It’s that time again! Time for more Bizarre Adventures! Time for more Jojo!
(Note: Since this is a review of the sequel, it’s safe to assume this review will contain small spoilers to the original series)
Following the ghastly events of Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency jumps forward to the 1930s where Jonathan’s grandson, an American teenage heartthrob called Joseph, is running amuck in New York City.
Battle Tendency assumes you’ve watched the first part of the story and wastes no time throwing you into the carnage. Characters old and new are flung into the fray to combat more vampires as well as a new upcoming evil in the form of ancient god-like beings known as the pillar men. The show doesn’t re-introduce everyone, only giving a brief explanation as to what they’ve been up to during the time skip, and then swiftly goes back to following Joseph and his witty antics.
The show is tonally very different from Phantom Blood. While PB focused very much on a dark gothic and almost heavy metal motif, Battle Tendency decides to go as bright and vibrant as possible, having everyone wear visually striking and fashionable clothes that fit perfectly in the modern industrialised backdrop. But it’s not just the colours palette that stand out, our new Joestar hero goes against the mould by being the complete opposite to his ancestor.
In Phantom Blood, Jonathan was a man of honour and strong resilience. He would fight one-on-one with chivalry and fortitude, never backing down or letting harm come to others. Joseph on the other hand is a complete madman. Joseph uses sleight-of-hand tricks and lies to fool his enemies into his traps, while at the same time mocking and offending them as much as possible. If Joseph thinks he can’t win a fight, he’ll just scream in fear and run away.
Joseph’s the kind of guy who would bring a machine gun to a fist fight, and he’s incredible because of it.
It’s refreshing to see such an over-the-top and charismatic protagonist that isn’t riddled with angst or deep emotional problems. Joseph has the inability to take anything seriously, even when it’s a life or death situation, instead he laughs it off and focuses on trying to flirt with women who are way out of his league. Joseph’s just having fun and bringing you along for the ride.
It also helps that he’s voiced by none other than Tomokazu Sugita, one of the funniest voice actors around.
When Joseph isn’t busy being hilarious, flirting with women, or posing like he fell out of a copy of Vogue magazine, he’s usually fighting for his life against super-powered villains. But Joseph’s battles are a little different than common anime affairs. Instead of having typical fistfights, Joseph tries to outwit his opponents with tricks and distractions. While much of the fight will involve the two standing around outsmarting each other, when Joseph raises his finger and says “Your next line is…!” that’s when you know things are about to get seriously intense.
It’s rare to find a show that has people cheering out of their seats just because a character pointed at someone, but somehow Jojo manages to capture the magic and hype of fighting, while being completely fresh and unique at the same time.
Battle Tendency is utterly insane. It captures what made the first part of the story so fun and amplifies it to the max. Super-powered demigods, Cyborg Nazis, solar-powered bubbles, the crazy never ends! I can’t recommend Battle Tendency enough, it’s truly a joy to behold and is a must-see for all anime fans who want something a little different to what they’re used to.