Red Dead Redemption 2 Review In Progress

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Red Dead Redemption is the best game ever made. Not my favourite, mind you, because that metric can and does factor in things other than overall quality, but in my opinion videogames don’t get better than Red Dead. With that in mind, in order to be a superior sequel Red Dead 2 needs to be the new best game ever made, which judging from the footage I’ve seen and details I’ve read, seems to be exactly what the game is going for. I have my copy and it’s going to be the only thing I play until I’m satisfied I’ve covered enough to write my review, however long that process takes. I’ve been waiting for this game for eight years, it’s a game I thought would never come, and it’s finally upon us. So watch this space, because the biggest game of the year, if not the entire lifespan of my time writing about games is upon us, and I’m going to review it. I’m going to review Red Dead Redemption 2.

By James Lambert
@jameslambert18

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Vampyr Review

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Vampyr comes to us from Dontnod, creators of the original Life is Strange and the ironically named “Remember Me”, and hopes to quench the thirst for a proper vampire game, a genre that’s surprisingly sparse. I don’t know why; as power fantasies go being an immortal creature of the night with super strength, speed and a penchant for manipulation and inserting oneself into events with the callous abandon that comes with immortality sounds like a no brainer as far as videogames go. You are Dr Jonathan Reid, England’s foremost expert on blood transfusions and World War 1 combat medic who wakes up in a mass grave in 1918 London. Turns out he’s a Vampire, or “Ekon” as the game sometimes calls them, and finds himself stuck in two roles: finding his maker and taking his new place in London’s Vampire society, and working at a local hospital to combat a lethal, viral epidemic that seems to be linked to “Skals”; Vampire spawn with a more monstrous form and a taste for flesh rather than blood. Much like Dr Reid, the game itself is caught between two worlds: hand to hand combat against Vampire hunters and Skals, and a dialogue tree-based, story-focused RPG in which a variety of London denizens provide sidequests and much needed nourishment, if you want it. See, Vampyr’s USP is that each human living in a district counts towards a percentage: percentage gets too low, the district becomes a killing zone and all remaining civilian NPCs either die or go missing. But draining civvie blood is the fastest and most reliable way to level up: we’re talking 2,000XP a pop over 5 for killing three goons in a fight. You do gain more XP for completing missions and clearing milestones, but not draining civilians will leave you frustratingly under-levelled: on two occasions I had to retreat from a boss and optional boss to drink my way to a higher level in order to even stand a chance. I was several levels behind the final boss even though, despite not killing literally everyone I could, I had every district plunged into chaos, so I can only imagine the sheer Hell of doing a “pacifist” run. It doesn’t help how often you run into trouble on the streets of London. There’s no fast travel, and the various story missions take you all over the game’s map, which is crawling with Vampire Hunters and Skals even when districts are stable, so combat is inevitable. Fortunately, while not particularly interesting, the combat is decent. It’s melee based, with two handed weapons allowing parries and one-handed weapons allowing a second weapon used to attack enemies from afar, or deal stun damage so you can bite them, that sort of thing. Vampire powers range from boring but practical stuff like clawing at enemies, healing yourself and creating shields, to more elaborate things like opening shadow portals under enemies, stopping the blood in their veins to keep them still, or boiling their blood for damage. Unfortunately the only ones I really found useful were the claws, one damage-dealing super and healing, and upgrading my two-handed weapon quickly made the first two redundant. Parrying deals massive amounts of stun damage, two-handed weapons aren’t much slower to use and once upgraded do ridiculous damage, helped along if you upgrade the damage of Jonathan’s bite, which also refills your health and the bar that governs the use of special moves. Do you feel like a Vampire? Kind of. The biting and shadow-based flashstepping help, and personally I was always fond of letting a Vampire Hunter Cleric swing his crucifix-on-a-stick at me so I could smack it to one side and drink his blood, but in my experience at least the Vampire powers take a backseat to clobbering.

The story side of things fares well, but is sparse by comparison. The role of Vampires in London and their society is only briefly touched upon, Jonathan only has one Vampiric ally, and in order to dedicate time to his role as a physician any in-depth look at London’s Vampire world gets lost in the shuffle. This is a not a “Masquerade”-style RPG with multiple factions and story threads, it’s a focused story about a man trying to stem the flow of a horrible disease and he also happens to be a Vampire. Civilian NPCs all have their own stories, to the game’s credit, but I didn’t hear a lot of them because I viewed the civilians, in traditional Vampire style, as talking sacks of tasty blood. I would also like to point out that, having read up on the game’s multiple endings all of them seem thematically sound with the playthrough that leads to them, particularly the one I got. When the game gives the story room to breathe rather than smothering it in hand to hand combat it’s enjoyable, and each little Vampire tidbit speaks to a potential that could be explored in a sequel with a broader scope.

