JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken?) is a manga written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. Every main character's name in each part can be read as JoJo. The manga, published by Shueisha in their magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, started in 1987 and went on to 2002. The current story arc was published by Ultra Jump in 2004. It is currently Weekly Shōnen Jump's second longest running manga with 100 volumes and counting (only Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo, with over 170 volumes, has more). It is the longest manga not to have a TV adaptation, although there are two OVA adaptations.
The manga is published in English by Viz Media, starting from the third story arc. Fifteen volumes have been published. Originally published bimonthly, it has been reduced to a quarterly release. Viz is listing Volume 16 as the "final volume".
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The story of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure centers around the misadventures of the Joestars, a powerful family with English roots; most of its members attract the most particular trials and tribulations when confronting their enemies. Each member of the bloodline has a star shaped birthmark above their left shoulder blade – Dio and his descendants have this distinguishable mark also, as a result from the 'theft' of Jonathan's body and inheriting the Joestar genes as well. The series spans several generations, with each part featuring a descendent of the Joestars as the main protagonist along with a large cast of characters.
It should be noted that despite the series' title, there is no such character named "JoJo". It is actually, in fact, a nickname for the main protagonists of the series due to a unique style of taking the letters "J" and "O" from the first and last names of the protagonist and then put them together, creating "JoJo". Later installments have variations on this, with the Gio in Giorno sounding like a "Jo", or with Josuke where the character representing "suke" can alternatively be read as "Jo".
A "Stand" (スタンド sutando) is a supernatural power in the manga and anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. When first presented in Part 3, Joseph Joestar referred to it as a "ghostly ripple" (幽波紋（スタンド） sutando?, but without furigana would be pronounced yū hamon); it could conjecturally be said to be a semi-physical manifestation of one's hamon (ripple) powers as seen in Part 1 and Part 2.
The exact requirements for a person to obtain a Stand are unclear, although the series hints that it can be linked to bloodline, rigorous spiritual/hamon training, and/or exceptionally strong willpower. However, a Stand may never manifest itself in one's life until it is amplified by certain conditions/factors. However, not everyone able to manifest a Stand has the ability to control it; despite her father Joseph Joestar and her son Jotaro Kujo being powerful Stand users, Holly Kujo, due to her lack of physical strength and resolve, is brought to the brink of death by her Stand, sapping away her lifeforce in an attempt to manifest itself.
One of the known and most commonly used amplifying factors is to pierce oneself with "Stand arrows" created from a mysterious meteorite. However, it is often a gamble, as it would easily kill an unqualified person, and there is no apparent way to know if a person is qualified ahead of time; the arrows do, however, tend to seek out qualified people on their own if there is someone to guide them. Another amplifying condition is done by simply being around powerful Stand users, such as the case of Trisha Una's Spice Girl from Part 5, Vento Aureo. A qualified existing Stand user may also have their Stand "upgraded" by piercing the arrow through the Stand—this results in the Stand becoming a "Requiem" form of its previous self. However, this is also a gamble, as an unqualified Stand user may render their new Stand uncontrollable, and he or she may actually kill himself or herself in the process.
Enrico Pucci of Part 6, Stone Ocean, was able to produce artificial Stand users with his Stand, Whitesnake, by stealing others' Stands and "inserting" them into regular people. It is unclear as to whether or not these artificial Stand users were capable of having Stands of their own, but Enrico does claim that only certain individuals are qualified to have Stands inserted. It is still unclear for the condition that one person can possess two Stands. In Golden Wind there are examples of a single person possessing two Stands because of the ability of an extraordinary Stand.
In Part 7, Steel Ball Run, a third amplifying factor is introduced by fusing parts of oneself with "The Saint"'s body parts. However, Stands generated by this factor disappear as soon as the body parts defuse from one another, though both Johnny Joestar and Diego Brando kept their Stands even after losing the body parts they possessed.
