Updated: Nov 21, 2019
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (JBA) is, without a doubt, my favorite story of all time. I love this show so much that I will actually be dividing this into two parts: this one describing some of the creation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and the next one which will be all about the influences and reception of JBA. The show has incredible music and voice acting, the manga is beautiful, and the fandom is… Well the fandom is there. How this story came to be is quite fascinating.
JBA was written by the man, the myth, the legend Hirohiko Araki, who has a fun and bizarre story of his own. Araki was born in the Japanese city of Sendai in 1960, and had twin sisters. These twin sisters are important because they are who Araki attributes his start into reading and drawing manga to. He thought his sisters were so annoying that all he could do was lock himself in his room and read manga. At the time his favorite manga was Ai to Makoto by Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Nagayasu.
He submitted his first manga in his first year of highschool, but was rejected. In the spirit of the JoJo creator he would soon be, he decided to go to the studio to learn why he was rejected and possibly appeal. They told him with some editing it had a chance to win the Tezuka Awards, but not in its current state. So he edited and re-entered Buso Poka, aka Poker Under Arms. His story got the runner up award, and even featured a character that bears a striking resemblance to Robert E.O. Speedwagon.
This was the beginning of magic. Fast forward to 1987, and he began publishing JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The manga was originally published in Weekly Shonen Jump, and began hitting store shelves on January 1, 1987. Today, which since 2003 the story has been published in Ultra Jump, there are over 100 million copies in print. This makes JoJo’s bizarre adventure one of the most popular mangas in print! When JoJo hit the 100 million mark in 2016, Araki had the following to say:
The serialization of Jojo began in 1987. It is a very happy thing that the series reaches the 100 million copies mark at the timing of its 30th anniversary. And I have nothing but gratitude for the people who have gotten this series and characters in their hands during this 30 years. But this is not a goal. We are preparing various plans for 2017, the 30th anniversary year. So I am hoping people will enjoy Jojo in the future as well.
However, Araki didn’t only make JoJo, he has also put his hand in some other manga projects as well (though some are also JoJo spinoffs):
Buso Poka (1980)
Outlaw Man (1982)
Virginia ni Yohroshiku (1982)
Gorgeous Irene (1985-1986)
Dead Man’s Questions (1999)
Rohan au Louvre (2010)
But what about the anime? For a lot of westerners, David Production’s beautifully done anime is what introduced us to the joy that is Hirohiko Araki. Though, David Productionswas not the first to attempt turning this manga into an anime, though it certainly is the first one to be extremely popular.
Before DP’s 2012 premiere of Phantom Blood, Studio A.P.P.P. (Another Push Pin Planning) took a stab at it in 1993. Took another stab at it in 2000. And yet another stab in 2007. All of which were OVAs, or original video animations, which means they were home release films. However, in their first stab in 1993, A.P.P.P decided to start the story halfway through Part 3, and the OVA gave essentially no information about what happened previously in the story, thus making it really only appeal to people that had read the manga already. In 2007, A.P.P.P. decided that they should probably tell the beginning of the story so they published their version of Phantom Blood, which didn’t even have fan-favorite character Robert E.O. Speedwagon in it.
We don’t generally like to talk about these dark times in JoJo.
But, alas, hope was restored on October 5, 2012 when David Production began releasing their version of Phantom Blood, though the show did not begin airing on western networks until 2016. Since this release, Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, Stardust Crusaders, Diamond is Unbreakable, and Golden Wind have all gotten made into anime. In total, there is currently around 59 hours and 6 minutes of JoJo content, which doesn’t include the movies made to recap the first season. That is a lot of JoJo!
In my next JoJo post, I will look deeper into how this show was received, what has influenced JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and what JBA has influenced itself.