JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Episode 22

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Recap: The chariot race between Jojo and Wham commences, and it is glorious.

Iro’s Thoughts:
Not too much to say this week, since the episode is essentially one big action scene. As with practically every fight scene in shonen manga ever, it’s an extended sequence of the combatants continually one-upping each other, each using their strengths to the fullest. Joseph manages to match all of Wham’s biggest advantages through his own wits and luck, the battle eventually leaves off on a cliffhanger, with a grievously wounded Wham preparing his final attack against a pinned Jojo.

I’m thankful that the chariot race wasn’t entirely devoid of budget. There’s a great rotating shot early on in the episode when Joseph pulls his trick with the hammer, and the presentation in general retains a great sense of style that makes the episode engaging despite the obvious abuse of stills and simple animation. On the other hand, the CG used for wide shots was absolutely atrocious, worse than even Fate/Stay Night‘s infamous mana transfer dragon.

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As the Battle Tendency arc winds to a close, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the really crazy shit that happens at the end, and I await to see if we’re continuing straight into Stardust Crusaders. Still, look forward to the exciting conclusion to the fight next week!

Zigg’s Thoughts:
As Iro says, every single shonen manga fight is essentially a back and forth see-saw between the two combatants. First one holds the upper hand, then the other. The key is doing it in a way that is believable and doesn’t fall into a predictable pattern, and fortunately JoJo is able to pull it off with aplomb here. It’s not quite as striking as the Caesar fight, probably due to having to spread their budget thinner over a more intense scene. But what’s important is that each and every move rings true, at least in the crazy, make-believe world that JoJo inhabits.  As a result, the fight is exciting, fast paced, and pretty unpredictable, with the exception of some pretty obvious narrative traps. Seriously, who didn’t shout “Take the bloody small bow!” at the screen as JoJo reached out for the fuck-off huge one?

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Incredibly, even the frequent talking heads cutaways to Lisa Lisa and Cars work, mostly due to the sly, knowing performance of Cars and his insufferable smugness.  The expository dialogue does begin to grate a little as the fight goes on though and there’s little reason to keep cutting to shots of the mooks.  Unlike Iro, I was actually pretty OK with the CGI used here – yes it’s very obvious and pretty ugly, but it keeps the speed and movement up, which is the most important thing in a battle purportedly conducted at high speed. I do also like the recurring habit this episode makes of single or double cut-ins over the main image, another nice manga-styled flourish.

One thing that did take me a little by surprise was the fact that Wham actually manages to live through the episode. and even gets probably the best moment, shooting his arms through his chest (what?) to trap JoJo before transforming into some sort of evil floating robo-torso. It looks crazy as hell but hey, that’s just how this series is. Let’s hope Caesar can be avenged for good next time out.

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Gee’s Thoughts:
The other two have pretty much covered all my thoughts on this week’s Jojo. The infamous chariot race is certainly one of the more unique duels in shonen history, though I suppose when it comes to Jojo, a chariot race between a midriff-baring sparkly man and an immortal aztec vampire involving oddly specific weaponry and vampire horses is par for the course. David Production managed to create a genuinely entertaining fight though, despite the clear lack of budget. It’s bad enough that they have to use CG, but it’s almost hilariously sad that it’s roughly on par with something you’d see in a Gonzo anime. But like I said, they did a great job utilizing the resources they had and I was just as much on the edge of my seat watching this clash as I was watching Caesar’s.

Still, an exciting way to end a fight and with Wham’s utterly insane final gambit, stay tuned for the conclusion of their duel. We’ll get to see the smug weirdo Cars in action next. Cars is a bit of an enigma. Whereas AC/DC was emotional and over the top and Wham was an honorable warrior, Cars is quite possibly the most explicitly “vampire”-like of the three (because you know, all vampires dress fabulously and shoot bones and organs out of their flesh), and it’ll be a treat to see how the heroes deal with him.

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