‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ Spin-Off Manga Review

December of 2021 saw the release of two JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure spin-off manga, Fujiko’s Bizarre Worldly Wisdom -Whitesnake’s Miscalculation- and Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak. These couldn’t have released at a more opportune time, with the premiere of the Stone Ocean anime driving interest in the franchise to an all time high, and JoJolion’s conclusion in August leaving manga readers desperate for more material. The JoJo’s fandom positively erupted across every social media platform with the release of these manga; with more hot takes, reactions, and lore explorations surfacing than the franchise has chapters.

By in large, the members of the JoJo’s community — or at least its loudest voices — agree that Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak is hot shit and Fujiko’s Bizarre Worldly Wisdom is just shit, or even a blemish on the franchise. However, the community — especially its most annoying members — tend to be too kind to anything to do with Pt. 3 and — its very worst members — too critical of anything to do with Pt. 6. With this in mind, I’m reviewing both of these manga so I can give what I hope is a more nuanced perspective on these deeply derivative pieces of media.

Fujiko’s Bizarre Worldly Wisdom -Whitesnake’s Miscalculation-

The set up of Shou Aimoto’s Fujiko’s Bizarre Worldly Wisdom -Whitesnake’s Miscalculation- one-shot is that one of Pucci’s efforts to defeat Jolyne and attain “Heaven” was such a disastrous failure that it didn’t deserve to be in the main manga. Pucci’s plan revolves around bestowing the stand Bad Romance to Fujiko Fujiyama, an erotic artist in Green Dolphin St. Jail, that lets the young woman control the emotions of anyone who accepts a drawing from her. While she initially uses this power to make Jolyne uncomfortably and embarrassingly aroused during a yoga class, Fujiko quickly gains such an affection for Jolyne that she begins to empower her instead. Realizing his mistake, Pucci seals Bad Romance back into a DISC and Jolyne escapes the stand attack almost completely unharmed.

It’s easy to understand why some people don’t like this manga. The central conflict resolves itself without the protagonist’s involvement, there isn’t much in terms of world building or interactions between established characters, and there’s some arguably non-con content involving the only female lead in the JoJo’s franchise. There’s not much here unless you’re a fan of Jolyne making ahegao faces in different art styles, and there’s already plenty of that online!

Ultimately, I think this one-shot being middling at best is proof of how authored JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is, and how the manga could only come from the mind of Hirohiko Araki. All the pieces of a classic JoJo’s villain of the week are set up here. A visually distinct weirdo with a memorable introduction? Check. An exploration of an incredibly niche subject that attempts to impart the reader with a newfound understand and appreciation of it? Check. Hot people being kinky and horny??? Biiiiiiiig check.

When a person less interesting and with weaker storytelling chops than Araki attempts this formula, though, it just ends up falling flat. Whether it’s a stag beetle fight, an aside about guitar anatomy, or four full chapters dedicated to hyping up Italian food; Araki knows how to convey his deep appreciate for his personal interests, make his audience resonate with them, and construct a compelling narrative involving these subjects. While Shou Aimoto has several successful manga under her belt, she can’t make this formula work as well as Araki and, to be fair, I don’t think anyone could.

All of that being said, I thought this one-shot was pretty interesting! It was bold of this manga to address the stigma against erotic artists the world over and try to legitimize both the art form and its artists. Also, seeing this one-shot mostly bungle the sexual elements in its story, gave me a deeper understanding of how Araki makes the eroticism of his series work so well (it’s by giving all his characters agency and acknowledging the sexual elements of masculine form). So, well I didn’t love this one-shot, it did at least make me analyze a piece of art I love from a new angle and appreciate it for that.

Also, anyone who says that this one-shot is “just hentai” is a media illiterate fool with some latent puritanical beliefs. By comparing a work to phonography as an insult you’re just revealing that you don’t have the ability to meaningfully critique media and that you watch or read bad porn. Figure out how to live better.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak

Written by Kouhei Kadono and illustrated by Tasuku Karasuma, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak focuses on fan favorite villain Hol Horse as he figures out his life following Dio’s demise. Accepting a job to capture Dio’s pet parrot — which may or may not be a stand user — he teams up with Boingo and runs into Josuke in Morioh, which is also actually the hometown of Noriaki Kakyoin!

