THE FINAL COUNTDOWN; JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE EPISODES 23-24

[MMM] Jojo's Bizarre Adventure 24 - [118819ED]_Mar 31, 2013 10.05.00 AM

ILLEGENES: SHIT HAS HIT THE FAN IN JOJO. I KNOW WE ALL SAY THIS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER IN THE SHOW BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE SHIT IS ALWAYS HITTING THE FAN (WHICH IS CONSEQUENTIAL OF HOW AWESOME AND WELL PACED THIS SERIES IS) BUT WHEN YOU HAVE A SCENARIO LIKE THIS:

YOU’RE IN TROUBLE.

I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT THERE ARE TWO FUNDAMENTAL PARTS AS TO WHY THIS IS THE MOST DECISIVE AND IMPORTANT BATTLE OF BATTLE TENDENCY YET.

  • JOJO HAS PERSONAL STAKES HERE. HIS MOTHER (OR COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE BADASS LISA LISA)’S  LIFE IS NOW HUNG ON A BALANCE. LITERALLY.
  • JOJO COMES FACE TO FACE WITH HIS ULTIMATE FOIL, CARS – A MAN WHO COULD BE THE EXTREME VERSION OF JOJO, HAD JOJO NEVER GAINED HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FROM CAESAR, LISA LISA, SMOKEY, ERINA, ETC.

I’M GOING TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NUMBER ONE, WHILE WENDEEGO TAKES A LOOK AT NUMBER TWO. BUT FIRST, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHY LISA LISA IS SO IMPORTANT. WELL, IT’S RATHER SIMPLE, ISN’T IT? UNDERNEATH ALL THE RIDICULOUS AND CRAZY BATTLES JOJOS HAVE FACED IN THEIR LIVES, THERE IS A CERTAIN STRONG UNDERCURRENT THAT RUNS THROUGH.

IT’S CALLED, FAMILY MATTERS.

WE CAN TRACE THIS BACK (I SOUND LIKE A JOJO HISTORIAN) TO THE FIRST ARC WHEN THE FIRST JOJO IS LIT BY HIS DESIRE TO KILL DIO AND THE REST OF THE STONE MASKS DUE TO HIS FATHER’S DEATH. OVER TIME,  THE FIRST JOJO FORMED BONDS WITH HIS SENSEI (ZEPPELI), ERINA, AND  SPEEDWAGON. THEY BECAME REASONS FOR HIM TO FIGHT AS WELL. ZEPPELI EVEN SACRIFICED HIMSELF IN A BATTLE TO MAKE SURE JOJO WOULD MAKE IT OUT ALIVE, AND WHILE THEY WERE NEVER RELATED BY BLOOD, THERE WAS DEFINITELY A BOND BETWEEN THEM THAT COULD BE COMPARED TO A FAMILIAL ONE.  AND AS EXPLAINED IN THESE TWO EPISODES,  LISA LISA ISN’T EVEN RELATED TO ERINA AND THE JOESTAR FAMILY BY BLOOD, BUT IS AS IMPORTANT AS ONE, AS SHE MARRIES ERINA’S SON AND GIVES BIRTH TO JOJO. NOT ONLY DOES SHE GIVE UP HER LIFE AS A MARRIED AND HAPPY WOMAN WHEN SHE DECIDES TO SPEND THE REST OF HER DAYS TRYING TO FIGHT THE STONE MASKS, BUT SHE ALSO PROTECTS JOSEPH BY DOING SO.

WITH THAT IN MIND, IT’S ONLY NATURAL THAT JOJO GETS SERIOUSLY PISSED OFF WHEN LISA LISA IS HOOKED AND BOUND TO A ROPE, HUNG TO DIE. IT’S ALSO NATURAL THAT HE IS EVEN ANGRIER WHEN IN THE SHORT TIME, LISA LISA HAS BECOME SOMETHING LIKE FAMILY TO HIM. THE MAIN CATCH THOUGH IS THAT JOJO IS THE ONLY ONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW THAT LISA LISA IS HIS DEAR MOM.  WHICH IS INTERESTING, BECAUSE FAMILY HAS BEEN THE MAIN DRIVE FOR THE JOJO FAMILY FOR YEARS.  AND YET, IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER IF JOJO KNEW OR NOT. HE WOULD STILL BE PISSED OFF, AND HE WOULD STLIL TRY TO SAVE HER, REGARDLESS. (MAYBE HE WOULD BE A LITTLE ANGRIER? I DON’T KNOW)

