Kujo Jotaro is a normal, popular Japanese high-schooler, until he thinks that he is possesed by a spirit, and locks himself in prison. After seeing his grandfather, Joseph Joestar, and fighting Joseph's friend Muhammad Abdul, Jotaro learns that the "Spirit" is actually Star Platinum, his Stand, or fighting energy given a semi-solid form. Later, his mother gains a Stand, and becomes sick. Jotaro learns that it is because the vampire Dio Brando has been revived 100 years after his defeat to Jonathan Joestar, Jotaro's great-great-grandfather. Jotaro decides to join Joseph and Abdul in a trip to Egypt to defeat Dio once and for all.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2000) is one of two halves of an adaptation to the 3rd arc of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga, Stardust Crusaders. While this half came out second, with the first coming out in 1993, this one is the first canonically, going from the beginning of the arc. Even though it came second, it's definitely a better idea to start with this one.
This half starts with a young delinquent, Jotaro Kujo (the titular JoJo), in prison... not by force, but of his own free will, and refusing to leave. He claims to be haunted by some kind of strange spirit... something that gets
the attention of his grandfather, Joseph Joestar (the protagonist of the previous arc, Battle Tendency), who knows something about the spirit in question.
As it turns out, the spirit is something called a "Stand" (named as such because they typically stand beside the user), a manifestation of the user's will, brought about in a variety of ways. In the case of both JoJos, it's because of a psychic connection to the body of (Joseph's grandfather and the first arc's protagonist) Jonathan Joestar's body... which has been revived, and attached to the head of the vampire Dio Brando, Jonathan's mortal enemy and the initial trigger for all the events of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. To make matters worse, it's not just Joseph and Jotaro who are affected... it's also Jotaro's mother Holly, whose stand does not properly manifest and instead turns into an affliction, draining her energy. The only way to stop it is to kill Dio. With the use of Joseph's stand, Hermit Purple (which allows him to take photos of distant places), they ascertain that Dio is in Egypt... and along with Joseph's friend Abdul, and a pair of converted would-be assassins of Dio named Kakyoin and Polnareff, they journey to Egypt to bring an end to Dio.
The best thing about JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is definitely the stands. Because of them, unlike most battle shonens, rather than on having the supporting cast hold out against the Big Bad until the big hero gets there, or upping the ante through a series of increasingly irrational and convoluted powerups, the fights of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure rely on one main feature: trickery. Every battle in JJBA is as much a battle of wits as it is a battle of physical strength. The fights are all set up, or manipulated to be, based on how one can use one's power rather than how much power there is. What I really love is, no matter what Stand someone gets stuck with, they will always find a way to get the best out of it, no matter how crappy it may seem on paper.
Now, the original manga for the Stardust Crusaders arc ran for a whopping 16 volumes. As both halves of the anime combined add up to 13 episodes, it should be no surprise that A LOT of material was cut. This is a double-edged sword. On the upside, the original manga was very drawn-out and had a lot of enemies that weren't very interesting. None of those make it into the animated version, and the whole thing is much more concise, with the 2000 half focusing entirely on plot-relevant opponents. Considering the plot of this half was much more focused on Polnareff's character than any of the others, this also exemplifies his character very well (being probably the best character of this arc). On the downside, it also cut a load of the best material as well... and in the process, totally neglects to characterize Joseph or Kakyoin.
Unfortunately the 2000 half is definitely the weaker of the two, even with all the dull fights like ZZ and Gray Fly removed. Barring the fights that introduce Abdul, Kakyoin, and Polnareff, we only really have two opponents introduced in this series... and they both lose a decent chunk of dramatic tension because we really don't care about most of the cast at this point. Also, a lot of the execution comes off as unintentionally funny, such as Jotaro's total nonchalance to a zombified baby chewing on his leg. The production is most of the cause... it's paper-thin, drawn out, and the fights are poorly directed. Certain scenes were obviously not though out at all when the transfer was made... many of them worked as single manga frames, but when time becomes a factor, we get issues like characters managing to get several lines of dialogue in the time it takes for a bullet to travel a few feet.
The art style is one of those that transfers very badly to animated form. It probably could have worked if it had been handled by a studio with more budget to spend (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was made by Studio A.P.P.P, who have made approximately fuck all else of value or notability), but unfortunately the art looks... well, bizarre. The shading is extremely heavy regardless of lighting, the lines are overly thick, and generally ugly-looking, and all the muscle detail makes it even harder to believe that Jotaro and Kakyoin are 17 than it was in the original manga (which is saying something). The animation isn't particularly good either, though it isn't bad.
