JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Review

This is review number two hundred and ninety seven. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. The show I’ll be reviewing is called Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. It’s a twenty four episode anime about Jojo and his journey to beat up as many people in Asia as possible. It’s a second season of an anime I really enjoyed. Is the second season as good as the epicly awesome first season? Let’s read on.

Story

Jotaro Kujo and his group of Stand users must travel to Egypt to help save his sick mother. He only has fifty days before it’s too late. He must find the resurrected Dio and vanquish him for good. Dio is back though and he knows Jotaro is a massive threat for his destiny. He has hired a bunch of Stand users to make sure Jotaro’s journey to Egypt will not come to fruition. With his grandfather and fellow Stand users at his side, Jotaro is ready to kick some 19th century ass.

Taking the Pants Off

The first season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is truly epic. It’s not like your typical shounen anime where the story drags on too long and feels like its overstaying its welcome. The first two arcs seriously felt like an epic. Not like it’s overly awesome, I mean epic as in Beowulf vs Grendel. It’s really about a story of heroism and amazing manliness in the pages of a manga. The anime captured the appeal wonderfully as you witness Jonathan and Joseph Joestar duke it out with a bunch of immortal vampires. Their journey is as amazing as Odysseus taking on the Cyclops as you see Jonathan fight to the death with his immortal rival Dio and seeing Joseph come up with a plan to defeat a dude named ACDC. It has a few rough patches to it but the engaging content of Jojo easily won me over. With its mix of gore and over the top violence, it is pretty fun seeing Jojo overcome the odds stacked against him. With the smart storytelling and the epic style format, it will easily give you one fulfilling anime experience. The announcement of the third arc had me foaming in the mouth. Seeing the next Jojo, Jotaro Kujo, looking awesome in his cell with his “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude had my mind racing exactly how the author will top his epic manga. The second arc ended with a fight on top of a f*cking volcano as Joseph fought a very much unbeatable opponent. The third arc has some big shoes to fill. The idea that Dio is back and using Jonathan’s body as his own really sounds like an epic idea. The third arc is destined to be epic. There is no doubt about it, I said to myself right after I finished the first season of the anime. After finishing this second season, I can’t believe that the third arc is actually not as epic as I’d expect. You can’t blame my high expectations. The first season easily converted me into a freakin GAR fan knowing that the story is epic enough to worth watching. The third arc is really a transition of the series and something that just doesn’t feel like the first two arcs. I mentioned how most shounen manga these days are dragged on too long and felt like it overstayed its welcome. The third arc of Jojo feels just that. It felt like a watered down version of the first two arcs and it tried to capitalize on its commercial success basically turning this epic manga into your run of the mill shounen franchise. It’s not a bad thing actually but I was hoping for another Beowulf versus Grendel-like showdown in the third arc yet it painfully avoids it and awkwardly replaces every good epic idea with something else. The third arc and this second season is a transition phase for the franchise. It’s very different and I had a hard time enjoying it knowing everything that made the first two arcs special is eventually forgotten.

