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Golden Wind Puts the “Bizarre” Back in ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’

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The title JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure suggests three things about the show itself: it will star somebody named “JoJo,” they will go on an adventure, and it will be a notably bizarre one. The anime’s four arcs so far haven’t really focused on the ‘bizarre’ word.

It’s true that the JoJos and JoJo-Bros have been on some strange journeys, with strange powers and strange characters helping and hindering them every step of the way. They’ve come across ghosts, vampires, psychopaths, a sidewalk that drags people to hell if they look the wrong way, and so much more. They’ve witnessed the introduction of, redefinition of, and total abandonment of Hamon. They’ve seen Stands that stop time and Stands that kill their user for facing the wrong way. There was even that one guy who might have been an alien. The adventures so far have not been boring.

But “bizarre” has a different expectation. Vampire masks, glowing karate, and turning doorknobs into bombs are all not things one would expect from daily life, but they’re straightforward. Bizarre suggests more incomprehensible or perplexing characteristics; less Shining Diamond and Silver Chariot, more Bites the Dust or Death 13. Stands like Heaven’s Door, which can completely rewrite parts of somebody’s personality, are a lot weirder than having lots of bug-things or regular, boring lightning powers. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure doesn’t consistently incorporate truly puzzling, disturbing, and bizarre elements into its story.

Its already obvious Golden Wind is going to change that.

In just the first two episodes of Golden Wind, there have been more bizarre things than the entirety of Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency combined. A young man, our newest JoJo, turned a stolen suitcase into a frog. This frog seemed to have its own consciousness, possibly even its own free will. A gangster with an affinity for shovels knocked himself out when he tried to kill this frog, which then turned back into the suitcase. A coconut headed man named Bruno Bucciarati punched JoJo and filled his mouth with dismembered fingers. And that was after he licked up his sweat to tell whether he was lying. All that in just the first episode. The second showed Bruno hiding inside of somebody, JoJo throwing his zipped-off arm as an attack, and a punch that caused Bruno’s senses to move too fast for his own good.

This goes far beyond “Fixing things” or “Can punch super good,” this is a whole new level madness. Only two new Stands have been revealed so far, and both of them have powers unlike anything the show has demonstrated thus far. JoJo’s “Golden Wind/Gold Experience” can turn things into totally unrelated living creatures that appear to think and feel on their own. He has the sort of power usually reserved for gods or high wizards, and he’s using it to pilfer luggage. Bruno’s “Zipper Man/Sticky Fingers” (referencing the 1971 zipper-themed Rolling Stones album) can create zippers in objects, which seem to act as both intense damage and holes where he can store things. And then he used that power to hide himself inside another human being.

These powers are hardly straightforward; the implications of bringing a suitcase to life or entering a zipper to hide within somebody are insane. Seeing their continued use only begs more questions to be answered, not less. And due to the powers being so weird and vague in terms of ability, the show is much more interesting to watch. Seeing a Stand who can punch hard is cool, but having a less destructive and more versatile power like creating zippers or making things heavier allows for more creativity in and out of battle. Problems and enemies are tackled in unexpected ways, not just “I just need to get close enough to make their face a landing zone for my fist.”

The heightened level of strangeness in Golden Wind is not yet a good or bad thing. The arc is in its infancy and there’s no telling if Golden Wind, Zipper Man, or the myriad of still undiscovered Stands are going to make the series worse with their weirdness. It could turn the show into an incomprehensible mess where rules don’t matter and things are made up on the fly. But the idea of a new JoJo arc, especially one unbound by sanity even more so than the rest of the series, is an exciting prospect. Whether Golden Wind ends up elevating JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure or dooming it to madness remains to be seen, but one way or another the show won’t be the same from here on out.

Paul spends a lot of time playing games, but spends even more time trying to convince other people to play games. He's always looking to try something new, and is ready to play Mario Party 2 at any time.

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 33: Coming into Maturity

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Anime Ichiban welcomes our anime waifu overlords, old and new. Join Matt and Kyle this episode as they discuss the return of the Goddess of Anime, Haruhi Suzumiya herself, then hop on over to the new virutal sensation that’s finally sweeping English-speaking nations: Hololive Vtubers!

