Friday, October 11, 2013

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: And What a Fabulous Adventure It Is

Recently Alice convinced me to watch JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with her- and what a Bizarre Adventure it was!  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this show certainly delivered...something!

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in it's manga form began in 1987 and is still ongoing, with eight story arcs to date.  The anime adaptation of Parts 1 and 2 aired fairly recently in 2012, and Alice assures me that these are by far the least interesting of all of the story arcs- which makes me wonder what in the hell could possibly happen later, because this thing is on crack like you wouldn't believe.  
Let it be said that I have not read the manga (big surprise), and what little I know of it has come from Alice and internet plot summaries.  At her insistence, I went into JoJo knowing nothing at all about the series other than "it's really fucking weird" and something about Nazis.  I was not disappointed.  

Even the commercials during the show are amazing.  

But let's begin with the consistent subbing translation of the word subarashii (すばらしい) - as "fabulous" - because that is probably the most accurate way to describe this show. It is fabulous beyond belief. It takes fabulous and throws it out the window along with any remnants of sanity or logic.

The premise of these stories is to follow the adventures (or misadventures) of the Joestar family.  The main character changes in each story arc, which surprised me at first, but it keeps you from getting bored with one for too long (I'm looking at you, Jonathan "perfect gentleman" Joestar).  The new arcs are often accompanied by significant time skips, as the next "JoJo" might be several generations removed from the previous one.

To start with, the opening to the first arc, Phantom Blood, is visually stunning, and the song "JoJo (Sono Chi no Sadame)" is more catchy than an opening has any right to be.
 The first arc  is about as normal as this show will ever get.  It is set in the late 1800's in England - Jonathan Joestar's father has his life saved, albeit accidentally, by a member of the dishonest Brando family, and he decides that he is forever indebted to them.  He adopts Dio Brando into his family as a brother figure to Jonathan, and it turns out that Dio is the biggest asshole in the entire world.

I mean that, I really do.  When someone is evil in this series, there is no second-guessing, no past trauma, no life circumstances that excuse their evilness.  Dio is unapologetically evil for the sake of being a giant douchenozzle, and I'm not going to lie, it's kind of fantastic.  Dio worms his way into the Joestar family and basically shows up the honorable, gentlemanly Jonathan in every way possible in an attempt to ruin his life and get the father's inheritance.
The douche nod

No, seriously, fuck you Dio
Oh by the way, there is also this mysterious stone mask artifact that turns people into vampires.  Dio, of course, turns into a vampire and creates an undead army that includes Jack the Ripper.  Jonathan learns this weird ass Ripple fighting style from this dude with bizarre fashion sense named Zeppeli, along with this other groupie dude named Speedwagon and- hold up a second.

I should also mention- almost everything in this damn show is some sort of musical reference, usually 80's rock/metal related.  How on earth they get this shit through copyright, I don't know, but I'm glad that they manage it.  Tonpetty, Dire and Straits, Speedwagon, I can't keep a straight face while I'm watching this- not that you probably should, this is something you really can't take seriously.

At some point Dire is decapitated, his severed head lands in a rose bush, and he uses his mouth and Ripple to shoot a rose into Dio's eye, in what may win for the "most ridiculous attack ever."
Goddamn these fabulous roses
At any rate, Dio is "defeated", Jonathan dies a noble death, and the first story arc ends.  A word of warning- don't spend much time on the Dio Brando tag in Tumblr.  I found no fewer than four separate pieces of fanart of Dio forcing Jonathan's severed head to give him a blowjob.  I will spare you the horror (aren't I the nicest person ever).

Fast forward to the late 1930's in New York City and Part 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure- Battle Tendency.  Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan Joestar, is dicking around the city being an asshole, because his personality is completely opposite that of his grandfather.
No, seriously.  He's an idiot.
Meanwhile, old Speedwagon (still alive) is investigating some weird shit in Mexico and he gets captured by Nazis. Mexico. They are all carefully investigating these disturbingly buff scantily clad men in stone pillars, conveniently named the Pillar Men.

Joseph goes to Mexico to rescue Speedwagon in the most horrific display of crossdressing I have ever seen.
Yes, even the Nazis are afraid of him.
The leader of the Nazi group, Stroheim, was experimenting on reviving one of the Pillar Men named Santana.  Santana starts devouring the Nazis, and Joseph goes  The Nazis.  Who are now our allies. Okay.

And while we're talking about Stroheim?  It is readily apparent that the character design for Guile from Street Fighter is heavily drawn from Stroheim's design (although Guile is an all-American military whatsit and Stroheim is a cyborg Nazi, but whatever).
Oops, guess what's stuck in your head now
The Pillar Men eat vampires, and can eat people just by absorbing them.  Through various absurd events, Stroheim sacrifices himself to destroy Santana, and they team up and go after these other Pillar Men in Italy.  Joseph runs into Caesar Zeppeli (the grandson of William Zeppeli from the first arc), they become asshole bros, and the other Pillar Men are released.  Their names?  Wham, Cars, and AC/DC.  (Technically Wamuu, Kars, and Esidisi, but who are they really fooling here?)
You will never be this fabulous- EVER
After they get their asses kicked, they have a training montage with Lisa Lisa, their Ripple instructor, at some point Stroheim becomes a cyborg, Kars reveals his ultimate form with long flowing hair and ridiculous posing and at some point he turns his hand into a rabid flesh-eating squirrel....

Oh yes, and let's not forget the noy-even-remotely-subtle innuendo
I don't even know why I'm explaining this, this is just something you have to see for yourself.  Seriously.  Watch this show.  It is completely and utterly insane, you will not regret it.


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