How David Productions Finally Solved the Puzzle of Adapting JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2023)

Founded in 2007 by former Studio Gonzo president K?ji Kajita and producer Taito Okiura, DavidPro was a small fish in a large and very competitive pond, and that’s how they wanted it.

The name “David” was chosen purposefully, as Kajita and Okiura envisioned the studio as a small company that could stand among the goliaths of the anime industry. The company had just started producing its own anime when Warner Bros. Japan producer Hiroyuki Omori approached them with the opportunity for a new adaptation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hirokiko Araki’s ongoing (1987-present day), multigenerational battle-shonen series. Omori was impressed with DavidPro’s work on 2009’s The Book of Bantorra, a title that featured strong line work and attentive animation—something essential when trying to depict Araki’s distinct art style.

Everyone understood that the task at hand would be difficult. The early character designs were made at a time where Shonen characters were built like Mr. Universe contestants, so there was no telling whether it would translate with contemporary audiences who were not familiar with the source material. And the story—a mixture of body horror, highly physical and mental one-on-one confrontations, extreme melodrama, and dashes of tongue-in-cheek humor—would be hard to pin down successfully. However, what pushed those concerns aside for both Omori and the staff at DavidPro was the belief that Araki’s story had not withered with age. The main challenge would be how to depict it faithfully, and to succeed where others had failed.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most popular and influential shonen sagas ever published, but as prominent as the manga had been for over 20 years, by the time DavidPro began working on the series, a proper anime adaptation had proved to be quite elusive. There had been a pair of little-seen OVAs released during the twilight of the medium’s boom period that didn’t really capture the essence of the manga or its unique appeal, and a 2007 film release that made drastic alterations to the series’ first chapter so as to whittle it down to a 90-minute feature was pulled after just a few screenings. It is a testament to the story’s enduring popularity and legacy among both the Japanese manga and anime industries that a third adaptation was even pitched.

With a studio chosen, DavidPro producer Hisataka Kasama joined the project to assist Omori and to put together a staff. Understanding that Araki’s manga would be too much for a single director to handle, Kasama decided that the best course of action would be to hire two directors: Naokatsu Tsuda and Kenichi Suzuki. It was an unusual move, but Kusama believed that by having each director bring on their individual strengths (Tsuda comedy, Suzuki action) while also collaborating on all other aspects of the adaptation, the two would essentially work as a team to crack the code. Both producers and directors were huge admirers of the manga, so they obviously wanted to do justice to the material. Wanting to make certain that they wouldn’t end up repeating the mistakes of the past, Omori provided the staff with a straightforward request during the first production meeting of what exactly DavidPro should do with this series. It was just two simple words: “make JoJo.”

(Video) The Genius Of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

How David Productions Finally Solved the Puzzle of Adapting JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1)

The staff began studying the manga as if it were a religious text, every page and practically every individual panel, eventually coming to the conclusion that in order to properly adapt something like JJBA, conventionality would only hinder their chance at success; Kasama said in the series’ production notes: “If we follow the usual methods of creating animation, we’ll end up with ‘JoJo’s Ordinary Adventure.’ JoJo has to be a ‘bizarre adventure.’ If you think about it, the answer was in the title from the very beginning.”

The series adapts the first two chapters of Araki’s manga, Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency. The former introduces us to the rivalry and eventful duel between Jonathan Joestar, a young, upper class Englishman living in 19th century Liverpool, and his conniving and supremely callous adopted brother/nemesis Dio Brando. Battle Tendency, which takes place almost a half century after the events of Phantom Blood, follows the adventures of Jonathan’s grandson, Joseph Joestar, as he and his companions travel across the world chasing after, training for, and doing battle against the last survivors of a group of ancient humanoids who wish to obtain a mythical gemstone that would transform them into beings of ultimate power.

Sitting through JJBA is like watching wrestlers of the Hulkamania era try to perform a high-end melodrama in the middle of fashion week; walking through the runway while trading punches with vampires, zombies, and other supernatural creatures. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, intense, and amazing just how serious the story takes itself while also not taking itself seriously at all.

