JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2000) Review: JoJo’s Prequel OVA

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So this time around I’m going back to JoJo (and as it happens, I have a few other JoJo posts ahead too, though it might take quite a while to actually get to them), this time focusing on the 2000 OVA.  As I mentioned in my post about the original OVA, JoJo (2000) is the second installment of JoJo’s OVA series that actually covers the material prior to the first OVA.  For some reason, there was a 7 year gap between the two, and this clearly shows in the 2000 OVA’s presentation.  The graphics have a much newer feel to them and even the art style itself is different in comparison to that of the original OVA.  In any case, I enjoyed the 1993 JoJo OVA, though it was far from a perfect adaptation.  As for this one?  I’d say for the most part my impressions of this one are about the same as its predecessor, though I can’t say the exact same things about both.  Both of the OVAs have their different strengths and weaknesses, and while I probably enjoyed this one a slight bit more, it wasn’t by such a huge margin that I would consider it significantly superior to the other OVA.

To copy what I wrote about the last OVA, a teenager named Jotaro Kujo learns that he has a strange ability, which he discovers is a Stand.  Stands are essentially spiritual manifestations that appear next to the user and can be used to battle.  Jotaro and his grandfather Joseph find they have such powers due to the appearance of Dio, who for a variety of (spoilerish) reasons has led to the awakening of their abilities.  Jotaro’s mother Holly also gains the Stand ability but is unable to handle it and thus becomes sick.  As a result, Jotaro and his companions (many of whom join along the journey for various reasons) set off to Egypt in order to defeat Dio and save Holly.

Now unlike the previous OVA, the 2000 OVA actually does viewers the favor of providing all of this exposition and establishing the start of the story so one can follow it.  This OVA truly does start from the beginning of the story and finishes with content from the manga’s 5th volume of part 3 (which covers up to around the first third of part 3).  However, as was the case with the first OVA, a lot of content is cut out due to the limited amount of available episodes.  As a result, a lot of interesting stand battles are omitted and quite a bit of the story is either rearranged, combined or changed entirely to fit with the flow of events in this OVA.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that the 2000 OVA actually had more story alterations than the first OVA did.  While these changes pretty much ruined the Vanilla Ice fight in the 1993 OVA, however, I felt the changes made here weren’t especially worrisome, though a bit unnecessary and clearly the result of restricted runtime.  As was the case with the first OVA, what this OVA adapts properly ends up doing pretty well (I enjoyed the J. Geil encounter here just as I did in the manga) and some of the changes (particularly in the last segment of the 2000 OVA) weren’t bad to see either.  However, the journey feels incredibly limited and the storytelling doesn’t get to live to its potential because of how much is left out and how crammed some of the material feels.  A lot of the great comedy moments from the manga and variety presented by the existence of Stands are largely left out since this OVA only covers major plot material, and even then in a very condensed manner.

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The cast is essentially the same here as it was in the first OVA as expected, though with exposition about them and more time for development on their parts, the 2000 OVA allows viewers to become more attached to the characters.  Jotaro, Joseph, and Abdul are all introduced very early on to start off, which helps to understand who they are and why they are setting off on their adventure.  While it is better to have seen the previous two parts of JoJo to understand the Joestar lineage and its significance (especially concerning Joseph, who was the protagonist of part 2), this introduction to them can suffice even if it doesn’t have the full effect as a standalone watch.  The 2000 OVA also shows how Kakyoin and Polnareff end up joining the group.  In this set of episodes, Polnareff shines the most out of the cast.  The latter half of the OVA explains some of the background for Polnareff and why he decides to join Jotaro and crew, presenting a conflict that closely involves him more than any of the other members in the cast.  As Polnareff’s development is among the most important of the cast’s in the first half of the manga, it certainly shows in how it is adapted here.  Sadly, the OVA episodes still provide little reason to be attached to Jotaro and Kakyoin, who were actually my favorite characters of part 3’s manga by quite a bit.  I suppose some of that was covered in the original OVA, though most of that content is limited strictly to the plot relevant material (particularly the final confrontation).

Honestly there isn’t a whole lot more to say about the 2000 OVA, as much of what I said about the original OVA applies to this and I mentioned nearly everything I felt was important about the areas in which they differed.  If one truly wants to give these OVA episodes a watch, it would be a much better idea to start with these episodes and then finish off with the older OVA.  That is, assuming that the person is a newcomer to JoJo, a manga reader doesn’t need to worry about that order so much for obvious reasons.  The OVA episodes aren’t a bad watch, but like I said in the last post, there won’t be a whole lot of reason to watch these for very long with the TV anime adaptation of part 3 on its way in April (unless you’re as obsessive about these things as I am, and in this case it’s probably better if you aren’t).  But one thing’s for sure, anyone who really does want to give these a try and enjoy them should get to these before the new anime starts, otherwise it will be much harder to appreciate these due to the more developed treatment and significantly higher production values.  Like the last OVA, I’d give JoJo 2000 a 7/10.  It’s not a bad watch by any means, but I can’t call it a strong enough adaptation to be anything more than a pretty good watch.  Now, as far as a great JoJo adaptation goes?  That would be JoJo 2012.  I have lots of praise for it and assuming things go as planned, I’ll probably be writing about it next, but more on my feelings about that will have to be saved until then.

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