To be fair, the first two arcs had its share of bad moments. They were pretty linear and a bit predictable at times. It’s not the most unique story there is as you see nonstop one on one fights with very little context. It also had very muscularly scary men posing while doing monologues and taking themselves way too seriously sometimes. It’s a hard thing to follow the mindset of the show while it embraces over the top nonsense and exaggerated reactions. I still remember the random squirrel getting killed and the unwarranted reaction from the group. Still, what the two arcs lack in simple logic, it makes up for with some awesome moments with that “all or nothing” mindset to it. Fights are so do-or-die that Jojo would have to scratch and claw his way to victory. I still remember the epic fight Joseph had in the Nazi facility trying to stop a vampire from hiding inside the well. The over the top nonsense is often make up for with some steady pacing in both the story and the fighting. For the third arc, the setup is actually pretty damn promising. We are introduced to Jotaro Kujo who won’t come out of his prison cell because he claims that he is being possessed by something evil. Things would appear in the cell like some manga or a toy car, his cellmates insists they get transferred to another cell and he can even grab a cop’s gun and shoot himself without getting hurt. Jotaro is stubborn and he decided that for the safety of others, he won’t come out of his cell. His mother is very worried though and she eventually got her father to meet with Jotaro. That’s right. Joseph Joestar from the second arc is in the story. Soon, it was explained that Jotaro doesn’t have an evil spirit with him. It is actually his powers manifesting into a summon being called a Stand. The explanations are murky. Basically, it’s like your own summon being that does the fighting for you. Stands can only be defeated by other Stands but a damage to the Stand can be felt by the Stand user. Anyways, it appears that the reason Jotaro’s Stand is manifesting is because of Dio’s acquired Jonathan’s body is calling for his descendants to arms and defeat Dio. Both Jotaro and Joseph have a stand and Dio has one as well thanks to Jonathan’s body. Dio is determined that eliminating Jonathan’s descendants would help him fulfill his destiny so he sends a bunch of users to hunt down the two Jojo. Both of them are forced to act as well though because Jotaro’s mother is manifesting a Stand as well. She isn’t GAR like the manly Jojos so her body will slowly deteriorate if her stand isn’t eliminated. The only way to do so is to kill Dio. The two Jojos are now travelling Asia to reach Egypt and kill Dio who has Jonathan’s body. It’s a freaking family reunion of the epic kind. Three generations of Jojo face to face up against the bastard that started it all. The initial premise really had me shaking. It was an exciting plot considering how over the top and awesomely paced the fights will be. Plus, the enigmatic Dio being the main villain once again just feels awesome knowing he’ll be facing two Jojos this time. I was not kidding when I said I was foaming in the mouth in anticipation of this anime.

The story is pretty straight forward. The two Jojos are just trying to head to Egypt. Along the way, their entourage turned into five men also wanting a piece of Dio. At every turn, a bunch of Stand users hired by Dio faces our heroes in often the most inconvenient of places. The entire thing is actually pretty intelligent as most of the fight scenes are not your typical one on one showdown in a convenient half wrecked desolate place. The Jojo series actually loves to tie in the current timeline to its story like how Nazis ended up fighting vampires in the second arc. For the third arc, the fights were in various places around Asia. From Hong Kong to India up to Pakistan, the scenic places of these countries are prominently featured in the story. Seeing a showdown in a crowded Indian market is pretty awesome considering how unusual it is. It’s not your typical shounen affair where two overpowered individuals just beat each other silly. The fights are so diverse that it’s not just your straight forward power fest. A lot of things are taken into consideration to give us some of the most inspired fights you’ll ever see in Shounen. Admittedly, they’re also very gimmicky but I think it is part of the appeal. The journey to Egypt is riddled with a lot of very unusual moments that I think made this third arc special. After all, Jotaro’s journey started with a fight with a bug on a flying airplane. I kid you not, that’s how unusual this third arc is.

How about a fight with an orangutan in a moving freighter ship?

Not weird enough. Ok, the third arc also had a fight with a vehicle in a dirt road.

There is also a fight with an enemy attached to someone’s arm like a creepy leech.

There is a fight with a cursed doll on a Singapore hotel room.

There’s a freaking genie that grants three wishes to its enemy.

To top it all off, a tense fight with a baby. The third arc is absolutely inspired with a lot of these over the top scenarios with some inventive pacing to them.

In the very essence of the title, this truly is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. The way the fights are featured are so imaginative that you can’t help but enjoy every second of it. I seriously felt entertained as I anticipate more inventive fight scenes to occur in the anime. For context, just imagine Joseph Joestar and his machine gun. It’s an unexpected moment that is both funny and serious as you realize how smart the entire thing is. Multiply that by ten and you have every fight scene in the third arc. It uses the unusual setting as a base and then adds more stuff like the fighting style of the enemy, the heroes own powers working against the battle place and a lot of overwhelming advantages on the opponents side. It had the odds against our heroes and every other good bit that made Jojo such an interesting anime. I think a lot of people would love how far out of the box some of the situations got and it definitely doesn’t feel like your typical shounen face offs.

