Stream it or Skip it: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure


Following a two-year absence of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (JJBA) content, David Productions has graced starved fans with some much needed, ambitiously eccentric, Joestar goodness.

Starring the series’ first-ever female lead, “Stone Ocean” received its anime adaptation on Dec. 1 and is the sixth installation of the JJBA franchise, written by award-winning mangaka Hirohiko Araki. 

Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, protagonist Jolyne Kujo finds herself accidentally awakening her latent abilities thanks to a mysterious artifact bestowed upon her by her father while she is incarcerated. Before long, she finds herself unravelling the mystery surrounding her imprisonment and its relation to an intricate assassination plot aimed toward her and her father.

With its humble beginnings in the 2012 adaptation of “Phantom Blood,” watching from the very start is one of the best ways to enjoy the series, for reasons that become apparent later down the line. This season, like past seasons, is packed with allusions to previous arcs and recurring characters. Seeing references to past seasons makes the show much more gratifying to watch in canonical order and is, considered by its fanbase, the optimal way to watch it. 

“Stone Ocean” goes a step above the rest in instilling this season with this kind of fan service due to its identity as the end of the 14 year old JoJo’s arc. These mild references come in the form of seminal objects, recurring characters like Jotaro Kujo or long-time organizations like the Speedwagon Foundation. Each subsequent season of JJBA has introduced a new generation of the Joestar lineage, and each one plays an important role in the overarching storyline. 

Animated by David Productions, who have been responsible for the past five seasons of the show, “Stone Ocean”’s quality has seen slight improvements compared to its preceding counterparts. While it isn’t anything to write home about in comparison to other animes, the animation is forgivable knowing the amount of material left to be adapted and the studio’s decision to focus on giving future, more important, fight scenes that extra kick.

With storytelling so masterful that even the setting of a game of catch seems intense, Araki’s limitless imagination keeps viewers on their toes in “Stone Ocean.” The mangaka is known for creating abstract and unorthodox storylines that always detract from potential viewer conclusions. The story’s creative action sequences coupled with its outre humor and intense mind games manage to keep the lackluster prison setting interesting. Fight scenes in the show always involve multiple layers and are the driving force for its unpredictable endings. 

Along with the interesting twists and turns that come with a series as unhinged by its creator’s limitless imagination, the interactions between characters are borderline volatile, yet the aggression doesn’t take from the viewing experience. In fact, this kind of delivery almost reads like a manga while simultaneously enriching the story’s content and is proof of David Production’s dedication to creating a faithful adaptation.

The dialogue and monologue have the show’s characters to thank for their delivery. Jolyne is very easy to root for; starting off as a timid teenage girl, her victories within the prison quickly strengthen her into a more straight-forward and perceptive personality.

This season’s supporting cast are just as charming as its main character, having distinct identities and interesting quirks. A significant part of what makes these characters compelling, aside from their personalities, are their abilities. Araki never fails to pleasantly surprise his audience with infinitely interesting stand abilities—manifestations of spiritual energy that visually express their abilities and greatly differ in variety. The presence of stands has only served to heighten the appeal of the show through their vast variety and nature.

Ever since “Stardust Crusaders,” the third installation of the series, JJBA has thrived on its monster-of-the-week style, incorporating a gauntlet of minor villains leading up to a final confrontation. The simplistic, yet effective, overarching formula gives Araki more room to come up with creative stand concepts. For example, Jolyne’s stand consists of a super-strong thread that can be unwinded at will. Stands can also come in autonomous forms like a sentient colony of plankton or a debt collector who can steal organs. Stands act as visual representations of the mental battles between characters, while also upping the stakes of the fight by reflecting damage they take on their users. This mechanic makes the plot more interesting and gives the audience a reason to be invested in these fights. 

Something the series has always been good at is gambling on its daring color palette, with “Stone Ocean” being no exception. While any other anime’s color scheme seemingly only dulls with a drab prison setting, JJBA breathes life into its surroundings with vivid colors and vibrant characters decked out in stylish clothing. 

The fashion of the series prides itself on its pompous appeal and it’s only helped by the fact that it doesn’t force characters to dress in traditionally masculine or feminine ways and instead, focuses on reflecting the character’s personality. The best example of these unconventional displays is Narciso Anasui, an integral character later in the series. He, like most other JJBA characters, carries heavily masculine facial features yet wears a tight mesh top with thigh high boots and bright pink lipstick. 

Although only 12 episodes of the season have been released so far, manga readers expect there to be a total of 39 episodes, with each batch of releases getting progressively abnormal. Whether or not you have been following the JJBA saga since its 2012 adaptation, “Stone Ocean” is the perfect action-packed, excitingly weird series. Jolyne’s adventure has only just started, and her story only gets more bizarre from here.

Verdict: stream it