“The JOJOlands” Review

[Spoiler Alert]

Hirohiko Araki, the author of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”, has ushered in a new age with the addition of his highly anticipated, ninth story arc, “The JOJOlands.” The recently released first chapter, following the new character of Jodio Joestar, showcases the creative world-building and unique storyline that Araki and “JoJo’s” are known for.

The new chapter opens with Jodio and his brother Dragona Joestar as they are pulled over by corrupt police. The Joestar brothers manage to fend off the cops by utilizing their stand abilities, or the series-specific special powers. Jodio soon heads to high school, where the audience learns that he is part of a system called “the mechanism,” which is an organized crime system that runs throughout Hawaii. This mechanism makes Jodio well-known in his town, allows his mother to run her business without issue, and helps him become rich. After introducing a few supporting characters, Jodio, Dragona, and Paco Laburantes, a fellow gangster, are tasked by Jodio’s boss–who is also his principal–to steal a diamond worth a million dollars from a wealthy Japanese tourist, ending the chapter. 

Chapter one proves to be a well-crafted and entertaining way to kick-off the next era of “JoJo’s.” 

Not much is known yet about the characters, but a glimpse of each character’s main personality showcases the moral ambiguity of this new cast. Seemingly, the characters are only involved with the heist to benefit themselves and fulfill their own needs, rather than doing it for their team or employer. While most parts star protagonists with clear moral codes and healthy teamwork, it will be interesting to see how the story develops when every character fights only for themselves, viewing the others as competition.

A staple of “JoJo’s” are the stand abilities, and Part 9 introduces three right off the bat: November Rain, Smooth Operator, and The Hustle. However, the stands are less combat-oriented than the series’ previous parts, indicating that “The JOJOlands” may be focused more on its story than its action.

The Hustle and Smooth Operator stands appear generic–the ability to grab items with the user’s muscles and the ability to rearrange parts of something, respectively. November Rain has the unique power to crush people with water droplets, though whether this is the ability or an effect of the ability is unknown. November Rain alone offers many possibilities for the extent of its power and application. Coupling it with the utilities of the other two stands already sets the part up for an enjoyable and wacky ride.

Chapter one proves to be a well-crafted and entertaining way to kick-off the next era of “JoJo’s.”

The setting of Hawaii is a place like nothing Araki has written in the past, allowing for new, unique character designs and locations. The location also creates a doorway for Araki to link this part and the previous part, which took place close to Hawaii in Japan. Though it is just speculation, many believe that the man will be a character from Part 8, specifically the protagonist. 

Some other details that may hint at the future of this story are the names of certain stands and characters. As in previous parts, the stands are named after music references, but in Part 9, the three names each come from a different decade, alluding to the possibility of a wider inclusion of music references. Additionally, the main characters have culturally diverse names, such as Dragona (meaning “dragon” in Spanish) and Laburantes (meaning “worker” in Spanish). Finally, Jodio’s name is a combination of Part 1 protagonist, Jonathan Joestar, and antagonist, Dio Brando, a fun callback for longtime fans, considering that this could be the final part of Araki’s story. 

While “The JOJOlands” is only one chapter deep, the new story provides clues for future  “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” content. As the tale unfolds, Jodio leads the way to a bright future for the Joestar family.