On paper, Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak is what most people would want and expect from a JoJo’s side story. It gives beloved characters more time in the spotlight, explores relationships between tangentially related characters, and it fills in plot holes and weaknesses present in the original manga. What manga reader wouldn’t like this spin-off?

I don’t. I loath this manga and its approach to storytelling. It’s entire conceit resolves around filling a supposed plot hole that only emerges when obsessive fans over-analyze the manga. Sure, there’s a single panel where Dio has a cockatoo in the manga that’s seemingly retconned into Pet Shop the hawk in later chapters. While those who evaluate fiction on how well every minute piece fits together — as opposed to interesting things like its creative direction, themes, or literary devices — might call this lazy or poor writing, I would object by asking, who the hell cares!? JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a fantastic manga specifically because Araki avoids planning out his story in favor of penning a more spontaneous narrative. This spin-off feels like it was created by Cinema Sins watching lore perverts and I despise its inception.

Then there’s the focus on Kakyoin, a character who doesn’t have any appeal outside of his connection to other characters and a split second splash of characterization a few pages before his death. The people who insist that Kakyoin’s death is actually affecting or that he’d have any kind of impact on the story if he survived are more annoying the people who spam the “Is that a JoJo’s reference?” meme. If Kakyoin’s death is supposed to be an emotional cornerstone of this manga, I have to believe that this spin-off is for people who think Demon Slayer villains are compelling and morally complex because a bad thing happened to them before they killed hundreds of people.

In fairness, some elements of this manga are fun. Hol Horse wearing three watches is a great visual signifier of the fear of Dio that now defines him. I’m also sure that Josuke and Hol Horse’s interactions will be a continued treat as they’re two of the most lovably idiosyncratic characters in the franchise. That being said, I’m deeply frustrated by the storytelling beliefs and philosophy behind this manga and just can’t gel with it.

A piece of media can still be a masterpiece if it has a messy plot and some two dimensional characters. It feels like Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak exists to fix parts of Stardust Crusaders and that’s the least interesting and most uninspired approach to storytelling I can imagine. Art is magical because it’s deeply personal to its creator and allows us to connect with them on some level. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is such an incredible series because of the passion and personality that Araki pours into it. None of that genuine spirit is in Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak and that’s a disappointment.

Final Verdict: Passion > Performance

Ultimately, I enjoy Fujiko’s Bizarre Worldly Wisdom -Whitesnake’s Miscalculation- more than Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak. Even if the former is a skeezy mess and the latter more technically sound, I’ll take an authored piece of media over a J. J. Abrams-style puzzle box approach to JoJo’s any day of the week. Fingers crossed Pt. 9 or the next set of Stone Ocean episodes drop soon, because I am desperate for more JoJo’s material from the people who know it best.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ Spin-Off Manga Review

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! 4B is back and (hopefully) better than ever! Once again, I’m terribly sorry for the hiatus and hope these next few posts more than make it up to you. To kick off these redemption posts  (wow, that actually sounds kinda badass) here is an installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. In these segments we explore the wide, wonderful, world of Japanese media and the culture around it. Today’s post is going to focus on the latter of those parts, by exploring the incredibly popular and impressive hobby/career/activity that is cosplay.

Cosplay 1

Cosplay, as it is defined in a brief google search, is “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genre of manga and anime.” This definition is actually pretty accurate. Cosplay is essentially super-mega-ultra-intense dress up. If that sounds like a mockery of the practice, it is by no means meant to be. Cosplay involves individuals handcrafting the extremely complex and often preposterous ensembles of fictional characters. This requires an incredible amount of time, energy, and skill; and it is no wonder that this activity has evolved into a greatly respected hobby or a professional career.

Cosplay 2

(Pictured above is cosplayer and internet personality Meg Turney.)

Cosplay has grown into the massive phenomenon that it is today, mostly due to the mentality behind the practice. Cosplay is, in a lot of ways, a labor of love.  Through cosplay, people connect more deeply with the character and story that they are bringing to life. Nobody would put the massive amount of work that is necessary, into this hobby if they did deeply appreciate the character they are representing. Each and every instance of cosplay can be taken as an expression of love for the character and work that they are embodying.