There have been seven parts to the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure saga, each featuring a descendent of the Joestars/Kujos as the main protagonist along with a large cast of characters.
- Part 1: Phantom Blood
- Part 2: Battle Tendency
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure volumes 5 to 12. Begins in New York City, moves briefly to Mexico, then to Italy, and finally it ends in Switzerland, during the year 1938. The main protagonist is Joseph Joestar, grandson of Jonathan Joestar.
- Part 3: Stardust Crusaders
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure volumes 12 to 28. Begins in Japan and involves the main characters traveling across Asia to Egypt. Takes place in the year 1989. The main protagonist is Jotaro Kujo, grandson of Joseph Joestar.
- Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure volumes 29 to 47. Takes place in the fictional Japanese town of Morioh in the year 1999. The main protagonist is Josuke Higashikata, illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar.
- Part 5: Vento Aureo
- Part 6: Stone Ocean
- Part 7: Steel Ball Run
Steel Ball Run volume 1 (81) and onward. Begins in San Diego, California and involves the main characters traveling across the United States to New York. Takes place in the year 1891 in an alternate timeline from the previous parts. Steel Ball Run has two main protagonists, Johnny Joestar and Gyro Zeppeli.
Two OVA adaptations based on the Stardust Crusaders story arc was produced by Studio A.P.P.P. The original six-episode series was released in 1993, which begins during the middle of the original arc. A seven-episode prequel series was released in 2001, adapting the beginning of the story arc.
Super Techno Arts produced an English adaptation of both, the original series and the prequel series, releasing all thirteen episodes as a six-volume DVD series between 2003 and 2005, with the episodes ordered by its fictional chronology. Due to legal reasons, names which referenced certain bands or singers had to be changed in the English translation.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, a feature film adaptation of the original story arc of the manga, was released theatrically on February 17, 2007 in Japan. The film was produced to commemorate 25th anniversary of creator Hirohiko Araki's career as a manga artist. The theme song was composed by the Japanese group SOUL'd OUT with their single "Voodoo Kingdom". This film has yet to be released on DVD.
In 2000, it was announced that Otsuichi would be writing a novel based on Part 4. The novel proved difficult to complete; in Kono Mystery ga Sugoi 2004, Otsuichi claimed to have written over 2000 pages, but thrown them all out. Intent on writing a novel that lived up to the manga, it took him until 2007 to complete it.
- The Book: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 4th Another Day
Several video games have been adapted from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The first was an RPG, based on the third story, which was released in 1993 for the Super Famicom. Later, two fighting games for the arcade were also adapted from the third arc by Capcom, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (released as JoJo's Venture in the west) and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future, both in 1999 for arcade. The arcade games were ported to PlayStation and Dreamcast. The fighting games were the first piece of JoJo related media released in North America, exposing the characters to many western players. A third Capcom game was based on Part 5, titled GioGio no Kimyō na Bōken: Ōgon no Kaze and released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. This game was scheduled for release in Europe as GioGio's Bizarre Adventure, but this did not come through because of the heavy references to band names, and Araki is unwilling to compromise in the change of names to avoid lawsuits. Capcom originally intended to release the game in the United States, even showing a playable version at the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo, but no further plans or official release date has been announced since then.
A new game by Bandai, titled JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, was released on October 26, 2006 for the PlayStation 2. The story is based on the first arc and features action/adventure gameplay, similar to Golden Whirlwind. Araki has personally checked the quality of the game and its faithfulness to the original. The release of the game coincides with the release of the new movie and the 25th anniversary of Araki Hirohiko's manga career. The game itself includes a bonus disc celebrating 20 years of the JoJo franchise.
Before the first JoJo's Bizarre Adventure game was released, Bandai released a Shōnen Jump crossover adventure game titled Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden in 1989. Joseph Joestar from the second arc is one of the playable characters, while Santana and Speedwagon made cameo appearances. Its sequel Famicom Jump II: The Strongest Seven, released in 1991, features Jotaro as a selectable character. Joseph, Avdol, Kakyoin, and Polnareff also appears in this game. Both games were available on the Nintendo Famicom.