The game does have issues that can’t be ignored however. Chief among them is its frequent, long load times. I played a digital copy of the game on Xbox One and the game regularly stopped to load upon entering a district during a story mission, often two or three times in quite rapid succession. Dying leads to a long load every time; the same length of time it takes when you load a saved game upon booting it up. It’s frustrating. This might not bother some people so much, but the game also has an ultra-aggressive auto save system. There are no manual saves, and the game auto saves constantly so as to instil the message that “Your choices have consequences”, but in my opinion that really doesn’t suit this kind of game. It’s a story-based RPG, I want to play around and see what I could have done differently.

Overall, Vampyr is solid, if a tad underwhelming. The melee combat is fine but it draws too much focus away from an interesting story glimpsed through a wall of Vampire Hunters you have to cleave your way through with a machete. The world Dontnod has built is interesting, the atmosphere is great (especially when depicting the darker side of Vampire life), the choices all make sense and it does feel quite good to be a Vampire. It’s just the overwhelming focus on combat and not enough on the story that holds it back, but I had a good time, and if you’re at all interested then I recommend giving it a look.

By James Lambert
@jameslambert18

Fist of the North Star Lost Paradise Review

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Having released four Yakuza games in two years, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has decided to change things up by taking the inner workings of a Yakuza game and wrapping them up in the skin of classic manga and anime Fist of the North Star. Same style of combat, same minigames, same mix of serious story and goofy bullshit, small stuff like the same inventory and minimap, even a lot of the same voice actors. If you’re unfamiliar, Fist of the North Star is basically Mad Max if he were played by Bruce Lee, and instead of a sawn off shotgun and a car he has expert knowledge of a martial art called Hokuto Shinken (Fist of the North Star) that makes people explode. Kenshiro, the Mad Max expy, roams a nuclear wasteland murdering mohawk and shoulder pad-clad goons to protect the downtrodden in a survival of the fittest new world, sometimes dealing with the other disciples of Hokuto Shinken, and students of a complimentary but opposite school called “Nanto” (South Star); a style which lets people cut people to ribbons with their bare hands.

Though it includes a lot of the main players from the manga, this is a largely original story. Having got revenge against ex-best friend Shin, Kenshiro makes his way to Eden, a utopia of food, water and high walls that’s the apparent location of Yuria, Ken’s fiancee whom he believed to be dead. Unfortunately all those much-needed supplies make Eden a target for invaders; The Holy Emperor and Ken-Oh, for starters, alongside newcomers The Army of Ruin; lead by Kyo-Oh, a man with an all new martial art that turns people into mindless zombie types. Primarily Eden exists to facilitate the Yakuza gameplay; to provide Kenshiro with his own version of Kamurocho, but they’ve done a good job of justifying it in the plot. There’s a reason why Eden has so many resources, and its wealth makes it a natural target for those who seek to dominate Century’s End: for the most part at least, the story is strong enough, manga characters turn up to be Hundred Crack Fist of the North Star’d (though it’s called something else here), and it all moves at a decent pace. The problems arise with the new characters, particularly the antagonists, what their plans are and how the game reveals them. The villains are weak, and the game moves towards a conclusion and climactic showdown with one only to have another swoop in and shift the focus right at the last-minute. The reveal of who Kyo-Oh turns out to be makes no sense and seemed like it was trying to make things more intertwined to its detriment. When it’s dealing with manga characters and weaving them into this story of Eden and its past, it works, particularly what they do with Raoh, but the new villains didn’t work for me at all. The game takes a little while to get going, too, at least in my opinion. It’s not one of those ludicrous “Oh it gets good after fifteen hours” situations, but after a couple of hours it noticeably hits its stride and gets a boost.