As cosplay’s popularity has grown exceptionally over the past decade or so, people have risen to fame due to the activity and can be considered the face of modern cosplay. These professional cosplaiers are masters of their craft and all but completely breakdown the barrier between fiction and reality. Some of these noteworthy figures aaaaaaaaaaare:

Cosplay 3

Jessica Nigri. Ms. Nigri is probably one of the most famous modern cosplayers, and for good reason. Not only does she make truly astounding costumes, but she also has a magnificent personality that makes her both lovable and admirable. I personally am a huge admirer of Ms. Nigri and her works and am grateful to her for the astonishing creations that she has crafted during her career.

Cosplay 4

Alodia Gosienfiao. Ms. Gosienfiao is perhaps one of the most famous and recognized cosplaiers in the world. Her works are incredibly impressive and she has been bringing cosplay to a wider audience since 2003. She has contributed more to the world of cosplay than perhaps any other, and will undoubtedly continue to make the practice even more respected in the future.

Cosplay 5

Sev. I had to include this DC area cosplay. With one of the simplest costumes ever constructed, this man  has generated a massive amount of interest in cosplay and will forever be an internet meme. Also, who among us would not want this Magicarp on our team?

That just about does it for this installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you liked it, please give it a like and if you leave a comment below I will be sure to reply to you. If you would like to keep up to date with this blog, you can subscribe via email in the upper right tab. Alternatively you can like the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or follow me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have an awesome week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sunshine Award!!!

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where any and everything anime/manga related is examined and discussed with feverish vigor. Today’s post is going to be a little different, this is because I WAS NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD!!!! 😀  I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award by the awesome and fantastic krystallina, who is the operator of the very cool and informative Daiyamanga blog. She writes incredibly authoritative and eloquent manga reviews and recommendations that are a joy to read. I am beyond grateful to her for nominating me for this award and am more than happy to accept. Therefore, this post is mostly going to pertain to me going over the rules of the award and answering the questions proposed to me by krystallina.

Sunshine Award

The Rules:

If you have been nominated for The Sunshine Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Sunshine Award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate a few other bloggers.

4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated.

5. Notify the bloggers on their blog.

6. Put the award button on your blog.

Pretty straight foreword, but still really fun.  :3  Now to answer some questions. BRING IT ON!

The Questions: 

1. If you could go to a host club or maid cafe from any anime or manga, which one would you go to and whom would you request?

If I could go to any host club or maid cafe from any anime or manga….I’m honestly not sure where I would go. I haven’t seen to many anime or read to many manga that feature either of those very prominently. However, if I can cheat a little bit, I would love to go to Anteiku or :re from Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul: re, respectfully. I know that neither of those places are technically a made cafe, but they do serve coffee! Also I would not be opposed to seeing Touka in a maid uniform. Or Hinami. Or Kaneki. Probably getting my ass on all three of those, though. WORTH IT!

2. Which anime or manga character would you NOT want to be?

I desperately would not want to be Saitama from One Punch Man. While it is super awesome that he can kill anything with a single punch and the story of how he got to that level is crazy inspiring, I do not think I could handle the amount of depression and apathy that he deals with daily. I love Saitama and I adore One Punch Man, and I feel a part of my love is due to me being able to relate to Saitama so much. I know first hand how it feels to slowly have something you used to love doing become tedious and mundane and I hope to never get to Saitama’s point of being unfulfilled.

3. If you could talk to any one person that is in the anime, manga, or video game industry, whom would you pick and why? (Assume you could bring a translator if necessary.)

If I could talk to any person in the video game industry it would easily be the creator of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Hideo Kojima. I would probably spend the entire time thanking Mr. Kojima for the marvelous works he has created. I cannot understate how much Mr. Kojima’s creations have influenced me and how grateful I am to him for everything he has done.

