Watching Wednesday #10 – Wallowing Weirdness
This is about the first arc (well, the first half arc) of the 2012 anime adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
The short of it: True to its name, this weird saga starts with a relatively calm story of boy and his adopted brother. The next 40 or so episodes add in the bizarreness that makes this series so endearing and captivating.
It really is hard to beat this series’ own description. It’s a bizarre adventure. It’s Aladdin finding the lamp, Gulliver finding the island, Ishmael boarding the ship.
JJBA creates this aura of intrigue, where sense is tossed to the side, absurdity is the new normal, and every step forward opens up three more paths.
Oddly enough, the first few episodes seem to be spot-on parodies of most anime/manga tropes with how generic they seem. I’m still not completely sure if it’s JJBA’s influence or its earnestness that makes these (possibly) unintentional parodies so funny. They’re not boring by any means, but they are far more grounded than the rest of the show.
And keeping with generic starts, it’s premise is simple enough. A boy, Joseph Joestar, finds a brutal rivalry with his recently adopted brother, Dio Brando. This manages to slide into a centuries long blood feud that claims the lives of thousands, thanks to a mysterious mask that turns its wielder into a monstrous immortal vampire.
Dio’s unflinching evil is by far the most compelling part of the series, followed by Joseph’s unyielding goodness. I mean, there’s a reason Dio’s an Internet phenomenon.
JJBA is like the world’s greatest roller coaster. It starts with this slow standard roll up to the top of a massive hill, taking the viewer along these benchmarks of insanity. As the viewer gets accustomed to these spikes of weirdness, they’re introduced to a new one, and then a new one. Every step up normalizes this impossible world.
And then, once it reaches the stratosphere, it comes flying down in this exhilarating exhibition of gravity’s weakness.