(Video) How JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Ruined My Life by Being So Good | JoJosis

In what other series will you find our hero fighting an undead Jack the Ripper, who appears by slithering out of the head of a horse he just decapitated, while holding a full wine glass that his mentor, the eccentric Baron Zeppoli, gave him the strict order to not spill a single drop of in his one-on-one battle with history’s most famous serial killer? That happens in just the second episode.

The main reason why DavidPro’s JJBA adaptation succeeded where others failed is that they followed Omori’s request precisely. Instead of cherry picking certain aspects of the manga to place in, or making changes and alterations to fit into the anime’s runtime, DavidPro took an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach and basically replicated the manga on screen. They achieved this while upping the style and mood of the visuals so that they could really deliver on the strangeness and insanity of the source material—something both the OVA’s and the feature film reportedly lacked.

The dynamic poses, the frequent use of onomatopoeias (a mainstay of the series), and everything fans of the manga could ever want was showcased in this new adaptation. Plus, a pair of new additions debuted with this series. The first was the addition of a visual effect Tusda called “special scene coloring,” done to pay homage to Araki’s own use of color. It appears throughout the series in moments of emotional significance and heightens the bizarre nature of Araki’s world. When Zeppoli first encounters Dio in the fifth episode, the master-manipulator-turned-vampire has a full moon serve as the backdrop for his dramatic entrance; the moon is shown in such a vibrant and powerful pink it wouldn’t look out of place on a 2010s Nicki Minaj album cover.

The other is the use of western music for the ending credit sequences. Araki has gone on record saying that he listens to western music while working on the series, and seeing as he doesn’t understand English, it just comes to him as sound or a “vibe” as the kids would say. Araki handed DavidPro a list of songs he was listening to while working on the first two chapters, with the studio choosing Roundabout by the English progressive band Yes. It would become a theme for future chapters, as fans eagerly anticipated just what song will be used as soon as the newest series premieres. Later series would use popular singles from the likes of The Bangles, Jodeci, the Pat Metheny Group, and Savage Garden.

(Video) 101 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Facts That You Probably Didn't Know! (101 Facts) | Parts 1 - 8

How David Productions Finally Solved the Puzzle of Adapting JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2)

Initially DavidPro wanted to dedicate one whole season to Phantom Blood and two for Battle Tendency. However, Kasama decided that it would be best to incorporate the first two arcs so that they can quickly establish the story’s early run and get to adapting the series’ incredibly popular third chapter, Stardust Crusaders (which introduce the concept of “Stands”) right away. It was a smart strategy, as the opening chapter does set up the events to come nicely and efficiently. However, compared to Battle Tendency (let alone future installments), Phantom Blood—with its traditional good vs evil storyline—is a little simple. Jonathan, while possessing all the markings of a great old-school shonen protagonist, is not as captivating a character as the delectably hammy Dio, the quirky Zeppoli, and most importantly, his more fun and interesting grandson.

Personality-wise, Joseph is the complete opposite of his grandfather, and that is what makes him one of the series’ first truly great characters. While Jonathan was a distinguished gentleman, Joseph is short-tempered and extremely arrogant; he’s what you get when you combine John Cena during his “Super Cena ‘’ run of the late 2000s to the early 2010s together with Bugs Bunny. Joseph carries the series’ second chapter with his devilish charm, elaborate and ridiculous plans to victory, and pure dumb luck. It’s not every day you find a hero whose special moves are accurately predicting what his opponents will say once he has the upper hand, and a very pronounced tactical retreat (which would become a running gag). The idea of mixing strength with strategy to overcome obstacles is set up in the opening chapter, but Battle Tendency is where the humor the series is known for really begins to shine.

While being the superior of the two arcs in just about every way, Battle Tendency does share a similar flaw with Phantom Blood, just inverted. While Joseph is the more interesting hero than his grandfather, the Pillar Men—grand ambitions, unique abilities and all—are uninteresting when compared to the presumptuous and narcissistic Dio. Araki would improve upon this dilemma in later chapters, as both heroes and villains would have equal amounts of personality and entertainment value.

