JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of the longest-running manga series, spanning over 33 years, eight parts, and five anime adaptations at this point. JoJo has become, by far, one of the most popular anime series, famous not only in Japan but also renowned in the wider anime fan base.
But it was not always like that.
JoJo did not start out as the incredibly popular show it is right now; the beginning was much humble and full of failures.
For more on this, head over to our Article on the Life of Hirohiko Araki
And even then, the series did not reach the notoriety that it has today, until just recently when David Productions decided to make an anime adaptation of the long-forgotten anime franchise.
The old Classic JoJo (1993):
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's manga was a phenomenon in Japan in the early 1990s. The most popular part, JoJo Part 3, had just finished serialization in the Weekly Jump Magazine, and the manga was confirmed for an anime adaptation by one of the best studios at the time, Studio APPP. JoJo's first anime came out in November of 1993, and over the course of 1 year-long production cycle, the anime was just six episodes long.
Studio APPP had attempted to adapt the staggering 152 chapters of JoJo part 3 in just six episodes, which resulted in the 1993 anime just being the summary of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga, covering just the important bits and just scrapping a whole lot of content in order to condense the story in a six-episode long montage. And the anime also had many controversies and had to change a whole lot of content for the western audiences.
This resulted in the original JoJo being quite fast-paced, nonsensical at the same time, and just a mediocre adaptation that took away from the manga's charm, and rather than adding more value to the JoJo's franchise, it actually took away from the manga's success and made the series unappealing to the anime fans in general.
Fast forward in the early 2000s, JoJo had become a cult classic that was deemed unadaptable due to its unique and just out of the ordinary art style, and APPP's attempt at adapting the anime again was met with disappointment for the same reasons. But the anime did its purpose and bolstered the manga/merch sales in Japan. And that was where the manga giants and the whole anime industry was focused on at the time.
Anime was just used to bolster manga, light novel, and anime merchandise sales And for the Japanese companies, anime was more of a publicity investment that they used to popularize the franchise and just make it accessible to the general anime audience so that they would then buy the manga, or the light novel, whatever source the anime was based on.
So, JoJo, had multiple anime attempts that were dampened by the industry's dilemma, and JoJo, since it was selling exceptionally well in Japan and had become a somewhat well-known underground classic with a dedicated fan base. The Shueisha did not pay much heed to the anime and just focused on the manga and merchandise side of the aisle.
JoJo was still not well known at that point. It was a household name in Japan, but in the western anime community, not many fans knew about JoJo.
But that all changed on the 25th anniversary of Hirohiko Araki's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series when David Production took the helm and decided to animate the whole series from the first chapter.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Series Rises from the Ashes:
After David Productions' announcement, the anime did not become an immediate success, and although the sales of the adaptation were off the charts, the anime was still not that popular in the west yet.
But JoJo had started to get recognized as a good anime in the western fandom, and it was not until JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3 came out that JoJo blew up worldwide.
Why is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure So Popular?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a western-inspired anime. Despite its Japanese origin, JoJo is an amalgam of western pop culture where Araki, the creator himself, was inspired by the European culture and foreign literature that led him to devise the famous manga series.
In that inspiration, JoJo is filled with western tropes, references to old, European, American bands, music legends, and much more.
And that resonates with the western fans more than anything.
JoJo might be a Japanese anime, but its storyline, the way the characters interact is more so in line with the western culture rather than the Japanese way of life.
This makes JoJo, one of the only Japanese anime to have the western literary soo deeply tied to the plot that the anime feels more like a modern American Animation draped in Japanese Style and essence that the west now knows it for.
This makes JoJo's Bizarre Adventure one of the only anime that the average western and global audiences can enjoy and have a fun time watching because it is just soo familiar.
And even in that, JoJo takes a lot of elements from classic western literature like Les Misérables by Victor Hugo or, more popularly, the classic Dracula by Bram Stoker, etc. Moreover, even the character designs take inspiration from the legendary American classics by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Along with the famous JoJo poses coming right off from, some of the best Album arts from the famous bands in the 90s.
All these features, combined with Hirohiko Araki's own infatuation with classical European art and quirky outlook on life, makes JoJo an anime that anyone can get into and have a pretty good time laughing at the gags, getting referenced in a unique way, and, just have a fun time enjoying over the top characters, with over the top more so, eccentric personalities in the best way possible.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series had a weak start, but over the years, the series has made itself known in the Japanese fandom and now has literally blown up in the global anime community as one of the best anime series ever. The infatuation of the anime lies in the fact that it is just so over the top and relatable that the fans can't help but laugh and cry simultaneously. And just get stoked whenever Hirohiko Araki makes a popular pop culture reference or breaks the fourth wall while giving new and old fans something new to like about the timeless series in every new part that has kept the series fresh and just a joy to go through 33 years later for its serialization.