‘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

How You Can Celebrate 1000 Chapters of One Piece

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

One Piece might not be the first manga to hit the 1000 chapter mark, but the beloved series reaching this milestone is still a monumental event in the relatively small world of manga. After all, the long running Weekly Shonen Jump title is arguably the most impactful ongoing manga today and its millions of readers will agree that it seems to only grow better with time. Longtime One Piece fans used to speculate if the series would ever get to this point and many new fans read through the manga at a blistering pace just to experience the 1000th chapter upon its release. 

Shueisha, the publishing company that owns Shonen Jump, knows that this is a big deal to One Piece fans across the world and has plenty of events in store to mark the occasion. From perhaps the biggest character poll in the history of manga to making the bulk of the series available to read for free, One Piece is kicking 2021 off with a bang!

World Top 100 Campaign

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

The World Top 100 campaign is a global character poll where One Piece readers can cast one vote each day for their favorite characters in the hopes of having them take the top spots. This poll will run from January 3, 2021 to February 28, 2021. There’s no participation fee and anyone can vote regardless of how much One Piece they’ve read or watched. Some random voters will even receive AR character as the poll goes on. A promotion for this poll will even liven up the January 4th issue of the New York Times, and feature the 1000th chapter celebration, double wide color spread. 

This is set to be the biggest character poll in manga for two key reasons. The first, is that there are more than a thousand characters in One Piece, all with their own unique style and personality. While the first few spots are fairly safe guesses, it will be incredible to see what characters end up filling out the entire list. 

The second, and more groundbreaking reason, is that this will be the first One Piece character poll available to all readers, regardless of where they live in the world. The website for the poll launched alongside the release of the 1000th chapter, and is available in English, Chinese, and Japanese. While Viz, the company that localizes One Piece in western territories, ran character polls in the past, these are generally seen as less official, as only the Japanese rankings appear in the manga itself. So, this will be the first time that readers outside of Japan can have their appreciation for a character reflected in the manga itself. 

The inclusion of non-Japanese readers in an official character poll is practically unheard of in shonen manga. While manga readers have enough to celebrate from this alone, we can only hope that this is the beginning of a broader trend of a greater consideration of international audiences in the manga industry. 

Free Manga

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

Beyond voting for their favorite characters, folks will be able to read the majority of One Piece for free on the Shonen Jump+ app. The free offerings on the digital manga reader will include volumes 1 through 71 of One Piece, which totals a gargantuan 711 chapters. This means that new readers will be able to witness Luffy and company begin their journey in the East Blue, rocket through the Grand Line, break into the New World, and make landfall just as the Dressrosa arc kicks off. 

Before this promotion, only the first three chapters and the three newest chapters were available for free on the Shonen Jump app and website, though the entire catalog is accessible with a two dollar monthly subscription. Physical copies of these volumes will usually set a purchaser back ten bucks so, either way, the promotion is saving readers a tidy sum of money.  

Considering the rampant level of piracy in the global manga industry, offering two thirds of one of the most acclaimed manga in the history of the industry is a pretty big deal. The barrier to reading officially licensed manga has never been lower, and those interested now have no excuse not to at least give the official translation of the series a try. While these efforts are fighting against a steep hill, hopefully this promotion gets more manga fans into the practice of legally and ethically consuming their favorite media.  

Considerable Commemorations

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

A series of videos commemorating One Piece and the impact it’s had on readers across the world will appear on the polling site as well. News focusing on the upcoming 1000th episode of the One Piece anime will also appear. Live updates on how characters are performing in the poll will also run on the site. 

Additionally, One Piece author, Eiichiro Oda, penned the following letter to One Piece readers thanking them for their support and hoping that they’ll continue to enjoy the series as it draws closer to its conclusion.

“1000 Chapters!!
I, uh, wow…Words pretty much fail to describe the whirlwind these past 23 years have been. Literally half
of my life has revolved around the almighty ‘WEEKLY SERIALIZATION’ hehe. But it’s not just me, Luffy
and the Strawhats have navigated themselves to so many different islands and found themselves caught
up in so many adventures. At this point, even I’m not sure how many lives they’ve touched along the way!
But it’s thanks to them that so many special people have entered my own life; first and foremost among
them being my family. All of these people have supported me through the years and I am deeply indebted
to each of them. Meanwhile, my readers have been leading their own bustling lives. There’s a certain
theory that exists for long-term readership in the entertainment world that states, “A given pool of readers
will rotate out of a series after five years.” And so for a while now, I’ve avoided calling my readers, ‘fans’.
It’s like they say, “Pride cometh before a fall.” I convinced myself that I shouldn’t get too full of myself
because my readers would eventually leave the series and move on with their lives. Let me say that all of
you have put me to shame for thinking such a thing. Your belief in Luffy has led me to believe in all of you,
and that is what allows me to continue drawing exactly the kind of manga I want to draw. So here we are,
ready to dip our toes into the final stages of the story. It’s taken us a long time to reach one thousand
chapters. However, it’s because I’ve completed a thousand chapters that you must believe I’ll take us to
the end. The story waiting for you will defy expectations! I mean it!!
I have a favor to ask. This is for everyone with whom —by some means or another— I’ve managed to
create a bond, in other words, the ONE PIECE FANS of the world! My story is a long one. But for just a
while longer, please watch over Luffy and his crew as they continue their adventure!”

January 2021 Eiichiro Oda

How You Can Celebrate 1000 Chapters of One Piece

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