completely understand it (it was never supposed to make much sense), but what's clear is that it will kill her unless Dio is found and defeated within 50 days. Along with Jotaro is his grandfather, Joseph (hero of the second half of the first series), Abdul, an Egyptian fortune teller, and Kikyoin, another muscle-man teenager, and they set out to track Dio down. Along the way they will undoubtably meet a host of Stand-capable fighters sent by Dio to intercept them. Joseph compares their adventure to Jules Verne's Around The World in 80 Days, which sounds like fun. The hammy, shamelessly absurd story is a definite plus. Where else would superhero-type fighters take on a deadly talking insect? Or a monkey which is also a Stand user? The fights would be terribly repetitive and uninteresting if they weren't given an element of wackiness and intentional melodrama here. And this show has a sly sense of humor as it slips LOL jokes into the story every now and then.
Two of Jotaro's team, Kikyoin and Pointareff, were originally brainwashed fighters serving Dio, and questions are raised about just how trustworthy one of them is in episode eight. That's neat, since there will have to be more to the story than a good guy vs. bad guy fight of the week when something like this happens. I thought this episode, which was largely about Pointareff was fun, since he was attacked while alone in his hotel room and couldn't call for help. That's one way to develop a character. Jotaro himself has actually not dominated the story, which, again, I like. Joseph actually acts as team leader, and has gotten more air time than Jotaro. Jotaro plays the main role in episode nine, in which (again) one team member must take on one of Dio's Stand users single-handedly. Each assailant has some weird capability which the good guy must figure out how to outwit, which keeps things entertaining. The group is in Singapore at the moment; a look at neat places around the world is fun.
For all it's tongue-in-cheek-ness, there's an element of uncertainty and danger to Stardust, because even good guys get killed sometimes. The story balances humor with risk in a skillful manner. It can be LOL funny at times, a goal which anime that are pure comedies struggle to achieve. The opponents which the team encounter, and the tactics they dream up to deal with them, are so insane that sometimes you can't help laughing--but that's exactly what the makers of this show intended. Plus Jotaro and Pointareff are kind of foul-mouthed delinquents, and their arrogance can be hilarious. For example, I remember a line that went something like "Is this guy a Stand user? Or just an everyday asshole?". The English-language profanity from grandfather Joseph can be fun, too. This show is not supposed to be primarily a comedy, yet it is funnier than the vast majority of shows which are. I fear I am unable to put into words just how rambunctious, bizarre, and hilarious this show can often be. I don't think it is getting nearly as much attention as it deserves.
This show does a good job of whipping up our anger at some of Dio's Stand users--like the guy who inserted a tiny bug into Joseph's brain. They do despicable things and are clearly despicable people. At the end it feels very good to see this guy and others like him get the you-know-what beaten out of them. Others villains are sort of laughable and likeable, like Hol Horse. Episode 19 was fun in that the team found themselves in an inexplicable and seemingly hopeless jam in the Arabian desert, then the solution came remarkably quickly and easily once someone figured out what was going on. The show has so many weird twists that it manages to stay novel instead of falling into a predictable rut.
Well, it turns out that maybe the good guys don't get killed after all. A strange explanation comes about in episode 22, which I would probably say was lame and a cheap way out if it had come in the average action anime. But this show is so fun, the characters are so likeable, and it takes itself so unseriously, that I don't mind it at all. I should have known this would happen, based on the OP sequence.
It began to dawn on me that Stardust Crusaders was rapidly running out of episodes and the team hadn't even reached Egypt yet. It turns out that yet another series, which will contain 'the Egyptian Arc' is scheduled for January 2015. That's fine with me. I'm looking forward to it, and I just wonder what song will be used in the ED sequence this time.
My favorite line: "Holy Shit!" --Joseph Joestar
Last updated Friday, October 24 2014. Created Sunday, April 20 2014.