There are few anime and manga that have had quite as long-lasting an influence on pop culture as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The original manga artist was honored at the Louvre for his work on the series. The anime has generated several popular memes. The theme song for the new season has hit over 7 million views in less than two days. If you're even a little familiar with anime, you've definitely seen JoJo around, and you might be asking yourself what the show is even about.
The original manga started its run back in 1987 and has been ongoing ever since. Though a feature-length film was released in Japan in 2007, the official anime series began in October 2012, when the franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary. The anime has since continued with new seasons adapting different arcs of the manga, with the latest season premiering in December 2021.
Even an experienced JoJo fan like myself might have trouble breaking down the intricacies of the overall plot, but there is a method to the anime's madness. Here's what you need to know about the story of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
What is 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' about?
At its core, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure follows family members from different generations of the "Joestar" bloodline. The anime is divided into different arcs, often referred to as numbered "Parts," and each part tells a completely different story. But in every Part, the main protagonist is a member of the Joestar family whose name can often be abbreviated to "JoJo." The manga currently has eight different Parts, but the anime has so far covered the first six.
Part 1 is called "Phantom Blood," and follows Jonathan Joestar. After his wealthy father adopts the ambitious and sinister Dio Brando, Jonathan must protect his family legacy from being inherited by his new and nefarious brother. To make matters worse, Dio eventually taps into an ancient power that turns him into a near-unstoppable vampire.
While Phantom Blood lays the groundwork for the rest of the series, each new Part focuses on a different descendant of Jonathan's. The series spans several decades and different settings from World War II–era New York to Japan in the 1990s. Each new JoJo in the bloodline has their own unique adventure, moving well beyond the vampire battles with which it began. But every arc becomes even more bizarre than the last.
Part 6 introduces the first female JoJo.
In the latest season, the anime features the franchise's first female lead character to inherit the "JoJo" name. Entitled Stone Ocean, the new Part follows Jolyne Kujoh. After being wrongfully accused of a DUI and vehicular manslaughter, Jolyne is sentenced to 15 years in the fictional Green Dolphin Street Prison in Florida. Once there, she encounters strange occurrences that threaten both her life and the world at large. She must rely on her newfound powers to escape prison and find who framed her.
Stone Ocean will begin streaming on Dec. 1, 2021, exclusively on Netflix.