Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 – Battle Tendency Volume 2
Release Date: 18th February 2016
Author: Hirohiko Araki
It’s taken over thirty years for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure to see a true release in the UK. The third part ‘Stardust Crusaders’ took the trip over, but that was all. Maybe it seemed like too much of a large undertaking for publisher Viz to bother with, seeing as the series now has over 100 volumes worth of fighting, or maybe Jojo was simply just too bizarre? (though we did get Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo) Whatever the reason was, it no longer matters. Thanks to a recent resurgence in the franchise, largely thanks to the anime series, we’re getting more Jojo than ever before!
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a battle manga, one of the originals to grace the popular kids magazine ‘Shonen Jump.’ It was there when Dragon Ball still lacked a Z, and is still here today when Dragon Ball has recently turned Super. It’s the story of the Joestar bloodline, a series of characters throughout history who end up in some truly bizarre (how many times can we use that word?) situations, leading to adventures. It’s a title which doesn’t lie, and the entirety of Part One: Phantom Blood is available in all good bookstores around the country!
Part One features vampires, zombies, brutal animal violence, powers formed through breathing called Hamon, and characters named after popular Western bands. It’s a wild ride, but I’m not here to talk about Phantom Blood, this is a look at the second volume of the second part; Battle Tendency.
Battle Tendency tells the tale of Jonathan Joestar’s grandson, the goofy Joseph Joestar with a head full of tricks, during the 1930’s. Due to the fate of the Joestar family, this Jojo has to face the pillar men, a group of muscular ancient menaces who have powers Part One’s villain Dio could only dream of. But like Dio, they share a weakness to the sun, and require a special stone, the stone of aja, to overcome this weakness. it’s up to Jojo, his bubble cutting rival Caesar Zeppeli, and the mysterious teacher Lisa Lisa to put a stop to this motley crew with the power of their breathing techniques, hamon (ripple).
The story is a simple set up to provide a range of strategic battles, graphic violence, a whole stack of pop culture references and extravagant poses. While the series at this point sports a rather old fashioned ‘Fist of the North‘ styled look, it managed to stand out from the competition back then, and even now, by adding rather feminine style poses which provides an unusual slant on your typical macho hero comic. It was breaking boundaries back in the 80’s, along with its specially tailored sound effects which surround each page, and the endless imagination of Hirohiko Araki. He can make a bottle cap into a deadly weapon and strands of hair into a shield, and have it make sense!
This being the second volume of part two suggests events are already well underway here, and a large focus of the volume is on teacher Lisa Lisa providing training, so Jojo and Caesar can make full use of their hamon and tackle the pillar men. With a number of standard volumes packed into this hard back copy, a large chunk of the story is covered, so we get to witness before the training, the training itself, and the results of the training all in one self contained place.
It feels incredibly satisfying to get so much, and even though it’s taken thirty years to get an official English release, Viz are going the right way of getting this humongous series to readers in the cheapest and most convenient way possible. Original colour pages are included, along with new art from Araki himself, which dons the front and back covers of each volume. If only every series would take thirty years to be localised…