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10 Things JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Ripped Off From Other Anime

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure may be a one-of-a-kind anime, but JJBA has stolen a few springboards from other anime over the years.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is an iconic series from the 1980s, and the anime has surged in popularity since its recent reboot. With its bright colors, unique art style, and eccentric characters, the show garnered many fans throughout the last few years, even sparking the “JoJo Pose” TikTok trend.

RELATED: 10 Worst Trends In JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Ranked

As distinctive as the show was, a few elements felt too familiar. Audiences could see which retro anime inspired Hirohiko Araki’s JJBA. From the Joestars’ ultra-buff character designs to the dark and gory imagery, some points seemed like ripoffs of anime such as Fist of the North Star and Dragon Ball.

JJBA became famous for its over-the-top character designs that featured unrealistically muscular figures, eccentric clothing, and near physically impossible poses. Both heroes and villains got humongous muscles, and though the anime toned this down across its seasons, the characters always had unrealistic physiques. Now, this art style is one of JJBA’s many clichés.

JJBA was not the first series to do this, though. A famous work, Fist of the North Star, first published in 1983, was another manga/anime with buff characters. When looking at FotNS, it is obvious where Araki got his inspiration.

Gothic vampires of the Victorian period were typically associated with English literature, but they featured in many manga and anime. JJBA incorporated these monsters into its first part, Phantom Blood, with Dio Brando being the blood-sucking villain who ranked as one of the strongest anime vampires.

Before Araki’s work, there were other vampiric anime floating about. Most notable was Vampire Hunter D(1983 manga & 1985 film), though this film took place in a post-apocalyptic setting. Even so, the show’s dark tone, supernatural elements, and mix of pulp genres (from western to science fiction) suggested its similarities to JJBA.

JJBA has always concerned itself with martial arts and supernatural elements, and its initial two parts (Phantom Blood & Battle Tendency) reflected this outright. Before its third part, JJBA used the Hamon or Ripple magic system. Hamon mimicked the sun’s power and was effective against the undead.

RELATED: The 10 Best JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure References In Other Anime

FotNS functioned similarly, as the main character utilized vital points to deal extra damage to his enemies, and that added damage felt supernaturally impactful. Dragon Ball had even more in common with JJBA. Energy blasts like the Kamehameha reminded fans of Hamon attacks such as Sunlight Yellow Overdrive.

Dark tones were nothing new by the time JJBA came onto the scene. FotNS and Vampire Hunter D were known for their grim tones. Even works of different genres, like Mecha anime, incorporated dark and heavy themes, scenes, and storylines.

While FotNS followed school boys in their rivalries and wars, it was gruesome. JJBA shared in FotNS’ seemingly unsuspecting tone, as the show featured both Jotaro Kujo and Josuke Higashikata as school-aged characters who found themselves at the center of tragedy. Even some Stands were horrifying and dark themselves. Unlike most other contemporary works, however, JJBA poked fun at these plot lines.

Along with a dark tone, one can almost certainly find gore and gratuitous violence. FotNS was notorious for its use of violence and bloody imagery, as the show orbited around gang wars.

RELATED: Top 10 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Songs, Ranked

JJBA took a note from FotNS and brought it to the extreme, as the show was unafraid to pull punches. Everyone was fair game for brutal violence, from women and children to innocent animals. In many ways, the show parodied its contemporaries, but at times, it was gravely serious.

An iconic and beloved character archetype was the genius who always fumbled the play. Usually, these characters found an unorthodox way to emerge from their messes unscathed, though not always.

One of the earlier anime figures who fit this description was Lupin the III’s title character. This thief was infamous for his wild antics and eccentricities, and his legacy influenced many manga/anime. Joseph Joestar, the protagonist of Battle Tendency, had a similar personality. Fans often saw him as one of the best JoJo protagonists.

Another popular character trope was the brooding bad boy. In many cases, the character was a villain (or at least problematic) but became a hero when circumstances dictated. Jotaro Kujo, the protagonist of Stardust Crusaders, was this figure in JJBA.

Though Jotaro was unnecessarily mean to women, he was often a romantic hero beloved for his stoicism and coolness. He reminded some fans of Captain Harlock’s main character. He even had a black school uniform that mimicked Harlock’s flowing cape and a career on a ship. Unfortunately, this trope made Jotaro one of JJBA’s most clichéd characters.

Shonen anime was notorious for dragging fight sequences out much longer than they needed to be. Fans often look to the Dragon Ball and Naruto franchises when making this criticism. While the original JJBA was not as notorious as Dragon Ball, even the most recent reboot has this pitfall, and audiences have concluded this to be one of JJBA’s worst trends.

Many of the fights in Stardust Crusaders, for example, are multiple parts (two to three episodes). While this pacing is substantially better than older series, it does feel like a nod to its predecessors.

Like many animes, JJBA is unafraid to put its characters in colorful, impractical, and outlandish outfits, though the series took this to an extreme. From giant heart-shaped cutouts to hats that morph into hair, JJBA included many ridiculous wardrobe choices.

Though sticking to a more neutral color palette, FotNS features extreme crop tops and abnormally large shoulder pads. It is hard to deny its impact on JJBA. Other anime, often science fiction works, were guilty of this, as well. Still, many viewers considered the exaggerated wardrobe one of the reasons JJBA was the best anime of all time.

JJBA includes three prominent “school delinquent” characters: Jotaro, Josuke, and Okuyasu Nijimura. While this aesthetic stemmed from different real-life Japanese subcultures, it also had an on-screen precedent. Eventually, it became an overused anime character trope.

Most obviously were FotNS and Be Bop High School (1983), the latter of which included the iconic hairstyles of the subculture. Both of these works impacted anime, and JJBA’s delinquent characters were part of a long lineage of this archetype.

Brooke Thomas lives and writes out of Houston, TX. She has an MA in English Literature and works as an Anime List Writer for CBR.com. When she is not watching anime, drawing her own comics, and writing, you can find her playing catch with her dog and rock climbing.

10 The Overly Muscular Physique Did Not Start With JoJo

9 Gothic Vampires Were Already Around In Anime

8 Martial Arts And Magic Already Intermingled In Retro Anime

7 JJBA’s Dark Plot Reminds Fans Of Fist Of The North Star

6 Gore Was Not Uncommon, Either

5 Anime Had Seen The Foolish-Genius Character Before

4 The Brooding And Reluctant Criminal-Turned-Hero Was Also Nothing New

3 Multi-Episode Fights Between Groups Of Heroes And Villains Was Another Shonen Staple

2 Eccentric Outfits Are A Classic Anime Feature

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