With that being said, I still have some very big problems with the third arc in its entirety. The third arc is a massive departure from the first two Jojo. There are three things that just don’t sit well with me. First of all, the stone mask that started it all. It’s not in the third arc. In fact, there are no mentions of vampires in the third arc. Every enemy is a hired henchman and all of them are just normal people trying to make a quick buck. Sure, they are the best in their profession but I don’t think it’s actually smart to just abandon the vampire premise. In the first season, Dio put on an ancient mask that granted him powers to become a vampire. It was an immense power that made him survive a bunch of times while also trying to create a legion of vampire zombies and warriors from beyond the grave. The same Dio is in the third arc. It’s the same vampire overlord that is trying to create a legion of undead warriors to take over the world. I think it’s a bit unfair that the whole vampire zombie business is just dropped for no reason. The second arc even went as far as to elaborate more on the stone mask by introducing ancient warriors that are also vampires that would claim immense power when they put on the mask. They also spread terror with their vampire powers and other nightmarish abilities like literally invading someone from the inside and exploding them to bits. To follow it up with a story of ordinary people with special summon warriors feels a bit anti-climactic. What happened to the stone mask? What happened to Dio’s vampire powers? If Jonathan had Stands in the first place, why didn’t it manifest when he was duking it out with Dio on three different occasions? Why does this whole Stand thing feel like it just cheapened the entire series? I always liked the idea that multiple generations of Jojo are fighting the same vampire nightmare of different variations but discovering the series dropped it in the third arc just feels a bit unsatisfying. I foamed at the mouth for nothing, damn it.

Secondly, as inventive as the battles are in the third arc, they are all just too gimmicky for their own good. Sadly, the gimmicks ran out to early and fights often end in the same episode. As much as the unique and original fights look refreshing and all, I think a good one-on-one that lasts three episodes still gives a much meaningful anime experience. The first two arcs might’ve looked too straight forward with its one on one matches but the steady storytelling made it surreal. When you think Jojo is winning, the enemy would pull off a super move that’ll change the pace of the fight. When you think the enemy had Jojo cornered, he’ll bounce back by either a smart strategy or just pure strength. Sure, a fight with an orangutan sounds pretty awesome but the storytelling is really rushed and a bit uninspired. I know the fight itself could last more than three episodes but the anime seems to be rushing the story too much. It’s like it just wants to put on a flashy fight scene on the scenic places of Asia without putting much thought on the actual matches. It’s a big shame because I really wanted some of the villains to do more awesome stuff instead of being disposed fairly early in the show. The combination of Hol Horse and Centerfold is amazingly epic. Hol Horse himself just had an awesome power and yet, the lack of a good storytelling turned him into a simple nameless goon the heroes can beat without blinking. I really think the third arc is forced. I can imagine Jojo being immensely popular by the time the third arc was released and now the series is just banking on its commercial success. I have this feeling the third arc is just away to sell toys and merchandise. It’s certainly not a bad thing but only when you don’t compromise the beauty that made the series famous in the first place. But really, the biggest problem is the Stand. The ability to manifest your power into a summon warrior made everything both unique, inventive and also damning limited. With the ripple and the hamon technique, at least you get to see an actual effort match between the two fighters. Literally every match had their blood, sweat and shouting out moves in it. You also see both Jonathan and Joseph work their ass off for the win. Jonathan fighting Dio in the burning mansion as he sacrifice himself is absolutely beautiful. It’s a true tale of heroism. Joseph trying to drag this bastard ancient out into the sunlight while it hides inside other people had him literally clawing to defeat the bastard. It’s really a tense fight with our heroes breaking their backs to win. The Stands eliminate this heroic idealism. Jotaro just stands there all GAR while he gets slashed by the opponent. Sure he bleeds but there is no struggle. It’s a lazy back and forth with Jotaro often just doing nothing. All the fighting is done by the Stand so he is really just the laziest version of Jojo ever. I’m guessing the rest is as lazy as this guy since the Stand is now a common place in the rest of the arcs. Granted, the Stand is the gateway for the inventive match ups like battling a baby but it’s often half baked. It’s not really enough since the battles often end too prematurely. It also lacks a bit of excitement because most of the scenarios are easily reversed by the main characters with very little struggle at times. I was so damn bored sometimes that I eventually started cheering for the villains. I remember this one enemy that tried to boil the good guys to death using the sun. Trapped under a rock sweating to death, the good guys immediately figured out how to defeat the enemy. It was like snapping your fingers. All that BS the enemy cooked up is foiled by just snapping the fingers. It’s a lame follow up for the Jojo series, in my opinion.

