The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2000)

Title: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2000) aka JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Adventure
Genre: Action
Company: Studio APPP
Format: 7 OVA
Dates: 25 May 2000 – 25 Oct 2002

Synopsis: The Joestar family has a long history with Dio Brando. Now that Dio has resurfaced, strange new abilities are manifesting themselves within Joseph Joestar and his grandson Jotaro. They are able to call forth alter-egos called Stands whose powers reflect specific Tarot cards. When Dio puts Joseph’s daughter Holly’s life in danger, the pair team up with fellow Stand user Mohammed Avdol to seek him out, but must face a long journey, many enemies and a few new friends along the way.

The Highlights
Characters: Have personality, but fill standard roles.
Battles: Some good, some less engaging.
Animation: Enhances the stylized characters.
Stands: Diverse in design and ability; the main attraction.

This seven part OVA represents the first half of the third story arc in the original manga series and is the follow-up to the 1993 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which depicts the latter half of the story. Here, the characters are given proper introductions and some of the history between Dio and the Joestar family is explained. The art style and voice actors from the 1993 OVA are retained and there is a clear upgrade in the quality of the animation.

Here the focus is on introducing and establishing the main cast, allowing each one time to show their personality. Joseph is the grounded leader, making plans and pushing his comrades forward. Avdol serves as the calm, wise advisor, countered by Jean Pierre Polnareff who is immature and impulsive. Noriaki Kakyoin is the detective of the group, though he displays a maturity far beyond his teenage years. Jotaro too behaves (and looks) nothing like the 17 year old he is. He is moody and difficult at times, but demonstrates the confidence and air of a much older man. Despite is role as the main protagonist he comes across as cold, unfriendly and rather hard to like. Jotaro does the least to spell out his values, instead expressing his displeasure at what he disagrees with. Of the main cast, he is the hardest to get to know.

The most mysterious character is, of course, Dio himself. The long intro at the beginning of each episode reveals some details of how he reappeared, but beyond this and a short history lesson from Joseph, very little is known about the main villain. The Joestars and Dio would each be better off without the other, but the details of the history are absent. As the story progresses, Joseph manages to attract others to his cause by highlighting Dio’s deception and manipulation. Each member of the team has his own reason for opposing Dio so that even while they work as a team, each member is also fighting for himself.

As the heroes journey in search of Dio, they come up against several Stand users who have sworn their allegiance to him. Only one of them, however, poses any real threat. The Hanged Man forces the heroes to use their minds and their Stands creatively and presents a challenge more difficult than a simple sword or fire. After this, the next confrontation with N-Yah seems especially weak. After employing teamwork and innovation to defeat the Hanged Man, N-Yah’s trap seems too painfully obvious for the leads to fall for. Regardless, the conflicts do show off the abilities of the various Stands and showcase their diversity. Even the more standard battles are well animated and fast paced, with the abilities of the Stands allowing for showy moves and impressive displays. The Stands are, after all, what separates this story from other action series.

These seven episodes serve their purpose of introducing the characters and their Stands with competent execution. The final episode leaves the characters part way through their journey to find Dio. To watch the story’s conclusion you will need to seek out the 1993 OVA, which picks up shortly after this one leaves off.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Kaikyaku

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