Characters from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure were also featured in the Weekly Shōnen Jump crossover game Jump Superstars and its sequel Jump Ultimate Stars, including Jotaro Kujo and Dio Brando as playable characters.
In popular culture
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- In the NBC drama, Heroes, a fictional Japanese salaryman named Hiro Nakamura is a fan of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In his blog, he states that he wants to "be like JoJo and Vaan and go on adventures". One of his powers includes time manipulation, a gift shared with JoJo characters Jotaro Kujo and Dio Brando (fitting, since Part 3 seems to be his favorite). Hiro's future self even signed a blog entry as "Jotaro Kujo". He even uses Dio's battle cry (muda,muda) in multiple episodes across Season 2 & 3.
- In Taizo Mote King Saga, an Araki-esque character appears. A Jolyne lookalike fawns over how well done the drawing is. Jotaro also makes an appearance in chapter 59.
- SNK Playmore admitted that they based Benimaru Nikaido, a character from their King of Fighters series, on Jean Pierre Polnareff, one of the characters from Part 3. They continue referring to the former by the latter's name to this day.
- In chapter 19 of the manga Planetes, Albert (son of Fee) brings home a stray dog that looks like Iggy from Part 3, and he also gives him the name Iggy.
- In a Konami game Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, one of the boss monsters named Zephyr is based on Dio Brando. He uses similar battle tactics (throwing knives and stopping time) and also shouts "Toki wo tomare!" ("Time stops!" in Japanese), which is taken directly from Dio. The battle with Zephyr takes place on top of a clocktower, which also is a reference to Part 3.
Reference to popular culture
- Music plays an immense role in the naming and identifications of the characters and abilities in the JoJo universe. The title of the series itself is a reference to The Beatles song "Get Back". Throughout the first two parts and most of the third, many of the main characters from the various JoJos and Dio Brando (Dio), the members of the Speedwagon Foundation and allies such as Lisa Lisa and Jean Pierre Polnareff (Michel Polnareff) to villains such as Santana, Kars, J. Geil, Oingo and Boingo. By the end of Part 3, Araki was forced to begin using musical terms for a couple of his final Stands alongside the character, such as Vanilla Ice having an ability known as Cream. By Part 4, the musical references were transferred over to the Stands as opposed to the characters, though the lead character still kept the JoJo title.
- By Parts 5 and 6, the names of the characters began to take different connotation in comparison to the musical Stand names. In Part 5, nearly all the characters had Italian food names due to the setting within the Italian mafia. By Part 6, many of the human characters held the names of fashion designers while circumstances forced some of them to take the same musical name as their Stands (such as Foo Fighters and Weather Report).
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In May 2008, both Shueisha and Studio A.P.P.P halted shipments of JoJo after a complaint had been launched against them because the series depicted the Koran as a book related to cold-blooded execution. A scene in the anime adaptation had used pages from the Qur'an in a book read by the villain. While the manga did not feature such a scene, Viz Media and Shueisha ceased publication of the English language edition of the series for a year in 2008. Viz resumed publication a year later, with the eleventh volume being published on April 7, 2009.
- Official Viz Media JoJo's Bizarre Adventure webpage
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure at the Killer List of Videogames
- The JoJo FAQ, with plot and character summaries
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- The World of JOJO Flash movie presentations that quickly summarize each arc in JoJo (in Japanese).
- Flash movie showing the original 'Za Warudo' from the video game.
- Evidence of JoJo's spelling errors (Japanese)
- Video game websites
- JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken by Capcom (Japanese)
- JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken: Mirai no Isan by Capcom (Japanese)
- GioGio no Kimyō na Bōken: Ōgon no Kaze by Capcom (Japanese)
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood by Bandai (Japanese)
- Jump Superstars by Nintendo (Japanese)