jojo2-9

The third thing I don’t like about this arc is Dio’s involvement in it. Dio is a conniving manipulative prick that would use every underhanded tactic that he can use to win. This damn guy was so hard to kill that he is able to survive death three freaking times. With the thought that two generations of Jojo is after him, he really didn’t do much. He just sucked a bunch of blood from some half naked girls. The mastermind Dio of the first arc is reduced into a guy just flexing his body and doing nothing else. His presence is badly missed in the series. What the hell happened while he was imprisoned in the coffin under the sea? While I do understand that he can’t quite leave Egypt for some unknown reason, I still think it was a cop out for him to do nothing. He hired a bunch of people to kill his enemies and that’s basically it. Maybe he is underestimating the two Jojo after him or it’s just lazy writing but Dio looked pathetic in this arc. The Dio in the first arc resurrected two knights from beyond the grave to take on Jonathan. He sneaked into a boat, created an army of vampire zombies and trapped Jonathan in it while only being a head. Dio is the perfect shounen villain who would stop at nothing and would spare no expenses to get rid of his enemy. Hiring mercenaries isn’t really enough for the Dio I grew to love. The Dio of the first arc would create an army of zombies and let them chase the Jojos down. He would turn the entire country of India into zombie land just to finish off the Jojos. Hiring people with money and letting an old lady do his bidding is some pathetic weak ass sh*t for the perfect Shounen villain. Again, this leads back to the Stand. Dio now has a Stand as well. The ripple technique he feared and mastered no longer matter here. He isn’t as desperate as he was in the first arc. Eliminating the ability to display some awesome heroicness using the ripple or the hamon no longer applies in the third arc. It’s all about summon warriors and this turned the most conniving super villain into a dude that just flexes his muscles. Now to be fair, the third arc is split in two seasons so Dio might just be saving his best tricks for a later date. Still, I was lured by the Jotaro vs. Dio face off convinced it’ll be more epic than Joseph versus Kars. Seeing Dio do nothing in the third arc really bored me. It’s crazy to think Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure can be boring but the third arc managed to achieve that.

The third arc boasts a large cast. It’s one of the big departures of the series. The first two arcs solely focused on Jojo and his epic journey. Secondary characters are really playing second fiddle to Jojo. Most of them are just introduced so they can die later on. The third arc is different. The secondary characters are there for a purpose. I’m not really sure what the purpose is though other than take up more space and steal some moments under Jotaro’s nose. The large cast is a bit problematic but it also adds to the unique fights the third arc has. The large cast offers variety and different range to the straightforward setup of the series. Despite this though, the characters are all a bit one dimensional. It’s a shame none of them really stood out in a magnificent fashion. Some characters are just focused during a match but even then they still can’t seem to do something to make them stand out. As I said before, I consider Jotaro as the laziest Jojo so far. He had an awesome lineage to uphold and he can’t seem to do it justice. The fact that his Stand is cooler than he is gives you an idea how bland of a lead he is. It is pretty satisfying to see his Stand beat the sh*t out of someone but it’s really not enough. Towards the second half, I started to get impatient. I wanted to see Jotaro actually do some heavy lifting. The anime did introduce him as this perceptive anti-hero and that’s really where it ends. In terms of the actual story, he feels more like a lazy Mary Sue. You don’t really feel convinced that the bad guy has a chance of defeating him since he will defeat that guy no matter what. Sure, Joseph is the same in some ways but he was up against immortal beings that can shape shift and cut his arm in seven ways. Jotaro fought human mercenaries and it doesn’t even feel exciting. You really only watch the fights to see his Stand do something awesome. Then again, seeing Jotaro find the opponent’s weakness quickly without struggling first kind of ruins it as well. This was the usual flow of the fights in the anime. No matter how strong and imposing the enemy is, the heroes will still find the weakness no matter. No exception. I call BS when he was able to defeat a fog Stand by sucking it up and preventing the Stand user to not breathe. How did that even happen? For godsakes, Kars ability to turn his hand into a squirrel is explained in detail in the second arc. In the third arc, sucking up fog can incapacitate your opponent? That’s just lazy.

