JOJO AND THE INFINITE SADNESS; JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE EPISODES 18-20

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure 19 - [ADCC7C04]_Feb 26, 2013 7.24.14 PM

ILLEGENES: HEY THERE, WE’RE SORRY FOR THE DELAY, BUT WELCOME BACK TO A NEW ROUND OF JOJO VS THE PILLAR MEN, FEAT. ALL CAPS BECAUSE WE THOUGHT BRAWN > BRAIN, BUT WAIT, THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN IN JOJO, DOES IT?

(THIS IS ALSO THE PART WHERE I PUT A DISCLAIMER SAYING THAT IN NO WAY ARE WE REALLY LIKE FILM CRITIC HULK, WE JUST ADMIRE HIS WAYS AND YOU SHOULD TOO.)

WENDEEGO IS GOING TO TALK ABOUT EPISODE 20 IN A BIT, BUT FIRST I’D LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT EPISODE 18 AND 19 AND HOW ALMOST PERFECT THEY WERE. EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT SUZIE Q WAS POSSESSED BY AC DC (REFER BACK TO CAESAR’S METHOD IN EPISODE 14) WHICH STILL BOTHERED ME, EVERYTHING ELSE WAS PRETTY MUCH FABULOUS.

HOW SO, YOU ASK? WELL FOR STARTERS, I DO LIKE THE IDEA THAT THESE MEN CAN HOLD RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER WHILE BATTLING THEIR GUTS OUT. JOJO HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF OVERDRAMATIC SHOUNEN RATHER THAN BREAKING THEM – A STYLE THAT REQUIRES RESTRAINT IN SOME AREAS BUT NEWFOUND METHODS IN OTHERS, AND IT’S HERE THAT WE SEE THEM. THE FACT THAT ACDC, FOR INSTANCE, RESPECTS HIS COMRADES TO THE POINT THAT IN DEATH, WILL SEND THEM THE AMULET SO THAT THEY CAN ACHIEVE THEIR GOAL…..WITHOUT HIM.

IT’S A WEIRD FEELING TOO. WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GET SENTIMENTAL ABOUT THE BAD GUYS, AND IN MOST (I KEEP REFERRING TO DBZ HERE, SORRY) SHOWS, WE JUST STICK THE “THIS GUY IS EVIL” SIGN ON THE DUDE AND FROM THEN ON OUT, WE JUST DON’T CARE ABOUT HIM. BUT THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THAT JOJO HAS MADE US FEEL AT LEAST THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF SYMPATHY FOR AN ANTAGONIST, AND IT DOES A GOOD JOB. DOES THIS MEAN I LIKE ACDC? I DON’T REALLY LIKE ANY BRAIN MONSTER WHO USES A WOMAN BECAUSE SHE’S A WOMAN FOR BATTLE, BUT I DO ADMIRE HIS COURAGE, AND IN THE END, THAT’S WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO – COMRADES, HONOR, AND COURAGE. SAYS THE SAME FOR JOJO AND CAESAR, WHO HAVE BECOME A MUCH MORE SYNCHRONIZED DUO THAN BEFORE, AS THEY USE THEIR TRAINING FROM THE PHALLIC OIL WEIRD TRIAL AND MANAGE TO SHRED ACDC INTO PIECES WITHOUT LAYING A FINGER ON SUZY Q.

ALSO, [CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT]

I KNO RITE, WHEN DID THEY BECOME THIS GOOD??????

I’VE NEVER REALLY BEEN TOO SURE ABOUT HOW PHYSICS WORKS IN THE WORLD OF JOJO, BUT…WELL, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING IS FABULOUS MAX SO WHATEVER

THIS IS THEN PROVED AGAIN IN EPISODE 19, WHEN JOJO COMES FACE TO FACE WITH CARZZZZZ, WHO IS BENT ON BEATING SOMEONE UP FOR ACDC’S DEATH, AND YET RESPECTS JOJO ENOUGH TO LEAVE HIM ALONE SO HE CAN BATTLE HIM ONE ON ONE NEXT TIME. THE FIGHT IN THE ABYSS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST COOL THINGS TO COME OUT OF THE SHOW TOO, BUT THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT. WHILE DIVING FOR 20 SECONDS INSTEAD OF 5 (SAY IT WITH ME  – PHYSICS!!!!) THE TWO MEN MANAGE TO GRAPPLE THEIR WAY THROUGH ONE ANOTHER WITH ICICLES,  SCYTHES, AND RIPPLE AND STILL COME AT A STANDPOINT TO WHERE THEY ACKNOWLEDGE ONE ANOTHER AS EQUAL OPPONENTS. DO THEY WANT TO KILL EACH OTHER? YES. BUT THEY ALSO REALLY RESPECT ONE ANOTHER. I THINK THAT’S WHAT MAKES CAESAR’S DEATH EVEN MORE TRAGIC, BECAUSE WHAM EVEN SAYS THAT IN LIFE, ALL HE LOOKS FOR IS A WORTHY OPPONENT, AND THAT CAESAR REALLY FULFILLED THAT ROLE FOR HIM.

