The First JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Anime

The First JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Anime

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Notice the lack of 'Stardust Crusaders'.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Notice the lack of ‘Stardust Crusaders’.

            Remember how I said a while ago that I was going to talk about the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure OVA? Well, it’s about time I did!

            As some of you may not be aware, the 2014/2015 anime about the third arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, known as Stardust Crusaders, was not the first animated adaptation of the series. Back in 1993, an OVA (or Original Video Animation) was released, encompassing Jotaro’s journey to Egypt.

            Of course, if this OVA were exactly like the series I recently reviewed I wouldn’t have to talk about it for long. It’s different; honestly, it’s different and a little confusing. Let’s start at the beginning:

            A company named A.P.P.P. (Another Push Pin Planning) acquired the rights to animate Stardust Crusaders a little before 1993. This wasn’t too long after the manga had been completed; its final chapter was published in 1992.

            Now, if you’re old enough to have watched older Japanese animation (from the late eighties to early nineties,) you’ll probably already assume that this OVA looks a bit different from the recent adaptation, not only in style, but technique. A prime example would be CG; the recent Stardust Crusaders anime used it fairly liberally, whereas, well, the old one really wouldn’t. Thing is, the old OVA chose to follow drastically different character designs, which I found extremely interesting. We’ll go over that in specifics in later posts, though.


Jotaro from the OVA. I told you the style is very different!
Jotaro from the OVA. I told you the style is very different!

            So, as I’ve said, A.P.P.P. acquired the rights to animate JoJo around 1993, under the name JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Stardust Crusaders is not part of the title, since the previous two arcs weren’t animated then.

In an interesting move, they decided to animate the latter half of the Stardust Crusaders arc, when Jotaro and his group have arrived in Egypt and are looking for DIO. Yes, the parts where the group meet aren’t included here, among other things. I tried to find out why this was, but couldn’t really come up with anything, unfortunately. Perhaps they were ‘testing the waters’ to see what was popular?

            The 1993 OVA contained 6 episodes. The Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc from 2015 contained 23 episodes. There are obviously parts missing in the OVA that happened in the newer anime and the manga; in fact, many fights are completely omitted.

            To add to the confusion, in 2000, A.P.P.P. released a second OVA containing the first half of the arc. Finally, the beginning of Jotaro’s adventure was animated! This OVA was only 7 episodes, however, so many parts from the manga were still missing.

            OVAs are usually really short, so the fact that parts were missing shouldn’t come to be a surprise. What was chosen to be omitted or changed, though, might be.

            Thanks to A.P.P.P.’s now defunct North American branch (Super Techno Arts), North America was lucky enough to have the DVDs of this available, from 2003-2008, roughly. The OVA was completely dubbed; a subtitled version was never released here (as far as my research could find.)

            During the next few weeks, I’m going to watch the OVA (the entire thing, in chronological storyline order) and compare it to the recent anime. I’m not going to necessarily review the OVA, though I can and probably will nitpick some things about it. I will be screenshotting and explaining differences between the old and the new, and hopefully I’ll teach you some interesting stuff! I know I’ll be learning some interesting things along the way.

            Unfortunately, this is long out of print. I had to grab discs off of Amazon via third party sellers. eBay will have them, too, but you have to remember that since they’re out of print, they probably won’t be very cheap.

            The newer anime is not out in a physical form in North America, but the first part is available subbed on Amazon streaming. I wrote about this and the previous two parts’ adaptations in this previous post.

            I hope you’re looking forward to my comparisons of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (1993/2000) and Stardust Crusaders (2014)!