I’ve seen a whole bunch of “Best Anime of 2013” lists placing JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure at or near the top. Come on, 2013 wasn’t that bad. JJBA, while fun and stylish, has too many shitty fights to keep it from being great. Seriously, I haven’t seen this many shitty fights in a shounen anime outside the opening arcs of One Piece.
Many bloggers don’t know any better because they’re too elitist to watch shounen anime unless they can jack off to the sakuga. There’s a lot more to fights than how shiny they are. What about strategy and sensibility? What about fighters relying on skill instead of luck? What about fighters using anywhere close to their full potential? What about bad guys who care more about winning than gloating? What about fighters having a sense of urgency, as if screwing around endlessly actually has consequences? What about good guys not named JoJo having any chance of winning a fight?
I shall now classify the fights in JJBA as great, good, mediocre, or shitty. Spoilers abound. Note: This includes only the fights between major characters. Fights like Dio vs. some random Englishman he turned into a vampire don’t count, though it’s probably safe to assume they’d fall under the shitty category.
JoJo II vs. Straits (Part I): Best fight of the show by far, tense build-up, quick action, clever tricks (except the mirror thing), characters fighting with a sense of urgency, over-the-top action that’s exciting rather than stupid
Caesar vs. Wham: Cool power-up, characters fighting with a sense of urgency, Caeser triggered his death flag by running off alone, once again a good guy not named JoJo is incapable of winning a fight
JoJo II vs. Wham: Fun setup, lack of urgency excusable due to the setup, more over-the-top exciting than over-the-top stupid
Kid JoJo vs. Kid Dio: Unremarkable tactics but Kid JoJo was supposed to suck at fighting anyway, first episode otherwise excellent
JoJo vs. Human Dio: Simple, lackluster fight to establish grown-up JoJo’s increased power level
Zeppeli and JoJo vs. Jack the Ripper: Weak opponent, tutoring fight, nothing special but no reason it should be
Zeppeli and JoJo vs. Dio: Illustrates Dio’s ice powers and establishes relative power levels, never a complete fight with Dio running away and leaving the rest to his underlings
JoJo vs Dio: Overconfidence and stalling, the most conveniently placed fire in the universe, redeemed by a good number of moves and countermoves
JoJo vs. Dio’s Head: Dio not an arrogant dumbass for once, cheap laser move, JoJo keeps on talking and moving even though he can’t breathe, general trolling of Dio quite amusing
JoJo II vs. Caesar: Not supposed to be a serious fight, pretty fun, one good trick
JoJo II vs. Immortal Cars: No way in hell JoJo should’ve won this fight, too much luck and enemy incompetence, still exciting despite Cars’ complete and total failure in every way imaginable
JoJo vs. Speedwagon: No strategy, weak enemies
JoJo vs. Awakened Dio: JoJo underpowered, Dio overconfident, too much screwing around, JoJo has the longest belt in the universe
JoJo vs. Bruford: Lame tactics, Bruford should’ve won easily, ripped off Sonic the Hedgehog
JoJo and Zeppeli vs. Tarkus: Tarkus rightfully destroyed JoJo and Zeppeli, gets overconfident and failed to confirm the kill, Zeppeli a total disappointment
JoJo II vs. Straits (Part II): Seemingly strong enemy resorts to cowardly bullshit, predictable attacks, weak final attack
JoJo II and Stroheim vs. Santana: Santana stands around doing nothing for most of the fight, fails to rubberize/contort himself while chained, Stroheim talks forever before opening the door, fails to open the door, the most conveniently placed axes in the universe, suddenly Santana remembers he can contort again
JoJo II and Caesar vs. Cars, AC/DC, and Wham: Wham has the most convenient counterattack for bubbles in the universe, Caesar is a colossal failure, once again a good guy not named JoJo is incapable of winning a fight, ball trick ok, too much enemy gloating, overconfidence leads to eventual downfall
JoJo II vs. AC/DC: Where did JoJo get canola oil from? The element of heat made no difference, too much talking, one good trick
JoJo II and Caesar vs. Suzie QC/DC: Too much standing around, woman won’t fight because she’s naked (this is why Queen’s Blade is so much better), Caesar being gullible, everyone generally being a dumbass
JoJo II and Stroheim vs. Cars: Stroheim fails over and over again, cliff battle ok
Lisa-Lisa vs. Cars: Lisa-Lisa is a huge letdown, once again a good guy not named JoJo is incapable of winning a fight
JoJo II vs. Cars: The strongest character in the show is reduced to a trap-setting, hostage-taking wuss, brute force should’ve easily won, Cars fails to use his foot scythe to cut the rope
The median fight in this series falls right between shitty and mediocre, a.k.a. shittiocre. It speaks volumes about the shittiocrity of the fights when the best episode of each arc is its first episode. JoJo I’s Bizarre Adventure is no better than a ~. If not for JoJo II’s charisma, I’d probably rate the whole series a ~. Let’s hope Stardust Crusaders keeps its shit together.
UPDATE: I’d be remiss not to mention the badass ending fade-in. Probably the most enjoyable part of the show.