What makes for a great character in an action anime series? A hero should be someone who is brave, charming, tough, and has noble goals and aspirations. A lead character is also often the underdog, facing a villain or societal forces far beyond their power. A lead often relies on their wits and resourceful side to prevail.
This is true in a lot of Shonen action anime, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is no different. Some of the heroes in this beloved anime are clever and tricky, and that helps them triumph over even the toughest of foes. And smart villains are cunning and brilliant, making them a truly worthy foe. But some characters aren't so bright, and they're often the minions or sidekicks to more prominent characters. Who are the smartest characters in JoJo, and who are not the sharpest knives in the drawer?
10 Smartest: Josuke Higashikata
Like Yu Yu Hakusho's Yusuke of Bleach's Ichigo Kurosaki, Josuke Higashikata is a punk with a good heart, and the star of Diamond is Unbreakable. While Josuke is a tough stand user, he's also a smart kid, and he makes the most of his stand, Crazy Diamond. Its power is to repair things, and Josuke can use that in all kinds of ways. Crazy Diamond can break a wall to allow Josuke to escape a bad guy, then fix the wall behind him. Or, Josuke can find a piece of a fleeing enemy and repair it, so the item chases after the villain to reattach itself. That, and Josuke can figure out a battle plan for just about any situation, and he sees the solution before anyone else does. He's got good eyes and good instincts.
9 Least smart: Jean Pierre Polnareff
Not to say that Polnareff is a total dimwit — what a lousy thing to say — but he's better off as a companion than as the leader of an expedition. While this friendly Frenchman has some serious skills with his stand, Silver Chariot, Polnareff's smarts are limited to the full applications of his stand's own power. He often gets lost or confused during his journey to DIO's lair with Jotaro and the others, and he often falls into, or nearly falls into, all kinds of traps or other dangers. Polnareff would have met an early end many times if it weren't for his companions. Please be more careful, Polnareff!
8 Smartest: Joseph Joestar
Like father, like son, as they say. Josuke is a brilliant kid in battle, and his elderly father Joseph is much the same. We meet him in Battle Tendency, set in 1938, and this trickster hero can find the path to victory in any tough situation. He can even take on the Pillar Men as an equal, and in his chariot duel with Wamuu, he used some careful calculations of angles and momentum to strike Wamuu from unexpected angles. Later, Joseph also became a successful real estate agent, and he and his wife Suzie Q lived in an upscale apartment in New York City.
7 Least smart: Narancia Ghirga
Narancia is the brat of Bucciarati's gangster group, and when he first meet him, Narancia makes a terrible first impression. He's getting math lessons from Fugo, and he botches multiplication problems that any third-grader could handle. Narancia's never the brains of Bucciarati's group, instead taking orders and using his stand, Aerosmith, the way others need him to. And when Talking Head implanted itself in his mouth, forcing him to say the opposite of what he means, Narancia really struggled to explain his situation or tip off his friends.
6 Smartest: Rohan Kishibe
Morioh is home to a famed manga artist: the young but brilliant Rohan Kishibe. We witness his artistic genius firsthand, and despite being in his twenties, he's made it big in the manga world. On top of that, Rohan collects many books and can study the properties of just about anything, seamlessly fitting them into his art. He also makes good use of his stand, Heaven's Door, to quickly study a person's life and recreate them as a manga character. And he can use Heaven's Door to alter a person's behavior with writing. Rohan never fails to make the most of this. Don't forget that time he outwitted the janken kid to psych him into losing that simple game.
5 Least smart: Dario Brando
Some characters might be ranked among the least intelligent in their franchise simply because they never show any real cunning or ingenuity, or they lack sophistication. Dio's cruel and repulsive father, Dario, is little more than an impoverished drunkard, and it is his son who goes on to bring about the Joestar family's downfall for a time. Dario has a minimal role in the story, and he does little more than show what a lousy parent he is, fueling Dio's rage and desire to become a great being at all costs.
4 Smartest: Iggy
Aesop's Fables isn't the only place where you'll find talking animals. In the second half of Stardust Crusaders, we meet Iggy, one of the few animals to use a stand — The Fool, in this case. This hound is brilliant enough to talk and integrate into human society, not to mention fight an extended duel against a deadly, stand-wielding bird that guarded DIO's lair in Cairo. Iggy was the one who zeroed in on DIO's lair, and he escaped many fatal blows from the guardian bird, surviving to help Polnareff fight Vanilla Ice later. Man's best friend, indeed.
3 Least smart: Okuyasu Nijimura
As far as Okuyasu's big brother Keicho is concerned, Okuyasu's stand, The Hand, is wasted on him, since Okuyasu is a bit dim. In fact, poor Okuyasu is used to Keicho making all the decisions for him, and Okuyasu struggles with taking the initiative on his own. So, once he joins the good guys, he becomes Josuke's partner and follows Josuke's lead. Okuyasu is rash and does not think things through, and tends to miss critical observations. Still, he's a tough fighter, and if his life is on the line, he can figure out some clever battle tricks. He did this a few times, such as when he fought the enemy stand known as Red Hot Chili Pepper.
2 Smartest: Daniel J. D'Arby
The older of the two D'Arby brothers, Daniel is the user of Osiris, a quite insidious stand. If anyone loses a bet or game with him, their soul is absorbed into poker chips. And to show his skill, D'Arby has quite a collection of them. But Osiris does not help D'Arby actually win the games; he does it through sheer skill and fine motor control. He knows how to handle a deck of cards like a pro, and he can use a number of borderline cheats to tilt a game in his favor. It took the incredible mind games of Jotaro to finally put a stop to his rampage.
1 Least smart: Carne
This is a minor villain in Golden Wind whose stand, Notorious BIG, had much more screen time than he did. What did he do? Carne approached Giorno's group as they were preparing to board a plane, and he refused to stop when Mista warned him at gunpoint. Carne was shot dead... but his stand lived on, fighting all alone. Still, this doesn't say much about Carne's intellect. He's little more than a suicide bomber of sorts, whose only action is to let himself get killed. That's not the most impressive battle strategy, and his appearance doesn't suggest "genius" either. If he's got a cunning or brilliant side after all, well... there's no hint of it.