Fortunately, almost everything to do with the gameplay is top-notch. Turns out Yakuza and Fist of the North Star go together like Rum and Coke. The one problem is the car Ken gets early on, that handles like you’re driving on ice even if you make slight turns from a stand still, has to be refuelled, and that the game makes you drive far too often. Also the game uses the Yakuza 3 engine, unless it’s a revamped version for Yakuza Kiwami 3 or whatever they end up calling it, so it lacks some of the fluidity and quality of life improvements that Yakuza 6 has. It’s not a big problem, but it is noticeable after 6 and Kiwami 2. Apart from that, it’s all gold. The combat is a satisfying as ever, made even more so by the inclusion of Ken’s Hokuto Shinken moves: building up a meter floating above an enemy’s head and pressing circle stabs one of that enemy’s pressure points. Press it again with the right timing and they blow up, no questions asked. Wait for the game to prompt you to “STRIKE” and you do one of several moves with damage boosts given by an increasing number QTEs that will make regular enemies explode in a shower of gore and do heavy damage to bosses. It gets to the point where, like the Kenshiro of the manga, you’re an unstoppable killing machine, descending on large groups of thugs and two minutes later walking away from a huge puddle of blood and gore. Like Yakuza, minigames play a key role in proceedings, with all new ones I’m genuinely surprised never appeared in those games. The best of the bunch is bartending, in which not only do you get to see Ken use Hokuto Shinken to make aptly named cocktails (my favourite being “You are already drunk”), you also build up relationships with patrons, which offer up unique substories and unlock new items in shops. I can honestly see Kiryu doing that and I’m now retroactively sad it never happened in any of his games. One only Ken could do is his work at the clinic, in which he dons a lab coat and flashsteps around a crowded room healing the sick and murdering goons to music, the first available track being a hip hop remix of Ode to Joy. These two are the stand-outs; the rest are things like the obligatory baseball (except it’s using a massive girder to smack bandits riding towards you on motorbikes), arena fights and arcade games. No karaoke, but then you can’t have everything.

If you like Yakuza and/or Fist of the North Star, this is a no-brainer. It’s a videogame adaptation made by people who clearly love the source material and the Yakuza style suits North Star like a glove, amplifying its serious and silly sides in equal measure. If you’re new to either or both there’s still a lot to recommend about the game, despite its issues: it’s bloody, satisfying fun, and I’m glad Ryu Team’s games keep getting localised.

By James Lambert
@jameslambert18

In For the Long Haul: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Vento Aureo

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When I first read Vento Aureo, I wasn’t a big fan. It seemed oddly similar, or at least reminiscent, in structure and content to Stardust Crusaders; only inferior in every regard. I had a soft spot for some of the characters, and it definitely had cool ideas, but after being completely blown away by Diamond is Unbreakable, it was a definite step down. Since then it’s grown on me, particularly the villain and their stand (helped by the fact that I fancy them), the Italian setting and some of the more interesting and inventive stand powers demonstrated throughout the run. The David Production adaptation finally dropped and I’m eager to see it in action.

Episode 1: Gold Experience

Kicking things off is a new mini prologue of sorts, in which our currently unnamed new JoJo shows off his character: a kindhearted man who doesn’t care if a young woman gets ice cream on his outfit (an outfit I’m warming to, but I prefer him in dark blue) and retrieves her purse from a pickpocket, but will also help himself to a bit of cash in the process. Makes sense given his heritage, as son of DIO via Jonathan Joestar’s body; respectively the epitome of good and evil in this series. Our new JoJo, or more accurately GioGio, is Giorno Giovanna; born Haruno Shiobana and making a living as the most fabulous fifteen year old mobster in Italy. Koichi Hirose is sent by Jotaro Kujo to investigate Giorno on the basis that he’s DIO’s son and therefore potentially a threat. Turns out that’s very much the case, but he’s far from following in his father’s footsteps. He’s a pain in the arse; stealing and selling Koichi’s luggage and passport, but the only way he causes harm is in self-defence via his Stand power, and he’s more interested in just getting on with his low-level criminal activity than anything else. Said Stand is Gold Experience, which has the power to turn inanimate objects into animals (and a tree in one instance) which if attacked transfer all the damage to whoever attacked them. This power disables local mob tough “Leaky Eyed” Luca, and the episode ends with Luca having been killed and dismembered by his unnamed boss, and his body parts used in grim fashion to interrogate Giorno by another stand user named Bruno Bucciarati.

This is a great first episode: Giorno’s introduction tells you a lot about him through his actions, as well as his instance to multiple characters that doing anything “useless” such as repeating himself really annoys him. Speaking of Giorno, he looks fantastic in this art style, and said style is gorgeous even by JoJo standards. The episode sets up this new spin on the universe, one of morally grey mobsters with weird and interesting Stands set against the backdrop of beautiful Italian towns. I was always going to be into the new JoJo series, but I’m even more into it than I imagined, and very much looking forward to the next episode.