The most heartbreaking thing in the third arc is knowing that Joseph Joestar is now delegated to secondary character status. The guy who fought a bunch of immortal vampires in the second arc is now playing supporting character to his lazy grandchild. He also felt sorely out of place as the ripple technique and his hamon special no longer applies in the third arc. Dio is the only vampire here and he is hiding his ass in Egypt. With his age and the limitations of his enemies, Joseph really didn’t have much to do here. He was also given a weak ass Stand. The thing that hurts the most is that most of the bad guys here aren’t even a match for Joseph in one on one combat. To nullify that glaring plot hole, the Stands are created. If joseph had his way, he would freaking unleash a machine gun on all their asses. If he had nothing to do in the third arc, wouldn’t it just make sense to not include him in the story at all? His inclusion actually helped my mouth foam at the thought of his awesome involvement in this epic family reunion but knowing he did nothing really breaks my heart. He was utilized as a comedic piece though offering some light hearted fluff amidst the seriousness the series is known for. It’s pretty cool hearing him yell “OHH MAH GAWD!” from time to time. Unless this dude dies in the later parts of the third arc then I think having him a part of this lazy uninspired arc is a massive disservice to the guy that fought four immortal vampires, befriended a half man half robot Nazi and discover his friend crushed under a rock.

The two Jojo is accompanied by some colorful characters. The first one is Avdol. He is an Egyptian fortune teller that has a Stand that can summon fire. It is a pretty cool stand that uses massive amount of fire and heat to defeat its opponent. Avdol had a few scenes where he fought and he really did nothing more. He was like a close friend of Joseph and he is the most level minded of the group but he really didn’t stand out that well. I’d say that the interaction among the characters isn’t really that smooth so most of them feel out of place than others. Another companion is Noriaki Kakyoin. He goes to the same school as Jojo and was the first Stand user Jotaro fought. He was being controlled by Dio to do the evil guy’s bidding and thanks to Jotaro, he was saved. He now vows to join Jotaro’s group and smack Dio a good one as well. Dio has a Stand that can enter inside people and control them. It also has a wide reach making it a formidable Stand. Kakyoin is considered the genius of the group but this is often overshadowed by Jotaro’s Mary Sue personality. It doesn’t really matter how smart you are when the main character can win without doing anything. Perhaps the scene stealer of the group though would have to be Jean Pierre Polnareff. He is a very GAR Frenchmen who was also controlled by Dio. He joined Jotaro’s group so he can hunt down a man with two right hands that killed his sister. He is convinced that Dio has him employed. Polnareff is the most featured secondary character in the show. He is the goofball of the group being easily caught in traps and has this naïve personality that opponents often exploit. He is also a loudmouth and a rather obnoxious character. He really just grows on you though whether you like it or not. His Stand is the Silver Chariot. It’s a knight that uses a fencing style to utilize both speed and precision. Polnareff is the biggest stand out though as he had as much one on one fights as Jotaro had in the run of this anime.

The villains and the heroes as well are all classified under the Arcana Tarot Card. Jotaro’s Stand is classified as the Star Arcana. Joseph’s is the Hermit, Avdol’s is the Magician, Kakyoin has the Hierophant and Polnareff has the Chariot. The villains powers are also closely related to their Tarot cards. The show explains what each tarot represents and the trait are then applied to the enemy’s Stand. It makes up for some inventive face offs as the Stands become stronger as the show progresses. As I said though, if the fights where longer then I really would’ve enjoyed this anime. Also introducing the enemies one at a time and then having them die early on also seems a bit unpleasant. If the show introduced them as a group, make the audience anticipate what the others can do and have them listen on the various schemes our villains are hatching then they wouldn’t just be one dimensional wet tissues our heroes easily tosses in the garbage bin. While I do enjoy the imaginative face offs and the unique setting of the third arc, the overall story is really just lazy. Lackluster enemies and short battles ruin the enjoyment a bit. Who knows though, maybe the rest of the arc will make up for this anime’s short coming.

