AHS-L1-3. The Joestar Spirit: How the Protagonists of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Embody Key Traits of the Hero


Tracy Fuentes1,2
Faculty Mentor: Amy M. Green, Ph.D.1
1College of Liberal Arts, Department of English
2College of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science

ABSTRACT
Despite how much anime has grown in popularity over the decade and even more so this past year, studies on animes outside of Studio Ghibli’s filmography remain minimal compared to the large amount of content available today. The complexity and artistry presented in anime make them worthy of literary analysis, and the anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is no exception to this. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure spans five parts consisting of different storylines, each with its own protagonist. This paper seeks to explore the anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure as a literary work, and specifically examine how the characters compare to the typical hero and portrayals of masculinity. This character analysis argues that although the five protagonists of the anime are drastically different in personality and character, they all possess four basic traits of a hero: selflessness, bravery, a strong sense of justice, and the ability to succeed alone. Using the words of the creator of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hirohiko Araki; evidence from the anime; and research on heroes and Japanese culture, this paper demonstrates how the five characters exemplify these heroic traits.

Date

Nov 15 - 19 2021
Expired!

Time

All Day

Labels

AHS: Lighting Talk Session 1
The Office of Undergraduate Research

Organizer

The Office of Undergraduate Research
Phone
702-895-4771
Email
our@unlv.edu
Website
http://unlv.edu/our

Speakers

12 Replies to “AHS-L1-3. The Joestar Spirit: How the Protagonists of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Embody Key Traits of the Hero”

  1. Hi Tracy!

    Great job with your presentation. After looking through the list of presentations, yours definitely caught my attention. Although I don’t watch much anime I have heard of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I liked the fact that you gave a brief history explaining the popularity before diving in and giving your reasoning for why you think the characters embody heroism. You had a great flow, keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Tracy!
    Great job with your presentation. After looking through the list of presentations, yours definitely caught my attention. Although I don’t watch much anime I have heard of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I liked the fact that you gave a brief history explaining the popularity before diving in and giving your reasoning for why you think the characters embody heroism. You had a great flow, keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Tracy!

    Wonderful job on this presentation! I don’t know too much about anime, but I felt as though your presentation was very clear and discussed themes of heroism in a way that is easy to digest for all audiences. I am excited to see the continuation of your research – keep up the great work!

  4. Hi Tracy!

    I loved your presentation! I think your comparison between western and Japanese ideas around heroism is a great area of study. Particularly for students of social sciences, it is incredibly important to understand the cultural differences that influence our moral standards. I would suggest going further into this research to see if there are any cultural differences between the different JoJos given that they are largely from different countries, to see if Araki employed these cultural differences in his writing. Thank you for your time and effort and keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you so much Kristian! In my research paper, I do discuss the different cultural influences on the series and how that may inform the ideas of heroism in the show. I found that they differ in personality and mannerisms due to the different cultures, yet they still possessed these four key traits. Thank you again for your comment!

  5. Hi, great talk! First I want to say great topic I believe you have great taste in anime. Jojo shows a great tale of generations overcoming their struggles and challenges in different ways through each protagonist. The literary concept of the archetype of a hero is brilliantly told in this show. I agree with the key four traits you provided on what makes a hero! What stands out to me the most is the Ability to Succeed Alone. I believe this is what separates a hero from a virtuous person as the word hero is often referred to as a single key person, especially regarding literature. The other anime you mentioned, Demon Slayer, kind of contrasts the trait of Ability to Succeed Alone was multiple people were required to overcome the main antagonist. Now I am wondering in a sense of literacy analysis would the Demon Slayer protagonist be a hero?

    1. Thank you Nancy! I also agree that the ability to stand alone is a unique trait of heroism that isn’t commonly referenced in other hero studies work I have read. Your point about Demon Slayer is interesting, but I think the protagonist would still fit under this definition because even though in some instances he does need help from others, there are many times he is able to face an enemy alone and is unafraid to do so. It would be very interesting to see an analysis of Tanjiro as well though!

  6. Great Lightning Talk! It’s great to see this level of thoughtful discourse on the show while we wait for Stone Ocean to drop on Netflix.

    I think one limitation of this research is that if “heroic” traits are dependent on culture and history, then it might be difficult to determine which traits would be considered heroic in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure because of the variety of cultural influences on the work. The Joestars come from many different cultural backgrounds and time periods, and Parts 2 and 3 include extensive world travel. In addition to the characters’ diverse backgrounds, Araki was also heavily inspired by western media when he created the series. For example, although Jotaro grew up in 1980’s Japan, his character is heavily inspired by Clint Eastwood, which makes it unclear whether his personality traits are meant to be heroic by Japanese or by American standards. Likewise, Jonathan and Johnny’s arcs take place in the late 19th century, but Phantom Blood was finished in 1987, and Steel Ball Run was finished in 2011. Are these characters meant to be heroic by the standards of the time period that the story is set in, or the time period that their arcs were published in? These kinds of nuances must have made the research a lot more challenging.

    Although Jojo was created by a Japanese artist, it is inherently a multicultural work, so it may be difficult to tell whether the traits characters exhibit are meant to be heroic by any single standard unless outside research suggests there are traits that are considered heroic across all cultures.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Haley! I agree, JoJo is so unique due to the different cultural influences that may occur. In my research paper that I’m hoping to publish soon, I delve more into these different cultures of the anime and how they may impact the ideas of heroism shown in the show. Interestingly, the author Araki has very strong ideas of what a hero is that he talks about in his book, and he specifically cites Clint Eastwood and his roles for influencing his ideas of heroism!

  7. Welcome to my lightning talk! I hope you enjoy my presentation, please feel free to leave any questions or comments.

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