Episode 33 & 34 – July 15th (Thursday) Parts 3 & 4
In my last review I said Enigma was a very simple Stand this late in the series. I would like to go on the record as stating I was very, very wrong. I have a pretty imperfect memory of the manga so the whole battle with Enigma in episode 33 was a surprise to me and actually turned out to be one of my favourite battles in the whole series. The various uses of Enigma’s powers were great and unleashed with a stunning creativity. And who would have thought that Yuya Funagami would have had it in him to be heroic. Sometimes I think JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a show about audience expectations and how to play with them, either by doing something completely unexpected or by doing the expected thing but pushing it to an unexpected extreme. Taken as a whole, the four episodes that make up July 15th (Thursday) exemplify this. These final two episodes are actually made up of three separate storylines that I’ll tackle one at a time here.
First up, we have the aforementioned battle with Enigma. Koichi has already been turned into a piece of paper and after a fairly intense fight with Miyamoto, Josuke is also trapped, though not without a fairly impressive attempt to escape using Crazy Diamond’s repair power. Last episode, Josuke enlisted/intimidated Yuya Funagami to help track down Miyamoto and Yuya spends most of the fight hanging around in the background trying to avoid it. Then something bizarre happens. Yuya, who was last seen cheerily trying to murder Rohan and Josuke with his Stand, suddenly finds himself inspired by Josuke’s fight and in the most dramatic character turnaround we’ve seen since Rohan, steps up to chase down Miyamoto. I’ve already talked about how much I liked this battle so I won’t go into it here but Yuya’s sudden transformation into a hero is so unexpected that it’s fascinating how the show manages to pull it off so well.
The second part of the story is Rohan Kishibe vs the Stand Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick is the Stand you really don’t want to win in the Stand Lottery. It attaches itself to it’s user’s back and the minute someone else sees it, it kills the user by horrifically tearing their back up and attaches itself to a new owner. This is all made apparent when the curious Rohan manages to get a glimpse at his architect’s back only to end up responsible for his pretty horrific death. Rohan winds up with Cheap Trick attached to him, urging him to burn the photos hes taken of the Kira suspects. Rohan calls Koichi over to help him, but Koichi who’s already had a rough day after being trapped in a piece of paper for most of it, can’t take him seriously. Rohan decides to make his way to the Morioh Grand Hotel to hopefully get help and has to make his way across town without anyone seeing his back. This was probably my favourite sequence in all four parts of this storyline, and that’s saying something considering it’s up against the Enigma fight. Rohan’s journey across town concealing his back is both hilarious and unbelievably tense at the same time. In fact, Rohan’s whole plan to get rid of Cheap Trick, which I won’t spoil here, is straight up genius and catapults him into the ranks of my all time top characters despite him being a conceited jerk. It was also nice to see Koichi show up again in hero mode which we haven’t seen for a little while. I find the friendship between Koichi and Rohan to be one of those things that doesn’t make much sense at all but is immensely gratifying all the same.
The final story thread for July 15th (Thursday) is Kira and Hayato. Despite us getting a glimpse of some possible compassion growing within Kira a few episodes ago, he finally snaps and is back in full monster mode here. Kira’s been having trouble suppressing his murderous urges. His nails are growing and he can’t look at anything without wanting to damage it. An encounter on the train with a woman and her boyfriend finally breaks him and though he walks away from them quietly at the time, he later comes storming into their apartment in full killer mode. It’s utterly brutal and over in moments but its captured on tape by Hayato who’s been following Kira all day with his video camera. Unfortunately, Kira notices and later confronts Hayato in the bathroom in one of the scariest and most uncomfortable scenes ever in an anime. In the last few seconds of the episode, in an effort to save his own life, Hayato claims he has more tapes and cameras that will expose Kira’s identity. It’s a bold move, but will it be enough to save Hayato?
It’s a bit unfair that a four part storyline still manages to end on a cliffhanger but that’s JoJo. These four episodes have pretty much been JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in a micro form: Weird, exciting, disturbing, hilarious and over the top, usually all at the same time. It’s the last stretch of episodes coming up and it’s going to hard to top the sheer craziness of this batch, but this show always finds a way.