(Video) Everything GREAT About: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

DavidPro has gone on to deliver a number of strong titles to since successfully adapting the first two chapters of the JJBA series. Cells at Work and Fire Force have become stellar hits these past few years, with perhaps another on the way, as they have been put in charge of reviving another ‘80s classic, Urusei Yatsura, this season. As their reputation has grown, they have continued adapting each chapter of the JJBA, recently releasing the second batch of dozen episodes of the still-ongoing fifth series, Stone Ocean, for Netflix. Set in Florida in the early 2010s, it follows the adventures of the series’ only female protagonist, Jonathan’s great-great-great-granddaughter Joylene Cujoh, who tries to escape prison after taking the fall for a hit-and-run—part of a revenge plot against the Joestar family.

The manga is still ongoing and as long as Araki keeps publishing, DavidPro will keep adapting it. There was a time where the idea of a JJBA seemed as if it were wishful thinking. That time is now long past. The shonen series, once thought to be unadaptable, is now one of the most popular anime franchises in existence—and all it took was a group of fans who did what others before them couldn’t: they let the work speak for itself.

Christopher L. Inoa is a freelance writer living in the Bronx, NYC. His work has appeared on Polygon, Observer, Hyperallergic, and more. He killed all his social media accounts last year, with the exception of Letterboxd so you can follow him there

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.


Is there a JoJo spin off? ›

Announcement: A spinoff of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure universe, straight out of Diamond is Unbreakable, comes Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe by Hirohiko Araki. Drops Fall 2022.

Why is JoJo animation so good? ›

With its wildly colorful costumes and daring animation, JoJo retains the playful eccentricity of its 1980's manga counterpart. The stylized poses and over the top fight scenes makes this anime feel like Italian melodrama and Murakami's superflat style had a lovechild.

What was the inspiration for JoJo? ›

He was particularly influenced by the work of French artist Paul GauguinW. Araki drew his very first manga while he was in 4th grade. He attended a prep school through junior high and high school, which was where a friend complimented him on a manga he drew for the first time.

Does JoJo have an ending? ›

The JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series is divided into separate parts with their own great endings.

What anime is inspired by JoJo? ›

Persona is a series that is very obviously inspired big time by JoJo's. From the supernatural elements, to the tarot cards, to the Personas resembling the Stands of JoJo's, the inspiration speaks for itself.

Is demon slayer a copy of JoJo? ›

The references plastered throughout Demon Slayer suggest that Gotōge took inspiration from Jojos Bizarre Adventure. Viewers and readers turned to Jojo upon finishing Demon Slayer, because of the intense amount of similarities between the two.

What animes are better than JoJo? ›

Top 10 Anime Series Better Than JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
  • 10/10 A Classic Space Story (Cowboy Bebop)
  • 9/10 Togashi's Best Work (Hunter X Hunter)
  • 8/10 Some Of The Most Beautiful Animation In All Of Anime (Violet Evergarden)
  • 7/10 A Series That's Still Going Strong (One Piece)
  • 6/10 An Underrated Classic (FLCL)
May 14, 2022

Who is the most reliable JoJo character? ›

The most well-known and arguably fan-favorite JoJo, Jotaro Kujo, is the protagonist of Part 3: Stardust Crusaders. In terms of overall strength and power, Jotaro takes the cake. With the help of his stand Star Platinum, Jotaro is by far one of the strongest characters in all of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

Is JJBA the best anime ever? ›

From unique character designs to constant tonal shifts to great music, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is widely regarded as one of the best anime ever. Hirohiko Araki's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has kept audiences entertained for 35 years and it's earned its spot in the pantheon of essential anime series.

Who is Jotaro Kujo's wife? ›

Jotaro also appears briefly in Golden Wind when he sends Koichi Hirose to Italy to spy on Dio's son, Giorno Giovanna, and in Stone Ocean to aid his daughter Jolyne Cujoh against the forces of Enrico Pucci.
Jotaro Kujo
SpouseUnnamed wife (divorced)
ChildrenJolyne Cujoh (daughter)
14 more rows

Who inspired Giorno's hair? ›

Giorno's hairstyle might have been inspired by Karen Mulder's hairstyle for Thierry Mugler's Ready-To-Wear SS 92/93 collection.