For this episode of Anime Ichiban, the SHITSUMON! topic will have the duo diving into recently released Aggretsuko Season 3 and The Great Pretender and explore how the two shows work with mature themes.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions and what we’ve been up to
23:33 – The Return of Haruhi Suzumiya(‘s light novels)
37:23 – The Debut of Generation 1 of Hololive English Vtubers
53:07 – Minor news roundup: (Shenmue anime announced; Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel Part 3 movie debuts to huge success; KyoAni fire updates)
58:35 – SHITSUMON! How does anime portray mature themes in its storytelling?

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 32: The Art of Following a Formula

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry.

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diary of our days at breakwater

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry and that the crew digs into along with how a series can effectively perform within its genre conventions.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions
12:28 – Legacy piracy site KissAnime shuts down
28:45 – AT&T reportedly looking to sell Crunchyroll
43:27 – Galapagos Syndrome: Is anime in danger of losing its global identity?
58:41 – News Reel
1:02:20 – SHITSUMON! How do shows perform effectively and still entertain in genres whose formulae are already well known and expected?

TRACKS

Intro – “Cagayake! GIRLS” by Houkago Tea Time (K-ON! opening theme)
Outro – “Tsuri no sekai e” by Umino High School Breakwater Club (Our Diary at the Breakwater ending theme)

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‘One Piece: Stampede’ is an All-Star Behemoth Buckling Under Predictability

Does One Piece: Stampede sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

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As the fourteenth film in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece saga, One Piece: Stampede was released in 2019 to critical and financial success. As a big-budget commemoration of the anime’s 20th anniversary, Stampede has lots to live up to, from successfully stamping a momentous two decades, to satiating the hype of a passionate global fanbase. Does it sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

It’s party time at the Pirate Fest!

The Pirate Fest, a grand gathering of the sea’s most infamous individuals, is underway! At the festival, the Straw Hats compete with their Worst Generation rivals to retrieve a treasure of Gol D. Roger. But behind the scenes, festival organiser Buena Festa and legendary pirate Douglas Bullet are scheming something sinister.

Cutting to the chase, One Piece: Stampede soon kicks into an all-out battle against said Douglas Bullet, with Luffy working with friend and foe alike to fell his opponent.

Much like Dragon Ball Super: Broly, also animated by Toei Animation, each frame of One Piece: Stampede is a treasure to behold. Fluid animation and colors spell eye-candy magic, and the odd bit of 3D animation isn’t (too) visually jarring.

One Piece: Stampede nails its mission statement of lightning-paced popcorn entertainment to a tee. Goofy shonen films don’t have to transcend ‘awesome action and silly superpowers’. Rather than shooting for the moon and coming up short, Stampede settles for smashing the sky. With white-knuckle fights and satisfying character moments conveyed with a zippy pace, One Piece: Stampede assuredly brings what fans want. And whilst not as developed or memorable as other film baddies (One Piece: Strong World’s Shiki or One Piece: Z’s titular Z), Douglas Bullet is terrifyingly tough enough to tick the boxes.

Playing It Safe

Whilst the ‘playing it safe’ ethos of One Piece: Stampede succeeds on the surface, the imaginative innovation of One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is missing, and the excess of characters prevents the possibility of channeling the simplicity of One Piece: Dead End Adventure. Stampede works as anniversary celebratory bombast but isn’t the series’ smartest, and with the core of the film occurring in a single spot and under dull skies, location fatigue rears its head.

For some, the draw of One Piece: Stampede is its constant character cameos. From the instantly recognizable to the deep cuts, it’s a fun gimmick for fans, although the absence of big names like Kuzan and Jinbei are noticeable. Some cameos fall on the side of groan inducing-ly forced, shoehorning a requisite Zoro fight, or overtly shouting to audiences “Remember them?!” Having no effect on the story, these cameos are clunky and break narrative immersion.

Far from the worst of One Piece’s wildly varied films, Stampede is what it needs to be. It lacks the creative spirit of One Piece’s heights and is dampened by its inconsistent cameo execution, but it’s a fine anniversary celebration for one of manga and anime’s, if not the world’s, best works of fiction. For the uninitiated, it’ll be like an avant-garde acid trip, but for those clued-into Luffy’s antics, it’s a barrage of ballistic glee!

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