JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure — It’s More than Bizarre…
I really don’t get why this is famous
I recently realised that I write too many articles about video games. I am not limited to just video games, but they come around a lot for some reason. One of the things that I keep telling myself to examine more is anime since it’s such a popular subculture nowadays. I recently reviewed one, and I’m going to do the same this time.
Unless someone was browsing the comment section of the “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” YouTube video, I can’t say for sure that non-weebs heard of this manga series. But there’s this one manga that’s as infectious as the name itself: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. There’s a lot to say about this one in particular, and I’m not exaggerating so much that I struggle to describe it in a sentence or two adequately. The story is distributed into “parts”, with every part taking place at a different time with a different protagonist, all of whom are related (grandfather, nephew, etc.). While there is some continuity between the parts, the story is mostly told episodically. So there’s no proper way to describe what it’s about. But even though the story is all jumbled up, it’s somehow trendy.
And I don’t know why. It’s not terrible by any means, not at all. The series is praiseworthy for its distinct episodic structure of multiple heroes, high stakes, interesting worldbuilding (up to a certain degree), distinct character design, and spectacular animation. But that last one only concerns the anime, which means a lot since it’s why it’s so popular in the west. On the flip side, the entire story has plotholes left and right. Minor characters are disposable; too many plot conveniences, a “monster of the week” narrative, and some of the cheesiest dialogue in any anime, which may or may not be the main reason it is so popular. So yeah, the writing isn’t that great, which baffles me the most because usually, the most popular works have clever plots. JoJo (as people would prefer to call it) isn’t exactly that, but if people like it, then who am I to judge?
If you ever hear “Ora Ora Ora”, it’s from JoJo
Interestingly enough, JoJo was always popular, even in the early 90s. I remember myself in the early 2000s watching a variety of Flash animations on Newgrounds (and probably other sites) about stick figures reenacting events that happened in the story. Back then, I never really understood why the dude on the left had to crush the dude on the right with a steamroller (but throwing it at him; not by actual rolling), even though I knew that it had to do something with “JoJo” but that’s all I knew back then. That’s because back then, JoJo was largely esoteric, but it was not unheard of. It wasn’t until the anime adaptation in 2012 that it became an instant hit in anime culture because it was mostly “just there” before that.
And with that, the new wave of JoJofans came like a tsunami. Yet, despite what they might tell you, JoJo is mainly known for its corny one-liners (“It was me!”, “German science is the best!” etc.) and the tongue-in-cheek events that happen throughout it (the villain that teased the hero by licking a cherry, the big bad tossing a steamroller at the hero, etc.). In a sense, you could say that JoJo is popular because it is a highly productive meme machine, and nowadays, that’s pretty much all YouTubers are ever concerned with. But since I am addressing the writing of the series, there’s something even more peculiar about it: the incorporation of the English language.
Seriously, the author tries to shove as many musical references a possible, from music bands to all-time hits to pioneers in the industry. But besides that, it’s hardly an argument that the English in the series is “off”, to say the least. A phenomenon known as “Engrish”, a broken version of English originating from Japan, the characters make use of random English phrases that seemingly have no relevance whatsoever other than to “sound cool”, or at least that’s what the author wanted because they actually sound silly, as opposed to cool. I don’t usually share videos, but this particular scene is my favourite Engrish moment from the show (sorry for the lack of context, but it’s still hilarious).
I can’t tell the author what to do
Let me first be clear: In addition to the Engrish, the writing is also an issue. But the Engrish comes first.
So basically, I can’t tell the author what to do. It’s his work, and no one should tell him how it can be done better. I believe in that, and I might’ve repeated it once or twice in a previous article. If it was up to me to “fix” JoJo, I don’t think it would work unless I have a time machine.
So what about the Engrish? The characters in the anime use English irregularly and sometimes improperly. Of course, since many of the characters in the show are, in fact, not Japanese (American, Italian, etc.), even though this is a Japanese work of fiction. But not much can be done about JoJo. Still, if other manga artists want to do it better, I’d just tell them to learn English before trying to replicate whatever catchphrase they might’ve heard on TV (classic “monkey see monkey do” situation). Then, when they finally release their next comic series, at least this one will be more accurate.
Are you a JoJofan (yes, that’s one word)?
There are a lot out there. After 2012, most weebs converted to “JoJohood”; it’s that infectious. But if you have anything to say about JoJo, the writing of the story, the Engrish, or whatever, be sure to tell me right here… because this is the place.
So… JoJo? There’s a lot to say about this particular manga, mainly because it’s all over the place. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s not terrible either. If anything is amusing enough to watch until the last episode, it’s this. But honestly, if it weren’t for the splendid animation, Courtesy of David Production (the animation studio), I probably wouldn’t have stuck around for long. Anyways, I don’t have a concrete opinion on it, so go check it out and decide for yourself if it’s worth your time.
And yes, bad English is a problem because it turns serious situations into laughable ones. Even if one were to ignore the writing, this is one subject that I can say for sure that it is an issue, as opposed to all the trivial issues I presented in the past. For JoJo, it’s probably too late, but if future manga artists want to make something more convincing, then they’d better get an A in English class.
Anyways, I should probably write more articles surrounding Engrish because there’s a lot of those…I really don’t get why this is famous