A blackout in my internet gave me the time to watch all 12 episodes of Stone Ocean’s first Netflix season, I’m almost two months overdue so let’s not waste any time.
Since this talk will be from the perspective of someone who read the manga, spoilers ahead.
The first 12 episodes of Stone Ocean covers Jolyne’s entry into Green Dolphin Street Prison, Goo Goo Dolls, Manhattan Transfer, Kiss and Highway to Hell, Foo Fighters and Marylin Monroe, Emporio, Weather Report and Jumping Jack Flash, and the introduction of Enrico Pucci and Whitesnake and it honestly ends at a pretty decent spot since with the introduction of DIO’s other side as some philosopher who talked about overcoming fear, we finally get to see that side of him fleshed out and his secrets to “heaven” being erased from the world after Jotaro defeated him. This leads to what I assume that Season 2 of Stone Ocean being focused on the Green Baby Arc where Jolyne gets sent to Westwood’s place and we bring Anasui into the picture, C-Moon being properly activated, and the crew escaping from prison. Season 3 can then focus on the rest of DIO’s sons and the final confrontation at Cape Canaveral, the space station, and the controversial end of Part 6. Honestly, it’s scary how well this fits into a 3-part structure. Like Part 4, I’ll be fully expecting three unique OPs and EDs and I can already guess what effects will be applied to the last one.
So speaking of OP and EDs, these came out a lot like Part 3 for me where the song is good and the animations are stellar, but I’m not going crazy for it like I did with Fighting Gold. The ED wasn’t also completely from left field like Freekn’ you was and I was expecting something way more upbeat before things actually got more sad and down. I enjoyed both but it’ll be a bit before I start humming them to myself, although I already started humming the chorus of the OP so I guess it’s already creeping into my system. STONE OCEAN the opening feels like Crazy Noisy Bizarre town visual wise so I hope we go into more foreshadowing territory in the next two hypothetical OPs. Did I mention I like callbacks?
Adaptation-wise, I think David Productions is improving each time, but I still sense a bit of bias towards Part 5 because its Japan’s favorite part but I can’t really substantiate that aside from just gut feelings. Part 6’s crowded jail setting makes it a difficult thing already to draw so many silhouettes so it is understandable that a lot of them aren’t given definitive shapes. There wasn’t an easy way to improve the early bits of Part 6 like what the Part 5 anime pulled off giving the Assassination Squad more scenes so the amount of small changes that did take place were smaller dialogues and details being omitted or being moved around, which I didn’t notice as much as I noticed additions to earlier parts. This might also be due to the fact that it’s been ages since I read Stone Ocean while I reread Part 5 a couple times because of newer translations. Of course, one of the earliest issues of Part 6 that was fix with nearly 20 years of hindsight was keeping Anasui as a man in his initial appearance instead of Araki having him as a girl before turning him into a guy. Speaking of Anasui, I can only wonder if they’ll give him slightly more emphasis as Diver Down has been joked around as the one allied Stand who has not had a major fight to himself and only assisted from the sidelines. Aside from that, I did get slightly bored with the pacing of the first four episodes but as soon as Jotaro’s life got in trouble and Whitesnake is revealed, the anime was able to ramp up to more fun setpieces.
I mentioned in my weekly music posts about how Ai Farouz learned Japanese from reading Part 6 when she was younger and I fully believe her commitment to the role as I enjoyed her performance as Jolyne. I’ve always mentioned how certain VAs from the All-Star Battle renditions were superior in some aspects and while Sawashiro Miyuki’s performance with some gruffness to Jolyne’s voice was still great, I thought all of Jolyne’s lines from Farouz accentuated the whole “16 year old stuck in prison” a lot better than Sawashiro was just a “Jojo” right from the get-go. It’s not the most completely fair assessment since fighting game lines took priority but Sawashiro’s ORA ORA ORA lines definitely hit harder than Farouz’s but hey, neither are perfect and I’m fine with accepting that. It’s like how Sugiyama’s ARI ARI ARI was a lot better than Nakamura’s but the latter was still an incredibly solid performance. This isn’t like Giorno whose game performance from Namikawa was absolutely blown apart by Ono’s. Of particular note, Jolyne’s patented “Speedwagon’s Exposition Yelling” voice was what sold me on her. Also apparently, Namikawa is set to return as Anasui so wow, I did not expect that at all seeing as how Nakamura voiced him previously. I sure hope his Diver Down call outs are cooler after almost ten years not-voicing a Jojo character.
Speaking of which, Tomokazu Seki being Pucci is something both hilarious and wonderful. I pointed out how they decided to use Hayami Sho’s voice for the anime’s Vanilla Ice when he was the first voice for Pucci in ASB, then the Ultra Jump CMs had Pucci voiced by Nakata Jouji, and then we come around to Tomokazu Seki which does nothing but remind me of that one image where Gilgamesh and Kotomine are wearing Dio and Pucci’s clothes. I still think Hayami Sho’s authoritative voice was great but Tomokazu’s voice is also uniquely well done, even if I keep expecting him to break out with an occasional Zasshu here and there. It was also really funny watching and hearing all of Pucci’s command normal lines from All-Star Battle be from that one scene in the courtyard fight but then again, Whitesnake acts like King Crimson as Pucci’s primary depiction in the early parts of Part 6.
I firmly believe that Pucci is the strongest aspect of Part 6, taking from the lessons of having Kira also having a strong role to play in Part 4 and not taking bits of Part 5 where the Boss is still seen as a benevolent force trying to keep his daughter safe only to be later revealed as some actual maniac. Pucci has a goal that is related to DIO and is introduced early as a villain who the heroes do not fully see as a villain just yet and his cryptic goals of heaven become fully realized later while his intentions to reach said heaven are out in the open. The ultimate Stand power beyond time manipulation stands with Whitesnake who more or less was the All For One before All For One was a thing as it holds the singular ability to grant stand powers to others which creates the unique setpiece of having temporary stand users cause trouble for Jolyne and crew compared to fucking around with the arrow like Kira’s dad did. It’s a nice cat and mouse game until Whitesnake becomes C-Moon.
The last point from me was Weather Report’s introduction which was phenomenal, and was easily my favorite little snippet/introduction from all 12 episodes. The sexy guitar and snare motif he has really captures that “man searching for his past” sort of longing and oh boy does this man have quite the past that I cannot wait to see animated. Also, I cannot believe Tanezaki Atsumi is voicing Emporio, holy shit. I know her the most from voicing eroge, she really fucking made it, props to her.
All in all, it was a fun ride and I can’t wait for more. I have no idea when new episodes are coming though. Also, let me mention how the Jojo anime, for me, was something I watched weekly for almost a decade now so having the opportunity to watch it weekly really messed with my sense of progression with how each new stand enemy is introduced. I really can’t tell if things went by too fast or too slow with the binge format.