Our heroes fight the Emperor and the Hanged Man in Calcutta, and Polnareff attempts to settle the score with the man who killed his sister.
With this arc, we can finally see JoJo start to shine. Well, it was shining before, but this is where the Stands finally start to get interesting. The Hanged Man is the first villain so far who can’t be defeated by just ORA-ORAing, and it leads to a pretty tense situation as Polnareff and Kakyoin’s choices are reduced to running away or getting killed. This really highlights what ends up being a mainstay both in Stardust Crusaders and later JoJo parts, where the main conflict of battles end up being figuring out what the opponent’s Stand does before they can get a decisive advantage. Later, when Stands get more esoteric and downright weird, knowledge ends up being way more important than raw power.
Unfortunately, the bump in action comes at a sacrifice, with our resident expositor and cool Egyptian dude Avdol being shot in the face by Hol Horse. Hol Horse himself is a stand-out villain from Part 3 for whatever reason, and his escape at the end of the episode foreshadows the fact that this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing him on Jotaro’s journey. I still think it’s hilarious that the Emperor is just a gun with hardly any frills; compared to the likes of Star Platinum or Silver Chariot, it’s an amazingly lame Stand.
Alas, for all the praise I’m giving this arc, it’ll probably be a bit longer before we reach another villain that requires this much strategy to defeat. Expect quite a bit more ORA ORA in the future.
These last two episodes really did a lot to remind me of what made me start getting into JoJo. The power of Centerfold was a neat bit of problem solving. Hol Horse’s Stand is pretty lame, but I do like the idea that even the bullets are a part of his stand, so it makes sense that he can just have them curve around things. His character brought the levity that usually is reserved for Polnareff. Since this was the culmination of his personal arc of Inigo Montoya-esque vengeance, we needed another character to act like a total screwball.
I can’t overstate how much I enjoyed the stand fight itself. The tense beginning felt a lot like the beginning of the Pillar Men fights, where the team is clearly outmatched and is simply scrambling for any kind of advantage. I imagine this is where we’ll get to see Kakyouin work the best. He’s clearly the brains of the team, and after Polnareff figured out the trick to the Stand, it was him who figured out the ultimate way to trap him with his own power. It was really satisfying to see Polnareff finally get what he’d been searching for so long. It’s rare that anime have such brutally evil villains, but Jojo always manages to use that character archetype to great effect.