IF THIS DOESN’T SPEAK VOLUMES ABOUT THE CENTRAL THEME OF JOJO, I DON’T KNOW WHAT DOES. JOSEPH JOESTAR MAY BE IMPULSIVE, OBNOXIOUS, EGOTISTICAL EVEN. BUT WHEN THE LIVES HE CARES ABOUT ARE ON THE LINE, HE LOSES THAT FARCE. OH, HE’S STILL IMPETUOUS. BUT THERE’S A CERTAIN SERIOUSNESS THERE, WHICH ENDS UP BEING HIS TRUMP CARD. WE KNOW THAT JOJO’S BEEN ON AN EDGE SINCE CAESAR’S DEATH, BUT IT IS LISA LISA’S LIFE THAT MAKES HIM TELL CARZZZZ THAT HE’S PASSED THE LINE. FAMILY DOES MATTER – WHETHER IT’S JUST A GROUP OF FRIENDS OR TEACHERS – AND THAT IS WHAT PUSHES JOJO AND WILL ULTIMATELY MAKE HIM WIN, ESPECIALLY WHEN CARZZZ LACKS THAT EXACT MOTIVE (SO MUCH FOR HONOR AND RESPECTING HIS COMRADES). IT ISN’T ABOUT THE MASKS, OR SAVING THE WORLD, OR GERMAN TECHNOLOGY. IT’S NOT EVEN REALLY ABOUT HONOR THIS TIME. IT’S ABOUT PROTECTING THE PEOPLE WHO YOU CARE THE MOST AND FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES AND THEIR SPIRITS. AND WHEREAS MOST OF JOJO HAS BEEN OVER-THE-TOP, IT IS THIS ASPECT WHICH IS THE MOST EMOTIONAL AND RAW, WHICH IS WHY THIS FINALE WILL BE THE MOST SATISFYING IN THE END, SINCE IT BRINGS THIS PART TO CENTER STAGE.  WITH THAT IN MIND, LET’S HAND THE MIC TO WENDEEGO, WHO’LL SPEAK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THIS SPECIAL DYNAMIC BETWEEN OUR ANTAGONIST AND PROTAGONIST.

WENDEEGO: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ANTAGONISTS OF JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE FOR A SECOND.

THE FIRST ARC HAD THE RELATIVELY SIMPLE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JONATHAN, A STALWART, GOODY TWO-SHOES OF A VICTORIAN PULP NOVEL HERO, AND HIS NEMESIS DIO, A DASTARDLY AND VAMPIRIC VILLAIN REMINISCENT OF THE AFOREMENTIONED PULP NOVELS. THESE CHARACTERS WERE ESSENTIALLY OPPOSITES, AND WHILE THERE WERE MOMENTS WHEN THE TWO CONNECTED–JONATHAN REMINISCING ABOUT HIS CHILDHOOD WITH DIO, DIO SHOWING JONATHAN RESPECT BY TRYING TO TAKE HIS BODY FOR HIMSELF–THEIR RELATIONSHIP WAS MORE OFTEN DEFINED BY ALL-OUT STRIFE.

THE SECOND ARC COMPLICATED MATTERS BY INTRODUCING MULTIPLE ANTAGONISTS, EACH RAISING THE STAKES IN DIFFERENT WAYS. STRAITS’S DEFECTION SET JOSEPH JONESTAR AGAINST VAMPIRES FOR THE FIRST TIME, SANTANA INTRODUCED THE PILLAR MEN AS A LEGITIMATE THREAT, AND THE TRIO OF CARS, WHAM AND AC/DC SERVED AS THE BIG BADS OF THE ARC HEADING TOWARDS THE GRAND FINALE. IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT TWO OF THESE THREE CHARACTERS ARE, SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH, DEFINED BY THEIR HUMANITY. AC/DC SACRIFICED HIS LIFE TO SEND LISA LISA’S RED STONE OF AJA TO HIS COMRADES, WHILE TIME AND TIME AGAIN WHAM EXPRESSED HIS RESPECT FOR THE FIGHTING ABILITY OF JOJO AND HIS COMRADES.

