EDIT: I've read a bit more and heard a bit more, as well as gone over my earlier thoughts about this manga. Clearly it needs to be re-judged, as it's really AWESOME. When I read ALL of it maybe I'll make a fairer judgment. *cheers*
ANOTHER EDIT: I have now read pretty much all of this manga. Okay, here goes.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Review
T+ (quite a lot of gore and violence, and I caught some nudity)
I'd better start with a really really short intro. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure started way back in the 80's and is technically still going, but not many people had heard about it, it seems (and if they have, it's likely only the third of 6-7 parts). I...guess it's automatically obscure, though mildly popular, I guess. It's hard to tell. ANYWAYS, it's got six completed parts, and I've just gotta review all of them.
I: Phantom Blood
PLOT: Our story starts some years after a wealthy family of three gets into a carriage accident in 1880, and after a series of events, the thief that "helped" the father and child survive the crash dies. What's important is that his son Dio Brando is adopted into the Joestar family. The son Jonathan really doesn't get along with Dio because, to put it blatantly, he's evil. Meanwhile, there's also a suspicious ancient Aztec stone mask lying around their house, and the only way to defeat it may lie in the power of...ripple/hamon.
At the beginning you can tell the gist of where the story's going (but not the whole way), but that doesn't make it a bad read. Since it's slightly predictable, you might get bored at the start, but if you like action you should get into it eventually. What might make it a weird read for some, however, is the art style. This is Fist of the North Star with MORE muscles, and it makes the otherwise polished art look hilarious sometimes. Our characters are alright, if not all spectacular. (Get back Jo)Jonathan practically forces you to feel for him, (Ronnie James) Dio (Marlin) Brando is a good villain, (Led) Zeppeli(n)'s kind of cool, and (REO) Speedwagon...kind of looks like Brock of Venture Brothers fame. Also he has a razor hat. Other characters do a fine job at the right moment, but in the end they don't feel all that important, probably because they're not named after musical things.
Do you really want to read it!? If you want something faster-paced, skip it until later. It may be kind of neat, but again, it depends. All several people have to say about it is...zombie Jack the Ripper.
II: Battle Tendency
PLOT: Now we've got a new hero...Jonathan's presumed son, Joseph Joestar! Watch as he (briefly) battles civil rights in 1930's New York, travels to new places, and defeats the mysterious Pillar Men and their zombie armies using the power of hamon.
Yep...that's the plot at its core. Joseph is the closest main character we get to the manga hero archetype, power-packing the personality traits of a dumb and perverted guy who can also fight and kick your ass, depending on your answer. No matter what the situation, he will ALWAYS find a heroic and convoluted strategy to overcome his foes. With the possible exceptions of they're-all-musically-themed Lisa Lisa, Caesar and Stroheim, and some pillar men, other characters fall flat. It's okay, though, because this story isn't character-driven and relies on some cool and intense fighting to do things. But be warned: it also doesn't rely on clothing, which sounds pretty dumb, but could be true. You probably don't want to read this in a public place. Well, probably not any part of the entire series, since there's a lot of blood and gore, but perhaps more this part than any other.
Do you really want to read it!? Maybe. If you skip any of the six main parts, this is the one to skip, for sure, hands-down. Pillar men aren't nearly as important as plain old vampires, as it turns out, over the course of the series. It's more notable for featuring Joseph at his best and awesomest. Still, maybe you should come back to this part later, since it's a really, really long story.
III: Stardust Crusaders
PLOT: Say hello to our new hero, Jotaro Kujo! He may have a new last name, but he's still a JoJo, so it works. More importantly, we have a new fighting ability: Stands! You will never see hamon again...and maybe that's a good thing, since this is where the series hits its stride. It's 1980's Japan, and Jotaro's a punk kid who happens to have a Stand of his own. They realize that there's a mysterious vampire rising from the depths of the ocean, one presumed to be dead. You wanna know who it is? You wanna? You REALLY wanna -- oh, heck, it's Dio. They gather the toughest Stand-wielding heroes from around the world so that they can kill him once and for all.
If you need to know any one part of the series, it's this one. It's by far the most iconic, spawning a bunch of people punching at conventions, an anime (that's not as radical as the manga, I think), and a video including a steamroller. As characters, our main gang is much more interesting than the main characters of the past, at least for an action manga. Jotaro's just awesome, Joseph's still kind of awesome, Avdol's one of the first positive Middle Eastern figures of manga, Kakyoin's never as cool as he was when he was evil, Polnareff's nice comedy relief, and Iggy doesn't do as much but still serves a good purpose. Most if not all of the Stands have interesting powers, making victories for the heroes awesome and well-earned. This is also where Araki started to find an art style that isn't as North Star-y and defines him much
more as an artist. More weird poses are seen, but they're not ALWAYS as hilarious as they once were.
Do you really want to read it!? YES. ...Actually, you really want to read it if you really like action stories. The battle scenes stand out, mostly because Stands are much more entertaining than hamon overall. Too bad Joseph hardly uses HIS powers anymore. Dang, lost an opportunity! Again, if you have the time, it's probably worth a read.
IV: Diamond is Unbreakable
PLOT: Meet Josuke Higashikata (which upon further inspection can be read so as to have "Jo" in it -- IT COUNTS!?), living in the town of Duwang
Morioh somewhere in Japan. When related person Jotaro pays him a visit, he's taken into the magical world of Stands, and so, it seems, is the entire town. Eventually they get into a murder mystery plot.