Nominations and Their Questions: 

I am incredibly sorry, but I do not really know of any blogs or writers to nominate.  D:  I have not been doing this for very long and I have done basically zero networking. I would love to meet other people who are doing this and, if that happens, I would gladly nominate them this award. Actually, if you are interested in starting what could some day turn into a rapport, please leave a comment or a like and I’d love to get in touch.

Since my lack of connections pretty much limits my ability to do the remaining rules, I think that is where I’m going to end this installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. Once again, thank you so much for nominating me krystallina. If you ever want to do anything collaborative or just talk about wonderful world of manga, I would be completely down for that. As always, if you enjoyed this post, please leave a like or a comment down below. If you would like to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe in the upper right tab via your email. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope all of you guys have a great rest of the week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sunshine Award!!!

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty bitchin’, and now I’m eager to start my week and make the absolute most out of it. And what is a better way to start the week than by examining an abused, almost corpse like state of a once great anime so that future shows can learn from its incredibly obvious mistakes. What fun! 😀  Here’s how Nartuto became shitty and how other anime can avoid this happening to them in the future.

Naruto 1

Even if you do not watch anime, you have probably heard of Nartuo. It is arguably the most popular shonen anime globally right now, and, in many ways,  is anime’s lowest common denominator. It was created by Masashi Kishimoto and plot revolves around the titular character, Naruto, as he attempts to becomes the strongest ninja in his village and overcome the demon fox sealed within him. The show became popular globally due to a main character having an appearance that could be identified with in the west, fights and plot lines that continuously grew in complexity and scope, and a universally appreciated message of never giving up and trying to achieve your dreams. Naruto’s popularity really cannot be understated. This program introduced a lot of people into anime and is at least partially responsible for anime becoming more popular in the west in recent years.

Despite everything good that Nartuo has done, both as a show and for the anime industry as a whole, there is no denying that it is inexcusably bad today. Like, REALLY bad. Like, the most recent episode got a 0.8/5 stars on Anime News Network bad. I believe that the cause for the show’s massive decline is threefold: the plot took a weird turn, the people behind the show got greedy, and there is an overabundance of filler.

Naruto 2

The plot of Naruto is fairly straight foreword, until it gets to the last boss fight; then it gets weird. The anime is just now depicting this part of the story, when it’s not showing filler, however, I have read the now complete manga (partly because I’m a weeb and partly because my internet struggles with playing videos) and have had a good while to ponder the ending. Without spoiling too much for perspective readers, Naruto ends with the reader and characters finding out that the person they though was the main antagonist was actually being manipulated by previously unmentioned even more evil character and the protagonists have to beat this new character up. This ending left a sour taste in my moth both because Naruto pulled this narrative twist a couple times earlier in the series, to much better effect, and because the new mastermind evil character really is not well developed nor is her motivation made very clear.

Poor endings for a series can be forgiven, though. Now that I think about it a bit, for a series that is a popular as Naruto there really was no possible way for any ending not to upset at least a small portion of the fandom. However, what cannot be forgiven is the way this series has continued to be milked for profit ever since it became popular. The Naruto franchise is never going to die, which is impressive in some ways and concerning in others. Now that the manga has ended and the anime will be ending in the near future, it would make sense that content regarding the series would stop being released, at least for a while. That is not happening, however. A movie about events that take place after the end of the series has been released, a string of Naruto video games is set to be released in the near future, and the anime is going to be extended for as long as feasibly possible via filler episodes. Normally this would be a good thing, the more Naruto the better, right? However, the quality of this extra material is severely below even the lowest points in the cannon and really only brings the franchise down while simultaneously making money for the owners of it.

Naruto 3

My last criticism of the Naruto anime is easily its most sever. The anime has far too much filler. Filler is the term used to refer to additional content and episodes used to extend an anime’s run and, usually, give the series’s creator more time to continue the manga so that the anime does not move past what it is being adapted from. Naruto is notorious for its extensive amount of filler as, during the series’s halfway point, it had nearly caught up entirely with the original manga. This resulted in dozens of filler episodes being created and the series being re-branded in its second half. Now that the manga has ended, the show theoretically has no more need for filler as it cannot move past the ending point. However, filler continue to air in a very poor attempt at extending the shows run and making more money. I honestly cannot describe here awful and annoying it is to watch a series I used to love be slowly ruined each week by poorly written extra and unnecessary episodes that contribute noting to the series overall.

