Recap: Cars is now the ULTIMATE LIFE FORM! What will our heroes do?
This part is the part I was waiting the entire time for. When I think of the Battle Tendency arc, this is what I think of: Cars turning his hand into a nazi-murdering squirrel, shooting feathers at a plane piloted by our hero. Feathers that turn into piranhas. I think in a way, that’s all that really needs to be said about this episode: Jojo gets attacked by piranhas while flying a plane and having a dogfight with the ultimate lifeform.
That said, this episode does drag a bit, as did last week’s, mostly because they’re trying to adapt something like 2 and a half episodes worth of manga content into 3 episodes. It still manages to be fun, mostly because of Cars’ crazy new powers forcing our heroes to scramble for even crazier plans. A timely save by Stroheim and the help of Mother Nature gives them a seeming victory against the ancient Aztec super-vampire, and we should see the final conclusion of the arc next week. Look forward to it.
This episode is actually sort of less awesome than I was hoping for, but that’s made up for by the fact that it’s considerably sillier than I was expecting. Let’s get the bit I found most disappointing out of the way first – Cars isn’t really much cop as an Ultimate Life Form. Sure, there’s a lot of lip service to his incredible power and stuff, but what’s put on screen is a little bit underwhelming. He can’t fly fast enough to keep up with a propeller powered plane? He can’t run fast enough to catch two guys on foot? I guess he could be toying with them but given how much the Stone Mask has been hyped up I was expecting a more flagrant display of power.
Fortunately what we do get is so memorably madcap it pretty much makes up for that. Cars turning his hand into a squirrel is such a barmy image it’s pretty unforgettable and the fact that squirrel then turns out to be a vampiric killer strikes the perfect, Evil Dead blend of horror and dumb humour. The same goes for the attack of the airborne killer piranhas, which makes sense in context but still manages to be impressively surreal. I’d also be amiss not to mention Cars’s first exposure to the sun, which results in an eerily beautiful scene which communicates the Pillar Man’s power and alien nature more effectively than any mountain of dialogue. It’s pretty much the only time I feel JoJo has actually been pretty to look at, as opposed to just distinctive or well choreographed.
As it is there’s also a fair old bit of padding here – including the comforting familiarity of Speedwagon declaring everyone is doomed – but it builds well towards a cool climax. JoJo’s plan to throw Cars into a volcano is actually pretty smart (though Tekken proves this doesn’t always end well) although it does make Cars look sort of rubbish for being unable to do anything despite his loudly voiced opinion he can. In addition Stroheim’s sudden appearance is a little bit of a cheat, but it’s awesome and his leg-shattering rescue of JoJo even more so, so all is forgiven. All I’ll say though is that if Cars is dead, I’ll eat every hat I own. Can’t have a finale without a final fight right?
Last episode we witnessed the resurgence of the evil Aztec vampire Cars, now powered up by the Macguffin of Plot and the Mask of Contrived Situations. This week we get to see what the ultimate life form looks like. Apparently it’s an evil sexless Aztec vampire with absurd physical abilities that can now shape shift into different organic beings, including piranhas flowers, and squirrels, leading to one of the most surreal and horrifying scenes from Part 2. You really haven’t truly witnessed the powers and potential of fiction until you’ve seen an evil Aztec vampire transform his hand into a rabid squirrel who then proceeded to eviscerate a Nazi cyborg and his lackeys. Things are looking bad for our heroes (and Nazis) as Cars now even has immunity to sunlight, conveniently filling out the grab bag of random powers an ultimate being receives.
Joseph, ever the resourceful old chap though, never fails to impress us as he once again shows off the Joestar secret family technique. Using it to buy time, we get to witness yet another absurd situation as Joseph hijacks a German plane and gets into a dogfight with Cars, only to be attacked by feathers-transformed-into-armadillo-scales-transformed-into-piranhas. It’s all executed with only a hint of irony, and in a show like Jojo, getting attacked by transforming piranhas is just as serious and legitimate a threat as anything else can be. Thankfully Joseph’s still got a few more tricks up his sleeves, and even gets a little assistance from our friendly neighborhood Nazi cyborg.
Overall this episode ramps up the pace that slowed down with last episode’s immensely long-winded exposition. As much as I love Jojo, its signature explanations and dialogue is best suited for the manga and certainly suffers when translated into animation. Thankfully this episode keeps things short and we get to see more of the patent ridiculous Jojo antics. Next week we’ll get to see the last of a young Joseph Joestar’s many gambits, the conclusion of his fight against the villainously insane Cars, and bid farewell to one of the greatest members of the Joestar family (for now).