In the universe of JoJos bizarre adventure, the acclaimed anime adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s long-running supernatural action adventure manga series, the Joestar family are the undisputed heroes. A family of superhumanly gifted martial artists, philanthropists, mafia donors and marine biologists spanning six-plus generations, Joestars is designed as an unequivocal collective force for good – fighting serial killers, megalomaniacal vampires and all sorts of devilish opponents as they try to correct on their respective corners of the world.
But the Joestar clan is not exempt from the anime’s long collective history of bad fathers. Similar to those who dragon ball‘s Goku, Hunter x hunter‘s Ging Freecss, or Full metal alchemist‘s Van Hohenheim, Joestars boasts their own fair share of absent or negligent fathers, with no less than five members of Joestar’s extended family either born out of careless infidelity or through DIO, the family’s longtime nemesis, intricate intrigue .
But in the introductory 12 sections of Stone Ocean, the fifth season of JoJos bizarre adventure the anime series, which premiered on Netflix earlier this week, the impact of a strained relationship between absent father and child is a driving force. When Jotaro Kujo is first seen in the second season of anime, Stardust Crusaders, he is introduced as a nonsense who never does well in a leather jacket that tends to get into fights and curse his mother. IN Stone Ocean, his daughter, Jolyne Cujoh, is not so much different than Jotaro was around her age: a troubled teenager with a history of theft and joyriding, whose criminal behavior is only further exacerbated by her father’s absence.
When Jolyne first meets her father shortly after being imprisoned in the Green Dolphin Street Prison, her immediate reaction is disgust; attacks a guard at risk of isolation rather than even talking to him. Although it is suggested that Jotaro’s absence in Jolyne’s life was partly motivated by a desire to protect her, it is not a good look considering that Jotaro himself grew up without his own father present through most of his life. And for lack of an explanation, while growing up, Jolyne can not help but look at her father with contempt, while Jotaro can not help but appear emotionally cold and distant. Despite all the growth Jotaro has undergone in the 22 years since the events of Stardust Crusaders and Stone Ocean, he still deserves the title of bad father. But while Josuke Higashikata, the main character in Diamond is unbreakable, more or less let his elderly father Joseph Joestar get out of the hook in return for never contacting his mother Tomoko again, Stone Ocean forces Jotaro and his daughter to work together to survive and confront the diverse emotional baggage caused by Jotaro’s neglect as a parent. It’s a fascinating encounter that makes a big relief, how persistent bad parenting and a habit of keeping secrets runs throughout the Joestar family, and how consistently it comes back to undermine their best intentions.
Despite her hostility towards him, Jolyne has to work with her father as the couple is assaulted by Johngalli A, a former disciple of DIO who orchestrated Jolyne’s prison to pull Jotaro out. And even though she is steeled during their escape attempts, Jolyne clearly longs for Jotaro’s devotion and approval. This is where their fighting skills form a bridge that also could not with words: Jotaro is wounded and taken by surprise by another assailant, Palesnake, as he moves to Jolyne from an attack from Johngalli. Using his Standing abilities, Jolyne is able to defeat Johngalli and apparently save her father’s life, even though she is unable to prevent Palesnake from achieving her real goal of stealing Jotaro’s soul and Standing ability. . Faced with the possibility of escaping to freedom on her own, Jolyne instead chooses to stay back in jail and see the consequences of her attempted jailbreak to find a way to restore Jotaro’s soul and consciousness back to his body. It’s a dramatic turning point for the series to confront the evil blood between two Joestar family members, where Jolyne does not so much forgive Jotaro, but nonetheless acknowledges that nothing can be rectified between the two if she surrenders him to his death. Despite his mistakes, Jotaro cares about and loves Jolyne in his own way, and Jolyne reciprocates this love by deciding to make him whole again.
Stone Ocean does not shy away from showing what the potential of a healthier relationship with his father lets Jolyne do. She quickly gets used to her newfound powers as a Stand User, becoming more confident and calm under pressure while trying to track down Palesnake’s true identity and save her father. Inspired by her goal of reconciling with her father, Jolyne grows into a heroic and resilient protagonist, not unlike her relatives in the Joestar family. If Jolyne is able to save her father’s soul and return it to his body, there may still be hope for her and Jotaro to formally reconcile and embody a healthier example for the Joestar family going forward. At the very least, it could give them the chance to actually seek out family therapy – something that, frankly, the entire Joestar clan could probably benefit from.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean can be streamed on Netflix.