Naruto was a good anime. There is no way it could have become as popular as what it is if it was not. However, it has since become a shell of its former self. What was previously a boiled down version of some of the best elements of anime has now become a combination of some of the worst practices in the industry right now. Naruto will always be respected by me for what it was originally and for sparking a lot of new interest in anime, but it has since then betrayed me far to many times for me to fell much beyond contempt for it. So, in short, Naruto is the “Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” of anime, and that’s kind of a bummer.

That just about does it for today’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please give it a like and if you disagree with my views please leave a comment down below and we can have a civil discussion about it. Or a flame war. I’m game for whatever 😛 . If you would like to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. Alternatively, you can keep up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled

Game Grind: Wet, Hot, American Controversy

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where anything regarding video games, video game culture, or the video game industry is covered…or uncovered. (I promise that that joke will make sense in a minute.) Today’s topic is something that has become a bit of a controversy this past week. This event has aroused many opinions from gamers and has caused hard lines to be drawn between groups with differing views. I’m referring to the news that the game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will not be seeing a western release; allegedly due to censorship issues.

Dead or Alive Extreem 3

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist making those lame jokes. Apparently I’m twelve 😛 )

The Dead or Alive games are Japanese combo based fighting games that, while not exactly at the forefront of the fighting game genre, have been received well by fans and critics with the highest rated game in the series, Dead or Alive 2, having received a 9/10 from GameInformer and a 9.4/10 from IGN. Dead or Alive is most famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) for having highly sexualized characters in revealing attire. The Dead or Alive Xtreme series, is a spin-off series that drops the fighting aspect of the game and instead is a collection of mini-games featuring the female characters from the main series of games on a tropical island. In the DoAX (the shorthand for Dead or Alive Xtreme) series the women look like and are dressed like this:


And this:

DoAx 2

And this:

doAx 3

And also this:

DoAx 4

So yeah, it’s that kind of game and the creators of DoAX wear that on their sleeves (I don’t think any of the characters have sleeves, though). This side series has generally received average to good reviews, with the first game being considered the better of the two released so far. A problem for the side series, though, is that the games have never sold particularly well.  The second game DoAX game was an Xbox 360 exclusive, which extremely limited the number of copies sold in Asia, and the lackluster quality and Mature rating also limited sales in the West.

With this in mind, it is unsurprising that it was announced that DoAX3 would not be receiving a Western release. It is not uncommon for Japanese games not forego the localization process if it is believed that they will not sell well enough in Western markets for the time and effort put into the process to be worth it. However, I would not be writing this article if the publishers of the game had said, “We won’t be releasing this game in the US because our studies estimate that our game won’t sell particularly well in those markets”. Instead the creators of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Koei Tecmo, claimed that the newest game will not be released in English, due to, “many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry”.

I should make it clear that the previous quote is accurate, but the conversation it comes from is a poorly translated Facebook Q and A session.

doax 5

This statement, which is clearly difficult to discern any accurate meaning or intention from, has caused many individuals to feel that the game will not be coming to the West due to the changing climate regarding the appropriate way to depict women in video games. These individuals, many of whom have ties to the ongoing Gamer Gate controversy (that is a WHOLE ‘nother blog post in itself), are claiming that “Social Justice Warriors” have caused this game to be “censored” and are upset about this because it violates their views of what ethics in video games and video game journalism should be. (That topic is actually a series of blog posts in itself.) That’s more or less where the situation stands currently and it is more than likely that this incident will continue to be used in arguments relating to the video game industry for years to come.

My view on this subject is fairly simple, a lot of people are getting played. Koei Tecmo and it’s international distributor, Play Asia, are intentionally trying to create controversy around DoAX3 so that more people hear about it and more people buy it. This technique is not new in the business world and it certainly not new in the video game world. Using controversy to sell games has been around since home video game consoles first became a thing. You could even argue that this sales strategy is what actually allowed games, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, to become as popular as what they are today. There’s a reason that Play Asia tweeted out that a version of DoAX3 with English subtitles will be available for English speakers to import, most likely for an additional cost, shortly after it was announced that DoAX3 would not be localized. The more this controversy grows, the more money the creators of the game are going to make. Whether or not that is ethical, I do not know. However, I do know that I wish I didn’t have to listen to a ridiculous number of people angrily fussing about this corporately designed, non-issue of a “controversy” on the internet.

