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.
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.
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.