Episode 2: Bucciarati Is Coming

FIGH-TING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD! New OP’s good, glad it just focuses on Giorno and his soon to be new companions, rather than spoiling things to come (CoughChaseCough). Lacks the mad detail some of the other OPs have but still, it’s good, and I love the big golden crest at the end with Giorno’s face in it. Plus, “Fighting Gold” is a great name for it. Anyway, the episode begins with a summation of Giorno’s childhood and how he became the person he is today: after putting up with a neglectful mother, abusive stepfather and constant bullying, it all changes when he saves the life of a local gangster by misleading rival goons out to kill him. So enamoured is Giorno with the gangster’s treatment of him and the gangster life in general that he pledges to become a “Gang-Star” himself; one of those romantic, old time gangsters that looks out for the little guy and has a code of honour, that sort of thing. But for now, he’s got Bruno Bucciarati to deal with; bearing down on him with his stand Sticky Fingers (Zipper Man in the copyright-friendly subtitles, because they weren’t even trying to make it sound similar at this point. It’s a far cry from “Shining Diamond”), its power being the ability to create and open zips in any solid object or human being. Now I haven’t read Part 5 for a few years now, so I can’t recall everything about it, but I remembered Gold Experience’s powers against humans basically being that, upon striking them, it makes them feel the punch in slow motion, thus hurting a whole lot. This whole “Makes their senses go berserk so they think they’re moving around quickly but really aren’t” thing is new to me, unless of course (SPOILERS) they’re hinting at Gold Experience Requiem. That’s what it made me think of, but that’s not some innate talent Gold Experience has, it’s a second form gained later. So I dunno really. (SPOILERS END) I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Giorno has a showdown with Bruno in which he almost rips his own arm off for an advantage, but ultimately shows mercy and lays down his plan: join Bruno’s gang, take down his boss, and run the city, something Bruno doesn’t seem all that bothered by really.

Good episode again, feels like a two-parter with the previous one, and both of them have served their purpose by getting me firmly back into the JoJo groove. So glad it’s back, look forward to just luxuriating in every facet of it.

Episode 3: Meet the Gangster Behind the Wall

Bruno’s all in on Giorno’s plan, and the first step is to actually join. He explains that the gang is called “Passione”, and that no one knows what their boss looks or sounds like having never met him, instead receiving orders through capos. The capo Giorno must impress is Polpo; an enormous gangster with a voice of legion currently enjoying a surprisingly cushy life in a prison he could leave at any time. He’ll let Giorno join if he completes a seemingly absurd task: take a lit lighter home with him and keep the flame going for twenty four hours. Surprisingly, this actually goes rather well, with the only real problem arising when Koichi turns up to steal back his passport. Fortunately Giorno’s grasp of Gold Experience’s abilities combined with incredible slight of hand abilities get him through, until a janitor accidentally douses it in water. He’s able to re-light the lighter, but that spawns Polpo’s Stand Black Sabbath, who promptly draws out the old man’s soul and murders it with the Stand-creating arrow from Diamond is Unbreakable. The episode ends with him bearing down on Giorno.

The more I see of the anime, the more I like Giorno. I never disliked him really, I just didn’t warm to him as I did with Joseph and Josuke, but his criminal abilities combined with a heart of gold and a calm and collected temperament really set him apart from previous JoJos. You can see the influence his two Dads had on him, even though he’s never met either of them (and admittedly can’t meet one of them). The art style continues to be absolutely superb, it’s all moving at a good pace and, again; I’m really glad JoJo’s back. No issues at all, looking forward to next week.

Episode 4: Joining the Gang

Quite a lot packed into this episode actually, to get everything wrapped up before the rest of Bucciarati’s crew are introduced. Black Sabbath is relegated to shadows, but has the ability to physically grab hold of people’s souls and stab them with the arrow, which killed the old man working as a janitor at Giorno’s school. Fortunately Giorno’s prepared, with his jazzy theme music, thorough practical knowledge of Gold Experience’s powers, and DIO’s MUDA MUDA MUDA! chant. I’ve always liked how that just seems to be instinctual to Giorno, given that he’s never met DIO, and that’s the most obvious trait he received from his Father. Anyway Giorno and Koichi team up to finally defeat Black Sabbath by trapping him in a patch of sunlight, and Giorno informs Koichi of his dream off-screen in order to keep the whole thing secret while he infiltrates the gang. Koichi informs Jotaro that Giorno isn’t a threat, citing in narration the same noble look in his eyes as Joseph, Josuke and Jotaro himself, making it clear to Koichi that the strong desire to do good inherent in the Joestar bloodline is present in DIO’s son. Finally Giorno receives a small, gold pin identifying him as a member of Passione, and he heads off with Bruno to meet his new colleagues, tying off loose ends by turning one of Polpo’s guns into a banana and handily tricking him into suicide as revenge for the old man’s death.