BUT GOING BACK TO EPISODE 19 – REALLY, HOW COOL WAS THIS BATTLE? IT WAS AS IMPRESSIVE AND DIFFERENT THAN THE ONES WE’VE SEEN, BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN, IT RELIES ON WITS, WHICH IS JUST SO IMPRESSIVE IN JOJO. BECAUSE AS RIDICULOUS AS THESE STUNTS CAN GET, THEY STILL BEAT THE CLICHE “I AM MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU MWAHAHA” IDEAL THAT WE’VE SEEN USED LIKE A BLUNT INSTRUMENT IN OTHER SHOUNEN (COUGH BLEACH COUGH), OVER AND OVER AGAIN. AND THAT’S PUSHING A BOUNDARY, IF NOTHING ELSE.

IT SEEMS LIKE JOJO HAS THE ADVANTAGE UNTIL CARZZZZ USES HIS WEIGHT TO PREVENT HIS RIPPLE FROM HOLDING HIM TO THE ICICLES,

CARZZZZZ WHO THEN PROCEEDS TO KICK HIM AWAY, BUT….

JOJO U MAGNIFICENT JERK AND UR JAZZ HANDS!!!

I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT, AS I REALLY NEVER DO WHEN IT COMES TO JOJO, BUT I CAN SAY THAT IT’S BEEN A WONDERFUL AND FABULOUS MAX RIDE THROUGHOUT. WITH 5 EPISODES LEFT, TWO PILLAR MEN TO KILL, AND A WORLD TO SAVE, WE’RE BOUND TO GET THE REALLY GREAT FIGHTS NOW, AND I’M REALLY CURIOUS TO SEE HOW JOJO WILL SPEAK/FIGHT/DANCE/POSE HIMSELF OUT OF THESE FUTURE PREDICAMENTS. BUT FOR NOW, IT’S TIME TO HAND THE MIC TO MY HONORABLE MASTER-IN-CAPS COMRADE, WENDEEGO!

WENDEEGO: WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW A DIRTY SECRET? THE TRUTH IS, WHILE I VAGUELY REMEMBERED THAT CAESAR DIED IN THE MANGA, I FORGOT HOW AND WHEN HE DIED. I HAD AN INKLING THAT SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY BAD WAS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS EPISODE, BUT I’M HAPPY/HORRIFIED TO SAY THAT JOJO DELIVERED. NOT ONLY IS THIS ONE OF THE STRONGEST EPISODES IN THE SERIES, BUT IT’S ALSO PROOF THAT

1. DAVID PRODUCTION KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE DOING.

2. HIROHIKO ARAKAI KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK HE IS DOING.

3. TAKU IWASAKI KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK HE IS DOING.

WITH THAT IN MIND, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHY THIS EPISODE WRECKED HAVOC ACROSS THE BLOGOSPHERE AND CAUSED FULL-GROWN MEN AND WOMEN TO SOB LIKE BABIES. ITS NOT RIPPLE MARTIAL ARTS, IT’S SCIENCE!!!

POINT THE FIRST: DAVID PRODUCTION KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE DOING