Fortunately, the acting is fantastic. Joruta Kosugi sounds so natural as Jotaro that it's impossible to imagine him voiced by anyone else. Chikao Ootsuka, Katsuji Mori, and the late Hirotaka Suzuoki all deliver fantastically as Joseph, Polnareff and Kakyoin respectively, and Kiyoshi Kobayashi manages to give Abdul a layer of charisma not present in the manga. It also features Norio Wakamoto as recurring villain Hol Horse, a perfect fit if there ever was one. The less said about the dub, the better... there isn't a single passing-grade performance in there. The ADR job is noticeably half-assed, and none of the actors know how to emote. The soundtrack is not particularly noticeable, but is largely inoffensive.
Overall, while JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a somewhat dodgy series, it is still enjoyable, and I'd still recommend it as something of an advert for the manga. It only has a small fraction of the actual content, which gives good incentive to read the manga. On top of that, seeing this beforehand makes the less-than-stellar first arc function as something of an origin story, rendering it more interesting than it otherwise would be.
Final Words: Not that good on it's own, but still an entertaining watch and a good introduction to JJBA as a whole.
Japanese track: 9/10
English track: 1/10
(This review applies to the entire series, both the 1993 and the 2000 continuation episodes. Though the second half, especially the last three episodes, is noticeably superior.)
Yes, it is certainly bizarre.
JoJo is the thinking man's surrealist DBZ. Except instead of endless 3-frame loops of tedious "fight animation" it has sudden, subtle, blink-and-you'll-miss-it fight scenes. In it, weird fighters use weird powers in weird ways; typically by outwitting -- rather than merely overpowering -- their opponents.
The series' greatest strength is the unexpected, shocking oddity of it. Whenever you think the series is about to devolve into fighting game cliche, something utterly bugfuck happens. A villain will
gleefully and intentionally decapitates himself to show his badassery. A dog addicted to coffee flavored chewing gum kicks ass with a voodoo sandstorm. Somebody telekinetically stops his own heart. A man with two left hands...I-I-I can't explain it. Oh, did I mention that most characters are named after random popstars?
The greatest weakness is the needlessly idiotic character models. Each character model includes numerous, distracting, embarrassing design choices like stupid clothes, inexplicable hair and mindbogglingly moronic jewelry. Jotaro's has a 50 lb chain hanging from his lapel and a hat that might be just a visor made of hairgel. Abdul (named after singer Paula Abdul) has hair like an untidy pile of soupcans and a necklace which might actually be the world's heaviest and least comfortable set of earrings. Even the final boss, Dio Brando, looks like a Hakuto no Ken villain re-imagined by Bronies. And then there's Polnareff. Fucking Polnareff. Good lord, Dorkula...cut back on the styling mouse, dude. You look like a cracker cosplay of the skinny guy from Kid'n'Play!
Only two characters aren't dressed like retarded clowns: Joseph Joestar, who looks like Richard Branson cosplaying as Indiana Jones; and Iggy....who is a dog and therefore doesn't wear fucked-up clothes or psychotic earrings.
Although it descends into wonderfully addlepated madness in the details, the overall plot can be boiled down to: Team of super-powered badasses travel around the world to kick the Big Bad Evil Guy is his smug face. After fighting all his super-powered henchmen first. Rinse Repeat.
The art is nothing special. Perfectly workmanlike if you can get past the insane character models I ranted about above.
The sound effects used by the various Stands were oddly memorable, unlike the music which left no impressions at all. The voice acting (in the English dub) was slightly above average.
Although each character is initially off-putting, they do grow on you. Yes, even Polnareff won me over.
This series is viscerally fun and memorably deranged. It doesn't merely zig when you expect it to zag. It zrbft's and then zlrfts.
This is would DBZ would be like if it wasn't vapid, and what BoboBo BoBoBoBo would've been if that show hadn't lived off a diet of paint chips and monoxide.
I've never been a fan of JoJo or have I actually cared about the franchise.. until now! This is the first JoJo animation I have watched so I really didn't know what to expect from the series, but what I got after completion was a fighting anime that left me wanting more.. YES the ever so popular 2012 version.
This anime was far from perfect though as there were times where I was bored and not all the characters were developed as strongly as I hoped. The intro to 4 out of 7 or so of this anime began getting on my nerves and I
began wishing they had decided to use a real opening or at least something different. JoJo 2000 is nowhere near the best action anime to grace the anime industry, but was still a fun joyride that proves even somewhat older anime can be as enjoyable as the newer anime.
The ending was a bit of a letdown, but that is most likely because I am so unaware of the JoJo franchise and what to expect timeline wise.
If you are a fan who enjoys mostly new anime.. find some time to try this hidden gem! It may motivate you to try out the 2012 version just like me.. and this as said coming from a JoJo noob.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is known for its host of bright, colorful characters and its over-the-top plot. Its first opening not only serves as a great introduction to the first arc of the series, but also reflects the series' focus on the importance of friendship, family, and fate.