The anime is split into two seasons, each one clocking in at 24 episodes each. The first season focuses on Jotaro Kujo and his allies travelling to Egypt, starting from Japan. The second season is set exclusively in Egypt, as you can probably tell from the subtitle Battle in Egypt.
The plot starts with Jotaro Kujo in jail, believing he has been possessed by an evil spirit. This spirit turns out to be something known as a ‘Stand’ – a manifestation of his own life force.
All the protagonists and antagonists possess their own unique Stands, which grants them a myriad of different powers. Mohammed Avdol, for example, has a Stand known as Magician’s Red that allows him to manipulate fire.
Whereas Avdol has had his Stand since birth, Jotaro and his grandfather Joseph Joestar had only gained their recently. This was due to the revival of a man known as Dio Brando, who has rather close ties to the Joestar bloodline.
Dio serves as the main antagonist for the entirety of Stardust Crusaders, though he spends most of the time secreted away, hiding in the shadows – which makes sense considering he is a vampire.
Dio sends several Stand users after Joseph and Jotaro in an attempt to eliminate the Joestar bloodline – the first of which is Noriaki Kakyoin.
After that, the plot starts proper when Jotaro’s mother, Holly, falls unconscious due to manifesting a Stand. It saps at her life force as she doesn’t have the willpower to control it, giving her fifty days to live.
Jotaro, Joseph, Avdol and Kakyoin realise that they will have to find Dio and defeat him in order to save Holly. This is when they set off together, travelling to Egypt to confront the vampire.
They gain a couple more allies during their adventure – Jean Pierre Polnareff shortly after they’ve left Japan, and a Boston terrier called Iggy when they arrive in Egypt.
With the unique powers given to each Stand, there are times when this anime really lives up to the ‘Bizarre’ part of its title. Often, directly confronting an enemy Stand won’t be an option so the characters are forced to come up with alternative strategies to triumph over their opponents. The Stand masters aren’t always human, either.
Some of the enemies serve as little more than comic relief, with Oingo and Boingo – sorry, Zenyatta and Mondatta – being a prime example.
In regards to the humour of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, it’s hit-and-miss. As this is an adaptation of a manga from the early 90s, there are jokes that could be considered a relic of the time – the episodes with Mariah and Alessi in the second season are the worst offenders. Unfortunately, these episode are back-to-back, but the usual service resumes afterwards. There’s also a few instances of toilet humour.
For the most part, it’s enjoyable watching Jotaro and his allies overcome the difficult situations they are faced with. This is particularly satisfying when Jotaro has been the one to deal with an enemy – the end result is a good pummelling from his Stand Star Platinum, along with the memetic cry of ‘ora ora ora ora!’
Whilst the journey of the characters is fun to watch, the final confrontation it builds to is arguably the best part of the anime. Of course, it’s possible that many viewers already knew the nature of Dio’s stand thanks to having read the manga first, playing the video games or just even accidentally stumbling across it on the internet but that doesn’t really matter in the end. Knowing how a character’s Stand works doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how the protagonists will overcome that Stand after all.
The subs on Crunchyroll refer to a few characters with alternative names, most likely due to copyright issues. The discrepancy between the speech and subtitles might prove to be annoying to some, but it doesn’t take away from the overall experience.
Another strange thing is the use of shadows when censoring major wounds and Jotaro smoking – the latter is particularly ridiculous, as Jotaro’s whole mouth area will be covered with a shadow, yet it really does not hide the fact he has a lit cigarette. However, it’s likely that it won’t be an issue by the time a BD/DVD release is available.
Overall, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is an incredibly enjoyable anime, with its best part more than making up for the occasions where the humour becomes sub-par.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders may live up to its title, but that doesn’t have any impact on its quality in any way. In fact, many of the elements of the bizarreness help to reinforce just how good this anime is.