We’re looking at some of the best JoJo's Bizarre Adventures references and homages in anime!
When you hear the title “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” you probably start to think of some of your favorite classic scenes and moments, poses, or quotes! You aren’t alone; JoJo is a really popular series across the world, and throughout the history of the series, many other creators have given nods of respect to Hirohiko Araki’s classic work. Whether it’s characters repeating famous lines, recreating poses, or copying key scenes for comedic effect, Araki is a popular well for homages to return to! We’ll be taking a look at JoJo references in anime, but what are we classifying as a “reference?” For the sake of this article, we’ll be looking at good faith, direct references, rather than plagiarism or “borrowed” ideas. We’ll also take a look at the following specific areas: posing, quotes, and recreated sequences/scenes. And for the sake of spoilers, we won’t include any references that go beyond where Golden Wind has currently reached!
It probably goes without saying, but the most popular styles of reference in anime revolve around poses and quotes. Recreating the visual style of famous JoJo poses provides a fun non-sequitur gags, while also drawing upon shared cultural memories of pop-cultural knowledge; while many of the titles that make JoJo references are comedies, many more utilize them in cut-away gags in places that one might not expect to see them. Common targets for pose-based references are Jonathan’s classic hand over his face pose, Jotaro’s pointing pose, Joseph’s numerous poses and mannerisms from Part 2, and of course, DIO! JoJo’s poses are some of its most iconic visual representations, so it makes sense that people looking to give a nod to the series would pull from them more than other areas. Classic JoJo poses have shown up in countless anime, but some of our favorites include Karamatsu recreating Jonathan’s pose in Mr. Osomatsu, the Serinuma family of Kiss Him, Not Me posing as a group, OniAi’s group pose, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU’s Giorno homage, and the MEGANEBU! JoJo posing competition! There are plenty more, we’re sure, probably almost too many to mention! One thing is for sure: Jonathan’s pose seems to be the most iconic, showing up in Gintama, Show By Rock!!, and many more! Even the Pokémon anime has gotten in on the references, where in episode 860, Meowth poses like Jonathan and Joseph while making references to Dio’s classic “useless” lines; sadly, only the poses made it into the dubbed version of XY.
Aside from posing directly, there are a few times in which JoJo-styled aesthetics are used in anime to reference the manga and styling. Fairy Tail’s Lamy has a few JoJo inspired moments in episode 238, where she makes a particular pose (and it even appears in the animation for the theme song NEVER-END TALE!). No Game No Life features numerous posing and other JoJo themed segments, but for us one of the best, and easily overlooked, comes from THE [email protected] anime. In episode 6, “The Decision to Move Forward,” Kotori has a brief moment where she imagines the 765 Pro girls opening up a Tamatebako from the Japanese myth of Urashima Taro. During her fantasy, the anime shifts into a black and white manga aesthetic, with the characters being depicted in Hirohiko Araki’s unique style! The sequence is short and easy to miss, but features lovingly rendered details like speed lines, sound effects, and facial expressions that look straight out of the JoJo manga itself!
When it comes to references, sometimes series take things to the extremes, especially gag series. In these cases, characters shift and change to look like the thing they’re referencing, and there are two clear winners in this regard: No Game No Life and Good Luck Girl! “Araki faces” are a common gag joke, but these two series make consistent, stylistic changes where characters adapt the mannerisms, poses, and aesthetics of the characters they’re referencing. These take the idea of pose references and “JoJo” style to a new level, fitting for gag series in which the laws of physics and logic don’t always have to make sense. Interestingly, both No Game No Life and Good Luck Girl heavily reference Diamond is Unbreakable, with NGNL’s Sora calling upon Rohan Kishibe numerous times, and GLG’s Ichiko makes numerous references to Josuke, even appearing in a Josuke pose wearing his uniform and even sporting his pompadour on top of her own hair!
Visual references and sight gags are only one of the ways in which anime can make references to other media, but since anime is a moving media, that means it can also recreate whole scenes and sequences. To this end, it might not surprise you that DIO is a source of popular reference material, particularly the infamous Road Roller scene! To this end, Hackadoll the Animation takes the cake with its amazing Road Roller gag: Hacka Doll v.4 tries to gift a man a car, leading to her recreating the Road Roller scene before hurling her gift at him! No Game No Life and Kiss Him, Not Me make reference to DIO’s WRYYYYYY in a similar fashions; overall, DIO is perhaps one of the most popular visual and referential gag targets, with numerous series drawing on his classic moments for a quick gag!
An even more recent reference came in the form of a callback to both Polnareff and Dr. Slump, where the joke originated in HANEBADO! When Connie reappears in episode 9, she stands above the rest of the girls to announce her arrival, to which Ayano responds with a classic set of hand signals to let Connie know that she can see maybe a bit more than her sister anticipated. The original gag stems from Polnareff, making the same set of motions during the fight with the High Priestess, but Polnareff’s use of the gag is itself a reference to Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump, where Tsuruten Tsun makes the same joke. Now that’s a reference within a reference!
While the human characters of JoJo might seem like the most obvious targets for references, Stands are equally popular, popping up in numerous series. Ai-Mai-Mi features a nod to Avdol’s Magician’s Red when Mi evokes an odd looking bird spirit behind her in a show of her “courage,” while Gintama features a similar gag where Gintoki defines a Stand, causing a Star Platinum lookalike to appear behind him. MONSTER MUSUME EVERYDAY LIFE WITH MONSTER GIRLS makes a joke about Stands appearing behind their users when Centorea monologues about the valiant and dashing nature of the centaur species, causing Kimihito to jokingly ask if the knights behind her are Stands. In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, the show regularly featured gag shorts featuring the lovable Tachikoma tanks; in one of these Tachikomatic Days segments, the art style suddenly becomes very “Araki-like,” and the Tachikoma seemingly summons a Stand, “Reset the World,” which can stop time!
While many of these are clear references, parodies, and homages, sometimes it can be easy to miss them if you aren’t looking. One of the most common references is the use of JoJo’s traditionally thick, ominous on screen sound effects. Others draw upon events and famous sequences in JoJo storylines for reference material; in Baka & Test - Summon the Beasts, Akihisa gets dragged into the darkness by a set of ominous hands, much like Yoshikage Kira’s eventual fate! DENKI-GAI references the “Taste of a liar” scene from Golden Wind, and Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos is filled with constant references to less common JoJo characters and scenes, from Stroheim to Bucciarati!
With the modern David Productions anime adaptations working their way through the JoJo’s storylines, it seems like we’ll very likely see references to the show and various storylines pop up all over the place in the anime that we watch. JoJo is a popular and important series in manga and anime, and the popularity of the series has helped cement its trademark style, poses, quotes, and scenes into anime pop-culture history.
Know of any JoJo references in anime that we missed? What's your favorite of JoJo reference? Let us know in the comments!
Nicole is a features and a social video script writer for Crunchyroll. Known to profess her love of otome games over at her blog, Figuratively Speaking. When she has the time, she also streams some games. Follow her on Twitter: @ellyberries