JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Episode 15

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Recap: Jojo and Caesar attempt to fight the new Pillar Men.

Iro’s Thoughts:
As you might expect, since the Pillar Men have only just awakened, our heroes get their asses handed to them. Caesar takes point with his bubble attack, but is easily defeated by Wham, the most martially skilled of the trio of ancient creatures. Joseph manages to land a lucky shot with his new super-secret-special-move, Cracker Volley, but this functionally just annoys the Pillar Man – Joseph is handily defeated as well, though not without piquing the interest of the villains. As an honorable warrior, Wham allows Joseph one month to live in which to train his Ripple prowess, at which point they will fight again. He and ACDC also somehow stick rings of poison into Jojo’s body, giving him a hard time limit: either win in a month’s time and consume the antidotes held on their persons, or die a painful death. Time to find a Ripple teacher.

This episodes runs into a problem that’s been pretty common in JoJo as a whole, but particularly so in the Battle Tendency arc. As you may notice, Joseph likes to whip out goofy, complicated strategies; while these can be easily explained in a single manga page via diagram or dialogue box or whatever, they take much longer when they have to be spoken aloud in anime format. As a result, the fights can end up seeming slow and tedious. Half the episode was supposed to take place over a minute’s time, regardless of the amount of dialogue spouted – we’re talking Dragonball Z levels of ludicrous time dilation here.

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Zigg’s Thoughts:
Got to agree with Iro here, this episode takes what should be a cool fight and just sort of stretches it out so much that it drags into tediousness. Normally JoJo is able to overcome this typical shonen problem by keeping the situations and dialogue silly and amusing, but despite some decent attempts at that here there’s no disguising the relative paucity of action to pad the running time.  Instead there’s a lot of posturing, a lot of dancing around the point and a lot of the characters proclaiming how strong they are, perhaps my least favourite anime habit.

It’s disappointing that Caesar is removed from the battle so quickly and effectively left to sit on the sidelines. I’m sure we’ll get the chance to see him and JoJo team up to kick ass before too long, but after his fantastic introduction it feels like a pretty severe downgrade for his character, while Speedwagon just resumes his Phantom Blood role of gasping at everything and explaining what it means to the viewer. There’s definitely some cool stuff to be found – JoJo’s cracker attack splitting open Wham’s head for example – but it feels too thinly spread, showing for the first time a struggle to successfully adapt the source material.  Probably the high point of this episode is the ending, where Wham and ACDC set a hard limit on the time JoJo has left in a delightfully twisted way. With a new character being introduced next week, I have to hope JoJo can regain the lost momentum and get back to its prior level of entertainment.

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Gee’s Thoughts:
Huzzah! We finally get to see Joseph and Caesar take on the Pillar Men. Oh wait, it’s only the beginning of the arc, so they get their asses handily beaten. As if to add insult to injury, the fight isn’t even that great. While a rather entertaining scene in the manga, Joseph’s failed tactics against Wham come off as a little too stretched out. I feel like they could’ve easily fit in a little more content into this episode with little issue.

Still, it’s classic Jojo, as Joseph screws around far more than he probably should, Caesar fails to do anything useful yet, and Speedwagon resumes his role from Part 1; shouting, being afraid, and narrating the events for us. Still, with Wham and AC/DC’s lethal time limit set on Joseph to ensure that his tricks don’t work on the Pillar Men again, we have your classic Shonen time limit before the big climactic fight. It’s time for a training arc!

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