In anime and manga there are many tropes that we the fans have come to expect from the titles we engage with, and then there is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is the kind of manga that adopts virtually nothing from what we expect from these types of mediums, and Stardust Crusaders is no different. It’s everything we’ve come to not expect from our manga, yet enjoy all the same.
OK, so before I begin. I should inform you that the copy of the manga that was used for this review was the hardcover copy that is published by VIZ media, and I hate it. Yup I know, that may come as a surprise, but let me explain, and hopefully you will understand. The reason I hated the book isn’t related to the story within it in the slightest. What I hated was the book itself, more precisely, the hardcover book. The book is very sturdy and well constructed, which to some may seem like a wonderful thing; however, it is less than what I would consider comfortable to hold and read. It’s big, and heavy to the point that it serves more as a collectors item than something that is practical enough for everyday reading, especially if you’re like me and prefer to ready manga while traveling. What makes this a collector’s item even more is the material that the cover is made from. It’s a material that is both a dust and fingerprint magnet, which means that those who buy this will likely want to leave it on a shelf rather than risk messing up the cover just to read it
Physical situation of the book aside, this is by far one of my favorite manga to read at present.
The plot of the manga follows Jotaro Kujo, who is seemingly being hunted by a powerful evil spirit that only he can see. This is soon interpreted to be an extension of himself called a “Stand” that he needs to learn to control. He is a stubborn, strong willed protagonist, but hidden behind all his machismo is a caring young man that loves his mother and cares about the people around him. Like other main characters in this series, Jotaro is accompanied on a journey to defeat Dio by numerous other characters, each of whom is just as stylistically represented as Jotaro. They also have their own stands, each have their own unique abilities. These abilities are vastly different in terms of how they can be used. Some are useful in a fight, while others are only viable in certain circumstances. If you are a fan of this series then none of this bizarre stuff will phase you. Recently I was talking to some of the other editorial members of The Buttonsmashers about this manga, and though some of them may not have read this particular volume, they were still able to appreciate it just the same. This is because every JoJo story has a few staples that are associated with this particular series. The expectable plot twice, random character poses, and the ever present Dio are all in here.
Speaking of posing, this manga is very stylistic. The main characters all pose randomly throughout the entire story. This somehow is both amusing and cool at the same time, but don’t ask me to explain why that is, because I’m not quite sure why it is, it just is. The main characters are also very distinguishable from other characters in the manga, due to their blatant difference in size. Jotaro and company are all physical specimens who stand out quite easily from the other characters in the book. This also extends to the villains in the story, so much so that even though there are plot twist, seasoned fans will be able to see them all coming.
The rest of the artwork is well presented in it’s own unique JoJo kind of way. The line work is very deep and deliberate, dare I say mucho, masculine. Artwork like this may take a bit of getting used to for new readers, but if you have an open mind it will soon grow on you, and though it will still be weird in that JoJo kinda way, it should become strangely appealing, at least that’s the way it was for me.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: StarDust Crusaders continues along the same path as it’s predecessors. It plays it safe, which as a fan I appreciate. Jotaro is an interesting character that I found quite easy to rally behind, and the same can be said about this companions, who each grew on me just as quickly as Jotaro. The artwork is just as weird and unique as ever, which to me and other fans will be considered a great thing. As mentioned before it is a style that may take some getting use to for newcomers to the series, and don’t worry you don’t need to read the other JoJo manga series to get into this one. It does enhance the plot if you have read them, but they’re not necessary to understand/enjoy StarDust Crusaders
The copy of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: StarDust Crusaders used for this review was provided by it’s publisher, VIZ Media.