Finally, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is done, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you didn’t know that because Netflix’s binge-watching model and its handling of the anime’s promotion has circumvented any hype and online discussion for it. And now I’m worried about the fate of its sequel arc, Steel Ball Run.
Last year, Netflix announced it would have exclusive streaming rights for Stone Ocean, the sixth saga in the series. The upside to the announcement was that the streamer would simultaneously release the English version at the same time as the Japanese one. Normally, English dubs come out weeks after the original Japanese airs. Now that we’ve reached the end of the rainbow of Stone Ocean, it’s clear Netflix’s batch binge-watch release of the anime cheapened the journey.
Netflix releasing Stone Ocean under its binge model is tantamount to the Marvel Cinematic Universe midnight-releasing the entirety of its phase three films on Disney+ with only a handful of social media posts promoting it. While it’s nice to have all of its episodes readily available all at once, it stifled any excitement for its “monster of the week” formula. Fights used to be something I could recollect with ease to friends by naming the villain and their stand power. But Stone Ocean’s binge-watching release transformed its once-memorable villains and stand powers into an amalgam of forgettable blokes.
This also robbed the dramatic weight of protagonist Jolyne’s perilous battles both inside and outside Green Dolphin Street Prison since the streamer would autoplay the next episode before I could fully digest and appreciate the wacky antics and clever strategies the heroes had executed to narrowly eke out a victory. It’s a shame because the online discussions previous arcs generated under weekly release schedules feel non-existent with Stone Ocean.
Stone Ocean’s anime release held a special place in my heart by merit of it being the only arc with a female protagonist and majority-female cast of “Jo-bros.” Stone Ocean is also arguably the most emotionally resonant arc and carries a great deal of weight for the direction of the rest of the series.
Other anime have been thriving this year as their weekly episodes generate discussions and theories among fans amid hype for next week’s episode, “Bleach Mondays” and “Chainsaw Man Tuesdays” being prime examples. “JoJo Fridays,” JJBA’s own fan-designated day of fanfare which gained popularity with its prior season, Golden Wind, used to be when fans would partake in their own online merriment with the show, but that too has become a thing of the past under Netflix’s release model.
Whether you’re a new or old-head JJBA fan, I encourage you to take your time watching Stone Ocean. And should Netflix have streaming exclusivity over Steel Ball Run, I pray it releases its episodes weekly so fans can enjoy its adventure at a steady horse’s trot instead of a mad-dash sprint toward the finish line.