Our heroes take a plane to Cairo, but are attacked en route by a new Stand: Tower of Gray.
So Magician’s Red is too dangerous to use in a pressurized aircraft, but it’s perfectly fine for Hierophant Green to use Emerald Splash hundreds of times? It’s clear that JoJo is up to its old tricks, being patently ridiculous and occasionally self-contradicting as our heroes scramble to fight the villain, spouting streams of exposition all the while. Narratively, the fight mostly serves as a chance for Kakyoin to prove that he is truly on the heroes’ side now (in case him being in the OP and ED didn’t tip you off), and to set up the main source of conflict for what’s essentially the entire rest of the season: Dio is going to keep throwing Stand-users at our heroes (conveniently at the rate of one a week, of course) until they fight their way to Cairo.
While this episode manages to mostly keep the energy up by being ludicrous, most obviously with writing words on the side of a wall with severed tongues, it still drags a bit, which is one of my main concerns with adapting this arc. The length of the battles with enemy Stand-users vary wildly, and so the pacing gets a little weird when you’re trying to cram a lot of content into one episode and make sure it’s dragged out enough so that you don’t cram in too much. As a result, we get weird stuff like Kakyoin pointlessly shooting Emerald Splash for what feels like five minutes and an awkward transitional period as our heroes make questionably-accurate assertions about Chinese culture on the streets of Hong Kong. I’m not sure what could really be done about it, considering, but it’s still a little cringe-worthy to watch. On the bright side, next week promises Polnareff’s proper introduction, so I’m looking forward to that.
Lots going on this episode, though at the same time, it feels like not a lot is happening. Understandable considering the more straightforward nature of Stardust Crusaders compared to the crazy romp that was Battle Tendency. The JoJo crew gets attacked Tower of Grey, a beetle-shaped stand whose user takes pleasure in ripping out the tongues of its victims. Really, the fight is just an excuse to show off Kakyoin’s powers and prove that he really is on the side of the good guys. Still, there’s a certain charm to what will become a classic JoJo tradition: Standing around expositing about the Stand’s possible powers while doing nothing until the plot demands it. Alas, we miss out on seeing Joseph crash the 3rd plane in his life, but now that they’re stuck in Hong Kong, it seems our heroes will have to make the long haul to Egypt if they want to save Holly in time. Obviously this is just an excuse for Dio to throw more crazy Stand users at our heroes while they travel from various international locations. And really I don’t mind since crazy fights in crazy locales is what Stardust Crusaders is all about.
Also, we get to see some Polnareff and his badass Stand in this episode. All the more reason to look forward to next week.
I had forgotten how absolutely bloody the JoJo series got. This episode was a grim reminder of the stakes our heroes are playing with, and how ruthless the enemy is to ensure they don’t make it to Egypt. Also in standard JoJo fashion, the main characters talk for hours about their new enemy’s powers while the enemy flaunts his powers until he finally decides to actually do something. I find it funny that the whole time they go on about how he’s faster than any of their Stands, but then is beat because… he got distracted or something? The guy controls a beetle, you’d think part of the deal would be having a beetle’s omnidirectional vision. It’d’ve made more sense if he use the tails as he was dodging the emerald splash, but he just gets stuck while talking to Kakyouin. Felt a little anticlimactic I’d say. Still, I’m enjoying this journey for what it is, a monster of the week format. I also really enjoyed Joseph Joestar: Master Tourist. Yes, obviously because this store is old and Chinese that means anything they make will be good. I guess at least this is a more endearing part of his American chauvinism than his admittedly amusing crotchety grandpa routine.