Explaining the plot JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure can be a bit of an arduous task, in the same way that trying to explain the premise of Doctor Who to a person who’s never watched it is harder than a brick in a tumbledryer. Actually, that’s the perfect comparison. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is the Japanese comic book equivalent to Doctor Who. Not that it’s about a Scottish man armed with a screwdriver forcing young women into a phonebox (thank you Frankie Boyle) but that the lineage and hereditary nature of the story means that each arc receives a different protagonist.
In the same way that the Doctor regenerates every so often, each story arc/anime season of Hirohiko Araki’s now iconic series receives a new protagonist, nicknamed JoJo, normally linked to the Joestar bloodline, indicated by a star-shaped birthmark. Each JoJo gains new powers and personality traits as the series progresses. Parts 1 and 2 (Phantom Blood and Battle Tendancy) focus on a ripple/energy based martial art called Hamon, whilst parts 3 (Stardust Crusaders) onwards introduce battle spirits called Stands. I won’t delve too deeply into the lore now, as that would take an entire post in itself and I’ve got stuff to do. SO, I figured I’d rank the 8 JoJos we have had so far. Now, real talk, I love this series. So ranking someone at number 8 does not mean I have a distaste for that JoJo or for that part of the story. Also, spoiler warning: if you haven’t read the manga or watched the series (and you plan on doing so) I wouldn’t recommend reading this, lest you throw your computer/tablet/phone at the wall in rage.
#7 – Josuke Higashikata (Part 8: JoJolion)
Landing at the bottom of the JoJo pyramid is Part 8’s Josuke Hikgashikata. Being the newest protagonist, Josuke is the latest to bear the JoJo moniker and well…that’s really all he’s done. I’ve not read much JoJolion, and that’s largely down to me not wanting to read the full thing until it’s finished. Part 8 centres around Josuke being a retrograde amnesiac and trying to figure out more about his past. Along the way he gains the companionship of Yashuo Hirase and her stand Paisley Park, as well as a stand of his own, Soft and Wet…yup, that’s his Stand’s name. The simple plot of JoJolion and Josuke’s amnesia do leave the story quite open for development but at the same time it often leaves a lot to be desired. Josuke’s adventure is supposed to be a reimagining of the characters from part 4, and whilst he remains nuanced and comical with his flamboyant style and his pretty awesome Stand, I just don’t feel like we’ve seen enough of him to rank him higher than the other JoJos just yet. Still, Part 8 isn’t ending anytime soon so there’s plenty of time for him to become epic.
#6- Jonathan Joestar (Part 1: Phantom Blood)
The first JoJo of the series and the symbolic father of the Joestar bloodline, Jonathan was the first attempt at creating a tribute/pastiche of the standard, over the top anime male hero, with his look based heavily on characters like Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken for you purists). The result was a powerful martial artist with the flair of a Super Saiyan peacock. Jonathan’s arc, Phantom Blood, is a grass-roots “good vs. evil” story, introducing central antagonist, vampire and Jonathan’s step brother, Dio Brando. After Dio murders his adoptive father (Jonathan’s dad) Jonathan trains in the breath based martial art of Hamon in order to increase his strength. He ends up, in terms of raw power and hand-to-hand combat, being one of the most powerful JoJos. What ranks him so low on the list however, despite being the inaugural protagonist, is that he’s a bit of a goody-two-shoes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as Jonathan was written to oppose Dio, who’s more evil than treading on Lego. He also defeats two powerful dark knights, Tarkus and Bruford, and makes the ultimate heroic sacrifice in an effort to destroy Dio (unsuccessfully mind you as then Stardust Crusaders wouldn’t have happened). However, beyond his good guy attitude and heroic deeds, he doesn’t get much more development. Jonathan has a very one-track mind in terms of saving the world and stopping Dio, and it doesn’t seem to transcend that through the first arc. Given that the story was concluded after 3 volumes (9 episodes) it would’ve been cool to see Jonathan grow a bit more. Still, he can pose like a boss for a guy his size.