I think it’s pretty clear that I am not a fan of the third arc. It did a complete overhaul of the series. Funny thing is that the third arc is actually the most popular arc of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I actually took its perspective into consideration. It was 1989 and the manga introduced us to some out of the box face offs that you’ll never see in any Shounen manga of its time. With the introduction of the Stands, the mellowed out story that no longer takes itself seriously, an anti-hero GAR looking main character and Shounen tropes introduced well before its time, Stardust Crusaders is actually an epic manga in its own right. Thanks to its massive success, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure now had a solid grip on its fan base. You can’t blame the author for overhauling everything if that’s what his audience is asking. They don’t want an epic manga, instead, they want a more comedic format with a bunch of interesting characters to invest in and for it to feature some unique one-on-one fights that are super imaginative and fun. At least the gore is intact. I think in the span of 1989 to 1992, Japanese manga readers were really eating up Stardust Crusaders. As someone in 2014 though who is tired of the same Shounen clichés, you also can’t blame me for holding the first two arcs more highly. It offered something different from the rather saturated Shounen anime of today. My heart will keep on breaking since the Stands are now a mainstay of the series and the other Jojo’s stories are as mellowed out as this one. I am hoping the second season would give me something more meaningful. At the end of the second season, the third one is already announced to come out in Winter 2015. The second season ended without the epic confrontation with Dio so I am hoping things turn out better in the end. At this point, I’m no longer expecting something epic. I just want something well-paced with longer battles with more unfair odds to our heroes and someone actually breaking a sweat to win their fights. This second season did not give me a satisfying pay off. I’m now hoping the third one will give me that.

Sight and Sound

Characters are still intimidatingly GAR. These are overly muscular men with some exaggerated details to them. The broad shoulders and the linebacker physique are all good but the huge appearance of the characters can really draw you back. The fact that they don’t look like any of the background characters make them all the more ridiculous. There is some improvement though. The first impression you’ll get from watching Jonathan’s arc is that the characters look a bit gorilla looking. They have big noses and bigger necks that looks unflattering. This was done away with in the third arc. Hirohiko Araki is finally showing some range in his design by actually making each character not as intense as the characters from the first arc. I’m not saying the GAR is absent though. It is still a distracting force here. The muscular details are still a bit jarring that even an old lady and a baby would still possess some muscular details in various areas of their faces. Proportion wise, the characters do look pretty cool. Sure, they’re over the top insane with their muscles but it’s a unique look that Hirohiko can turn awesome. The biggest thing that makes his design great though would have to be the way his characters dresses. The third arc features a lot races and some very colorful outfits as well. I think Jotaro stands out pretty great because of his uniform given a GAR look. The chains on the side make him look menacing while the hat and the complete high school uniform make him look interesting. For Joseph, a proud American, he is given an Indiana Jones look that does suit well in his age and he still possesses some intensity that reminds you of his past exploits. Polnareff looks ridiculous in the anime. He is a Frenchmen that wears some leather top with only one strap on his shoulder. His pasty white skin and his muscular body looks really distracting and it’ll take a while to really get used to him. The thing I like about Hirohiko’s design is that his flashy GAR style also applies to other characters, not just our main ones. Every villain has a unique look from the American Indian curse master to the western cowboy bad guy. Even an orangutan and a baby had a wonderful design making them unique. I guess that’s why the lack of a good paced long battle is a bit infuriating. I’m not sure though if it was David Productions tidying up their animation or if the author really did change the design but I think you can tell growth between the arcs in terms of presentation. Whether it’s the author changing up his style or David Productions having a bigger budget, I must say that I do like the change in this aspect of the anime.