AS STYLISH AS JOJO HAS CONSISTENTLY BEEN (AND AS GREAT AS IT IS TO HAVE ROUNDABOUT AS THE ED) THERE’S NO DENYING THAT THE SHOW’S BUDGET IS OBVIOUSLY PRETTY LOW. I’VE READ AT LEAST ONE PERSON CALL JOJO OUT FOR BEING MORE MOTION COMIC THAN AN ACTUAL ANIMATED SERIES, AND WHILE I’D LOVE IT IF THE SHOW WAS GIVEN A MUCH HIGHER BUDGET I THINK IT’S A LITTLE CRUEL TO BLAME DAVID PRODUCTION FOR THIS. JOJO MIGHT BE ONE OF THE LONGEST-RUNNING SHONEN MANGA IN HISTORY WITH A MASSIVE CULT FANBASE, BUT IT’S A LOT WEIRDER AND GORIER THAN STUFF LIKE NARUTO AND BLEACH WHILE–TO BE BLUNT–NOT HAVING NEARLY ENOUGH MOE APPEAL TO DRAW IN THE TYPICAL BLURAY-SPLURGING ANIME FAN. THE FACT THAT THIS SERIES IS BEING MADE AT ALL IS A MIRACLE, AND THAT DAVID PRODUCTION, A PRETTY LOW-BUDGET ANIME STUDIO AS IT IS, ARE TAKING A CHANCE ON SOMETHING THAT IS LIKELY NONPROFITABLE AND THROWING EVERYTHING THEY HAVE INTO THE RING IN THE BARGAIN SHOULD SPEAK TO THE AMOUNT OF PASSION THAT’S OBVIOUSLY BEEN INVESTED INTO THIS PROJECT.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHILE IT’S TEMPTING TO THINK THAT JOJO SPENT THE MAJORITY OF THEIR BUDGET ON THE OPS AND LICENCING ROUNDABOUT, THIS EPISODE IS A PRETTY GOOD REPRESENTATION ABOUT HOW DISTRIBUTING BUDGET INTELLIGENTLY CAN MASSIVELY INCREASE THE IMPACT OF A SINGLE EPISODE, ESPECIALLY WHEN COUPLED WITH REALLY GOOD MATERIAL. NOT ONLY IS THE FIGHT SCENE BETWEEN CAESAR AND WHAM IN THIS EPISODE PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST IN THE SERIES, BUT THE ANIMATION IS CORRESPONDINGLY BETTER AS WELL. THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT THE ANIMATION IS FANTASTIC OR EVEN ENTIRELY SMOOTH, BUT THE FACT THAT IT’S JUST THAT MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT’S COME PREVIOUSLY, COUPLED WITH THE STYLE ON DISPLAY, IMMEDIATELY SIGNIFIES TO THE VIEWER THAT THE WHEELS ARE TURNING AT LAST. THAT SHIT IS GOING DOWN. POINT: CAESAR’S DEATH IS PRETTY TRAGIC IN ITSELF BUT THE ANIMATION GOES QUITE A LONG WAY IN GIVING IT AN ADDITIONAL OOMMPH.

IF THIS WASN’T HEARTBREAKING ENOUGH, LOOK AT THE DAMN CROSS

POINT THE SECOND: HIROHIKO ARAKI KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK HE IS DOING

LET’S COMPARE CAESAR’S DEATH TO ZEPPELLI’S FOR A MOMENT. BOTH ARE DOOMED BY FATE OR CIRCUMSTANCE TO DIE TRAGICALLY; ZEPPELLI KNOWS FROM THE MOMENT HE WALKS INTO THE CASTLE THAT HE WILL DIE FIGHTING TARKUS, AND CAESAR IS SO BLINDED BY HIS NEED TO DEFEAT THE PILLAR MEN AND AVENGE HIS FATHER THAT HE LETS HIS GUARD DOWN AT A CRUCIAL MOMENT. BOTH DEATHS FORM THE EMOTIONAL LYNCHPIN OF THEIR RESPECTIVE ARCS, STRENGTHENING THE RESOLVE OF THAT ARC’S JOJO JUST BEFORE THE FINAL BATTLE. JONATHAN LITERALLY INHERITED HIS MASTER’S POWER AND BECAME STRONGER FOR IT, WHILE IT’S MORE LIKELY THAT CAESAR’S DEATH WILL BE THE TRIGGER THAT WILL TRANSFORM JOESEPH FROM HAPPY-GO-LUCKY TRICKSTER INTO AVENGING HERO. FINALLY, ZEPPELLI’S AND CAESAR’S DEATHS IMMEDIATELY INDICATE TO THE VIEWER THAT ANYONE CAN DIE, WHETHER THEY BE COMRADE, VILLAIN OR EVEN (IN JONATHAN’S CASE) THE MAIN CHARACTER.