#5 – Josuke Higashikata (Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable)
What happens when you combine Elvis Presley‘s hairstyle and a tenacious Stand? It’s Josuke Higashikata. The illegitimate son of Part 2& 3’s Joseph Joestar, Josuke is a high school delinquent turned local town detective. After being tracked down by previous JoJo Jotaro Kujo (and stay tuned) Josuke is informed of his lineage and indirectly revealed to be a Stand user. After an escaped convict kills Josuke’s grandfather, he assists Jotaro in tracking down said criminal, and as a result opens up one-creepy can of worms on his home town of Morioh. Meeting the ghost of young girl Reimi, Josuke and Jotaro are informed of a serial killer targeting women, with a Jack the Ripper style MO, leading the two to track him down and defeat him. Now, let me start by saying, Josuke was the perfect follow-up to his predecessor. He maintains the same tough-guy attitude that we’ve come to expect from the Joestar lineage, whilst providing a joker-like goofiness in order to lighten an otherwise dark storyline. His stand, Crazy Diamond, is one of the series’ most creative, being able to physically alter objects as well as heal wounds, and his attachment and defence of his pompadour is one of the series’ best recurring jokes. The reason he isn’t higher on this is list is that Josuke had a tendency to be overshadowed by Part 4’s central antagonist, Yoshikage Kira and his Stand Killer Queen, as well as the abilities of his nephew Jotaro (wait for it). Still, his heroic attitude and cast-clown quirks make him one of the most memorable JoJos
#4 – Johnny Joestar (Part 7: Steel Ball Run)
The first JoJo of the rebooted Steel Ball Run universe, Johnny is a reimagining of Phantom Blood‘s Jonathan Joestar. Trained as a jockey from a young age and becoming horse-riding genius, Johnny is critically injured following a bullet to his spinal chord, paralysing him from the waist down. He is introduced to fellow protagonist Gyro Zeppeli and the power of the spin, which gradually allows him to regain the use of his legs, as well as fire his fingernails as high-speed bullets…it makes sense okay! With his newfound abilities, Johnny enters the Steel Ball Run race with Gyro, a race across the USA with a pretty hefty cash prize! (also they find the body of Jesus…just saying). As if he didn’t have enough abilities, Johnny’s attacks, attributed to a technique called The Spin (this universe’s equivalent to Hamon) are enhanced by his Stand, Tusk, eventually allowing him to alter space with multiple dimensions (broken? anybody?). Given the fact that Johnny does not have the use of legs for most of Steel Ball Run, his abilities regardless are pretty powerful, and his undoubtable heroism develops steadily throughout the story. What keeps Johnny from being my top JoJo (which is a very fickle point but) is that he’s eclipsed by the other awesome protagonist of Steel Ball Run, Gyro Zeppeli. I’ve always been a big Zeppeli mark, and Gyro is no exception as a steel ball slinging cowboy. BUT, Johnny still remains a favourite, and is definitely leaps and bounds the best JoJo of the new timeline.
#3 – Joseph Joestar (Part 2: Battle Tendency)
Joseph is easily the fan favourite JoJo of the entire Bizarre Adventure, especially after the faithful 2012 anime adaption of Battle Tendency. If Jonathan was Araki’s answer to Kenshiro then Joseph is easily the Goku of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Joseph is Jonathan Josetar’s grandson, and the last Joestar to utilise the martial art, Hamon. He’s tenaciously tough and has a heroic drive, as well as being a trickster and a complete goofball. His brotherly dynamic with Caeser Zeppeli is still one of the series’ best team-ups, and his skill and ingenuity with Hamon is yet to be rivalled. Following the awakening of Battle Tendency antagonists, The Pillar Men (Kars, Esidisi and Wammu) Joseph, like his grandfather, is trained to unlock his Hamon abilities and proceeds to take down the otherworldly entities one by one, even defeating Kars following his transformation into “The Ultimate Life Form”…because anime. Probably the reason that he’s ranked so high is due to the Indiana Jones like story of Battle Tendency. The Pillar Men are awoken from their slumber due to experiments by the Nazis, causing Joseph and Caeser to track them down and beat them all. In Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, Joseph even becomes a Stand user and whilst he’s not the main protagonist, he remains an integral and crucial part of the story. It’s easy to see why Joseph is a fan favourite, and to be honest he would probably be higher on the list, if I didn’t love these next three characters so much. Still, Joseph’s “oh my God” meme isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon.
#2 – Jolyne Cujoh (Part 6: Stone Ocean) and Giorno Giovanna (Part 5: Vento Aureo)
Yes, Number 2 is a shitting tie. I’m indecisive at the best of times, and deciding between these two was like choosing between a Gray’s Papaya hot dog or a Shake Shake Smokeshack…I’ll let you decide which one’s which. Part 6’s protagonist, Jolyne Cujoh is the first and so-far only female JoJo in the series, and turned out to be one of the most badass characters in the Joestar lineage. Heavily skilled in hand-to-hand combat and one of the toughest JoJo’s depicted (next to Jonathan and her father…keep reading) Jolyne’s extroverted personality, coupled with her extremely versatile stand, Stone Free, make her one of the most formidable JoJos. Sent to prison and framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Jolyne’s goal is to defeat prison priest/DIO worshipper Enrico Pucci and his Stand stealing Stand Whitesnake (points for the name though). Jolyne is a great fusion of characters, maintaining the toughness of Jonathan, the intelligence of Joseph and the whacky temper of Josuke. Unleash all of that in a women’s prison and well…lets just say she rises to the top of the food chain fairly quickly.
