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A bizarre, but totally textbook, demonstration of shonen kickass!

You know, I was just about to pile Poe onto the other literary comparisons I was drawing last episode. Shame on me for hesitating. The show actually went ahead and put nothing less than a purloined letter into episode two.

I made up this term, ‘shonen kickass.’ I like to throw it around a lot, and a few of you lunatics have questioned me about its exact meaning. Instead of reaching for some dry, academic definition, I’d rather just point to a couple, very specific demonstrations of it in this episode…

When Jojo confronts Dio with the aforementioned letter and the (admittedly shaky) conclusions he’s jumped to because of it... where does their argument escalate to? If Poe had written this story, I couldn’t see it going beyond a shoving match. Maybe some slapping. When you’ve got shonen kickass coursing through the story, though, then of course Jojo is going to gorilla press Dio off the balcony. That’s just how things are done.

Likewise, when Jojo opts to abandon all common sense and venture down a stretch of road that’s actually named "Ogre Street," it simply isn’t enough for him to get mugged by a couple hoods. No, he’s got to get attacked by scumbags armed with deadly sawblade hats. And the fight’s got to escalate to the point where basically every lowlife in London crawls out of the woodwork to jump him.

Hell, look at all the intrigue with Stone Mask. It seems exactly like the kind of mysterious artifact you’d find in shorts like “the Gold Bug” and the “Mask of Red Death.” But you can be damn sure that none of those stories ever ramped up into a brawny wrestling match that ends with a vampire going nuclear in mid-bloodsuck. No, sir.

That’s shonen kickass. And it is so bizarre to see it pumped up into a plot with this kind of gothic framework. So... utterly... bizarre...

Watch "A Letter from the Past" and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
rubberluffyon April 9, 2014 at 8:31 a.m.

You seem to be enjoying it, great! And Part 1 is generally considered the weakest part, but it's also the shortest and it's important to the overall story.

I think the thing that stands out the most about the series is that it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is. It says right in the title, someone nicknamed JoJo has a bizarre adventure, and that's consistent through every single story arc. Of course some are more bizarre than others (Part 8 is completely bonkers). I'd personally rank Part 1 as my least favorite arc, but it's still really goofy fun and you get Dio just reveling in being a total dick.

zaldaron April 9, 2014 at 8:32 a.m.

Upton Sinclair, Charles Dickens, and now Poe. Sold. Will likely not get to watch this as quickly as you go through it in watch and learn but going to watch it now certainly. Not sure how I am going to like the addition of "shonen Kick Ass (which you should trademark)" to this kind of classic stories (the DiCaprio version of Romeo Juliet was a travesty) but will be interesting to see.

Lurkeroon April 9, 2014 at 10:08 a.m.

Jojo seems to provide the kind of entertainment where I can turn my brain off an enjoy it for exactly what it is. A bizarre adventure.

Other shows like Hunter x Hunter and Naruto try to have a deeper meaning to their plots and then when things don't make sense it is more difficult for me to turn my brain off to enjoy just the action. I especially like how exaggerated every situation becomes.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon April 9, 2014 at 4:04 p.m.

@Lurkero:'re going to get so in trouble in the later seasons, if they reach Part 4-7 you're going to be in a world of pain to understand the series with your brain turned off

@rubberluffy: I share your opinion. Personally my least favorite is Part 5, while my favorites are part 2, 4 and 7

SpeedForceSpideron April 9, 2014 at 8:07 p.m.

Think Part 5 is by far the weakest Part. Phantom Blood has flaws, but it was entertaining nevertheless.

rubberluffyon April 9, 2014 at 9:05 p.m.

@Kuma_From_Argentina: @SpeedForceSpider:

I've seen a lot of discussion about Part 5's lack of popularity among the western fanbase is due to the scanlations being incredibly poor, with incorrect translations all over and character personalities pretty much ruined. Maybe that's the case, there's been work to retranslate it but it's still early on.

Also I'm a big fan of 4, 6 and 7.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon April 9, 2014 at 9:21 p.m.

@SpeedForceSpider: Yep

@rubberluffy: Joseph and Yosuke are just too fun to watch

SpeedForceSpideron April 9, 2014 at 9:53 p.m.

@rubberluffy: The protagonist and Villian are pretty much the reason Part 5 is so unpopular outside Japan. He is so boring and became a mary sue, always having an answer for everything and had no inner thoughts or flaws. And Diavolo is one of the worst fictional villains created. Its the gang that had to make everything interesting. And Fugo getting axed for being op'd was just poor writing. Not to mention the last fight was an ass-pull. Too many problems to name.

@Kuma_From_Argentina: Ripple or Stands?

Kuma_From_Argentinaon April 9, 2014 at 9:55 p.m.

@SpeedForceSpider: You're putting me in a difficult spot....but if I had to choose.... I prefer Stands. Specially the really weird ones in Part 7 (Tusk and D4C) or the really cool ones in part 4, like Crazy Diamond, Echoes or Killer Queen.

takashichea moderator on April 15, 2014 at 12:55 a.m.

I didn't expect any vampires in this show.

YotaruVegetaon April 15, 2014 at 7:14 a.m.

I think there's also a lot of Indiana Jones influence in this arc.

zaldaron April 18, 2014 at 11:43 p.m. should bring back the old title for this show....the what the fuck did I just watch title...because seriously what the fuck did I just watch? I mean you still have the overall feel of dickens I mean didn't he write a story like this...I mean wasn't the poor kid being adopted pretty much the plot of Great Expectations....just throw in I mean a mix of oh I don't know poe ON FUCKING STEROIDS...and then end with a rock song and MAKE IT WORK. I mean seriously the struming was done at the PERFECT place each time.

Poe, Dickens, Vampires, and Shonen KickAss...this should so not work...but it does...


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