Reviews | Written by Gareth Evans 28/03/2018

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE SEASON 1

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a manga consisting of several parts, each of which focusing on a different member of the fictional Joestar family taking on a different supernatural threat. Season One adapts the first two of these parts, Phantom Blood, and Battle Tendency. These two chapters may exist in the same series, but they are very different from one another in regards to their protagonists, and their tones.

Phantom Blood starts off as a show that looks like it was adapted from a Jane Austen novel but doesn't take long to become a Gothic horror. This section of the season is only nine episodes long, so the pacing is fairly brisk. The first episode is used to establish backstory and the second episode to set up the threat, leaving only seven episodes for the main thrust of the plot. There is no padding to the series; no one plot point or character overstay their welcome.

Battle Tendency leaves the horror that defined its predecessor behind for something that feels more akin to an adventure movie. With 17 episodes, it has a greater runtime to work with, and it uses this to set up multiple antagonists whereas Phantom Blood only had the one.

Battle Tendency also distinguishes itself from the episodes that came before with its protagonist. Joseph Josestar has Johnathan's temper, but he takes everything less seriously and is smart-mouthed where Johnathan was well spoken. The two main characters are distinct in a way that helps to further distinguish their respective series.

One thing that unites these two chapters is how their fight scenes are handled. Although the protagonists each poses special spiritual power, and antagonists are supernatural in nature, their fights are not about power. Instead, battles are won and lost based on the strategy that the combatants employ. By focusing on tactics over raw power Jojo's Bizarre Adventure avoids the issue of power creep. The heroes don't need to get increasingly stronger to deal with new threats and the show doesn't need to keep inventing new ways for them to do so.

This collection doesn't offer much in the way of special features. The only extras available are the option to watch the shows different openings and its ending without text on the screen.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is more thoughtful than could be expected of a show about burly men fighting. The different parts feel like completely different shows despite common cast members, and the focus on strategy over pure power in each encounter sets it apart from other similar anime. This is a strong example of enjoyable anime melodrama, and worth watching.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE SEASON 1 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: JOHNNY YOUNG BOSCH, BEN DISKIN RICHARD EPCAR, PATRICK SEITZ, MICHELLE RUFF, KEITH SILVERSTEIN / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 2ND