What is JoJo No Kimyou Na Bouken?
Since 2012, JoJo has sporadically been airing and each season portrays a member of the Joestar family bloodline in a different time and setting. Thanks to this form of storytelling, it has managed to stay on the air this past decade with numerous episodes. In case you (probably) didn’t know, the original manga by Hirohiko Araki has been in serialization since 1986 and is still going! Upon the drafting and uploading of this article, the anime adaptation of the fifth story arc, Golden Wind, is presently airing and as for the manga, JoJolion, is the present and eighth installment.
What is JoJo?
As to why the series is called “JoJo,” (or ジョジョ in its original Japanese) it’s because the main characters tends to traditionally have “Jo” (or ジョ) in their first and last names. This is more evident with the main characters of the first three story arcs, Jonathan Joestar, Joseph Joestar, and Jotaro Kujo. However, for Josuke Higashitaka, the main character to the fourth story arc, the alternate reading to 助, the kanji for “suke” in Josuke, it can alternatively be read as “jo.” In this manner, Josuke is labeled as a “JoJo.” As for Giorno Giovanna, the main character to Golden Wind, when you read his name in the original Japanese katakana, it is written as ジョルノ・ジョバアーナ (you read it as “Joruno Jobaaana”) so under Japanese language rules which operates more to how something “sounds,” he is still technically a “JoJo” despite how you spell his name in the alphabet. To better understand this rule in the Japanese language, think of the name Shawn/Sean/Shaun or however you spell it. Though they have different spellings, they still share the same pronunciation and because kana characters operates on “sound,” no matter how you spell it in English, it would still be written as シャーン （Shaan）in Kana.
Though these arcs have yet to be animated, Stone Ocean and Steel Ball Run, the sixth and seventh story arcs go back to having “Jo” in the English alphabet in the first and last names of their respective main characters. In Stone Ocean, you have Jolyne Kujo, the daughter of Jotaro, and in Steel Ball Run, you have Johnny Joestar, an alternate version to Jonathan Joestar. As for JoJolion, which serves more as an alternate telling to Diamond is Unbreakable, it features its own version to the Josuke Higashikata. character.
The Story Arcs
So, what are the story arcs to JoJo? The first one is Phantom Blood, which takes place in the late-1880s in Victorian England. The main character is Jonathan Joestar, who debuts as a pre-teen who wishes to be a gentleman. Upon the beginning, his father formally adopts Dio Brando, an orphan of a bum who Dio intentionally poisoned. Wanting to take over the Joestar wealth, Dio does everything possible to make Jonathan look bad. As the series progresses, Dio is revealed to be a psychotic villain upon becoming a vampire.
Battle Tendency, the second story arc, takes places at the beginning of World War II and stars Jonathan’s grandson, Joseph. In comparison to Jonathan, who wanted to be a traditional English gentleman; Joseph is more of a hooligan and for the rest of the franchise, the main characters of the Joestar family bloodline would be punks (but with hearts of gold) as well. In Battle Tendency, Joseph has to fight the Pillar Men, ancient Aztec vampires who created the mask that gave Dio his powers (and gains the help of a cybernetic Nazi).
Stardust Crusaders, the third arc, takes place another 50 years later and Joseph comes back as an old man as he assists his Jotaro Kujo, his grandson, as they face a resurrected Dio. In this part, this is where Stands, an astral power of a person, is first introduced and would further be used throughout the franchise. In Diamond is Unbreakable, the fourth story arc which takes place in 1999; it focuses on Joseph’s illegitimate teenage son, Josuke Higashikata. In comparison to other JoJo series, there’s really no worldwide adventure as it exclusively takes place in a fictional town called Morioh, which is based on Araki’s hometown in Miyagi prefecture (located in North East Japan). Golden Wind takes place two years after the events of Diamond is Unbreakable and focuses on Dio’s son, Giorno living in Italy. Unlike his megalomaniacal father, Giorno is a nice kid and wants to make Italy a better place.
As for the remaining arcs that have yet to be animated, we have Stone Ocean, Steel Ball Run, and JoJolion. Stone Ocean takes place in 2011 and focuses on Jolyne Kujo, the daughter of Jotaro, who is imprisoned in Florida for a crime she didn’t commit. After the events of Stone Ocean, the franchise reboots itself in the same sense that JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies serve in that franchise. The reboot happens internally within the story so it’s still connected to the original continuity.
Steel Ball Run, the first reboot arc, once again takes place in the late-1880s. As opposed to taking place in Victorian England, it takes place in the Wild West and the story focuses on a wild horse race across America. For the present series, JoJolion, it takes place in 2011 in Morioh and is a sequel to Steel Ball Run and is an alternate retelling to the fourth story arc, and uses the March 11, 2011 disasters as a backdrop to tell its own story (considering how Miyagi was affected by the disasters in real life).
Stay tuned as we further explore more elements of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure! What are we covering next? Of course the music, art, voice acting, and its influence on Japanese pop culture!
To Be Continued….