This part has a horrible, horrible...HORRIBLE translation online. How terrible is it? Oh, you do NOT ask that. Well...they called someone RED CHILI HOT PEPPER. Oh, you don't think that's TOO bad? Think you can still read it? Well...alright, fine. Read it, be horrified, and then realize that it's still a pretty good story, that aside. The art style is somewhat more well-defined compared to the previous part, but whichever one looks better depends on YOU. As characters, all of these guys are...great. Josuke annoyed me at first by refusing to believe that his hair is terrible (or great? You decide; methinks it looks like an old waffle with Sonic's tail), but he's more of a combo pack of Joseph and Jotaro's personalities. He keeps the coolness...while still being a hero! Koichi's kewl, Okuyasu's overly spectacular, Jotaro's not quite
as great as he was last time around, and a bunch of other notable characters make appearances. Even with the worst scanalations (that's how you spell it, right!?) I've ever seen, it happens to be my personal favorite. Why, you ask? Not only does it have more creative Stands than before, but it also has some neat stories within Morioh. Sadly the character Fatty gets thrown out of the story right after his introduction. Well, shoot!
Do you really want to read it!? Maybe. It's definitely not a good place to start reading, as it stands. Again, depending on the kid reading it, it could be worth your while.
V: Vento Aureo
PLOT: We've got a new hero, folks, and his name is Giorno Giovanna (yep, still a Joestar...we're gettin' real technical here)! He wishes to become a gangster in Italy and, eventually, a GangSTAR. He joins the mafia, hilariousness and bananas ensue, and he joins a band of heroic gangsters to protect the unknown boss' daughter, Trish. But in the end, they must embark on a completely different quest...
This part in particular has a neat plot, but I really didn't like it as much as the other parts. First of all, many of our main characters are awesome, except for Giorno, but only because I still don't know his personality. He's just...cool. That's all there is to it. Fugo isn't very great, either...but he really should've been. In fact, I was kind of hoping he would make an awesome
comeback by the end of the story. Maybe it's not possible, but hey. And another thing: our main antagonist is...quite silly-looking, actually. That's mostly because his hair is pink and green, and spotted like a cheetah. It couldn't even be yellow and black!? Well, shoot (again)! But more than all of that, Giorno's power is so cheap he doesn't even realize its full dumb potential. He can turn any inanimate object into anything living, along with a few other powers. Doesn't this, in theory, mean he can make a bunch of really awesome animals? If I remember correctly, he's made small venomous snakes in the past. Perhaps he can't make a dragon, or even a komodo dragon, but he could still make some awesome (maybe dumb) combos. Another thing that really bothers me is Metallica's ability. He could kill his enemy IMMEDIATELY with that ability, yet he gave the enemy time to dodge his not-daring moves. We don't really learn his personality, either, so that doesn't help matters.
Of course, this would leave the problem of drama in battle, of which there is plenty. Our gayngsters go through some exceptionally awesome fight scenes which, more often than not, make up for all these other things. Again, they're interesting, bloody, and action-packed through and through.
Do you really want to read it!? Eh, if you liked the rest of the series, you should in theory like this, too.
VI: Stone Ocean
PLOT: Jolyne Kujo son of some other Kujo, is sentenced to jail in Green Dolphin Street Prison after some other circumstances of interest. She meets a cast of mostly-female inmate characters, many of which have Stands, too, and a few other folks. can they stop the end of the world!?
Stone Ocean is an epic conclusion to the saga as a whole. Whether or not you liked the rest of the series as a whole, this wraps it up nicely or kind of weirdly, again depending on the person. Jolyne, being our first female Joe kid, is still tough and stuff and a good character to get behind, and all of her allies have good backstories to them, as well as some of their foes. Yet again there are plenty of exciting battles, do-or-die situations, and events that truly prove anyone can die in this series. Also it includes brand names for characters, as well as musical references.
Do you really want to read it!? Yes, probably. It somehow makes a good starting point for the series, so if you want to get to a spiffy plot faster, or just don't feel like reading part three first...uh.
VII: Steel Ball Run
Read: 63 chapters (if "7 Days in a Week" counts as a chapter)
PLOT: Yes, Stone Ocean really ended the series...but it just couldn't end there, technically. Enter an alternate universe of sorts, wherein Stands still exist along with the mysterious power of the steel ball weapon. Gyro Zeppeli happens to have this ability, and a curious Johnny Joestar accompanies him on their race across the USA, the Steel Ball Run. But what are the true motives behind this race!?
The plot is interesting if heavy on religious themes (and it's apparent before its reveal, or at least it was for me), and the story is even moreso with the various cameos of characters who were partly sligtly mostly from the rest of the series. Even plot twists that should be expected come out of the blue, strangely, thanks to JoJo's overall style. However, a plot point or two comes frm assumption, which keeps bothering me, like, y'know? (An example of this being, "This cage is totally empty! IT MUST HAVE BEEN A CARRIER PIGEON.") Again, many characters are people whose causes you can get behind, all with even more interesting Stand powers.
Do you really want to read it!? If you've read every single other chapter of the rest of the series...heck yes.
Through good and bad, thick and thin, I look back at the months it took me to read this and say that I think it was worth it. Will you think it was? YET AGAIN...it depends on whether you really like action and blood and guts 'n' stuff or not, and if you don't care how crappy the physics and history can be at times. But can I give it a rating in numbers? Shoot no. Take this information and judge for yourself, gosh dangit.