For the past decade, the anime adaptation to the long running JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga has been gaining traction. Beyond its wide cast, crazy poses, and explosive action, JoJo’s story, characters, and stands all have references to music. Taking note of that quality, all versions of the anime so far have featured some famous songs throughout the past four decades as ending themes, and sometimes, with surprise. So that allows to share what we enjoyed best.
5. Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles
Considering that this arc takes place shortly after the release of this 80s classic and that the cast have to go to Egypt, it’s appropriate in context to its setting. The upbeat tempo and singing have a rhythm that excellently compliments Araki’s famous poses with the manga. After you hear this as JoJo song, as opposed to walking like an Egyptian, you’ll probably want to strike a JoJo pose.
As for the accompanying imagery and animation, it displays a lot of foreshadowing in the series and dedicated fans of the manga will instantly recognize them. As the ending theme opens, it has Jotaro’s stand, Star Platinum, display a clock within his hands. Although fans unfamiliar with the manga won’t understand this symbolism until the end, manga fans will get a kick out of it along with the other images portrayed.
4. Freek’n You by Jodeci
A lot of fans were expecting Coolio’s Gangsta Paradise to be the ending song to Golden Wind, and everyone agree it could have been a perfect song for it. Instead, we’re treated to another hit of the 90s, Freek’n You by Jodeci. While the animation is relatively simple compared to the remaining selections, the smoothness of this track goes well with how the more simple and slower use of imagery provides an easy montage of the cast to this season along with their stands. Putting aside the direct sexual nature of Freek’n You, its inclusion is a direct reference to the rivalry of this story arc, which pays homage to two members of Jodeci, Joel “JoJo,” and Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey.
3. I Want You by Savage Garden
While some songs were handpicked by Araki himself, I Want You—the ending theme to Diamond is Unbreakable—wasn’t, but it still managed to please him. Since Darren Hayes—the band’s singer—was a fan of JoJo, he was more than happy to license it. Just like how many fans can agree, it’s a song that accurately matches the era of this arc, the 1990s. Along with some lyrics, the ending theme at times animates Josuke’s mouth to them as an effect we don’t see with other ending themes as a small homage to the original video. I Want You’s composition and lyrical delivery perfectly takes the audience on a psychedelic journey of Morioh. While many newbies and long time fans never saw the inclusion of this song coming, we can all agree it captures the mystique of Diamond is Unbreakable and Morioh.
2. Last Train Home by Pat Metheny Group
Just like Walk Like an Egyptian, the inclusion of Last Train Home is another perfect ending theme to JoJo not because it fits with the timeline of Stardust Crusaders but the emotion of how it ends. In a recent interview, Araki admitted that this song influenced another story arc of the manga that has yet to be animated upon the uploading of this list, Steel Ball Run. Regardless, it still appropriately fits with the tone of the second half and ending to Stardust Crusaders.
As opposed to showing explosive imagery, viewers get to see the cast with more emotion on their faces in the Egyptian night (or sunset) as if they’re never going to see each other again. Fans of the manga can instantly recognize the symbolism of the ending (with an image of Jotaro holding three tickets as opposed to the original six), and there’s another image that alludes to the deaths of Avdol, Iggy, and Kakyoin as they’re shown on the other side of a river, which is prevalent in both Japanese and Egyptian mythology.
1. Roundabout by Yes
Ranking in at number 1 is Roundabout by Yes, which debuted at the start of the 1970s. As for why the song became the ending theme to the anime of the first two story arcs, it was because when Araki started the manga over 30 years ago, he would often listen to this song. Considering the origins of the song of when Yes was actually riding around in a roundabout, some could say that the creative process (whether it would be making a manga, anime, or a song) can be like driving around in a roundabout.
For the Phantom Blood story arc, the images in the credits display of the Stone Masks origins in Aztec culture like a mural, while the Battle Tendency credits further expands it with the Pillar Men, the villains, as it pans to the Red Stone of Aja, the stone necessary to stop them. While it pans, the credits of the second ending theme also show images that foreshadow future story arcs, which are easy for manga fans to recognize and appreciate.
The inclusion of some of these songs have taken not just general anime fans but even long time fans of the original manga by surprise. Thanks to JoJo using these songs in its official soundtrack, it has sparked a new interest in these songs and created new fans to these amazing classics. As the anime progresses to the other story arcs in the near future, it makes us wonder what they’ll use next. Either way, we’re positive it’ll be a song fans didn’t expect, but somehow finds a way to make it work in context to that story arc of JoJo.