I am head over heels in love with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I barely read manga, but after finishing the recent JoJo anime, I couldn’t help but dive into the manga. That was a decision I have not regretted at all. (For those of you who are wondering, I will start Steel Ball Run in January. I needed a break after Stone Ocean’s insanity, and I knew December would be a rough month, so I held off starting it then. January will be kind of nuts, too, but I have put it off long enough.) Of everything anime and manga that I have watched/read this year, JoJo has delighted me the most. (Oh no, am I tipping my hand for my anime of the year pick?)
Several folks have written about the squirrel scene from JoJo‘s second arc, Battle Tendency. It’s utter lunacy: Cars has become the Ultimate Being, with powers far beyond mortal comprehension. To demonstrate this, Cars shape shifts his hand until finally it takes on the form of a cute squirrel . . . a cute squirrel that just so happens to lust for blood. It rips the guts out of another nearby squirrel before plunging through several Nazis and settling back on Cars’ wrist, where it morphs back into the form of his hand.
This is an amazing idea all on its own. Indeed, obviously Hirohiko Araki had conjured this madness decades before when Battle Tendency originally came out. The very concept of this would be enough to make it stand out in my mind, but what makes the JoJo anime special is that David Production takes this idea and blows it up for anime. The blood red filter as the squirrel devours its prey; the manic, twitchy movements of the furry carnivore as it rips and tears through its helpless victim’s flesh; the guttural roar of the squirrel; and the DUBSTEP, my god, the dubstep.
So many anime adaptations don’t take creative liberties with the material. They play it safe. Maybe they’re competent, but they’re also boring. In JoJo, the creative team saw an opportunity to do weird, wonderful things and ran with it every time. With the added tools of color, sound and movement, David took something and made it that much better. (Well … only occasionally with movement, sadly.) The squirrel scene is but one example. (This is another favorite of mine.) David’s adaptation is littered with scenes where the added layer of visual and aural nuttiness piles on an extra layer of pulp. It’s beautiful. I cannot wait to see what these people do with the weird western parts of Stardust Crusaders.
Also, CARS. IN. SPACE because this gif.