Who inspired jotaro? ›

Jotaro was first conceived by Araki as a lonely hero inspired by American actor Clint Eastwood. In order to make the story more appealing, Araki created characters who would not overlap with Jotaro's characterization.

Is JoJo Part 9 confirmed? ›

Is Part 9 Confirmed? Yes. Days 232 to 295: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 9: JoJolands (tentatively) is confirmed, but not the publication start date. Araki is still developing part 9, although he didn't reveal nothing about plot and characters.

Will JoJo Part 9 be the last part? ›

Part 9 is the upcoming most recent, and likely final part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series that will begin serialization in monthly Ultra Jump after Hirohiko Araki's break. As it is completely unreleased, there is no official manga release for Part 9 in English.

What is the longest running JoJo? ›

3/10 Part 8 Is The Longest Running Jojo's Part To Date

JoJolion has been running for a total of eight years now on a monthly publication basis.

Which anime has the most JoJo reference? ›

Gintama is a long-running comedy and action series. It has nearly as many pop culture references as JoJo's. In fact, it's even parodied the series a few times in the series. Gintama also has a special connection with JoJo's, since Gintoki is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, who also voiced Joseph Joestar in Battle Tendency.

What is the most famous JoJo theme? ›

Jotaro Kujo's theme, "Stardust Crusaders" is a fan favorite. This track is the perfect background noise to a slugfest between stands. This theme became iconic in Jojo's because it was always the prelude to a battle.

What is the most iconic JoJo part? ›

Stardust Crusaders was a major hit. It's the part that's referenced the most in other anime, the part that so many cite as their favorite, and the part that draws in people that were on the fence about the series.

Can Dio beat Muzan? ›

Dio can just abuse the only stands can touch/defeat stands and since the world has a range of 10m Dio can just hold muzan still out in the open until sunrise and spam timestop/knives/space ripper stingy eyes at a range to continuously erode muzan until sunlight.

How does JoJo end? ›

He attains his goal, eventually killing Jotaro, Jolyne, Hermes, Dominico (Weather Report), and Annasui. He speeds up to the point where the universe reaches its end point, a new universe starts, the Big Bang happens, and the universe is set back to the point where Jotaro visits Jolyne.

How many jojos are there? ›

The recent release of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean puts our lead JoJo count at six: Jonathan, Joseph, Jotaro, Josuke, Giorno, and Jolyne.

What is better Naruto or jojos? ›

Naruto would easily win over Jotaro Kujo in a duel, given the fact that Naruto possesses superhuman strength. Whereas Jotaro is just an ordinary human in terms of his overall physique. Even with the Star Platinum, Naruto in his Tailed Beast Mode will gain an upper hand no matter where you look at it.

Which JoJo has the best fights? ›

5 Best 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' Season 1 Fights, Ranked
  1. Joseph VS Wamuu, Chariot Race (Episodes 22-23)
  2. Jonathan VS Dio at the Joestar Mansion (Episode 3) ...
  3. Joseph VS Kars, the Ultimate Lifeform (Episodes 25-26) ...
  4. Caesar VS Wamuu in Switzerland (Episode 20) via Netflix. ...
  5. Jonathan and Zeppeli VS Tarkus (Episode 7) via Netflix. ...
Jan 14, 2022

Is Jotaro Kujo stronger than Goku? ›

As we all know, it's not uncommon to see Jotaro versus Goku debates. A lot of people say that Goku can defeat Jotaro and Star Platinum, but then again, Goku is Universal in strength currently (Arguably stronger than that still!)

Who is the hottest JoJo villain? ›

  • Kars.
  • Diavolo.
Apr 13, 2021

Who is the toughest JoJo? ›

1. Kars. Kars is the main antagonist of Battle Tendency and is the leader of the Pillar Men, who are some of the most powerful beings in the entire JoJo universe. Before he attained his Ultimate Lifeform state, Kars was already so powerful that he was at the level of a god.

Who is the weakest JoJo? ›

Jonathan Joestar is probably the weakest JoJo in the series. He doesn't have a stand, and his powers are limited to the utilization of Hamon. He doesn't have a stand that is not uncommon since the concept of stands was introduced only in Stardust Crusaders, the third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventures.

