Most people don't like Jonathan because when they read through the other parts of Jojo, mainly part 3 and onwards, they begin to realize that he isn't as developed or fully utilized as the other Jojos. The others had their quirks and smart moments, while Jonathan seemed more talented at screaming "THIS IS UNFORGIVABLE, DIO!!!!!" and punching bad guys.
Not that I dislike Jonathan, he's unique in his own way too.
As for if you should skip Stardust Crusaders. DON'T
I understand where you're coming from with the whole "not using the ripple anymore" thing, and most people are driven away from this part onwards due to the absence of fighting with ripples but in my opinion, stands are SO SO much better.
There's only so much one can do with the ripple, and stands provide a HUGE amount of variety in stand fights, strategies as well as abilities to see and experience. It's a joy to watch Jotaro and his friends defeat their enemies with all kinds of different amazing powers. If you don't like the use of stands, you're not going to like any of the other parts of Jojo after Stardust, because until the third part, where Old man Joseph still makes his appearance as part of Jotaro's team, part four onwards has no ripple WHATSOEVER. Part three still has ripple use here and there, though it isn't the main focus.
So yeah, that's my main recommendation.
Well, your description of Stand battles got me sold on it, though there are a few more questions before diving in:
- Is it safe to say that Stands can be considered a "partner/buddy/accomplice" of the characters who have them?
- On a related note, do Stands have their own personality/quirks, or is it just based on the person who has them?
- Are Stands somehow related to the Ripple?
I guess I'll be taking a look at Stardust Crusaders
, then. (As soon as I'm done with the remaining shows from the Spring 2015 season and the redo of the Aquamarine final round.)