JoJo\'s Bizarre Adventure Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 204
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0336-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

JoJo\'s Bizarre Adventure Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     March 27, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006

JoJo\'s Bizarre Adventure Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hirohiko Araki
Translated by:Alexis Kirsch
Adapted by:

What They Say
Southeast Asia. Blue palms...tropical heat...and lurking death. As our heroes pass through Singapore and Myanmar, they are attacked by the deadliest Stands yet, Ebony Devil and Yellow Temperance. Then, in India, Polnareff meets the man who killed his sister. But can he avenge her death...or will he join her in the grave?

The Review
Jojo's continues to provide quite the entertaining battles, but the story progression slows down quite a bit here that might leave some wanting to push events forward a bit more.

VIZ uses the original cover artwork from the 15th volume of the Japanese release, which correlates to this 3rd volume of the English release. The brown gradient background is quite unattractive and I think really does the rest of the cover a disservice. The colors are okay, not as crisp as I would like, but I do forgive it a little for the age of the title. The print reproduction continues to be quite solid, although I wish we could have gotten the full color chapter with color plates. There are no extras, although chapter headers include some bio and Stand information. The one-page "Story So Far" summary is included along with the Joestar family tree and a few introductory words from Hirohiko Araki.

You'll get little complaints from me regarding Araki's artwork. With this title coming out now, this style is a throwback to the old bancho style of artwork featuring uber-macho men with an ornamental flair of detail and accessories. It's all very garish and blatantly over-the-top, which is exactly what makes this title enjoyable. Araki doesn't just illustrate fights, but rather larger than life battles featuring supernatural powers being wielded by brazen men with a snappy fashion sense. Ora ora!! Araki also makes sure to throw in some nice backgrounds of his world settings, giving the reader a peak into cultures from Araki's (sometimes twisted) point of view.

This volume is definitely much more violent than previous installments; violent enough that Araki himself has gone back and redrawn one single panel just for the English release. The panel in question features a dog that gets decapitated, redrawn for this version from a different angle that gets across the same action but without the gore from the original. It's an interesting choice, seeing how there are quite a few instances of more excessive violence in this volume.

SFX are translated, keeping the original SFX intact with small subs appearing next to them. I definitely like this move by VIZ, but there are some areas where this method didn't quite work out for the best. There are quite a few instances of SFX inside of text bubbles, with the subs appearing alongside in the bubbles as well. This ends up looking cluttered and felt like a shortcut, as these SFX should have just been overlaid.

The translation is decent. The adapted script definitely adds in a little of its own flavor, but keeps in tune with the hammy feel and campy nature of the title. "Devo the Cursed" now becomes "Soul Sacrifice", most likely to avoid a lawsuit with the aforementioned band, but the other artist reference, J. Geil, is left alone. There are a couple jokes inserted that weren't in the original, along with a Mike Tyson reference, but it's not grossly overdone like the adapted Initial D script. The reoccurring "@#$%!" needs to stop, as it feels like VIZ is just skirting harsh language by trying to be funny about it. There are some interesting language choices here with French words speckled about Polnareff's dialogue, as he is a Frenchman, and in Calcutta, "baksheesh" is used quite often for the beggars who are asking for "change".

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Even though you might not think it, shounen fighting/battle manga can be a tricky thing to get right. Not only must you have interesting characters, with personalities that are instantly memorable, but also they have to be engaged in interesting fights. Whether it's developing a character or revealing a dark, hidden past, the fight must invoke some emotional response in the reader to keep their attention. When a creator starts piling on fights just for fighting's sake, the challenge to keep the reader's attention becomes that much harder. If there's no purpose, what's the point? I can watch pointless fisticuffs each week with UFC on my local cable channels, and it's in HD!

This third installment has plenty of Stand battles taking place in exotic locales with even more exotic powers, but the pacing and character developments are sacrificed as a result. There is also a saturation point that is reached here that had me screaming, "For the love of God, get to Egypt already!!" The battles are definitely entertaining enough, with plenty of blood and gore that would impress Fangoria readers and pulp horror movie fans (including a Chucky doppelganger to boot!).

With Singapore and Calcutta as the backgrounds, Araki's continuing Tour of the World with his bancho bunch is quite interesting and shocking, as he definitely adds in his own commentary about these cities with his artwork and gross stereotypes. According to Araki, Calcutta is filled with thieves, beggars, disease, and people only eat curry. Now, I understand Calcutta was going through some difficult times during the time period when this story was created, but I imagine Araki must've had a vacation go wrong and he is taking out his frustrations here.

But even with the blood-soaked battles, colorful characters, and worldly settings, at some point the story must move on. Thankfully, it does at the tail end of this volume as Polnareff runs into J. Geil, the man with the two right hands that killed Polnareff's sister. Just as things start to heat up, the volume ends on quite a frustrating cliffhanger.

After reading this third installment of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, the statement "Moderation is the key" comes straight to mind. I really enjoy fighting or battle manga, but the common trap that these types of books fall into is sacrificing story for fights. Thankfully Araki's illustrations and use of interesting Stand powers keeps the story entertaining enough, but the progression here comes to a bit of a screeching halt. Events pick up a bit at the end of the book, but we'll have to wait until next volume to see how things progress.


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