After the confirmation of its adaptation in April 2021, the moment that all fans of the franchise were waiting for has arrived: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean premiered on December 1 worldwide through Netflix . Thus, the video-on-demand platform published the first 12 episodes of the season in unison , which are available in the original version with subtitles as well as with Spanish dubbing (and other languages).
To enter into context, Stone Ocean corresponds to the sixth part of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure saga , a manga by Hirohiko Araki . This arc ran in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump from 2000 to 2003 and spans 17 volumes, ranging from 64 to 80 for the entire series. The Ivrea publishing house publishes the manga in Spain and currently has all six parts, including the complete 11 Stone Ocean bunkoban volumes .
For its part, David Production is behind this anime adaptation, just as it has been doing since the premiere of the first installment, Phantom Blood , in 2012. In fact, part of the technical team from previous seasons coincides in this sixth arc, something that not surprising and that is noted in various shades of anime.
GREEN DOLPHIN STREET JAIL
This story takes place ten years after the events of Golden Wind , it is 2011 and we are located in Florida, United States. Our protagonist Jolyne Cujoh , daughter of the legendary Jotaro Kujo , has an accident while driving with her boyfriend, Romeo . Without eating or drinking it, she ends up involved in a crime with a victim under pressure from her partner for not saying anything to the authorities.
During one of her lawyer’s visits, while she is detained awaiting trial, Jolyne receives a pendant from Jotaro which she accidentally sticks with. Inside it was a photograph of her parents and the fragment of one of the arrows recovered in Golden Wind , the real cause of the strange wound. In a fit of parental contempt, she throws the object with the luck of ending up somewhere else in the jail, although well, the arrow has done her job and she will soon notice the presence of her Stone Free stand . .
After pleading guilty at trial in a misguided attempt to reduce her sentence, she ends up sentenced to 15 years in Green Dolphin Street Women’s Prison in a dramatic turn of events. It turns out that her lawyer was a friend of Romeo and she was actually tricked into letting him go unpunished (friend notice).
With all the plot pieces on the board, our JoJo arrives in jail claiming her innocence and with an implacable determination to do justice and get out of those stone walls. Once inside, something strange happens, she will begin to perceive other stand users among whom she will find both allies and enemies. What’s more, the unexpected visit of her father reveals the real reason behind all these events , because despite everything, things are about to get even more complicated for Jolyne .
The 12 episodes adapt 50 chapters of the manga. At the narrative level, they form a complete arc in which the first brushstrokes of the entire story are given , which at the same time are subdivided into three more or less differentiated parts.
During the initial 5 episodes, the entire context of the story is presented and the roles that Jolyne and Jotaro take are established . It is followed by 4 episodes in which we meet Ermes and FF, and battles with other stand users predominate . Finally, 3 episodes that focus mainly on showing the motivations of Pucci , the antagonist of this season, as well as introducing the rest of his allies: Emporio , Weather Report and Anasui . Broadly speaking, practically all the main characters (good and bad) appear along with their respectivestands.
The overall pacing is good, it keeps things intriguing, and none of the individual episodes is particularly burdensome. It is noted that the first two episodes and part of the third are more focused on introducing the viewer, organizing the entire context to gradually enter the bulk of the action, which is why it starts little by little and then increases interest . It must be said here that some events appear slightly altered with respect to the manga to create cohesion in the development of events.
Araki’s seal is felt in every corner , starting with the color palettes as an indisputable hallmark of the author, in the same way that the costumes of the characters maintain the line so striking that they began to have (even more) in the previous season. In fact, the star theme of the season is the world of fashion through names like Emilio Pucci (Enrico Pucci) , John Galliano (Johngalli A.) , Emporio Armani (Emporio Alniño) or Anna Sui (Anasui) . As usual, the course of the action remains unpredictable as well as overwhelmingly «logical» and there is no shortage of doses of absurd humor.
The prison theme is reinforced with visual resources , such as those used to highlight the dates of the events. On the other hand, the environment in which this season unfolds is sordid, but the general tone of the manga is respected despite this, see that even the panels with partial nudity are adapted. However, other things seem to have changed slightly, such as occasional allusions to smuggling and drugs, or the treatment of Dio as «best friend» by Pucci in terms of translation. Although the latter is compensated a bit with a good «mother of god» as a translated version of the famous «yare yare…».
JOLYNE AND THE JOESTAR LINEAGE
In Stone Ocean a notable novelty is presented and it is that for the first time there is a female protagonist in this shōnen. Jolyne is strong, intelligent and charismatic, with the nobility of the Joestars and her father’s bad blood, and beyond these attributes I would dare to say that she is the JoJo with one of the best character developments in the saga.
Likewise, given the location, most of the characters present are women and other main characters such as Ermes are not far behind. The female presence extends , in addition to the opening and ending , which are interpreted by the artists Ichigo and Duffy respectively. We can’t speak the same about the staff , but it’s not surprising in the industry either.