Really good episode, nice to see JoJo’s trademark cerebral approach to fights, with Giorno relying on careful positioning and clever use of his stand to win. This is doubly important due to Gold Experience not being as strong as say, Star Platinum, so expect to see more crafty victories in future. This whole four-episode arc has felt tight and well-paced, doing a stellar job of introducing Giorno, fleshing out his character with actions and having him established before the new lads turn up next episode. Good stuff.

Episode 5: Find Polpo’s Fortune!

Ah yes, the infamous line about gangsters dressing normally so as to avoid standing out and being assassinated. If you don’t understand why that’s an odd thing to say, please stare long and hard at the above image. The gang’s all here: novelty hat enthusiast Guido Mista, smol boy with no maths skills Narancia, man who was only half paying attention when suits were explained to him Panacotta Fugo and the one who’s name I could never remember Abbacchio. So Guido is terrified of the anything relating to the number 4, because the character for it in Japanese is the same as the character for death. Fugo is patiently teaching Narancia multiplication until he makes a mistake, and suddenly it’s less patience and more stabbing him in the face with a fork. Uncensored too, which was a pleasant surprise. Finally Abbacchio tries to make Giorno drink piss. That’s it, that’s all he gets. It’s a good thing his stand is useful because he’s not got much going for him. Anyway the fabulous cute boy brigade is off on a rented yacht to the island of Capri, where at the behest of Polpo Bucciarati hid a ten million Lire fortune (hence the name of the episode). It’s not long into their journey however that they’re attacked by a hidden stand user who pulls Narancia and Mista into an unknown location. Abbacchio won’t use his stand in front of Giorno because he doesn’t trust him, so Giorno runs into the danger zone and reveals the assailant’s location.

I had forgotten some of the details in this episode, like the existence of the fortune and the whole piss debacle, but I remembered the introduction of Bruno’s boys and that part of the episode was excellent. Looking forward to the chemistry between them all, as well as their stands, particularly Fugo’s, but I won’t spoil anything to do with that. I didn’t remember Abbacchio being such a dick actually, I just thought he was boring and didn’t have much to do. Anyway the anime adaptation is going from strength to strength, I’m all in.

Episode 6: Moody Blues’ Counterattack

Christ, I really didn’t remember anything about Abbacchio: I thought Mista was the one who used to be a police officer, but it turns out I was wrong. I will give him this, I like him a lot more now than I did when I read the manga. The backstory of him becoming a cop, being treated like shit by the locals and then it all crumbling apart after a bribe and a dead partner fleshed him out, and his determined handling of the situation aboard the yacht made me warm to him, so top marks. His stand, Moody Blues, can pause, rewind and fast forward events to show everything that happened in a location. It’s a very specific power that isn’t as useful as being able to punch things with the strength of a tank shell and speed of a machine gun but it’s a really cool idea, and I like when Araki comes up with interesting concepts like this one. The whole episode is dedicated to Abbacchio tracking down the stand user Zucchero so Bruno can confront and incapacitate him. Turns out he was hiding in another boat deflated to the consistency of a thin film using his stand and wrapped around Bruno’s boat, which is the kind of mad genius JoJo has in spades. The episode ends with a flashback of Bruno telling Abbacchio that the result isn’t as important as the path taken to reach it, and that’ll be important later down the line, so tuck it away in the back of your mind.

A small-scale conflict given weight and made really enjoyable thanks to some quick but effective development for Abbacchio, I’m interested to see what other cool things he does that I’ve completely forgotten about. Plus there’s a certain scene in next week’s episode I’m very much looking forward to.

Episode 7: Sex Pistols Appears, Part 1

GANGSTAR DANCE. That’s the scene I was waiting for: Narancia, Fugo and Mista dancing in complete sync while torturing Zucchero by pinning his eye open with fishing line and using glasses as a magnifying glass to burn the open eye. It’s important to remember that despite being the protagonists and the good guys in this particular story, Bruno’s Boys are still hardened criminals. Anyway torturing him isn’t getting them anywhere but they do find out through the power of Moody Blues that Zucchero is due to meet his accomplice on the island of Capri in about an hour, at a certain dock, and therefore any deviation from that plan will result in suspicion and potential trouble. New plan then: Giorno and Mista form a two-man hit squad and race ashore to track down and kill Zucchero’s partner, using Mista’s stand Sex Pistols. Sex Pistols, much like Moody Blues, is really useful but only in certain specific situations. It’s six tiny beings that control and move bullets fired from Mista’s revolver mid-air and guide them towards targets, so only of any use as long as Mista has his gun handy. That’s his whole deal though, so fortunately it isn’t an issue. What is an issue is that Zucchero’s partner escapes in a truck after being tagged in the leg, with Mista and Giorno in hot pursuit as Part 1 ends. Not a whole lot to say about this as it’s the first half of a two parter, but Sex Pistols look good, they’re as beautifully drawn and animated as everything else, and the content used to fill this first half is well chosen, with the cliffhanger working well.

