You thought this was going to be a typical blog post, BUT IT WAS ME, DIO! (props to you if you got that joke) The Jojo series is…well, bizarre really – hell, it’s even in the name. Jojo can mean many things to different people; for some it can be seen as a parody of popular genres and tropes or as the manliest series they’ve ever seen. The series has been around since the late 80s, but to this day its influence is still being felt. It has spawned an anime series, a series of memes (cue “To Be Continued” meme) and video games just to name a few. What, then, is the appeal of Jojo and why has it been able to create such a large fan base over the years?
For those unfamiliar with Jojo: the series follows the Joestar family, who are all referred to as “Jojo” in one capacity or another. In the case of Joseph Joestar, for example, you take the “Jo” from “Joseph” and the “Jo” from “Joestar” and you get “Jojo” (ingenious, I know). The story is told in different “parts”, each dealing with a different member of the Joestar family. Each part is told in a different time frame and, in essence, a different genre. Part 1 (Phantom Blood), for example, is set during the late 19th Century and uses elements of Victorian Gothic to tell the story. However, this being Jojo and all, the series takes its own spin on these genres and incorporates other elements that you wouldn’t really associate together. Phantom Blood doesn’t only use elements of Victorian Gothic, it also uses the philosophy of Chakras, which they call “Hamon”, to explain how Jojo got his powers.
Jojo is also notorious for its hypermasculine characters and their somewhat feminine poses. These males characters also tend to wear tight, skimpy outfits that show off their massive physiques. This can be seen as a parody of the typical male hero we see in mainstream media as we sometimes cannot take them seriously. One of the most famous antagonists in Jojo are the Pillar Men. The Pillar Men, in my opinion, epitomise the typical Jojo male character: they have large physiques, they wear small, revealing outfits and tend to do a lot of poses (did I mention they also have a great theme song?)
For me, Jojo’s appeal lies in the fact that it prides itself in not taking itself seriously and that lends to its strength as an influential series – the fact that some of the characters’ names are references to famous music artists and bands is a testament to this (e.g. Wamuu is a reference to Wham!). Jojo is able to be whatever it wants to be and is not limited to genre or filmic conventions. I mean, you even have a cyborg Nazi solider at one point in the series. Where else will you find that in an anime? As with anything Jojo is not for everyone. You’ll either love and appreciate the over-the-top campiness of the series or you’ll be scratching your head wondering “what the hell am I even watching?” If hypermasculine, buff guys donning feminine poses in over-the-top situations sounds like you cup of tea, then give Jojo a try. You don’t just watch Jojo, you experience it.