Besides, if there is something that characterizes this season, it is that it is a turning point in the plot that gives rise to subsequent installments at the same time that it has a nostalgic aura that takes the reader/spectator to the most memorable events of the entire saga. The eternal dispute between Dio and the Joestars is the cornerstone that gives meaning to the JoJo’s universe , and although it was mentioned in previous installments, in Stone Ocean it is a recurring theme that directly influences the plot.
Jolyne embodies Jotaro , they share a direct blood tie, they have similar personalities and even a similar story, remember that Jotaro is also presented behind bars. Pucci represents Dio ‘s intrinsic evil , appreciating him to the point of pursuing his ideals and convincing the others to join in such pursuits as in parts 1 and 3. This connection to the Stardust Crusaders has been taken into account in several aspects of the adaptation, without going any further, the return of the CGI style for the opening video is one of the most obvious signs, a true success.
Counting, the way in which Stone Free imitates Star Platinum in the musical sequence is 10 as well as taking up the resource of adding panels from the manga with all the JoJos so far. Scenes from Stardust Crusaders are included in flashbacks as well as the characters’ previous appearances in flashbacks. And also in technical decisions. While the design pulls more towards the style of parts 4 and 5, the treatment of the color palettes is also more similar to that of the third installment in the saga.
In short, the studio has worked to reinforce the general sense of continuity between descendants that means so much in this work through multiple elements, in which I would like to highlight the reference to Zeppeli ‘s wine (Phantom Blood) during a scene in which Dio appears drinking.
«DAVID PRODUCTION HAS DONE IT AGAIN»
It is evident that the studio has always worked well that characteristic color that distills the franchise and in Stone Ocean what was promised is fulfilled. The character design follows the line of the drawing in the original manga with a result as diverse as it is bizarre in each character/ stand that contrasts a bit with the prison environment. (We make special mention of the difficulties Jotaro goes through as the style evolves.) And speaking of backgrounds, it is necessary to appreciate each of the planes of the sky.
The soundtrack and sound effects are of the same quality level as in the rest of the series and the ding “ Distant Dreamer” continues the tradition of the chapter-ending smash hits. The opening «Stone Ocean» has that vibrant rhythm that fits with the general atmosphere of the series and is accompanied by a very clean CGI visual work that goes through all the events that take place in this first part. In addition, the last episode has the already typical sound effects added to the song.
The use of CGI extends beyond the music video. On this occasion, 3D is used in almost all episodes. It is generally used in graphic effects but it is also present in stand models (such as Manhattan Transfer or White Snake ) and even in the movement of characters in certain shots. Sometimes it’s a little out of tune, but in general it’s quite acceptable.
Is everything great? Well, animation has its pluses and minuses. JoJo’s is a raw material of complex designs, the production of Stone Ocean has had complications in this field and the rhythm that prevails in the animation industry does not help either. Is this bad? Not so much. The direction and editing give dynamism , the striking aesthetic makes up for the shortcomings a bit, the movement is more than acceptable and the most obvious slips can go unnoticed even if they are appreciable.
With this said, it is in the last episodes that we will see the climax of this installment , being the first of a more standard level of quality. Although, perhaps we will have to wait to see the entire season to evaluate these aspects again, in a global way.
ORIGINAL NET ANIME
Times move on and with it new formats are settling in consumption. Another novelty that accompanies this anime is that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is the first installment of the franchise to be made in ONA (Original Net Anime) format , which means that it is aimed at being distributed mainly through the Internet, for part of the Netflix service in this case. This brings with it consequences such as the fragmented premiere in parts of the entire season.
On the one hand, the first batch of 12 episodes works well as a story arc, they are very enjoyable and the experience when watching them is quite favorable. On the other hand, instead, they are short episodes that are likely to be consumed in a short time. The development of the plot leaves you with honey on your lips, wanting to continue, but the lack of current information about the continuation cuts off that motivation at once.
In Japan , the series is scheduled to be broadcast on various television channels starting on January 8 with the normal cadence of one episode per week. Perhaps the wait will be extended until the twelve chapters have passed through their television slot so that we can see the continuation. But this is just assumptions for now.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean satisfactorily fulfills its role as a cover letter and if it follows the right path it points out ways to be a good season. The pacing and structure keep the focus on a story with very colorful characters and a great cast of girls. The plot hides much more than what we know so far and there are still many chapters in which certain differences may be observed in the general management of the production (always optimistic).
As we mentioned before, the artistic and technical decisions made regarding the recovery of the spirit of Stardust Crusaders has been one of the greatest successes in the realization. Without going any further, JoJo’s has been the flagship title of David Productions for 10 years and it feels like a token of appreciation towards the franchise.
It makes me a little angry not knowing if it continues for the better, if perhaps it gets worse, if it ends up being relegated as indifferent… This form of release in short episode formats, such as anime, does not convince me, since we do not even have a season in one sitting, but with a part of it. But it’s time to be patient and wait for how it’s done, the best of this story is yet to come.
- The atmosphere and the narrative idea of this season.
- The battles are not unnecessarily long and maintain their essence.
- Wonderful female characters, Jolyne breaks faces with the blink of an eye.
- The twelve episodes are practically an introduction to the sixth part.
- With a little more time to do it, the result could have aspired to be of very good quality.