The most well known and common struggle humanity faces; Good versus Evil. We see it in fiction, non-fiction, fan fiction and beyond.
Cutting through all the choices we make in our lives, it can boil down to this choice; our very human nature reflects this.
This is a pretty deep topic that millions of blog posts couldn’t even cover, I think. So, why am I talking about it? Due to the recent announcement of Part 3 of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure anime in the works (no date yet, though. ;o; ), I found myself pondering the first two parts, which were animated excellently this past year.
For various reasons, Jojo is not terribly popular in the US yet (because of licensing trouble, which has to do with 80s bands’ names as villains. No, I’m not kidding), but because of its long running manga and the apparent immortality, both in his work and his age, Hirohiko Araki is well known in Japan as well as places all over the world (even France, where much of his manga was translated due to him having an exhibition one year at the Louvre).
But back to human nature, I recall being told that this was the main theme of the epic and still ongoing manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by one of my friends, who is an avid fan.
Despite being a devoted One Piece fan myself, Jojo seemed a tad long for me to just start on. So ignoring the prodding of my friends who were Jojo fans, I kept putting off starting the manga.
Long story short and 9 episodes later (the end of Part 1), I can safely say this series is one of the best I’ve seen. Granted, it had great source material (I started reading the manga shortly after watching the anime). But since trying to cover the whole first season, which has part 1 and part 2, would be way too long, I’ll devote this post to the grand Introduction of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in Part 1; where it all starts and where the pieces are set into a wheel of fate for two brothers.
Truthfully, the two main leads in part 1 are not really brothers by blood, Jonathan Joestar (known fondly as Jojo) and Dio Brando come from very different walks of life. The former raised as a rich man’s son on a grand estate and in some ways, he was spoiled, while the latter had a deadbeat father and had to live his life in a world of poverty, trickery, lies, and selfishness just to survive.
What caused the two boys’ lives to meet was actually a fated encounter of their fathers. And thus when Dio’s father died, due to a debt Jojo’s father had with Dio’s father, Dio was allowed and welcomed to come stay at the Joestar residence as he grew up.
Sounds great, right? Any poor kid would be grateful for this, right? Well, not Dio, In fact, the whole first episode of the anime is dedicated to making sure everyone watching knows how much of a jerk Dio is (I mean, he even locks Jojo’s dog in an oven and burns it alive). But it doesn’t stop there, even as they grew up as brothers, the two remained in a struggle of disliking one another.
But how each reacts to their circumstances is the most interesting. Jojo, previously be a bit of a spoiled brat, has his life crushed around him by Dio and to make matters worse, his own father begins to like Dio better. Yet, while he continues to struggle as he grows up, he learns the importance of doing the right thing rather than the selfish thing. Thus, Jojo pursues righteousness and Dio continues to pursue power, never satisfied until he has taken over the whole Joestar estate and beyond.
Hmm, starting to maybe sound like another story about two brothers? Cain and Abel also were at odds with each other. One pursued righteousness and the other pursued his own ambitions.
But that’s still not the half of it.
Enter the stone mask.
It’s a mysterious relic that has been in the Joestar family for ages, but no one knows what it does, except that if it makes contact with blood, massive spikes will emerge from its edges, burying them within the wearer’s skull. No one has ever tried wearing the mask, but when Dio finds himself at the end of his rope (Jojo finds out Dio’s plot to kill his father, has evidence to convict him, and is about to have him arrested), he steals the mask and runs, hoping it will give him some relief from his failed plan by killing some people with the mask.
Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned. The mask does indeed “kill” its wearer, but it also turns them into a vampire. Dio almost dies when he finds this out, but is saved when the sun comes up and burns up the vampire he created.
Then, Dio gets an idea and puts on the mask himself and thus his fate is sealed.
Fast forward a bit and Jojo has to face Dio again, but this time he has help and a new power called “The Ripple” which harnesses the one force that vampires cannot stand up to, the Sun.
With the help of new friends as fantastic as their names, Speedwagon, Zeppeli, Dire and Straits, Jojo goes to face Dio again, once and for all.
Jojo wins again, but not without having to sacrifice himself when the ship blows up. His final moments are holding his enemy, his brother Dio’s head in his arms and smiling. He gave his life so that the world would live in peace away from the clutches of Dio.
Though, what better way to set a stage on a story about human nature than the story of the first sin? Two brothers and two different paths they could have taken. Dio could have chosen to not follow his ambition for power and his own glorification or Jojo could have given into his anger at Dio and followed a path of hatred.
And that’s only part 1! You’ll have to tune in next time when I post about part 2 where we meet the cheeky Joseph Joestar and his classy scarf.