Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4 – Episode 19

Episode 19 – Shigechi’s Harvest Part 2

After leaving last week with things looking like they’re about to take a turn for the worse, this week’s episode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure surprisingly begins with the same light, comedic tone. Josuke, Okuyasu and new pal Shigechi are at the bank trying to collect their winnings from the found lottery ticket. The Bank Manager is determined to prove they’ve obtained their ticket through illicit means causing the boys to sweat bullets as each question he asks brings a security guard one step closer. It’s a pretty amusing sequence resolved by a very creative use of Josuke’s powers and within the first five minutes, the boys are outside and substantially richer than they were before. And then Shigechi does it again.

For the most part last week, Shigechi came across as a simple minded yet well intentioned boy who just happened to be easily overcome by greed. This week, he is a full on rampaging monster intent on killing his newfound friends before handing the lottery prize over. And yet, though he’s clearly the villain of the story, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him as a frustrated Okuyasu literally throws the first blow by punching him in the face. Things rapidly go downhill for everyone involved from there. Shigechi proves to be both cleverer and crueler than he first appeared by unleashing his powers in ways no one could have imagined. He uses them to gouge ears, to lash out at eyeballs and attaches them to Okuyasu’s legs like leeches.  He summons them to carry him up walls and to tear apart pipes as Josuke and Okuyasu try to follow him. It’s pretty impressive that what seemed to be a fairly practical and benign Stand last week can be put to such deadly use, especially to the point of almost defeating two very experienced Stand users.

I actually liked Shigechi in part one of this story despite his flaws, but in part two he’s truly annoying. While I would never consider him evil exactly, his selfishness and viciousness here are startling. Araki uses his actions as a demonstration of just how far greed can drive people. To some extent, it’s a cautionary tale about thinking money is more important than anything else. The audience is meant to be horrified by Shigechi’s actions and how much greed has changed him. Yet just when it seems he’s learned his lesson in true sitcom style at the end, it turns out not much has really changed at all. It seems Shigechi’s the type who learns hard.

I still really like Harvest as a Stand. It’s used in really creative ways this week and I like its humanoid/insectoid hybrid design. There’s lots of shots in this episode with Shigechi where the little guys are just standing around in frame near his feet which is a really nice touch.

So, a fairly short review this week. Overall, this was a good conclusion to part 1 and interesting how the two episodes contrast with one another.Last week was a comedy with hints of darkness. This week, the dark sides fully emerged and it got ugly for everyone involved. The overarching plot has once again receded into the background but the characters are more than capable of the heavy lifting required to keep it fun and interesting.

Just a quick announcement: going forward for the next month or two, I’ll be publishing my JoJo reviews fortnightly in blocks of two episodes. This is just to free up a bit more time for some other content I’ve been working on. At this stage, it’s only temporary but I’ll see how it works out and depending on the reception, might be a permanent change.

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