JoJo's Bizzare Adventure is a series that I used to avoid mainly because of the fanbase... (and as irony may have it, I'm now sinking into the fandom) but I eventually gave in. I sat down and watched Phantom Blood/Battle Tendency and now that I've finished it, I figured that a review is a given.
Though one thing is for certain, the word ''bizzare'' isn't just for show.
The show's overdescriptive manner and fittingly bizzare contents managed to captivate me and now I'm hooked.
PART 1 - Phantom Blood [EP 1 - 9]
The beginning of the story and the ground for everything else to come.
It all starts with Dio Brando's arrival as Jonathan Joestar's adopted brother to accomplish his goal of overtaking the Joestar mansion and heritage.
The Phantom Blood arc is split in 2 halves - the first half being Jonathan and Dio's childhood as they grow up in the same household while Jonathan has to endure Dio's constant torture and eventual mutual peace. But that's just on the surface, Dio only got on good terms with JoJo to put his plan in motion.
Jonathan reveals his scheme to everyone and as it crumbles down, Dio kills Jonathan's father and casts away his humanity to become a vampire.
With JoJo going through deadly hurdles to eventually destroy Dio and the mask and bring peace back to his and everyone else's lives, eventually succeeding but forfeiting his own life in the process, leaving behind his pregnant wife as a set up for the next arc.
Phantom Blood's pacing is extremely fast and haphazard but that's one of it's charms alongside the bizzare characters and great art direction.
While the fast pace made the arc more enjoyable in a certain aspect, it's also the reason why some other moments just fell short, it sucked the impact out of them.
And the overall writing had a few misses here and there, mainly in the first half, as a lot of the issues that were present could've been solved simply by logic (I know, it's not something I should look for in JoJo) and Jonathan just properly explaining what's actually happening and what Dio's true personality is to his father.
The characterization for everyone is as simple as it gets, but that's not bad, since JoJo's greatness comes with it's simplicity. Everyone's based around a single trait. Jonathan wants to be a true gentleman, and his behaviour ove the course of the series certainly lives up to that. Meanwhile Dio's just straight up rotten to the core. He's violent, arrogant and selfish. Although that's something most likely caused by the harsh enviorment he was raised in, while JoJo was pampered and spoiled.
Although as Part 1 went on, I didn't really get attached to a single character besides Dio, Jonathan and based fangirl Speedwagon.
Overall Part 1 is a fun arc with interesting concepts and ideas that were executed properly,
It's got a lot of charm thanks to it's bizzare cast of characters, the captivating art and great soundtrack but some aspects could've been executed better.
PART 2 - Battle Tendency [EP 10-26]
This is the the longer part of the two. It's also a lot more consistent in structure, making it easier to follow.
It takes places 2 generations later, with our main protagonist being Joseph Joestar, the grandson of the late Jonathan Joestar as he gets pulled into events caused by what happened 50 years ago. He's the only one who can defeat the Pillar Men, the ones who inadvertently started everything. JoJo, together with Speedwagon seeks out Caesar A. Zepelli to improve his Hamon, and over tough experiences together, the two form a manly bond and set out to defeat the Pillar Men. As the events unfold Joseph learns more about Hamon and gets stronger and stronger and eventually defeats the Pillar Men, though not without losses along the way.
The pace in Battle Tendency isn't as fast as Phantom Blood's, giving you more time to ease in into the premise and to get attached to the characters, which is great because the characters themselves are a lot more fleshed out than Part 1's cast. Not only is the nuance of the characters a couple notches above Phantom Blood's, the combat system itself is a lot more fleshed out, with us getting an actual idea on how Hamon works within the universe alongside a more appealing use for it.
The writing is more tight and suspensful, every battle feels like a struggle and there were well executed twists that I didn't expect. We get to see the gradual pace and effort put in which JoJo learns how to use Hamon instead of magically being a prodigy at it.
The characters as a cast also have a much better dynamic than Part 1's quickly put together group of characters that have no real synergy with each other (Dio and Jonathan are an exception).
Joseph feels energetic and fresh, he's a joy to look at on the screen at all times and his defining trait of being a cunning trickster has a pretty wide application withing the story, unlike Jonathan's bland gentleman etiquette. Joseph also grows in the story to an extent, starting out as someone who's easier to anger but matures in some aspects over the course of the story.
Now, let's talk about JoJo's main companion during the story, Caesar A. Zepelli, the grandson of Part 1's Will A. Zepelli. Unlike his grandpa, Caesar has a properly presented personality and his dynamic with Joseph feels like a brotherly bond, something that Part 1 tried to achieve with Jonathan and Will to an extent as suggested by Will's words ''you're both like a son and a brother to me'', though it didn't succeed.
We also spend considerably more time with Caesar than we do with Will, which makes him a lot easier to get attached to.
Part 2 as a whole feels like a natural successor to Part 1, with pretty much a similar overtone but much much better execution.
The OST of Part 2 is a lot better, it's used at the most appropriate times, pulling you into the scene even more. Though I certainly didn't expect dubstep, it actually fit well.
Overall, Part 2 is a fantastic experience, with a fun - unique cast, great soundtrack and better writing and is a natural improvement of everything in Part 1 by a large margin with some minimal issues that mostly amount to nitpicking.
While I've yet to see what's to come in the future Parts of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure, I can see why Part 2 receives the high praise that it does.