One thing the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series is known for is its willingness to use radical shifts in how things are colored from scene-to-scene. The effect is certainly striking, and there aren’t many other anime series that utilize such a style, but what led to Jojo utilizing it so well?

The unique shifts in color palette are largely associated with the anime, but it’s something of a mark of the franchise as a whole. The use of different palettes actually goes back to the manga’s earliest days, when Jojo‘s creator Hirohiko Araki would do color pages or cover illustrations for collected volumes of the series. Even in these few images, though, the color palette for the characters would be different from image to image. In an interview with the Anime News Network in 2017, Araki stated that he did this because he wanted to “put more emphasis on giving readers different feelings and impressions through different color combinations.”

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Using Color in the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Anime

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Polnareff's standard color palette (left) and a shift (right)

Of course, when it came time to adapt Jojo into its now long-running anime series, the creators behind the anime were under no obligation to keep the unusual coloring. Still, the color shifts are such an established part of the series at this point that leaving them out would’ve felt wrong. Instead, the creators decided to take inspiration from how Araki would color, and used a set of approved palettes for the color shift scenes. Naokatsu Tsuda, the creative director for the anime, mentioned in a 2017 interview at Anime Boston (archived on Jojowiki) that they wanted to maintain the shifting color schemes not only for its uniqueness, but also to honor the fact that most long-time fans of the series read it in black and white, and could only imagine what colors everything would be. Since everyone would imagine that a little differently, having various different color schemes would give more fans a chance to see their favorite Jojo characters animated as they once imagined them.

Both Araki and Tsuda’s reasons for the color schemes are interesting, and perfectly valid creative choices. While many creators would play with lighting to adjust the mood of a scene, Araki’s color shifts in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure accomplish the same thing in a striking, stylized manner that’s the perfect fit for Jojo. In the anime, the color palette shifts are often associated with moments where the characters are a bit unsure of themselves, be they hero or villain, and the visual information of the colors changing instantly conveys that sense of uncertainty to the audience.

Though fans may not always realize it, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s use of color plays a big role in what makes the series what it is, and helps to give it the unique feel that it has.

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Source(s): Jojowiki, Anime News Network

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