No matter how many times I hear it and see it, I’m still stunned (in a good way) that a long running series from Japan has chosen a classic song from my teenage years that may have contributed to the creation of many millennials. Still, it’s no joke. The anime series “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” has chosen “Freek’N’ You” as the song to close their current story arc’s episodes.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (JJBA) is a long-running, successful manga series that has spawned over 100 million copies and is a media franchise that encompasses video games, action figures and snacks. The series is set in a fictional universe following the exploits of the Joestar family and their descendants throughout the years. The main character’s name would usually have the accompanying nickname “Jojo” and would end up embarking on outrageous adventures that involves the supernatural. The protagonist would get into a seemingly unwinnable predicament thanks to a temporary villain, but would somehow rise above it on his(her) way to eventually fight the story arc’s main bad guy.
The series is known for its creative and often humorous storytelling, graphic violence and colorful cast of characters. It’s also known for its “flamboyant” character and costume designs and poses that have said to have been inspired by Michelangelo’s sculptures, making it have a kind of male homosexual undertone even though the characters are seemingly straight. A large number of characters are named after or have names based on contemporary music artists and songs. As such, the anime’s ending theme song is an edited-for-time version of a popular song already recorded and distributed.
For instance, the ending theme song for the first and second story arcs (“Phantom Blood” and “Battle Tendency” respectively) is “Roundabout” by British band Yes. The ending for the first half of the third story arc (Stardust Crusaders) is “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles while the second half’s ending is “Last Train Home” by Pat Metheny’s Group. And the ending for the fourth story arc (“Diamond Is Unbreakable”) is “I Want You” by Australian group Savage Garden.
The fifth story arc entitled “Golden Wind”, or “Vento Aureo” in Italian, is currently airing in Japan with episodes presented on online anime sites like Crunchy Roll and VRV. The series continues the tradition of using once-popular songs as their ending themes. This time, they’ve chosen “Freek’N You” by Jodeci.
Yes, you heard that right. An R&B song is the ending theme for an anime.
I was shocked but smiling at the same time. I was also in such disbelief that I have to rewind and listen again to make sure I wasn’t hearing things. However, Japan is not closed off from the rest of the world. So, it’s not exactly as if some of its citizens haven’t heard of R&B or any of the songs of that genre. Still, for it to be used for a popular series like JJBA, it was a culture high.
The only gripe I have is that it seemed out of place with the show’s present gangster narrative. (The show is set in Italy. So, apparently you have to have an organized criminal element in there. *Sighs!*) A lot of Youtubers who are also aware of the series believe that the song should’ve been “Gangster’s Paradise” by Coolio. It makes sense. But some people like the song as the ending nonetheless while others beg to differ.
Anyway, it’s cool to me. Though some people see it as implied homosexuality as the music is juxtaposed with images of the characters in the ending sequence. But whatever, I like the series so far and the music.
Check it out below and hurry in case Youtube removes it.