Episode 8: Sex Pistols Appears, Part 2

Well, I say hot pursuit: Giorno’s lagging behind and is still hanging around the marina by the end of the episode, insisting on a ride to the top of the island from the very lorry driver who’s just come back with Mista and the body of Zucchero’s partner. Bad show, that. DIO wouldn’t have done that, DIO would have been after him. Anyway, really good episode together with the first half, and definitely the best Stand fight so far. Mista’s power of a revolver combined with targeting creatures versus a man with the ability to affix objects in mid-air, meaning he can stop bullets before they get deep enough into his body to kill him. I love Mista’s backstory too; he lived a happy life enjoying simple, easy to come by pleasures, then one night after saving a woman being beaten and raped three gangsters tried to kill him, somehow missing literally every shot. Mista killed them all, then decided to do that more often I guess because it’s his job now. It fits Mista’s role as one of the more eccentric members of the gang, and just goes to show how useful Sex Pistols is to him given his penchant for gunfighting. Most of the episode is Zucchero’s partner and Mista fighting on top of the lorry until Mista finally manages to have Sex Pistols split a bullet in half and send one of those halves careening into a bullet already lodged in the partner’s head, driving him to the very edge of death. Good episode like I said, the show’s currently going from strength to strength, and I’m really enjoying re-experiencing Vento Aureo, having found a new appreciation for it in this adaptation.

Episode 9: The First Mission From The Boss

Now we’re onto the meat of Vento Aureo: Bruno’s gang escorting and protecting Trish Una, daughter of the mysterious Passione Boss, from a cabal of traitors out to squeeze information out of her that might lead to her Father’s overthrow and death. They included that cool one-off shot of the boss wearing a suit, which I like. I’m a big fan of his actually, but obviously I won’t say anymore about him at this point. Trish is introduced as physically capable and expecting to be waited on hand and foot, which does make sense given that she’s supposed to be in hiding actually, now that I think about it. Bucciarati is now a capo, taking over Polpo’s turf and being entrusted with this important mission to keep Trish safe, which he immediately sets about doing: holding up in a safe house and sending Narancia out shopping, with Fugo providing complicated instructions to avoid being tailed. Doesn’t work though, obviously, because one of the traitors tracks him down: a man with a stand called “Little Feet” that lets him shrink himself and other people. Narancia counters with his own stand Aerosmith; a tiny plane armed with real bullets and bombs, but despite its vast destructive power and Little Feet’s user being trapped in a car, he manages to escape and ends the episode figuring out that Trish is with Bruno and hiding himself away in Narancia’s clothes. I would comment on how things are speeding up now that the main plot device has been revealed but the show’s been moving at a good pace anyway, and I remember the manga seeming quite short compared to other parts. Anyway you may well be bored of me saying this now but it’s still really bloody good and I have no complaints about the show going forward.

Episode 10: Hitman Team

The recap’s reminded me that Little Feet’s user is called Formaggio, continuing Araki’s naming convention of just grabbing Italian words related to food, see also Zucchero and Panacotta Fugo. Anyway, my bad for missing it. Formaggio is part of the titular Hitman Team, lead by a man who, if I’m recognising him correctly from the manga, has one of the most brutal and efficient killing stands in the entire series. It’s called Metallica, if you want to look into it yourself, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Formaggio gets to show off how his Stand helps him with his work as an assassin; shrinking a car down, dropping it in his target’s drink and expanding it in his stomach, ripping him a part from the inside. It’s certainly a novel way to kill someone, and I don’t remember that from the manga. There’s an expanded scene detailing how two members of the team, who I think were just implied to be together in the manga but are explicitly a couple here, ran afoul of the Boss after trying to learn his identity. One of them, Sorbet, was sliced into pieces feet first while he was still alive, causing his boyfriend Gelato to choke on his own gag in despair. The pieces of Sorbet were sent to the Hitman Team as a warning to stop digging and unsurprisingly it worked. At least it did until they found out about Trish and for some reason thought that a man who’d have one of his own subordinates dismembered alive is worth messing with now that his daughter is involved. Anyway Formaggio is waiting for Narancia to fully shrink after he was slashed by Little Feet, something it takes a little while for the latter to realise, at first thinking someone replaced his shoe, switchblade and car with bigger versions somehow when he wasn’t looking, bless him. He manages to gain the upper hand for a while thanks to Aerosmith’s ability to track targets via their breathing, but the episode ends with Formaggio surviving a salvo of bullets by returning to normal size just as Narancia shrinks to a tiny height, greatly weakening Aerosmith’s power. I’m glad they expanded on the Hitman Team a bit more, didn’t shy away from showing Sorbet and Gelato’s fates, and made them explicitly a couple, that was nice. It’s surprising how infrequently queer characters pop up in a series so fabulous and homoerotic. The only other ones I can think of are DIO and a character in Part 6 I won’t name for spoiler reasons. I mean, there are characters who you could argue are queer, like I personally believe the only reason Holly Joestar even exists is because Caesar Zeppeli died, but this is the first time I remember there being an actual gay couple, and even then it’s only in this version of it. So good work, David Production.

