Stardust Crusaders Made Me Hate Jojo’s Style (And That Is Terrible)

Jojo

To my friends and such who are telling me to pick Stardust Crusaders up again, please don’t bother. My main problem with the show goes beyond the plot being slow and the fights being uncreative like some people have raised complaints about during its early start. No, the reason I dropped Stardust Crusaders was because it wore me down to the point that I now actually dislike the manliness, the flashy fight scenes, and old man Joseph in general, and “improving” the fight scenes aren’t going to change my mind. When I dislike something, especially when we’re a quarter of the way through it, it has to take a MAJOR shift in order to get me to change my mind. And when that dislike stems from weariness due to long periods of mediocrity, that shift needs to be at the level of the bird at minimum. Unfortunately, anime series do not usually change directors between seasons – let alone during their run – anymore, and there are few animation directors who have as much creativity and rule-breaking silence as Brad Bird anyways, so I don’t see that shift happening anytime soon. Oh I’m sure I’ll miss the dog in action. But you know what? I’ll live.

You see, one of the big reasons I adored Jojo’s first season was because its style blindsided me during a time when I was still finding my spot within anime fandom in general. However, that style is no longer new considering I’ve sat through almost 40 episodes of the show and I doubt I’d find it as appealing upon a rewatch (For a point of comparison, I recently took another look at If Looks Could Kill – a film which made me laugh uproariously at first watch, but the second runaround made me realize that whilst it was still funny, the jokes only made me laugh like a hyena the first time around because it caught me off guard). More importantly though, I liked how much faster the pacing was compared to other shonen shows. And even that had hiccups, with the middle portion of Phantom Blood boring me to tears to the point that I’d prefer an episode of that awful Little Busters show in those weeks and fatigue of the show creeping in close to the finale.

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There was a time when I didn’t think it was possible to dislike Jojo’s style despite the small number of complaints I’ve read from other people regarding how they don’t like the over-the-top nature of the show. However, the truth is that every style – no matter how interesting – has its lifespan. That lifespan differs depending on personal preference obviously, as the number of Hunter x Hunter fans who became fatigued by Kill la Kill’s pacing can address. But the point is that nothing lasts forever. Entertainment quality as a whole depends on injecting freshness (Not originality. That’s a different concept altogether) into things in order to entertain the viewer and give the style a longer healthier lifespan. I can’t speak for others, but personally I do not think Jojo is doing enough with its current monster-of-the-week format in order to maintain said freshness.

To specify why that’s the case  would require more words than is necessary for this post, so let’s just say that the changes to each fight feels superficial and normal to me, and the actual enemies feel like those arbitrary new power-ups from Super Mario Galaxy 2. At this point, we’re nineteen episodes into the show and I haven’t read a wink about plot progression or anything else I care about happening. You know what the praise for Jojo has been from the fans so far? It’s either Grandpa Joseph is the best Jojo, Polnareff will never look at a toilet the same way again, Joseph can’t fly a plane, so on and so forth. Not one thing about the characters getting closer to Dio (actually, I don’t think I’ve heard anything about him that I didn’t already know from the first episode) or something else plot-related.

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How are any of these compliments fresh in any way? What do they add besides few moments of brilliance (at best) and shitty Internet memes? Even the fans of Free’s second season have stated that the reason it’s been an upgrade to that mediocre first one was because it was focusing more on actual human stories that tell us more about the characters whilst keeping things progressing. I don’t know if that’s true myself, but at least that reason is tempting me to take a look even though I probably won’t. At least it’s something. It’s progress. It justifies the show’s existence.

Not only has Stardust Crusaders failed to keep its style fresh or even give me a reason to care, it made me doubt whether I’d like the first season again, afraid that I’ll watch the first few episode and find its style duller than workplace orientation on your first few days. And at least I get paid to attend those. So unless someone is willing to do the same in regards to me watching more of what I can only see now as a mediocre action show trying (and failing) its heart out, I continue my refusal to see one more second of it.

12 responses to “Stardust Crusaders Made Me Hate Jojo’s Style (And That Is Terrible)

  1. It’s fair to say that you dislike what Stardust Crusaders does, but I think you also have to keep in mind the situation in which Araki found himself when writing it. He was essentially rebooting his own manga with a radically new concept for the series’ fights, and in order to minimize the risks he put the series at — he could have been cancelled if ratings or volume sales dropped off — he went with a repetitive monster-of-the-week approach which people were familiar and comfortable with. Diamond is Unbreakable changes things up quite a bit, focusing on different characters, not making every villain a Stand user, and just being more creative in general, so hopefully you give it a chance when it gets animated.

