JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, Vol. 4

By Hirohiko Araki. Released in Japan as “Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken” by Shueisha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Evan Galloway.

By now I think the seasoned JoJo reader is used to the ‘Bizarre’ part of the title, to the point that when the vampire horses show up early in this volume it merely earns a slight shrug, as if to say “of course there would be vampire horses, this is JoJo’. And I feel much the same way. That said, the vampire squirrel growing from the villain’s severed hand took even me by surprise, and reminded us of why this title was so successful – it really does not know when to quit. Be it amazingly graphic violence (for a Jump title), badass boasting, cool posing, or even coming back from near death almost a dozen times over the course of the book, Battle Tendency can be exhausting.


We’re down to only two villains, each based off of a classic 1980s music reference, and the book is almost entirely devoted to JoJo taking out the two one by one. (What, you thought they would double team him? Get real. This is an HONORABLE fight between MEN!) First we have Wham… pardon me, Wamuu (is anyone else here reminded of the old Bastard!! translations?), who goes all Ben-Hur on JoJo with a chariot race to the death. This gives us a chance to see JoJo’s strength and weaknesses, because trust me, he’s filled with weaknesses. Sometimes you want to strangle the kid for how impulsive he is. It’s also a good way to see how he thinks, though, and to show us that much of his fabled “I’m going to predict what you say/do next” is just bluffing. Then we’re supposed to see his mentor (and, as it turns out, something more) Lisa Lisa fight Cars… sorry, Kars. But alas, this is JoJo’s title, and so she’s reduced to hostage bait. Sigh.

And so we come to the end of another arc. The villain has been destroyed after multiple attempts, but just as in the first series, the hero dies. Or so one might think. As I said in my last review, Caesar’s death allows JoJo to live on, in a parallel of Speedwagon and Erina living on after Jonathan’s death. It also gives us a hilariously silly graveside scene where JoJo shows up with Suzi Q in tow, wondering why everyone is at his grave and surprised to see him. (It also reads as very rushed – I suspect Araki ran out of time, or maybe just didn’t care enough. More Suzi Q, please!) And we see an older, grumpier, and apparently Japanese-hating Joseph at the very end, showing that amazingly, a Joestar *can* live to a ripe old age. This dovetails nicely with the start of the third arc, which takes place in Japan.

I enjoyed Battle Tendency a lot, more, I think, than the first part. It lacks a truly memorable villain like Dio, but Joseph is a lot more charismatic and likeable than Jonathan was. I look forward to seeing how Jotaro is different from both of them. I also look forward to less good-hearted Nazis in the next series. But above all, I hope we can top the vampire squirrels for hands thing, because that’s what JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, in the end, is all about.

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