Episode 11: Narancia’s Aerosmith

Speaking of novel ways to kill someone: shrinking them down and trapping them in a glass bottle with a normal sized spider that’ll then do what spiders do (shudder). I like how in Narancia’s backstory Fugo’s wearing a normal suit with a shirt. Somewhere along the way he lost all concept of what suits look like, to his benefit. Narancia finally manages to regain his normal size and beat Formaggio through the medium of causing explosions and starting fires. I’ve enjoyed this fight between the two and showcasing Aerosmith’s abilities, I’d put it above Abbacchio and Bruno vs Zucchero but below Mista vs Zucchero’s partner. They’ve all been good so far though: the show has balanced backstory and character interaction with showcasing stand abilities and fights really well. The only one left is Fugo’s stand, who gets a look in when Fugo, Abbacchio and Giorno travel to Pompeii to retrieve a key to a supposedly safe vehicle, and won’t you be surprised when you find out what that vehicle is, because it is not what you’re expecting, I guarantee it. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised at how good an adaptation of Vento Aureo David Production has made. Not that I would ever doubt the company, 1-4 were all superb and they clearly have a real love and passion for JoJo as a series, but I’m enjoying watching Part 5 more than I enjoyed reading it, and seeing them in action has made me warm to Bruno’s gang all the more. I’ve seen people say that Vento Aureo is the best JoJo instalment, but I always thought it was a bit too similar to Stardust Crusaders, and found it to be good but not great. But I’ve found a new appreciation for it, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it through to the end. Diamond is Unbreakable is still my favourite, but I’m digging Vento Aureo. Can’t wait for the Boss to finally show his face, he’s the one aspect I’ve always liked. Well, him and his stand.

Episode 12: The Second Mission From The Boss

And so Bruno’s gang’s stands are rounded off with the reveal of Fugo’s Purple Haze: armed with an explosively violent temper, a burning desire to be clean, and a virus that makes living beings gorily melt. Again, uncensored like the fork-to-face stabbing back in episode 5. Excellent. This is a really strong Stand introduction with an unusual spin on the formula that works in service of what the Stand represents and how it works. We learn in narrated flashbacks that Panacotta Fugo is highly intelligent and from a rich family, he entered university at age 13 but was kicked out when he brutally beat a paedophile teacher to death with a heavy book. His parents disowned him, he scraped by on the street and then Bruno found him and made him the first member of his team. See Fugo has had bouts of intense, violent rage since childhood that he struggles to control, and that’s what his Stand, Purple Haze, represents. Upon arriving at Pompeii the trio are separated, with Fugo pulled into a mirror world by Stand user Illuso and “Man in the Mirror”, with a cool effect where Giorno and Abbacchio disintegrate that’s reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon’s Colour of Madness DLC. He calls out Purple Haze to defend himself but he appears outside the mirror in the real world, and Abbacchio is terrified. Purple Haze is foaming at the mouth with incandescent rage and attacks in a seemingly random, disorganised pattern, its fists covered in capsules containing the aforementioned virus that infects in thirty seconds and kills instantly, as it does to two poor, passing crows. Getting anywhere near it spells death, and Fugo isn’t around to control it. The episode ends with Purple Haze destroying the mirror as a message from Fugo, just as Illuso launches an attack and Giorno insists on staying to help Fugo, while Abbacchio is determined to find the key and leave.

This was a great episode. As stand reveals go this is easily the best one of this part far, and I’d rank it highly among the series as a whole. It’s a cool stand, its powers are a fine example of JoJo’s penchant for ultra-violent nightmare fuel, and the episode was an excellent balance of that, backstory and setting up conflict in the present. Also there’s a bit where Giorno is trying to figure out what’s up with the mirror, and starts rubbing his head along the back of it. It’s adorable.