What anime is peak? ›

THE PEAK is Marza Animation Planet's second short film created entirely using the Unity game engine. In the sequel to the short film THE GIFT, Sarah goes off on another adventure with her new pal, Steven.

What is the highest rated episode of JJBA? ›

With JoJo no Kimyô na Bôken (2012) (Sorted by IMDb Rating...
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

Is Stone Ocean a spin-off? ›

A spin-off of Hirohiko Araki's manga, Stone Ocean is the sixth arc of the main storyline and was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1999 and 2003. The second part of Stone Ocean will comprise episodes 13 through 24.

What is the JoJo spin-off about? ›

If you haven't been following along with this new JoJo's Bizarre Adventure side story, the spin-off focuses on the villain Hol Horse, who first was introduced during the story of Stardust Crusaders, finds himself making a trip to the sleepy town of Morioh following the death of Dio Brando.

Is JoJo Part 7 Cancelled? ›

The creator of JJBA, Araki Hirohiko decided to cancel part six Stone Ocean and part seven Steel Ball Run from getting an anime adaptation. He believed part six to be boring and cringy. He wants to part eight Jojolion to adapted into an anime right away so he cancelled part six and seven's anime adaptation.

Is Jojolion a spinoff? ›

If you did not know, the manga is pushing ahead with two new series. One will carry on the JoJo legacy in the wake of Jojolion, and the second is a spin-off that has finally resurfaced with new details. The update comes from MangaMoguraRE as the fan page shared their report on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

Who is jotaro's wife? ›

Jotaro Kujo (Japanese: 空条 承太郎, Hepburn: Kūjō Jōtarō) is a fictional character in the Japanese manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki.
Jotaro Kujo
SpouseUnnamed wife (divorced)
ChildrenJolyne Cujoh (daughter)
14 more rows

Is DIO reborn in Stone Ocean? ›

DIO is not actually alive during Stone Ocean, since he died during his battle with Jotaro in 1989. DIO is only shown to be alive during flashbacks, when Pucci was his student, which was obviously before Stone Ocean.

How old is jotaro 6? ›

Jotaro Kujo
Age17 (Part 3) 28 (Part 4) 30 (Part 5) 40 (Part 6)
6 more rows

What country is JoJo based on? ›

The entirety of the story so far in JoJolion takes place in Morioh, Japan; a new, fictional analogue of SendaiW, Japan. Again it features the city and its different areas but concentrates on a few key places.

Why is the anime called JoJo? ›

Spoilers (1) The "Jojo" in the title refers to each generation's protagonist having their name abbreviated to form Jo-Jo: Jonathan Joestar, Joseph Joestar, Jotaro Kujo, Josuke Higashikata, Giorno Giovanna and Jolyene Cujoh.

Why did JoJo change his name? ›

The copyright laws are extremely strict and if the names are not altered, it could lead to the publishers getting sued, and most companies do not want to incur losses over something that can be easily avoided. So, in order to stay clear of such problems, publishers alter the names of the Stands.

Will JoJo Part 9 be the last part? ›

Part 9 is the upcoming most recent, and likely final part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series that will begin serialization in monthly Ultra Jump after Hirohiko Araki's break. As it is completely unreleased, there is no official manga release for Part 9 in English.

Will JoJo Part 7 ever be animated? ›

You can expect Steel Ball Run to be animated somewhere around late 2022 or early 2023 and it should take about a year and a half to finish due to its immense length and that they are going to have to split it into two seasons.

Is Stone Ocean only 12 episodes? ›

According to the Blu-ray release, the season will run for 38 episodes. In August 2021, the first trailer was released during a Stone Ocean YouTube event, with a worldwide release on Netflix on December 1, 2021, with the first 12 episodes.

Who is the 9th Joestar? ›

Shizuka Joestar | JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Parts 9 and 10 Wiki | Fandom.

Will jotaro come back in Part 9? ›

They won't come back to life in Part 9 because in a way they already did. And SBR has been stated to be separate from the rest of the Jojo universes from Part 6.

Who is the main villain in JoJo Part 9? ›

Dio Brando (Japanese: ディオ・ブランドー, Hepburn: Dio Burandō) is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the Japanese manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki.


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