The first season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure with Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency ranks as one of my top 10 anime of all time. Stardust Crusaders wouldn’t make my top 100. I felt that in changing to this episodic format it managed to strip all the urgency and gravitas out of a series that, for me, was mostly about that. The ridiculousness nature of proceedings stopped being enthralling when each fight wasn’t billed as a possible world ender. I wrote a whole piece for ANN on why you should never, ever skip the first season of Jojo’s, an article in its original version was a hell of a lot more negative about Stardust than it was positive about the first two seasons.
The one big exception to this was the final fight with Dio.
For the first time in the series, it felt like the fights had significant weight to proceedings. This should be obvious considering the series spent its entire runtime basically leading up to that one fight. But when they finally reached that climactic battle with Dio, for the first time I felt that joyous rush Jojo’s gives me. The extended battle at the end was marvelous and brought back all those feelings I had for the first season. Dio counting down the longest 10 seconds of his final attack, reaching for a steamroller from nowhere, was everything I had ever wanted. It’s a shame it took 40 episodes to reach that point. Perhaps later seasons of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure will return to that form. I’ve heard people say Part 4 is great, but a lot of the praise says it’s a better version of Stardust Crusaders, and I’m not sure that’s quite what I want from Jojo’s.