Animation is pretty awesome. Just like the first season, the second still had some rough patches here and there. Most scenes often just involve the mouth moving and nothing else. That’s just a minor downside though because the show was able to capture the intense energy of the manga. I love how “menacing” keeps appearing whenever something doesn’t feel right. Some over the top reactions are presented just like in their panels often with the same shock lines that help tell the story in the manga. Fight scenes are badly limited but the character’s personalities were able to make up for a lot of the short comings. The unique battle scenes are given a nice look thanks to the animation quality. I also love how some of the unique battles are told. There are wide shots when the fighting is in the ocean, there are zoom in and outs during the Hol Horse and Centerfold showdown, the camera moves along with the doll in its battle with Polnareff and I also love this overhead shot when characters fight in the dessert or in grassy fields. The animation might be limited but the directorial style is still amazing capturing what makes the manga look cool. I can imagine this being a huge challenge since it’s not a straight forward one on one faceoff. The director took into consideration the unorthodox fight scenes and made them special in the anime. After all, a man vs. doll fight in a hotel room can be hard to present. Naokatsu Tsuda and Kenichi Suzuki did the manga justice. I also think their collaboration made their main directorial talents shine graciously after years of storyboarding and being episode directors on a lot of anime for both of them.

Gore is still sadly censored. This show is a bit PG because even Jotaro smoking is censored. Some of the kills are as brutal as I remember them though. From a man getting his face pierced by a hook to another poor bastard getting his face sliced off, the scenes are unsettling and awesomely graphic. I am personally glad the whole affair is censored but I still think it minuses a lot in the enjoyment. I’m not bothered much by it though since the show does have some sick moments to it as well. While we don’t get to see someone lick a toilet clean, the idea that it happened can still be bothersome. Someone also literally ate their own sh*t. Hirohiko was smart by making light of it and turning it comedic but still, that sh*t is gross. There are also some graphic scenes involving Stand users. When a Stand is chopped to pieces then the damage also applies to the user. When one’s skull is caved in then we also see the poor user experiencing the same graphic stuff. It adds some awesomeness to the story but I guess it’s a no brainer to say that this anime is not for the squeamish despite the best efforts of the censors.

The anime’s OP is “STAND PROUD” by Jin Hashimoto. This is a pretty awesome song. The instrumentals coupled by the lyrics that reminded me of old school OPs a bit is really cool. By old school, I mean to say how the OP seem to have capture the era Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is born in. The OP sequence features a full 3D presentation of all the main characters and a cool looking Dio. It also boasts some impressive animation and this flashy style that made the manga awesome. The anime’s ED is “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles. I am honestly too young to know who The Bangles are. Don’t you just love how the series features classic bands though? Using old songs in a new anime feels smartly deliberate. The song is typical pop rock but with a catchy beat and an 80s feel to it that is pleasant to listen to. I also love the steady maracas beat. It’s really fun to listen to. The ED sequence features our main characters just looking cool with a song about Egypt in the background.

Overall Score

7/10 “It’s a bit rushed and unfulfilling since it is a transition phase for the series. Everything good about the first two arcs are replaced with some rather uninspired content.”

I think I was a bit harsh with my review and I do apologize. We’ll see if the third season can change things around. Still, with some lazy fights and a Mary Sue character, I can’t enjoy this show as much. If you grew up with Jojo then you should see the most popular arc getting the deserved anime it should have. If you like gore and over the top violence then you’ll like this show as well. If you like to see some unconventional Shounen then you should check this one out. The third arc is actually a great entry point for people unfamiliar with Jojo and it’s a smart choice to start here since it’s the more friendlier of the first three arcs. I have my complaints since the first season did set me up for something awesome but I think the second season has some great things to offer. I recommend it.

18 thoughts on “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Review

  1. Just a little correction, the ‘flesh buds’ that DIO uses to control people are not his Stand power, they’re an extension of his vampire flesh-manipulation abilities. They’re formed from his own flesh which is why they they melt in the sun and why Joseph was able to Ripple out the one Dan implanted in his head. His actual Stand is still a mystery at this point though we know it does have a link with the Joestars and we did see him use an effect similar to Hermit Purple at one point.

    Speaking of Hermit Purple, it really is a weak Stand but I feel the clairvoyance fits Joseph’s nature pretty well. It also gives him an endless amount of rope which would have been GREAT for young Joseph in his trickster prime but is a bit lacking in use now that he’s gotten old.

    • I have never seen the manga but wiki claim’s Stardust is the most popular. It was a turning point for the series, I think it made sense but I am not really sure.

  2. Well, this anime is just a copy-paste from the manga. The voice actors may be just read the manga instead of the dialogue script.

