As fans wait for Jojo’s ninth part to begin, the spinoff Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak has proven that the future of Jojo is in good hands.
While fans eagerly await the ninth part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by series creator Hirohiko Araki, they’ve been able to tide themselves over with its first spinoff by another mangaka, Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak. And as this side story has progressed, it’s become clear that the series’ writing and art are have captured that Jojo magic amazingly well.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the longest-running manga franchises in the world, with the first chapter debuting all the way back in January of 1987. The series has evolved a lot over the years, and Araki’s art style has grown and changed to match, from the beefier designs of Jonathan to the slim and flashy look of someone like Josuke or Giorno. It’s difficult to say just what it is that makes the series special, but Jojo’s (often mangled in localization) references to Western pop and rock music, wild supernatural powers and situations, and interesting characters definitely play a role in the series’ long-standing popularity. As the first Jojo spinoff by someone other than Araki, fans were excited, yet held onto a bit of trepidation; after all, Jojo is so strange and unique, so would anyone else be able to do it justice?
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Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak was well received upon its debut, picking up with characters last seen in Stardust Crusaders who hadn’t shown up in decades. The manga managed to recapture their appearance and personalities, accounting for a logical amount of growth and aging over the years. While Stardust Crusaders and Diamond is Unbreakable have the most overlap in characters, they also represent perhaps the biggest shift in Araki’s style between parts, and Demonic Heartbreak has managed to bridge them well. Drawn by No Guns Life’s author Tasuku Karasuma and written by Kouhei Kadono (who previously wrote a Jojo light novel), the series has proven its familiarity with the source material and taken it in interesting new directions, while maintaining the musical references (such as Dio’s parrot Petsounds, named after a Beach Boys album, and themed with its counterpart Pet Shop) and wild Stands and situations.
With 35 years of Jojo under his belt, Araki is now 62 years old, and while he’s indicated he’d like to keep doing Jojo for as long as he can, the manga industry can be extremely demanding even for younger artists. Other long-running franchises, like Dragon Ball, have seen their creators hand-pick a successor; in Akira Toriyama’s case, that was the DBZ spinoff manga artist Toyotarou, whose work he felt was “most similar” to his own. Toyotarou has taken over much of the illustration duty for Dragon Ball Super, while Toriyama still writes the story and helps to design characters. If Araki were looking for a similar arrangement as he gets older, Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak has proven that its creators are up to the task. In the first few chapters, they’ve shown an understanding of the world, characters, and feel of the series, as well as brought their own ideas, which has added a bit of depth to what were one-note side characters.
While Araki may not yet be in the market for a successor, it’s still a bit reassuring to know that there are talented mangaka out there who love and understand the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise enough to help carry the banner should that time come.
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About The Author
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Carlyle Edmundson is a manga news writer with an affinity for science fiction and fantasy. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a BS in Film Studies and is pleased it finally bears some relevance to his work. A lifelong fan of anime and manga, he has attended dozens of conventions over the years and may or may not have cosplayed at some of them. Presently, he is developing a retro JRPG-inspired visual novel, “Elven Revenue Service.”
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