On the other hand, we have Part 5’s golden haired mobster, Giorno Giovanna. Probably the most creative JoJo name (Giorno Giovanna), Giorno is the biological son of famed JoJo antagonist, Dio Brando. However, he also bears the Joestar birthmark due to the fact that DIO conceived Giorno and a handful of other illegitimate offspring while he had possessed Jonathan Joestar’s body ( …yes, you read that correctly) making Girono both the son of DIO and Jonathan, linking Giorno to the Joestar bloodline. Next to Jolyne, Giorno is probably the most goal oriented of the JoJos. From the get-go, Giorno’s dream is to rise up the ranks of the Passione mafia and become a “Gang-star” (a combination of the words “Gangster” and “Superstar”). Teaming with Bruno Buccellati and his team of stand users, Giorno is tasked with protecting Passione‘s boss’s daughter, Trish, serving as one of her bodyguards to deliver her to him. Seeing this as an opportunity to get close to their boss and overthrow him, Giorno and his companions take the assignment, fighting multiple stand users along the way.
Giorno is really more of an anti-hero than he is a saviour. He still maintains heroic causes, like eliminating drug trafficking and violent crime throughout Italy, whilst at the same time showing a willingness to eliminate his enemies, cold-bloodedly killing a bunch of Stand users sent to confront him. His stand, Gold Experience, is one of the most versatile and powerful shown in JoJo chronology. Given the ability to create and manipulate life (even inanimate objects) it’s easy to see why Gold Experience is more overpowered than a tank armoured war elephant. Gold Experience later become Gold Experience Requiem (after being pierced by the Stand Creating Arrow), and in short…it’s the most powerful stand in the series. Able to nullify and return anything (including attacks) back to the point of origin (causing a death loop for the series main antagonist) Gold Experience Requiem gives Giorno the perfect defence and makes him near untouchable. Overall it’s Jolyne’s tenacity and Giorno’s anti-hero freshness that make them two of my favourite JoJos, as well as the versatility and power of their Stands. They’re iconic characters that I can never really get sick of…except for the number 1 choice of course.
#1 – Jotaro Kujo (Part 3: Stardust Crusaders)
Probably the most well-known JoJo and definitely the most recurring, Jotaro Kujo is easily the top of my list. As the lead JoJo of Stardust Crusaders and a heavily supporting character in both Diamond is Unbreakable AND Stone Ocean (Jolyne is his daughter afterall, HAH you see, it was him all along!) Jotaro is both the most heroic and alongside Jonathan probably the strongest JoJo, in terms of combined physical and Stand strength. Locking himself away in a jail cell, after deeming his own Stand, Star Platinum, too powerful, Jotaro is brought out by his grandfather Joseph (yes, that Joseph) to help him track down the resurrected DIO (formerly Dio Brando). After his mother falls sick, seemingly due to DIO‘s vicious deeds, Jotaro, his grandfather and three more Stand users travel to Egypt to defeat DIO and cure Jotaro’s mother. This is easily my favourite part of the series, in which Jotaro and his comrades journey across the world, defeating other Stand users along the way (yup, that old chestnut), amping up the Indiana Jones style adventure from Part 2 (with less Nazis of course). This was also Araki’s creative way of avoiding the standard manga/anime “tournament arc”, normally utilised as a deus ex machina to power up the central characters. Instead, the Stardust Crusaders hone their Stand skills battling across the world.
Being a man of few words, Jotaro gives off the air of being cold and calculated, which usually acts to distract his opponents 90% of the time. Jotaro appears to not give a flying fuck about anybody, but retains noble intentions and will always do the right thing if needed, perfectly combining the rebellious tendencies of Joseph and the nobility of Jonathan. Jotaro and his Stand, Star Platinum, are one of the perfect pairs of the series, utilising Star’s precision and Jotaro’s intelligence, along with their combined strength to defeat enemies. As the JoJo to finally take down DIO and his all-powerful Stand The World (Za Warudo!), Jotaro definitely feels the most complete of the JoJos, in defeating his family’s arch nemesis, avenging his great-grandfather and bringing peace to the Joestar dynasty (until Diamond is Unbreakable that is). As the most recurring and easily the most iconic JoJo of the series, Jotaro lands himself at the top of this guy’s uninformed list. Let’s hear it Star Platinum!
So that’s my list. Obviously, everyone’s got a different list of JoJos and that’s the great thing about it. Each part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is so vastly different that absolutely everybody’s list is going contrast. If your list differs, then stick it down in the comments and lets have a discussion! I am inviting you to nerd rage, make like Star Platinum and “ORA” all over it…I may have just made a big mistake.