    Its so copy-paste that the anime story line as rush as the manga, except in manga 1-5 chapters can be 1 episode in anime.

    This Stardust Crusaders is the turning point of jojo’s bizzare adventure, from Ripple vs Vampire fight to Stand vs Stand fight. That (what I call) Stand battle system is the first battle system where every fighter get an unique and sometimes too bizzare stand ability to fight each other that there’s no one doing that at the time in manga, anime or even in tokusatsu show.

    theese days, some have adept this battle system like in persona or inazuma11 go.

    oh, about the source of stands and why jonathan did not use stand when fight dio will be explained in jojo part 4

    and you may be start to stop being logical if you intend to watch stardust crusader egypt arc. Because this is a bizzare adventure~

    • eh, I understand the stand doesn’t really need to follow logic to be good but I think I’ve seen enough Shounen to know when a story lacks effort and feels forced considering the first Jojos are incredibly detailed and paced wonderfully. I’m a Jojo fan too but the Stand made the entire series looks boring and saturated like the nth season of Yugi Oh or something.

  3. Hey dude, nice review! I would give the same rating to this season, but have high hopes on the third one! By the way, have you ever read the manga? If not, read the part 7, I’m sure you will love it, it’s 10/10.
    I’m curious about something else, do you have an account on My Anime List? I’d like to see your profile. hahaha
    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • Oh, I don’t read manga. I mean, I have too many anime to watch plus I have short patience for manga. lol.
      and I do have a MAL account. myanimelist.net/profile/karuhigamiDURV
      I think it’s pretty standard to have one.

      and thank you for commenting.

  4. Ugh, can’t stand this season of Jojo. Your analogy to Beowulf versus Grendel as an epic comparison for the first two seasons is perfect — it took itself very seriously no matter how over-the-top dark and insane things got, and I *loved* it.

    But Stardust seems more interested in poorly delivered slapstick & shock humor, with its villains invariably oddball and wacky, totally lacking the imposing darkness of the villains of Jojo’s first two incarnations.

    I am so disappointed! The only thing that makes Stardust seem at all appealing is the lack of great, dark anime this season; only Tokyo Ghoul and to some extent Aldnoah.Zero are really scratching that itch.

  5. A story is only as epic as the reader/watcher/listener finds it to be, and many animes try to push it down our throats that THIS THING IS REALLY HUGE!!! THE STAKES COULD NOT BE HIGHER!!! but I personally cannot relate to that hogwash, it simply tacked on to somehow create drama where there isn’t any, to pretend to be epic where it really isn’t. A down to earth, simple conflict that can be wrapped tightly is a nice change. Like this: Dio came back, my mother/daughter will die so I must kill him to save her, Dio – being genre savvy – sends stand users to stop us. Come see how we get through and see our imaginative fights! I like it, no pretentious save the world crap. And the manga Crusaders is a wee bit longer than the previous two, thus condensing the anime release to the point of Tokusatsu-like. But that’s a necessity since Phantom Blood is volume 1 to 5, Battle Tendency 5 to 12 and Crusaders is 12 to 28! more than the last two arcs combined, by trying to showcase every villains, it’s understandable the anime will feel rushed, not to mention the simplistic story and stand of the week approaches. But it is by no means lesser than the previous two.

    It has very little character development but it makes sense since in context, they only have less than two months to save Holly (fifty days or something) and Dio will be sending them assassins all across the journey and they have no time to stop and have character developments. BUT I do agree that Stardust Crusaders, although excellent in its own right is missing YOUNG JOSEPH JOESTAR.

    That character is gold,he carries the entire Battle Tendency arc and made it better than it ought to be.

    Also KARS and STROHEIM, memorable characters those two….something Crusaders is terribly lacking except for StandUserDio.

    • JJBA has always been gimmicky. In the first arc, Jojo fought some resurrected warriors or something. It’s no surprise that the third arc featured more gimmicks but my complaint is really the short fights. The first and second arc is condensed into one season and yet it still has that wonderful shounen pace that turned me into a big fan. The third arc kinda lacked that.

      I’m hoping season three has more awesome characters. Don’t spoil it for me.

Thoughts~

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