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Review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is back with more episodes, this time bringing to life the most popular and well-known of the JoJo adventures: "Part 3, Stardust Crusaders." Parts 1 and 2 (and fated Joestars #1 and #2) were brought to life in the show's first season, where we learned that there are many JoJos, but only one Dio, an immortal vampire who has sworn to destroy the Joestar line out of a poisonous rivalry. It's sort of a "many Links, one Ganon" situation, and the story's many parts are split into chunks across time and space, featuring a Joestar or near relative as they combat the evil forces tied to Dio.
We are introduced to the third fated Joestar in the legendary line, Jotaro, as he relaxes in prison. He's only in the cell for starting a fight with local thugs and has been told he's free to go, but has decided to make the cell his new home away from home instead, complete with furnishings and luxuries like a radio and piles of comics that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. He tells the guards that he has to stay locked away because of an "evil spirit" possessing him and making him do violent things, (who is also responsible for all the creature comforts in his chamber.) So it's up to fated Joestar #2, his grandfather Joseph, to drag him out of prison and force him to face his destiny of defeating the monstrous Dio once and for all.
Part 3 is the only segment of Hirohiko Araki's manga to have already been animated in a series of well-liked OVAs in the 90s, (save for a theatrical presentation of Part 1 never released on video,) leading many fans to think that the new TV series by David Production would end with the first two parts. However, the overwhelming success of the first TV series has led to a re-animation of Part 3, and we're all better for it, because not only does Stardust Crusaders see a remarkable upturn in art and animation from the first two parts, but it is already superior to the OVA series in pacing and tone as well. Even with the heavier budget constraints in the first season, David Production seemed to understand the pure ridiculous glee of Araki's manga and retains its fabulous manly sincerity here with perfect comic timing and some great cinematic choices. Production-wise, it's not necessarily more impressive than the OVA series, but with smarter and snappier direction, it's a hell of a lot more fun to watch.
For JoJo's virgins, this episode of the saga is the perfect place to jump in, whether you want to start with season 1 or just enjoy Stardust Crusaders on its own merits as many fans of the OVAs have. This first episode is a ton of fun and does a great job introducing what will be an insane ride with great characters. Myself, I look forward to seeing Iggy. Highly recommended.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is available streaming at Crunchyroll.com.
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