Episode 13: Man in the Mirror and Purple Haze

In which we get to see first hand (no pun intended) what happens to flesh when it comes in contact with Purple Haze’s virus: it melts, again in an uncensored fashion; maybe they realised that putting big shadows over everything looked really dumb. Abbacchio briefly gets the upper hand against Illuso and demonstrates that Moody Blues is far more capable of kicking the shit out of people than I remembered. Illuso gets the better of him though, with a cool effect where both Leone and Moody Blues are half in and half out of the mirror world, and so combine into one being, split down the middle like Two Face. Abbacchio cuts his hand off in order to get the key back to Giorno, which again I don’t remember because apparently I’ve blanked out nearly everything he does, but it’s seemingly all for nought when Giorno gets sucked into the mirror world too. OR IS IT? No, of course it’s not, he has an elaborate JoJo plan. This one involves purposefully becoming infected with the Purple Haze virus to pass it on to Illuso, who strips the flesh from his hand (which slops to the ground in a heap) and escapes. But Purple Haze corners him back outside and goes ballistic on him, and Giorno uses Gold Experience to craft an antidote out of an immune snake made from a brick covered in the virus. I appreciate them getting good use out of Gold Experience’s unusual powers, which despite being less immediately useful than say, Star Platinum and Crazy Diamond, has its own benefits that show off just how smart Giorno is and how well he knows his stand. Good episode, all action really to tie up what was started last week. Purple Haze is still really cool, Giorno’s great, Abbacchio’s still really handsome, roll on next week.

So as it turns out, the next episode was a recap, so I didn’t write about it. Normal service resumes in 3…

2…

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Episode 14: Express Train to Florence

Oh man I forgot about how weird Grateful Dead looks. A humanoid body covered with eyes that walks around on its hand and has a bunch of tendrils where its legs should be. Anyway having obtained the key Bruno’s crew board a train to Florence with the eventual goal of terminating their escort (as in stop doing it, not kill Trish) in Venice. They’re pursued onto the train by two Execution Team members; Prosciutto and Pesci, but manage to escape thanks to a Tortoise that happens to have a big key shaped hole on its back. Now the subtitles call it a Turtle, which is apparently what Americans call every member of this genus apart from a certain type, but in England we call the ones that have feet and live on land Tortoises and the ones that live in water Turtles. So in order to avoid potential confusion I will be referring to the Turtletoise by its name: Coco Jumbo. Turns out Coco Jumbo has a Stand called Mr President that takes the form of a Hammerspace room that can accommodate every member of the crew. Fortunately that won’t be enough given how Prosciutto’s stand Grateful Dead works: it uses a gas to make people old. Granted that does sound weird, but hey, old age kills people, and how could anyone possible trace it back to him? As assassination tools go it’s a good one. After Giorno explains that Grateful Dead is picking its targets by their body temperature, and Bruno and Mista the only remaining escorts, the former sends the latter out to kill Prosciutto. The episode ends with him being caught by Pesci’s Beach Boy, which is a fishing rod that can go through walls and ensnare people, in this instance ending up under Mista’s skin.

Overall good episode. I was surprised at how quickly it moved; I knew episode 15 was called Grateful Dead going in so I thought that episode would be the conflict while this one was settling in with Coco Jumbo, but it’s moving at a good pace. I thought the animation style looked slightly different, and worse, during the opening scene but then it went back to normal. Good body horror with the tooth dangling from Narancia’s mouth on a strand of bloody saliva, he really got it hard in contrast to Giorno, Abbacchio and Fugo. Speaking of Abbacchio I like how his hand is re-attached by one of Sticky Fingers’ zips, signalling the start of the impromptu, unconventional healing methods in Part 5, because you have to be inventive when you don’t have Crazy Diamond. Mobsters on an escort mission, getting wounded as is an expected part of their lives, having to patch themselves up and they happen to have super powered assistance but not dedicated healing, because that’d be too easy.

Episode 15: The Grateful Dead Part 1

In which Mista and Bucciarati take the spotlight back. Even when I wasn’t so hot on Vento Aureo I liked Mista, and I like him even more now. For some reason him using a regular revolver augmented by a stand that guides the bullets is infinitely cooler than Hol Horse’s stand of a spectral revolver he can conjure at will. I don’t like Hol Horse anyway though so that probably adds to it. Also this is the episode where Mista reloads his revolver by holding it open and dropping six bullets out of his hat that all land in the chambers, which will never not be cool. