Wooderon’s Favourite Anime of 2021 – #5: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean

I’m still not sure I feel too sure about the placement of this one. But this list had to find shape at some point and this is how it shook out. Also, I’ve left writing this intro paragraph to last minute. Can you tell?

You might notice that I’m doing this one a bit later this year. Well, part of the reason for that is the damn way anime season run. The past couple of years I wrote one of these lists, I ended up feeling weird about putting shows on from the Autumn season when they were only half over.

So this time, I decided to at least wait for that last Autumn season to be finally over so I had a better sense of my feelings on those shows. That, plus I ended up really packing my schedule full at the back end of the year and decided to watch a lot of shows right at the end.

Nani?! It’s number five?

#5: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean

Originally aired 8th January to end of 2021 | 12 Episodes (So far) | Based on the manga by Hirohiko Araki | Action, Adventure, Shonen, Jojo

This is one of those tricky ones. As much as I enjoy a series, how high can I realistically rank it when I’ve only seen a quarter of it. It’s also proof that no matter how much bodging around I do on this list I’m never going to be able to keep it clean for the sake of this end of year list. Hell, If I’d have waited for this series to end before I uploaded my 2021 list. 

And when’s that going to be? July? August? Who knows. 

Usually I wouldn’t have put this on here at all and said it was for next year’s list, but thanks to the weird-ass way (bizarre if you will) way Netflix have gone about putting this show out outside of Japan, we’ve already seen the first 12 episodes here where are at maybe half that? 

The more Netflix mess around with anime, the more I wonder what the hell they have going on in their collective brains. I don’t know why they insist on this binge watch approach to their content… 

Anyway, Jojo. So yeah. After Golden Wind ended, I couldn’t help myself and went and started reading ahead in the manga, reading Stone Ocean, Steel Ball Run and getting half way through Jojolion before my brain started to shut down from the Araki of it all. My immediate response to Stone Ocean was that I didn’t like it. 

The setting wasn’t especially interesting, and the Stands themselves had reached a level of complexity that I struggled to really keep up with what was happening in the fights. At least at the pace I was reading the manga at. And then there’s the infamous ending, one I’m not going to spoil here, but it did that thing in fiction I really don’t like to end a story… 

We’ll get there at some point. 

So, to say I was coming into this series with some level of apprehension might have been an understatement.  

But, you know what? After watching these first 12 episodes, I have to say it won me over. Maybe it has something to do with the banger of an opening song, the fantastic voice work or the continued top tier animation, but the story’s transition from manga to anime has elevated the story in my eyes.  

I feel like the villains and their powers have been getting progressively more weird over the course of the past few parts, and Stone Ocean feels like the pinnacle of utterly nuts characters with even more convoluted stands (so far). But the transition into animation has made the fights much easier for me to follow at least and I really do enjoy our trio of main characters so far. 

Jolyne is, by far, the strongest character in the cast, which makes a nice change when compared to Part 5 where it felt like Giorno was getting overshadowed by the other members of his supporting cast. Let’s be real, Bucciarati was the MVP of that part. 

Even the sudden appearance of Jotaro, threatening to hijack yet another part from another character, doesn’t take away from her. 

Even though it’s still very early in the series, I am really enjoying it. Part of the reason it ends up this high on my list despite only seeing a small part of it is probably because of how much is defied my expectations based on my feelings on the manga. 

It sure will be interesting to come back this time next year and see whether my feelings on Stone Ocean remain the same even after seeing how that adapt that ending. 

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