    • It’s fair to say that you dislike what Stardust Crusaders does, but I think you also have to keep in mind the situation in which Araki found himself when writing it.

      I usually blame the people doing the adaptation for its faults. Regardless of Araki’s situation back then, it’s David Production’s fault for not realizing that the formula is kind of a product of its time and I wish they took some liberties and cut out most of the fat. You ever see the old Jojo OVAs from 1993 and 2000? They’re not that good admittedly, but one of the things I did like about them was that they told the story in only 13 episodes total. If you applied the current Jojo’s style to those OVAs, I think you’d have a much better product.

      Diamond is Unbreakable changes things up quite a bit, focusing on different characters, not making every villain a Stand user, and just being more creative in general, so hopefully you give it a chance when it gets animated.

      I’ll give it a chance once it gets adapted since Jojo is so different in each installment to the point that I don’t need to read prior material. Just hope enough time has passed for me to actually miss the style when it does.

      • David’s not really allowed to take liberties. Araki didn’t allow any studio to adapt JoJo after the Phantom Blood movie because they cut so much stuff out. It’s actually his fault in this case because he’s demanding a panel-for-panel adaptation of his work — hell, he even insists on approving all the English names in the Viz releases of JoJo.

        I agree that Stardust Crusaders isn’t the best series suited to a series of this length, though. Even I’m getting a little bored with it by this point.

    • Well as I said to someone on Twitter and what the “real” point of this post is: my problems have less to do with Stardust’s length and concept and more to do with the fact that the style isn’t fresh to me anymore. I’m having similar problems with Adventure Time these days, but it’s still coming up with new ways to capitalize on its style. Jojo doesn’t feel like it’s doing that.

  2. Stardust Crusaders kinda made me less enamored of the style as well, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate it. I still like Battle Tendency, but I’m pretty sure JoJo will be kicked off my top 30 at the end of the season to make room for Sabagebu. I was originally gonna replace Milky Holmes, but my enthusiasm for JoJo has just kind of withered. It’s pretty sad.

  3. “How are any of these compliments fresh in any way? What do they add besides few moments of brilliance (at best) and shitty Internet memes?”

    I don’t think this arc in particular has created anything on the level of the “it was me Dio ” of the 1st series (there’s that Za Warudo nonsense too, but that’s the fault of the video game/OVA, current show hasn’t gotten that far).Anyway, it was pretty easy for me to tell that you and you’re “Big Picture” complex wouldn’t dig the episodicish nature of Stardust Crusaders. Tbh, the little moments that always pop up (and are fun to take out of context) are what make this enjoyable. The actual big picture doesn’t leave us with much to talk about, which is why folks only discuss silly individual moments.

    Problem here is that Stardust Crusaders introduces the concept of “stand battles” and as a result, Araki ended up airing out all of his boring ideas for superpowers fairly early. Not much compared to the esoteric madness that goes down in later arcs. Not to mention how this is pretty much the only arc in the series to not have a single plot-twist to liven things up. It’s sorta like how Phantom Blood started as a pedestrian Hokuto no Ken clone, but Battle Tendency managed to give the series it’s own identity.

    I don’t think this series is as much a step down from the 1st others claim, but I can understand and even say I anticipated much of the disappointment.

    • One last thing. I for one am glad to not see any material skipped. Not only would that half-defeat the purpose of this adaptation, this series is really nothing without the humor and nightmare fuel. The OVAs stripped the series to it’s essentials pretty well I admit, but to me that’s the same as saying it did a good job of surgically removing the fun.

    • I don’t think this series is as much a step down from the 1st others claim, but I can understand and even say I anticipated much of the disappointment.

      Maybe I should have made it more clear, but my problems lie less with Stardust’s episodic problems and more to do with that it’s not really doing much to keep Jojo’s style “fresh”. I never even brought up the common complaints against Stardust (characters are boring, too episodic, etc.) in this post unless it related to the style. I even said that I got tired of it during the first season, and I thought a break before Stardust was all I needed. Turns out no, Stardust just quickened the degradation more without adding much new.

      It is a stepdown of course, as story is flavored with mostly standard shonen fighting rather than the vampire horror or Nazi flavoring that the first two arcs provided.

      this series is really nothing without the humor and nightmare fuel

      If I was laughing, I wouldn’t mind so much. Unfortunately, Jojo’s humor just isn’t jiving with me anymore. To explain why would require more analysis than I should be giving to a show like Jojo, so hopefully my third and fourth paragraphs are enough.

  4. I find it so reassuring that I’m not the only one who is disappointed with the direction that Stardust Crusaders has taken the anime. It feels like watching X-Men or something. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this is, but you might be right that it has to do with the overall lack of plot progression.