THIS LEAVES CARS, WHO AS WE FIND OUT IN THESE EPISODES IS KIND OF A DICK. IN COMPARISON TO AC/DC’S CAPACITY FOR SELF-SACRIFICE OR WHAM’S WARRIOR SPIRIT, CARS CARES FIRST AND FOREMOST FOR OBTAINING THE RED STONE OF AJA FOR HIMSELF. WHETHER HE GENUINELY CARES FOR HIS COMRADES IS UP IN THE AIR–I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY THAT HE DOES, IN THE END–BUT WHAT SEPARATES HIM FROM HIS FORMER ALLIES IS THAT CARS IS WILLING TO CHEAT. RATHER THAN FULFILL HIS PROMISE WITH WHAM AND ATTEMPT TO BEAT LISA LISA IN A FAIR FIGHT, HE INSTEAD STABS HER WHEN HER BACK IS TURNED AND THEN USES HER TO TORTURE JOSEPH AS BEST AS HE IS ABLE.

IN CASE THIS DOESN’T SOUND VAGUELY FAMILIAR TO YOU, CARS’S DISREGARD FOR RULES DIRECTLY PARALLELS JOSEPH’S. BOTH ARE PEOPLE WHO WIN MORE OFTEN THROUGH SLEIGHT-OF-HAND THAN THROUGH SHEER FORCE. BOTH WOULD RATHER RIG THE PLAYING FIELD THAN RISK A FIGHT VERSUS ADVERSARIES THEY COULD NOT POSSIBLY HOPE TO DEFEAT NORMALLY. THAT SAID, THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT SEPARATE THE TWO OF THEM. THE FIRST IS THAT WHILE JOSEPH TRICKS HIS ADVERSARIES IN ORDER TO LEVEL AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLY STEEP PLAYING FIELD, CARS FOOLS HIS OPPONENTS BECAUSE HE’S FRANKLY TOO LAZY TO EXERT AN HONEST EFFORT. IT ISN’T THAT CARS COULDN’T WIN AGAINST LISA LISA, IT’S JUST THAT HE WOULD MUCH RATHER EXERT THE MINIMUM OF EFFORT AND DISPOSE OF HER SOME OTHER WAY.

THE SECOND IS THAT JOSEPH HAS THE HEART THAT CARS LACKS. IN FACT, IT COULD BE SAID THAT CARS IS EXACTLY WHAT JOJO WOULD BE IF HE WASN’T A HUMAN BEING. THROUGHOUT THE SERIES, JOSEPH HAS CONSTANTLY ATTEMPTED TO FOOL EVERYONE AROUND HIM INTO BELIEVING HIMSELF TO BE NOTHING MORE THAN AN UNCARING, MISOGYNISTIC DANDY INCAPABLE OF TAKING ANYTHING SERIOUSLY. BUT WHAT’S TRULY AMAZING ABOUT JOSEPH IS THAT WHILE ON THE SURFACE HE COULDN’T BE MORE DIFFERENT THAN HIS GRANDFATHER, ON THE INSIDE HE IS EXACTLY THE SAME. AS MUCH AS JOSEPH WOULD LIKE TO PRETEND THAT HE JUST DOESN’T CARE, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE SERIES HE HAS GONE THE DISTANCE AT EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY. ALL IT TAKES FOR HIM IS TO TEAR OFF HIS JACKET AND EXPOSE HIS MASSIVE PECTORALS, AND YOU KNOW THAT JOSEPH MEANS BUSINESS. CONTRAST WITH CARS, WHO MOST DESIRES A TOOL THAT WOULD ALLOW HIM TO DEFEAT ANY ENEMY WITH THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM OF PAIN.

SEEN IN THIS LIGHT, CARS ISN’T SO MUCH AN EASY PARALLEL AS HE IS A BENCHMARK. HE’S EVIDENCE OF HOW FAR JOJO HAS COME SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE SERIES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE’S A REMINDER OF HOW JOJO REALLY DID CARRY HIS GRANDFATHER’S SPIRIT ALL ALONG. ALL THAT REMAINS IS THEIR FINAL SHOWDOWN, AND IF IT’S ANYTHING LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MANGA, IT’S GOING TO BE A DOOZY. LOOK FORWARDS TO IT!

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