That wraps up this latest installment of Game Grind. If you enjoyed it please leave a comment down below and (or leave a like if the thumbnail on the Facebook page brought you here), if you have an opinion you wish to express on this matter, please leave a comment as well. As always, you can stay up to date with BaddaBing BaddaBlog by subscribing in the upper right tab via email. Alternatively, you can stay caught up by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog FaceBook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving weekend and that you come back here on Monday for the latest installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Wet, Hot, American Controversy

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sword Art Online Retrospective

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where we talk about every and anything about anime and manga. Today’s article is going to focus on an anime that dominated the anime industry once upon a time only to be dethroned by Attack on Titan (which will soon be dethroned by One Punch Man, probably, hopefully), I’m speaking of course, about Sword Art Online.

sword art online

Sword Art Online, usually shortened to SAO, was originally a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara. It was announced in 2011 that the series would be getting an anime, and once the SAO anime released in 2012, the series popularity exploded. Sword Art Online is easily one of the most popular anime in recent memory. I would find it surprising if someone who has been an anime fan for more than two years has not at least seen at least a portion of this program. Right now you’re probably asking “well how did this series get so popular?”. Well, if you’d calm down for a second I’ll tell you.

The short answer is that, SAO got so popular because of quality animation and playing to lowest common denominators. The long answer is, also that, but slightly more complicated. SAO follows the story of Kirito, a loner nerd, who becomes trapped inside of a virtual reality video game, Sword Art Online (*wink*), and the only chance he and the rest of the players trapped in the game have of escaping is if they beat all one hundred of the game’s bosses. This is a fairly interesting set up, even though it most definitely been done before, and arguably done better by other stories. Sword Art Online’s popularity stems from its collection of characters and their interactions. You see, the narrative I just described more or less ends after the first twelve episodes and what kept viewers coming back for the remaining twelve in the first season and the entirety of the second season, was a love for the characters.

sword art online 2

The characters were easy to support and love because they are more or less the embodiment of tropes of the anime genre. The previously mentioned protagonist, Kirito, is intentionally a somewhat bland character so that audiences can more easily project themselves onto him. Asuna, Kirito’s main love interest, is the epitome of anime waifu material. Klein, Kirito’s best friend, is an extremely hapless beta-male who just want’s to contribute to the group, but always winds up falling just a little big short of Kirito himself. These tropes go on for a while and none of the characters ever become too complex. Oh, I almost forgot, literally every female character has a crush on Kirito. This even applies to Kirito’s cousin, despite the fact that the two were raised as brother and sister for the majority of their lives. So yeah, very anime.

This series would later be dethroned by Attack on Titan, but for about a year and a half SAO was the anime that everybody was watching. Convention halls were filled with SAO cosplay and anime forums were filled with SAO discussions and fan art. The thing is though, out of all of the Sword Art Online discussions I’ve heard and all the posts I’ve read, I have only found a handful of people who say that SAO is their favorite anime. Lot’s of people LIKE this program, but only a few LOVE it. Sword Art Online does not try to be groundbreaking or totally original, rather it combines the best aspects of the various genres of anime and the most famous anime series to make a new show. This, by in large, has worked incredibly well for the show and I can only imagine how much the people behind it have made from it.

sword art online 3

If you are new to anime, I would recommend watching Sword Art Online. Is it the best anime ever and entirely worthy of its fame, not really. However, it is more or less a microcosm of what is great about anime in general has a massive fan base that is more than ready to talk about it. I personally glad I decided to watch Sword Art Online a few years ago. At the very least, I understand a few thousand memes more now than what I did before I viewed it.

Alright guys, that just about does it for this week’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please give it a like and leave a comment down below. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking on the upper right tab and entering in you email. You can also stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sword Art Online Retrospective