Many anime and manga series are able to capture the interest of the public, but Hirohiki Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has evolved into a comprehensive, generational saga that’s close to celebrating 35 years of unpredictable adventures. One of the major ways in which Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure differs from other shonen and action-centric series is that each new installment in the growing franchise can ostensibly function on its own, while also furthering the growing narrative of the incredible Joestar family.
The latest chapter in the JoJo saga, Part 8’s JoJolion, just completed a ten-year run, and fans are already excited to see what Part 9 will bring. With JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure currently on a brief hiatus, there’s never been a better time to reflect on the ending of each saga and how they all stack up against each other.
JoJolion is the longest of Araki’s sagas, but its ending finally happened, and its announcement seemed highly premature. JoJolion’s conclusion tells an odd story about this timeline’s version of Joseph Joestar and his encounter with Lucy. JoJolion does reach an ending of sorts, but it’s easily the JoJo chapter that leaves the most unresolved. There’s a flash-forward that’s never addressed, the Rokakaka fruit is left up in the air, and Yasuho is left in a state of impending danger around two Rock Humans. It’s possible that Part 9 will pick up on some of these story threads, but as it stands, it’s a rushed and confusing conclusion.
Golden Wind is another chapter in the JoJo saga that goes against the grain with its time spent in Italy and a protagonist that’s technically a descendant of DIO. The final act of Golden Wind hits some extremely ridiculous heights with rampant body-swapping and one of the franchise’s most complex and evasive villains, Diavolo. To be clear, the final fight with Diavolo is fantastic, especially the deadly purgatory that he’s eternally confined in. However, the actual ending is quite rushed and employs some odd narrative decisions. Giorno becomes head of the Passione crime family, but audiences deserve to see that accomplishment play out and not just settle for the results.
There’s a considerable amount of anticipation that surrounds the ending of Stardust Crusaders since it’s the longest of JoJo’s seasons. Stardust Crusaders also largely functions as the conclusion of the series’ fascination with DIO, which also generates serious stakes.
The final battle between Jotaro and DIO has become iconic, especially DIO’s creative use of a road roller, but it concludes in a fairly predictable fashion afterward. If nothing else, the many losses over the course of this journey are reflected upon, which adds some extra emotional impact to this goodbye.
Diamond is Unbreakable is tonally quite different from Stardust Crusaders that precedes it, and there are many great elements that this season precariously juggles before it builds to its finish. Yoshikage Kira is a phenomenal villain who is actually intimidating, but the evolving rules of his Stand become a little obnoxious. That being said, the ending of Diamond is Unbreakable cleverly devises a scenario where it feels like the entirety of Morioh contributes to Kira’s defeat, right down to the ghost of Reimi. It’s a cathartic finish that celebrates the characters of Diamond is Unbreakable and feels like the right time to say goodbye to these individuals.
Phantom Blood is the first chapter that kicks off JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and while in many ways it’s the simplest of the series’ sections, it’s still incredibly powerful with what it accomplishes. Phantom Blood establishes the undying rivalry between Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, which festers in fascinating ways. What makes the conclusion of Phantom Blood hit so hard is that Dio actually wins and succeeds in his defeat over Jonathan. It’s a turn that comes as a major surprise, especially since it seems to randomly occur in episode nine rather than a more conventional point to conclude a storyline.
The first season of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is divided among Parts 1 and 2, with Battle Tendency feeling like the big finish to the story’s first major section. Part 2’s Joseph Joestar is one of the most entertaining Joestars due to his cocky and impulsive attitude, which becomes a crucial factor in his final showdown against Kars.
Joseph usually has a solution to every problem, but Kars introduces an unprecedented level of strength that seems impossible to overcome. Battle Tendency’s climax reaches progressively wild places, but it helps establish the more exaggerated tone that JoJo goes on to embody.
Part 7’s Steel Ball Run is such a startling change of pace for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and it positions itself against a cross-country race. The race structure gives Steel Ball Run an appreciated burst of adrenaline, but it also covers some decidedly unexpected territory like the assembly of a holy corpse and the return of a version of Dio, albeit as a dinosaur. The conclusion of Steel Ball Run provides a satisfying finish to the epic race even though Johnny doesn’t win, and the final duel with Valentine and the use of Tusk are incredible moments.
Stone Ocean is a groundbreaking installment in the JoJo saga that features the series’ first female protagonist in the form of Jolyne Cujoh. Stone Ocean builds an apocalyptic sense of dread as it approaches its conclusion, and the fight against Pucci and Made in Heaven is among the best in the franchise. What makes the conclusion of Stone Ocean so significant is that the heights that these Stands reach result in the world literally being reset and starting anew. It’s a convenient way for Araki to “conclude” the series and then begin a slightly simplified new canon in Part 7.
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