[MORE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT]

CAESAR AND ZEPPELLI’S DEATHS ARE ALSO RELATED. SO THE QUESTION IS, IF THESE TWO MOMENTS ARE SO SIMILAR IN SO MANY WAYS, WHY IS IT THAT CAESAR’S DEATH HITS JUST AS HARD, IF NOT HARDER? IT COULD BE THAT WE KNOW CAESAR FOR LONGER, AND SO FEEL SORRY FOR HIM WHEN HE DIES. IT COULD BE THAT HIS DEATH HAS AN ADDED ELEMENT OF TRAGEDY IN THAT RATHER THAN BEING FATED TO DIE AGAINST WHAM, HE DIED DUE TO HIS OWN ERROR. WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, THOUGH, I THINK THE CRUCIAL FACTOR MIGHT BE THAT NOT ONLY IS CAESAR’S DEATH THEMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM ZEPPELLI’S, BUT IT DEMONSTRATES AN EVOLUTION IN ARAKI’S WRITING ABILITIES. ZEPPELLI’S DEATH WAS HEARTBREAKING, BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT WAS A NECESSARY PART OF THE STORY: THE STUDENT MUST OVERCOME HIS MASTER IF HE IS TO TRULY BECOME AN ADULT. CAESAR’S DEATH, ON THE OTHER HAND, FEELS POINTLESS. A WASTE OF POTENTIAL. WERE THINGS TO TURN OUT JUST A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY, HE COULD HAVE DEFEATED WHAM AND EVEN CARS AS WELL. NOBODY ELSE WOULD HAVE TO DIE. BUT WHAM GOT LUCKY FOR LITERALLY A SECOND, AND IN JUST A MOMENT EVERYTHING WAS UNDONE! CAESAR WAS TORN TO PIECES, WHAM WAS GIVEN EXTRA TIME TO HEAL HIS WOUNDS AND PREPARE FOR THE NEXT ENCOUNTER, AND A POSSIBLE ACE IN THE HOLE AGAINST CARS WAS CRUSHED INTO NOTHING. GRANTED, CAESAR TORE THE RING FROM WHAM’S NOSE AND SENT IT TO JOJO. BUT JOJO’S STRONG ENOUGH BY THIS POINT THAT GIVEN ENOUGH TIME, HE PROBABLY COULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING BY HIMSELF.

THAT SAID, IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT BOTH ZEPPELLI AND CAESAR DIE ON THEIR OWN TERMS. ZEPPELLI PERISHES SO THAT HIS STUDENT CAN LIVE ON, WHILE CAESAR FORSAKES HIS QUEST FOR REVENGE IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE THAT HIS FRIEND WILL SURVIVE. IN FACT, IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT CAESAR ACTUALLY RECEIVES A BETTER DEAL THAN HIS GRANDFATHER: HIS DEATH MIGHT BE AN ACCIDENT RATHER THAN FATE, BUT AT LEAST IT’S CLEAR UPON HIS DEATH THAT HIS EXPERIENCES HAVE MADE HIM GROW AS A PERSON. HE’S NOT THE CAESAR HE STARTED AS, AND THAT MAKES HIS DEATH EVEN MORE POIGNANT.

POINT THE THIRD: TAKU IWASAKI KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK HE IS DOING

OKAY, TAKU IWASAKI. I’LL ADMIT THAT WHILE I FOR THE MOST PART ENJOYED YOUR COMPOSITIONS FOR JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE, I DIDN’T THINK THAT IT WAS QUITE YOUR BEST WORK. BUT THE OPERA MUSIC THAT YOU DEPLOYED IN THE LAST FEW MINUTES OF THIS EPISODE LITERALLY KILLED US. ZEPPELLI’S TURNING TO FACE HIS DEATH TO THE SOUND OF “ROUNDABOUT” WAS AMAZINGLY EFFECTIVE BEFORE, BUT THIS WAS FLAT-OUT SUBLIME. THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT IT WAS AT ALL SUBTLE–DESPITE ITS MANY STRENGTHS, JOJO IS NOT SUBTLE–BUT THE MUSIC, COUPLED WITH JOJO’S INCREDULITY AND LISA LISA’S DESPAIR, MAY HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE HIGHEST POINTS OF THE WHOLE SERIES THUS FAR. THEN BLOOD BEGAN TO TRICKLE FROM UNDER THE GIANT CROSS-SHAPED BOULDER WHERE CAESAR WAS BURIED, AND THEN THE MUSIC CLIMAXED AND IT WAS CLEAR IN THAT MOMENT THAT ATTEMPTING TO LABEL THE SIGNATURE MOMENT OF JOJO’S SECOND ARC IS HONESTLY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. EVERY TIME YOU THINK THE SHOW’S PEAKED, IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER. AND TRUST ME: HAVING READ THE MANGA, WITH ONLY A FEW MORE EPISODES TO GO, THERE’S MORE FANTASTIC STUFF YET TO COME. THE NEXT EPISODE IS GOING TO BE A DOOZY.

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