A difficult aspect of storytelling is the implementation of exposition. If it is rattled off in a drawn-out sequence it can be considered an information dump; if it is not used at all, the events within a story can be confusing. For anime, which has been known to have plots and character powers stray into particularly complicated, supernatural or outstandingly imaginative concepts, explaining the events is almost a necessity. Tropes emerged within anime to focus on the internal thoughts of a character during an event or battle, or to have them explain the parameters of their power, which has been considered humorous itself within serious anime. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure took these to another level.
The long lifespan of JoJo’s has seen an insurmountable number of creative storylines and character abilities, which certainly require some clarity even as the character is performing the power on screen. This abundance of imaginative creations was complemented by Hirohiko Araki’s decision to lean into the humor feature of his series. Instead of following the basic formula of a character unveiling a power and having them explain it to their enemy — or allowing the audience entry into a character’s mind to help dissect an evolving scenario — Hirohiko took the entire trope and made it a major part of Jojo’s in a way that brought the characters to life.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Makes Hand Holding Funny
In the first series of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Phantom Blood, one character in particular becomes the vessel of information as an observer. Robert E. O. Speedwagon is a proxy to the titular hero, Jonathan Joestar, and joins him on his quest to hunt down and defeat Dio Brando. Speedwagon’s place at the side of combat allows him to intricately describe the events unfolding before him and the audiences, explaining the most minute details in a booming, dramatic voice, even when they may not be that relevant. One example is when he explained that Dio Brando is “the most evil, most despicable being the world has ever seen.” Such a remark mid-combat is so unnecessary but dramatic, it becomes hilariously purposeful.
Due to the flamboyancy of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, this decision to use Speedwagon in a constant state of explanatory shock keeps the tension high while also mocking the expected trope of side characters panicking or rooting for their hero.
The secondary usage of the trope when a character explains their power can be even funnier. Dio Brando is a prime example through his dialogue. The audience can expect to have a complicated power explained to them, but they may not expect to have the most basic of attacks explained to them. After using his ice grasp three times already, Dio reminds Jonathan that his touch can turn him to ice — the audience knows this, but the arrogant trash-talking and pride in his abilities does not make Dio seem ridiculous; it somehow makes him more endearing.
How Mocking the Exposition Trope Improves Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Anything that subverts the expected order is always intriguing. As JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a unique anime in its own right, it was only natural that some traditional formulas were transformed to better fit the series’ over-the-top and quirky stylistic direction. Had it retained the same manner of exposition as other anime, it likely would not have been worth commenting on; it would have been the understood usage of the form. By overindulging audiences and keeping it all highly dramatic when the dialogue is spoken, the exposition replaced the known anime trope with its own JoJo Universe trope.
Such a hilarious parody to anime is just one of the many factors that make JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure an entertaining watch. Mocking anime tradition helped create some of the most famous and beloved characters, as their eccentric dialogue brought them to life and established the flamboyant and overly dramatic tone. There are few anime fans out there who would not recognize the cocky trash talk of Dio Brando or the unwavering declarations of Jotaro Kujo.