JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Episode 16

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Recap: Jojo and Caesar begin their ripple training under the mysterious Lisa Lisa.

Iro’s Thoughts:
With the Wham and ACDC’s poison rings in Jojo’s body, there’s only one option left: crazy Ripple training! Jojo and Caesar travel to Venice to meet the beautiful and mysterious Lisa Lisa, a master of the Ripple and Caesar’s teacher. She wastes no time in her instruction, throwing the two of them into a do-or-die situation: the Hell Climb Pillar. And thus, our two muscular heroes have to climb up a smooth stone shaft that’s coated in oil. Okay then. Long story short, both of them manage to make it to the top, Caesar with his mastery over the Ripple and Joseph through his natural sense of ingenuity. However, this is only the beginning of their month-long training montage, which takes place over the end credits.

This is mostly a transition episode, following that grand shonen manga tradition of a training arc. Jonathan got his mostly offscreen in Phantom Blood, but he had some sort of crazy natural aptitude his grandson lacks, and was only dealing with plain vampires. The Pillar Men will take much more work to defeat, even with three Ripple masters on the side of good. Expect a return to ludicrous action next week.

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Gee’s Thoughts:
So we get to meet Caesar and Joseph’s teacher, Lisa Lisa! Ignoring her strange name (though honestly, you can’t really get on her case considering this is the same anime with a guys named Speedwagon and AC/DC), she quickly proves to Joseph that she truly is the greatest Ripple user in the world. Of course, Joseph being Joseph, is a lecherous ungrateful asshole to her, but what else did you expect from him at this point?

In the end, this episode is essentially a training arc, though luckily it has been sped up for our benefit. Next week we shall get to see the product of our heroes’ training. It’ll truly be something to look forward to.

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Zigg’s Thoughts:
Could JoJo‘s golden touch be slipping? This marks the second episode in a row I was really rather apathetic on, and when it comes to shonen being apathetic is probably even worse than being actively outraged at poor quality. As it is, you can see why this  episode exists, but it’s hardly something to get worked up over.

The strongest point is probably the beginning, which gives us another nice change of scenery as we move to picturesque Venice and a pretty dramatic introduction for Lisa Lisa, which is unfortunately marred by stodgy direction and some of the cheapest, nastiest animation yet seen on the show, a problem which persists throughout. It’s difficult to get a handle on Lisa Lisa – I’m assuming that they’re going for the ‘tough mentor with a heart of gold’ trope, but all we see really does nothing to contradict JoJo’s assertion that she’s kind of a bitch. At least it’s fun to see a female character who isn’t a damsel in distress.

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As for the main part of the story, there’s not getting away from it – it’s two blokes climbing up a pillar.  Oh sure, it’s embellished with lots of shouting, crazy tint shots and silly twists, but at the end of the day they climb up the pillar.  It doesn’t help that the direction continues to be uninspired, sucking any fun out of the sillly presentation, and though JoJo’s gambit to escape the razor oil spray is clever and well executed, it’s the lone high point. I did chuckle at Lisa Lisa’s assistants being named Loggins and Messina, but that won’t be much relief if you’ve tired of the music puns.

Overall, this was the first JoJo episode that truly felt non-essential and a worrying dip in quality for a show which up until this point has stayed entertaining even when not much has actually been happening. With the return of the Pillar Men next episode, let’s hope it can get back to that.

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