Why is Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Being Sold in the US?

Despite an almost complete lack of recognition for Jojo in North America, Namco Bandai has decided to release Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle in the United States.

One of the most popular mangas in Japan for almost three decades now has been Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Hirohiko Araki's manga series is huge among Japanese readers, spanning 110 volumes and selling over 80 million copies. The series has also had two OVAs, several video games, a theatrical film, and an anime that's currently airing in Japan.

Despite the massive popularity of Jojo in Japan, the series has never really been able to translate that success into a western presence. Due to characters in Jojo being named after famous songs, musicians and celebrities, copyright laws have kept Jojo from gaining a foothold in the US.

Besides a translation of the third story arc, Stardust Crusaders, by Viz Media from 2005 to 2010 and a worldwide release of the acclaimed Capcom fighting game for the Playstation and Dreamcast, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure hasn't really been shared much with western audiences. An HD version of the Capcom fighter was released on Xbox Live and Playstation Network last year to lukewarm reception and sales.

Despite Great Reception and a Cult Following, Capcom's Jojo Fighting Game Didn't Sell Well in North America

It is for that reason that I find Namco Bandai's choice to sell Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle in North America very confusing. There aren't many people that will recognize the Jojo franchise in the US so it seems like a lot of effort for nothing.

In most reviews that I've read for Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, the game has been praised for its fan-service but the fighting game mechanics have been considered lackluster. In IGN's review for All-Star Battle the game was described as "breaking most of the rules of traditional fighting games." Reviewer Vince Ingenito summed it up nicely, saying,

Between all the zaniness, the fundamentals of Jojo's fighting engine are pretty rocky. Walk speeds are slow, as are most attacks that I'd want to use for poking and footsies, so matches tend to have that slightly awkward Mortal Kombat-style flow. There's a lot of dashing, jumping and throwing out random specials. Hit boxes on jump-in attacks seem rather suspect, crossing-up randomly in odd situations. The ebb and flow of combat simply never approaches the effortless panache that the fighters themselves constantly exude.

Ignoring the Visual Style and Fan Service, All-Star Battle is a Pretty Mediocre Fighting Game

I honestly don't think Namco Bandai should have devoted any resources to a US release of this game. Fans of Jojo in the US should have just been left to import it since they're the only people that can appreciate its faithfulness to the manga, which is slightly marred in the North American release by having to alter the names of several characters and moves due to US copyright laws...

After becoming a fan of the series just last year, I actually love all the crazy little details that developer CyberConnect2 managed to fit into this game. That being said, US Jojo fans are still an extremely small group and this just seems like a bad business decision, especially after the Capcom fighter's HD re-release didn't sell too well.

That's just my opinion though and, no matter how right I think I am, I know there are Jojo fans out there ready to share several dozen reasons why this was a good idea on Namco Bandai's part. I'd love to hear any dissenting opinions in the comments, and I won't fault any commenters that care less about intelligent debate and more about putting me in my place.

Feel free to quote Jotaro Kujo, my favorite Jojo, and tell me to just...

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Published May. 9th 2014

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