Yes, the whole concept of having your nakama’s (or friend’s) back and vice-versa is certainly a large part of Shounen to the point that many find it annoying and cliché. We can’t say that we disagree, but just because something is done to death doesn’t mean it still has value. While a main character may need his nakama, it doesn’t mean that audiences of all backgrounds can still benefit from such themes. When it comes to Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, known for its vibrant use of colors, eccentric poses, balls to the wall action, and unorthodoxly fitting soundtrack, it takes the notion to fresh levels despite being in publication for 30 years.
We Can Always Work It Out
For every installment, each lead character, or JoJo, has his nakama and for a good number of them, they initially start as opponents or rivals for them. For Jonathan, this is with Speedwagon. For Joseph, this is expressed with Caesar. For Jotaro, this is expressed with Kakyoin and Polnareff. With Josuke, this is done with Okuyasu. And for Giorno, it is his first encounter with Bucciarati. Even though they always start off on the wrong foot, they always find some way to work out their initial misunderstandings and come together when they find something that unites them. In real life, we may have terrible first impressions for whatever influences (brainwashing is a bit of a stretch in the real world), but sometimes, we have to give people a second chance and once you take that time to re-evaluate what unites you with that person, then you can become best friends.
Sharing the Same Values
In some instances, you can share the same values with that person. For Giorno and Bucciarati, they first meet as deadly enemies as Bucciarati is out to kill Giorno. However, after Giorno witnesses that Bucciarati doesn’t want to involve children, Giorno sees that Bucciarati isn’t as bad as he turns out to be and reaches out to him with this common value. After listening, they spend the rest of the series as trusted friends.
For Speedwagon and Jonathon, it is a little different. Speedwagon starts off as a common thug and tries to assault Jonathan only to get his ass kicked. A little while later, he is ironically saved by Jonathan as Dio’s creatures of the night tries to kill him. Touched by Jonathan’s willingness to save his life, he saw him as the ultimate ideal of masculinity and not only did he become a valued ally to Jonathan, Speedwagon turned his life around by becoming a self-made millionaire and used his fortune to help the Joestar family line for the next three generations!
Beyond sharing the same values, sometimes having a common goal can be a motivator as to why people can become friends. This is best portrayed in part two with Joseph and Caesar. Caesar initially has some resentment towards Joseph and feels that his family line is responsible for what happened to his. Plus, Caesar cares about the honor of his own family, and is turned off by the notion that Joseph expressing he doesn’t care about his own family. Though they don’t exactly share the same values, they come to see they have common goals that they want to improve their abilities and become better people. After seeing that Joseph is an honorable warrior in his own way, he comes to see the better side of him. However, their common goal of defeating the Pillar Men despite their motivations, is enough to unite them to become an unstoppable duo.
In the fourth story arc, we also see this with Okuyasu and Josuke. Okuyasu is initially introduced as a rival to Josuke and Koichi, but after the sudden loss of his brother, and the situation with his father, Josuke helps solve his issues and they become friends. Eventually, this leads to Okuyasu teaming up with them to learn the mystery behind the murders of Morioh. Thanks to their friendship, they come out on top.
In the world of anime and manga, most especially in JoJo, friendships can happen in the most bizarre (no pun intended) of circumstances. A large fraction of the friendships portrayed throughout the series as stated before, start out really rocky. This is definitely due to a variety of factors from brain washing, other forms of manipulation, or just being stubborn. Eventually, the main character wins their initial battle, and seeing that the character has redeemable qualities, it allows them to become best friends.
Granted we may not be able to meet people under such circumstances, but as we shared before, sometimes when we meet people for the first time, maybe our first impression or their first impression isn’t exactly the best and can cause such hostilities. However, we can learn from JoJo that sometimes we need to work past that and we can do so by finding common ground, which is the ultimate lesson we can take from this epic series.