ANIME & MANGA - Article
09:00 - 6th July 2014, by Matt Kamen

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of the longest running manga in Japanese history. Created by Hirohiko Araki, it first appeared in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump in 1987. In the 27 years since, the series has racked up almost a thousand chapters and over one hundred collected volumes. Originally set in 1880s London, the series focuses on the incredible exploits of the Joestar family and their descendents, as they battle evil forces over the centuries.

Araki's manga is split into eight distinct sagas, each featuring a new hero who becomes known as JoJo. The original storyarc, Phantom Blood, introduced Jonathan Joestar, a young gentleman tormented by his cruel adopted brother Dio Brando. The sibling rivalry escalates when Dio finds a strange stone mask, which turns him into a vampire. Jonathan, in turn, learns the secret martial art style Hamon from the travelling dandy William Zeppeli, allowing him to channel the power of the sun through his body and punch vampires to death.

In case it wasn't clear, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure lives up to its title - it's brilliantly deranged from start to finish, but thankfully takes itself seriously, allowing audiences to actually invest in the characters and their struggles. Later sagas include battles against Aztec demons, super-powered prison break outs, and horse races across an alternate-history United States where the President is a supervillain named Funny Valentine. Seriously, JoJo's is bonkers.

By far Araki's most popular addition to the mythos came in his third generation, Stardust Crusaders. Here, he replaced the Hamon powers most fighters had used with Stands - ghostly, super-powered guardian forces tied to a specific user. Often outrageously designed, these combat partners would grant abilities to their users and assist them in battle. The concept has become the dominant idea in the series, and remains a fixture - albeit with a few minor revisions over the years - in the current saga, JoJolion.

The variety of stories Araki has told in his vast universe contributes to the consistent popularity of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, with an audience that's always hungry for more. Make sure you discover the appeal by picking up a copy of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle from Bandai Namco, out now on the PS3.

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