Joseph Joestar, tears streaming from his eyes, empties a Tommy gun into the vampire who took his Great-Uncle and Narrator away from him, and towers over the smoking body. As the camera pans over Straits’ bullet-riddled form, a chord slowly fades in. Just as it reaches its peak, Joseph slams his foot down onto the shattered windowsill, and a sharp, deliberate guitar pluck cuts off the wall of sound, as if summoned by his dramatic footfall. The sudden drop in the music holds the tension of the scene within the guitar’s very strings; the distance between each strum becomes unbearable. All the while, Joesph delivers a passionate speech through his tears of rage, and as he finally makes his declaration of war against the immortal foe before him, the tension suddenly drops – as if to mimic Joseph’s powerful feeling of release, the guitar falls from its sparse, punctuating tone into a downward spiral of notes, and leads us, as choked-up and fired-up as JoJo, into the roaring bass of the Roundabout.
I think I’ve sufficiently explained the Roundabout part. But what about the Midnight?
Watching anime has always been, for me, a social experience. From watching with friends, to frequenting forums, to going to conventions, to attending clubs, to running clubs, to starting a blog, my entire history as an anime fan has been defined by the people I watched anime with. Heck, a large part of the reason I started this blog in the first place was to overcome the CRUSHING LONELINESS of graduating from school and moving away from all my regular anime buddies by reaching out to fellow anime lovers in the blogosphere. Even with my newfound ability to discuss anime through my blog and through Twitter, watching the actual shows by myself simply wasn’t the same. So you can bet that when I received an invitation to join a group of fellow bloggers in watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Hunter x Hunter every weekend at midnight-ish Saturday night, I had to go upstairs and apologize to my neighbors for the hole I made jumping through their floor.
It’s like my Saturday-afternoon anime club has come back to me. I get to kick back with some blogger bros and talk for hours on end about anime, Taco Bell, firing food out of guns, and other sweet nothings, and occasionally force ourselves to watch the two best shows of the season. This is the social anime watching I’ve always loved, even if it takes us about two hours to actually get around to pressing the play button, and even if I do end up staying awake until ungodly hours of the morning to do so.
And as though that wasn’t enough, within the next few weeks I joined a Sword Art Online watch/support group (“Hello, my name is Satchii, and I watch Sword Art Online”). There I got to chill with some more cool cats and bond over the shared trauma of each new episode as we made our way through the Alfheim Online arc, and laughing our way through the pain made it all so much more survivable. Through watching the show together, SAO managed to inadvertently spread to all of us its message of THE POWER OF INTERNET FRIENDSHIP.
But I promised myself I wouldn’t write about SAO anymore on this blog, so back to JoJos.
Watching JoJos by itself is a great enough experience on its own, but being able to watch it with a Skype chat full of friends amplifies it tenfold. The goofy comments we drop out of our love for the show. The occasional impromptu karaoke session with Roundabout. The unanimous “Oooooo”s and “YEAH”s and “OH NO”s and “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN”s. The moments of stunned silence that say more than any of us ever could.
To me, this is a huge part of what watching anime is all about. Get a bunch of crazy goofballs together, put them in front of some cartoons, and have a blast sharing the highs and lows of an activity we all love. The show itself is only half the fun, and when half the fun is as awesome as JoJos, you know you’re in for a good time. No matter how tough the rest of the week has been, I know that every Saturday, ’round about midnight, there will be a Skype chat full of great guys who are there to join me in refusing to grow up and enjoying some amazing anime together.
It’s been a great few months watching cartoons with you guys; here’s to a new year of sleep-deprived anime madness.