JoJo holds the record for Shueisha's second longest-running manga series. Originally in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1987 to 2004, during the run of its seventh installment it transferred to the monthly seinen magazine Ultra Jump. In May 2011, Ultra Jump published the first chapter of the current story, Part VIII: JoJolion. The series currently numbers over 100 volumes (for a total of ~20,000 pages).
Its genre spans Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Thriller/Suspense, Comedy, Mystery and Horror. It is perhaps most popularly known for its Stand phenomenon; the Stardust Crusaders arc and its characters and Dio and Jotaro Kujo; the expressive rendition of its proud, glamorous personalities; and its hundreds of nominal references to Western popular music.
Adding to the JoJo canon to varying degrees; Araki has authored several spin-offs and related artbooks; and several light novels have also been produced, all containing his illustrations.
The story in JoJo is divided between two universes. Detailed between 1987 and 2003, the first of these begins withPart I: Phantom Blood; featuring the tragic and bloody relationship between villain Dio Brando and hero Jonathan Joestar. Attrition between Jonathan's descendants (each identifiable as "JoJo") and their allies and Dio's followers characterizes a broad continuity to this series, which between 1880 and 2012 visits locales in England, the U.S., Italy and Japan.
Detailed from 2004 to the present, the second universe begins in analogous terms with Part VII: Steel Ball Run. Set in 1890, SBR focuses on the fierce competition between dual protagonists Gyro Zeppeli and Johnny Joestar and various other agents for the acquisition of an invaluable mystical object, under cover of the epic North American Steel Ball Run race. Leaping to the present day in Part VIII: JoJolion, obscure implications to this history are explored in increments along with the mystery of the protagonist's ultimate identity and the paranormal circumstances surrounding his adoptive hometown.
Chapters and arcs in JoJo are diverse in tone, contributing to a span of genres including Action, Adventure, Comedy, Thriller, Mystery, Horror and Supernatural fiction. The thrust of the plot is met by precarious, melodramatic interactions between individuals defined by supernatural power and conflicting ambitions, attitudes or moral standards, along with a race among the emergent heroes of a given arc to intercept a powerful central antagonist. The signature mechanic of the series is provided in the first two episodes by the Ripple, wielded in the trained human body, and the supernatural Stand power thereafter. Recurrent subjects in the text of the manga may be condensed under themes of Fate, Fortunity, Justice and Redemption. Hirohiko Araki, asked in 2006 to summarize JoJo in a phrase, answered "the enigma of human beings".
Many references to modern film, television, fashion, popular music and fine art are readily identifiable throughout JoJo in many settings and the characterization and nomenclature of the cast. Examples of physical, mathematical and psychological theory, biology, technology, mythology, natural phenomena, historic events, and segments of other artistic work inform the design and functionality of JoJo 's multitude of unique Stands. The series occasionally makes fanciful developments upon contemporary scientific theory in creation of the routes by which certain Stands and other powers exert an influence on nature.
In Part IV, the Arrow, manifesting latent Stand abilities, travels throughout Morioh, Japan; as high schooler Josuke Higashikata (illegitimate son of Joseph) and friends seek out the culprits of a series of homicides.
Beginning a new continuity; in the U.S. in 1890, Part VII follows Gyro Zeppeli, master in a mystic art named the Spin, and Johnny Joestar, a paraplegic ex-jockey, as they compete with a vast number of others in the Steel Ball Run race: A mad-dash across America for a grand prize of 50 million dollars.
Part VIII begins in 2011 and follows Josuke Higashikata, a young man afflicted by retrograde amnesia, on his search to uncover his identity in Morioh, a coastal Japanese town affected by the Tohoku earthquake.