Kiss the JoJo. Love the JoJo. Yes, get ready to be Joestar Struck.
I never got the point of dating sims and visual novels. It always seemed like a way to trick me into reading rather than a real game.
The recent surge in joke dating games did nothing to sway me either. Romancing pigeons in Hateful Boyfriend or John Cena in John Cena’s Sexy High School Adventure!!! didn’t hold much appeal apart from the initial joke.
On the other hand, I love every moment of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The incredibly popular manga series didn’t get a lot of play with western audiences until its phenomenal anime adaptation in 2012. This is thanks in part to nearly every character being named after a famous band, song or album (have fun copyright lawyers).
It wasn’t hard to see the appeal. Right off the bat, you’ve got some of the most unique and detailed character designs in all of animedom, courtesy of the probably immortal Hirohiko Araki. The stories are over the top, the fight scenes even more so, and every new series Araki burns down his old formula and tries again with something new.
Needless to say, when it did hit western shores, it created one of the largest, most enthusiastic and just plain insane fan bases in anime. And that’s saying something.
So, I wasn’t surprised when I heard rumours about Joestar Struck, a completely fan-made dating sim based on the show. But I was worried.
It’s easy to look at JoJo from the outside and see it as one big joke. The characters pose in blatantly impossible ways, Araki has a certain fondness for barely clothed hunks. The many many memes that highlight the series more insane moments don’t help either.
But having a dating sim that focuses on the bizarre aspects of the show might miss the adventure that ties it all together (I’m not even going to apologise for that one).
So that was the conflict I was feeling before going into this dating sim. Right now, it is still only at the demo stage. However, that was more than enough to feel out these issues. And the result?
I just might like dating sims.
A little bit of warning before we go any deeper. If you haven’t seen JoJo’s Bizzare Adventures, this isn’t a good introduction.
From the first paragraph, Joestar Struck is jammed with references, call-backs, and allusions to other characters from the series. It’s enough to make any fan immediately respect the creator’s knowledge and love of the show.
It is also completely self-indulgent. Most of the time it comes across as a really sappy fan-fic. And trust me, that’s a good thing. Within the one day that the demo covers, you’ll experience every cliché in romance anime. You’ll stumble into JoJo’s arms, blush as your hands accidentally touch and kiss as he tends to a cut on your hand. It would probably be too much if they hadn’t nailed the characters.
Unfortunately, the demo only has one kissable JoJo, Josuke Higashikata the protagonist from the fourth series. The developers, Team Scallywag, are planning on introducing the previous three protagonists as well and considering how well the first went, I’ve got high hopes for them.
Joestar Struck is slated for a full release in 2018. Until then, head on over to Team Scallywag’s site. Show them and JoJo some love.