Tag Archives: Star Platinum

5 Reasons to pick up Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

13 Dec

A few days ago, I received an email from my local comics shop, Comicopia and I noticed that the 16th & final volume of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure was on the listing. For those of you who don’t know me, this is one of my favorite series and I’ve realized over the past few years of reading the American release (and some of the scantalations), that not a lot of people know about it. Heck, even the people at Comicopia only had a vague idea about what the series was about. So I thought, in this post, I would share with you reasons that I love the series and hopefully prompt you to check out this marvel of Manga entertainment.

Just a quick recap of the story: The story of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure centers around the misadventures of the Joestars, a family of powerful, honest and generally good-natured people, whom attract the most peculiar friends, foes and situations. 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. Viz has published the third installment in the series, following Jotaro Kujo, his grandfather (hero of the previous installment) Joseph and friends as they battle a vampire named Dio that has plagued their family for the past century. This is the series that also introduces the concept of Stands, which stays throughout the rest of the series.

Here are my 5 Reasons to Read It:

1. It is exceedingly violent in the best way possible. Do you like it when your hero punches their villains through the teeth? Do you enjoy giants rats, people getting pulled into bottles and strange, carnivorous floating heads? Do you enjoy it when characters go to the extreme to win a fight, sacrificing their own limbs to win? Do you find that normal action manga *cough* Naruto *cough* Bleach* just isn’t enough to satisfy? Then this might be the series for you. Jojo’s is violent, more so than most comics, but it is all part of the ridiculous and over the top style.

2. 80s and 90s pop culture references. I know I’ve mentioned this before but this is something I love about the series, the music and occasional art references. It is another fun element to the series; I make a game out of trying to find the references. There is also something just amazing about the influence music can have over visual artists, especially in comics, even if it is just mostly name-dropping. This installment contains mentions of the Beatles Rubber Soul, Kenny G, Vanilla Ice, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey, The Police, Muddy Waters among many others. Unfortunately, this fact may be part of what is keeping the US from publishing more of the series, as Araki’s frequent references to Western music may violate American copyright laws.

3. Araki’s artwork. Its bold american influenced style, his brash uncontrolled lines and his character design are initially what drew me to this series in the first place. He is so unique in his style in the world of Manga and it’s not just the way his design. Anyone can have good design but Araki has the style and flair to go along with it. It’s the way he poses his characters, almost floating in mid-air suspended by the very energy around them. It’s the way his characters look boldly deep into your heart, striking you with a fiery passion. His design is another brilliant element to this series; his characters are wearing their hearts on this sleeves, shirts and pants, covered in ladybug & dolphin lapels, hair dyed and worn in the most impossible way. Take a look:

4. Creativity in creating abilities. I’ve fantasized about superpowers. In all honesty, who hasn’t at some point in their life? Araki definitely has and he brings that fantastical thinking out in full force. I really love the idea of Stands because it reminds me so much of X-Men. Their are only a lucky few who do have this extraordinary ability and its tied so tightly to their personalities quirks and traits to it is this beautiful exercise in character writing. Araki also is able to utilize alluring pieces of culture around him to create something extraordinary. The entire cast of Stands from the third installment was based on of Tarot cards, which propelled me to further investigate the meanings behind the cards.

5. It is just a fun series. The books are a quick read but I always feel satisfied afterwords. This is definitely a guilty pleasure series for me but deep down, I feel as though Jojo and Hirohiko Araki have an important place in the scope of Manga. It is a real shame that Viz doesn’t have plans to publish the rest of the series but I implore you to check out what is available out there.

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Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light (Josuke Higashikata’s Crazy Diamond)

14 Nov

The Song:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a nine-part Pink Floyd composition written by Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour. The song is a tribute to former founding band member Syd Barrett, who left the group in 1968 amidst speculations of mental illness which was exacerbated by  Barrett’s heavy drug use, although it was not originally explicitly written with him in mind. The song is a part of Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and was spilt into two parts that bookend the album. Parts 1–5 of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” became a staple of Pink Floyd’s live performances from 1987 until 1994.

http://www.youtube.com/v/vyqgjCKm9nQ?fs=1&hl=en_US

The Stand:

Crazy Diamond is the Stand that is used by the Series Four hero, Josuke Higashikata. Just a little background on Josuke, as he is a major character. Josuke is the illegitimate son of Jospeh Joestar, hero of Series Two and grandfather to hero of Series 3, Jotaro Kujo. Joseph had an affair with Josuke’s mother and never know of Josuke’s existence until Jotaro comes across him while investigating some missing Bow and Arrow’s.

Before I get into Crazy Diamonds abilities, I just wanted to talk about the overall design of the Stand. While it’s humanoid in its appearance, which isn’t anything new, Crazy Diamond is really one of the few Stands up until this point to start use symbols in its appearance. If you look at the top of its head, shape of the shoulders, mid torso, belt and knees, there are hearts everywhere.

This Stand is capable of repairing damages and healing injuries, often reverting an item back to its original components; ie; reverting a table back into the very lumber it was before, meaning that it can theoretically regress the timeline of an object. This ability allows Crazy Diamond to perform a number of interesting non-offensive tasks, including trapping the enemy, breaking & entering with ease and tracking. However, Crazy Diamond cannot resurrect the dead, Josuke cannot heal his own wounds and if used in a foul mood, the restoration will warp and cause that item to be improperly restored.

Connections:

Lets start with the most obvious observation, the connection between the songs message and the ability at play. The song, though not originally intended to be, is more or less a message to Syd Barrett, informing him that “though times are tough right now, we know how much of a good, successful person you are. Keep at it, keep trying and please come back to us as you once were.” If you don’t believe me, check out these lyrics:

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Crazy Diamond’s ability is this message put to action; restoring what is broken to its former glory. Which make you wonder how much of an influence this song had over the conception of this Stand’s ability.

Conclusion:

This is a difficult one to assess. While the overall message of the song is amazingly similar to the Stand’s abilities, there are many other aspects of the song that play no part whatsoever. For example, there is quite a bit of technical and instrumental analysis of the song, seeing as this is considered a groundbreaking piece of music. Also The song, as I previously mentioned, is spilt into two parts and used to book end performances; Crazy Diamond as a Stand does not ever deal with technology or the idea of dividing or multiplying itself. It never changes form either. Thus, while the parallels are interesting, I am going to have to credit this reference purely on name alone.