What’s the Future of the Jojo anime after Stone Ocean?

I love JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After being goaded into watching the anime adaptation mid 2015 or so, I’ve been hooked. From there I made my way through the manga, beginning with Phantom Blood and working my way up to Jojolion, and I’ve been a dedicated reader since, enjoying new chapters every month or so when they drop. I have a confession to make though; in my original read-through of the series, I took a friend’s recommendation and skipped part 6 (Stone Ocean) entirely, rather going straight to part 7 (Steel Ball Run). I was told that this wouldn’t affect my understanding of the series or something. Regardless, I felt enough regret as to jump back to 6 immediately after, filling in some minor contexts for the series. Though 7 remains my favorite part overall, I respect 6 immensely for just how goddamn weird it is. Like it’s a series whose hallmark is weirdness; it’s baked into the damn title! But 6 manages to truthfully portray what it’s like to live in Florida. That is to say, everything is trying to kill you, people have inexplicable abilities, and Mickey Mouse is there.

The recent announcement of the Stone Ocean anime adaptation had the community in an uproar that would rival Carnivál. The day it got announced, Twitter was such a smorgasbord of Jojo fanart it was like a never-ending Artists Alley at a con. Non-Jojo fans got their timelines clogged like the arteries of your average American viewer. I even saw a fan-cam created of the single image of Jolyne we got at the announcement. It was insanity! How do you make a fan-cam from a single image! After the dust settled though, it got me thinking. What does this mean for future adaptations of the series? As stated before, I adore part 7 and would love to see it in motion someday, and part 8 is incredible to catch monthly. To see a part finally animated that was so integral to my early manga days; excited is an understatement. For now, I’d like to take a look into what exactly could hold back this anime from being fully realized, and how it relates to the Jojo anime production schedule and “hints” dropped by the series so far.

Starting off, we trek back to the very first Jojo opening (legit ever, since before this we only had an OVA and some video games to work with if you wanted to see the series in motion) Phantom Blood’s Sono Chi No Sadame. That opening begins with a bang, recapping moments of the first six Jojos in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it montage. Now, this moment showed promise. It essentially implied that the other parts were known and could possibly be adapted in the future (which, as of 6’s announcement, they have). They were the first drip of content if you wanted to see, say, Josuke or Giorno years before their animes were in production. Most notably, however, the montage only went up to Jolyne with no Johnny or part 8’s Josuke in sight. This would be fine if not for the fact that part 7 was over by that point and part 8 was well underway, which makes the absence conspicuous. It almost implies that the anime adaptations would concern the Joestar bloodline only, no future part business involved.

It’s worth getting the Polnareff out of the room now. Part 6 ends with a large-scale universal reset, also the killing of the original cast (including Jolyne) in their final confrontation with the big bad, Pucci. This new universe (dubbed the “Ireneverse” by fans) now features an alternate universe Jolyne known as Irene, who’s now free of the Joestar curse and can live out her languid days in…Florida, of all places. It’s bittersweet in its simplicity, and it’s clear this was the writer Hirohiko Araki’s original stopping point for the series. Though after beginning his new manga Steel Ball Run in 2004, he saw the fans clamoring for more Jojo content, leading Araki to redub the manga as “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure part 7: Steel Ball Run”. With this he also wrote that the universe was actually reset twice, not once, and that the Ireneverse and this new one, which Steel Ball Run and Jojolion take place, are completely separate beings. (Hilariously, Diavolo who was sentenced to eternal deaths back in part 5 is apparently living in a pocket dimension where he will continue to suffer). What this means is that those two parts, while they fall under the “JJBA” banner, are very loosely connected to the original six Joestars to begin with. This is where the theory that David Productions (the studio who’s animated the series so far) may chose to close the series at 6, like Araki possibly had intended, for good.

This scene is going to be legendary when it gets adapted

There is also the issue of the part’s costly production values as well. Part 7 is a western based chapter that has a heavy emphasis on horseback riding. The title itself is even a reference to the “Steel Ball Run” a race across the early US from San Diego to New York City for 50,000 dollars (by horse, any other means would be grounds for disqualification). Now, while this setting could be incredible from an art standpoint, the actual motion of the horses could prove to be an issue. Traditionally, horse animation has been a strain on an anime’s budget due to the effort needed to faithfully show a horse galloping. Doing that for the entire run could be more trouble than it’s worth. Not to mention this would be part 7 of a series with a very controversial ending to the prior part; David Pro would need all the budget they could get and potentially the timing wouldn’t match up right.

Rounding back to Sono Chi No Sadame however, there is a sly nod to our boy Johnny Joestar right in the intro itself. For a brief moment Johnathan Joestar (the great grandad of them all) has his eyes aflame as if to show a fiery determination in his cause to confront his bastard foster brother, Dio Brando. This is almost too coincidentally similar to Johnny’s “Dark Determination”, a mood Johnny hits where his eyes alight with a killing intent. Additionally, as the series is known for its sudden color shifts as a stylistic choice, sometimes the colors on characters will become white with blue stars, Johnny’s signature color scheme in official media for the series. It’s reaching a bit, but I feel that David Pro is the kind of company to give nods like this for the dedicated fan to point out and get excited over.

In the end, while I would absolutely love a Steel Ball Run and eventually Jojolion adaptation (if it ever ends), I feel there are a number of factors that work against this and would ultimately be content with rereading part 7 for the time being. But nothing’s set in stone. Part 6 is coming, and that’s cause for celebration itself. To see Ermes, Foo Fighters, Annasui, Emporio, Jolyne and Jotaro’s familial connection, Weather Report’s funky business happening on-screen for the first time, it’s just incredibly exciting. Here’s to Jojo Fridays, a time-honored tradition in my friend groups. May they live on.

If you liked this post, check out my Tatami Galaxy piece or for other anime fans on Story Arc, try Skeith’s Prisma Illiya review. Jojo reference etc.

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