Finally, time for this blog to be used for something that isn’t just the monthly reading log! Last year I gave myself a new project because I realised I was spending a lot of money on manga and figured there had to be a more cost-effective way of reading as much as I do without breaking the bank. Particularly with English releases continuing to go up in price. So it occurred to me that I should just go straight to the source and cut out buying volumes (especially in English) and instead look at reading series during their magazine runs. This isn’t to stop me buying volumes full stop, but to prevent blind buys and assure I’m only purchasing series I really want to own.
Last week Viz Media added the first three parts of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure to their Shonen Jump vault. Despite how famous the series is, I’ve never actually read it. The most I’ve done is watch half of the 2012 anime adaption of Part 1, but I never got back to it because I’m pretty bad at watching anime when it’s not for work or simulcasts. So with this in mind I decided I’d read parts 1-3 and having completed them I wanted to put some of my thoughts down in a post.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood was a fairly straightforward shonen story. I liked how the story progressed and changed the relationship between JoJo and Dio, his adopted brother turned evil vampire. At 44 chapters it’s a fairly easy read and doesn’t hang around on any one battle too long. It was a great starting point for such a long series and by the end of it I was excited to continue.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 2: Battle Tendency’s didn’t get off to a great start, with a new unlikable JoJo at the helm. This part started to lean a little more heavily into ‘monster of the week’ elements but also managed to keep the plot moving without wasting too much time on meaningless fights. It was difficult to enjoy it as much as Part 1 given how fond of that JoJo I was, but by the end I didn’t hate Part 2. I admit I was starting to wonder if I’d be able to stick JoJo out if Part 3 was similar, but I didn’t want to just drop it there. With the whole idea of each new Part bringing with it a host of new characters, I was confident that I’d find something to like in the future.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3: Stardust Crusaders was a fairly mixed bag in the end. I enjoyed it a lot more than Part 2, but it also spends the majority of its 152 chapters on monster of the week battles and that took away from it. It was nice to have a JoJo where both the current and previous JoJo were still alive and could spend time together (and actually Part 2’s JoJo was a lot better in this Part than previously), but on the other hand the Part goes on too long. I have a feeling it got extended in the middle because it was doing well because JoJo manages to fight off all the enemies coming after him and then Dio mysteriously makes several more. The plot moves incredibly slowly because there is always a new enemy causing an accident of some sort and waylaying the casts progress. If you like battle of the week manga then this is by no means a bad thing and hey, some of the fights were great, but personally I wanted more of what we saw in Part 1 with a more defined story in mind. Part 3 doesn’t even give that much time to wrapping up its story! It just shows the two joJo headed back home together (and that one character is okay having defeated Dio). It’s not quite what I was hoping for, but scratched the itch for more JoJo and has kept me interested in reading Part 4 (which Viz are just starting to release and haven’t added to the vault yet).
So having dived into this JoJo rabbit hole I’m happy I now understand what the fuss is about. I might not adore it as much as many of my friends do, but I can certainly appreciate it for what it is. Reading so much of it at once also gave me the opportunity to see how its popularity and how that changed it, like the progressively amping up of the random weekly enemies. I’m really interested to see if it does even more of that going forward or if it starts pulling it back a bit. I don’t actually know if we’ll see Dio more either or if Part 4 will skip that particular encounter. I feel like Dio works best as the ‘big bad’ of the series, so I’d certainly prefer he not be cast aside again. For such a popular series I’ve managed to stay surprisingly uninformed about what happens in the story, which is probably for the best.
Overall I guess I come away from this with an appreciation for JoJo even if it’s not outright like yet. I certainly like it enough to binge through each part, but I feel like a lot of that is born out of curiosity. I certainly won’t be seeking out volumes of it to own, that’s for sure. It’s a wild ride that leaves me with a lot of different feelings, but I guess in the end the overwhelming feeling is that I had fun and that’s what matters.
Here’s hoping I won’t have to wait too long to delve into more!
Okay first off it has been forever since I’ve posted on Curiosities. All of my work goes on Anime UK News now, so I guess I lost the need to write posts here because anything relevant usually fits there. This time I have something a little bit more personal to write though and something I want the ability to look back on for myself.
Without realising it myself, I’ve always been a bookworm. I love games and anime a great deal, but if I step back and look at my hobbies it’s safe to say that the majority of my time is spent reading. I read a lot of on-going manga series, 102 at the current count, and I sometimes get into a rut and wonder to myself why I do this. Why I follow so many; what I’m looking for; what I’m searching for. The answer came to me today unexpectedly.
Watching a recent episode of My Love Story I got thinking about how realistic and down to earth the series is being. Sure there are most certainly a few things that are a little on the crazy side, but for the most part it’s doing better than Kiss Him, Not Me for example.
Of course most of us read manga and watch anime and don’t really expect or want it to be down to earth and completely realistic, but in some ways I think it’s important to have a few series that break the trend of being completely sakura blossoms and overblown teenage feelings. Lets take a favourite series of mine, Say I Love You as a perfect example of what I’m going for here. The story is focused on shy Mei who has never really had any friends and certainly isn’t thinking of dating, but when she meets Yamato that slowly changes and the two of them must work through their problems, very real problems that couples have, if they wish to stay together. What makes this better is that the manga, given it has more time than the 13 episode anime, deals with a lot of problems that everyday kids go through at one point or another. I appricate the series a hell of a lot for this, especially author Kanae Hazuko who is heavily writing from her own personal experience.
Today the 30 Day Manga challenge has finally, finally given me a simple question to answer! Today I have to decide on the manga character I’m most like which is really easy to answer!
Today is most certainly a tough question. I need to somehow figure out my favourite manga scene, which definitely isn’t easy. Nevertheless onwards we shall go as I attempt to figure it out!
Yeah so, I missed posting an entry yesterday but in my defence I was at a StreetPass meet all day and didn’t get home until fairly late. Normal daily service should resume for the foreseeable future now! For today’s challenge I have to pick my favourite mech manga. Problem is I don’t actually have one…
Another question today as I have to pick my favourite fighter manga which is something I don’t really read. How do you even define fighter manga? Is it just any old shonen? I’m thinking you’d probably define it as shonen (I hope anyway), so I’ve based my choices on that.
I find it fairly amusing that on Halloween I’m writing about the best manga villain for my 30 day manga challenge. Because I read a lot of shojo manga and there aren’t really any characters you could define as ‘villains’, my picks for today were pretty hard to come up with. I think I’ve made the right choices in the end though.
Today I have yet another tough question to answer for my manga challenge (and yes I do find myself saying this everyday!). For my eighth challenge I have to pick my favourite manga couple which is definitely a challenging question.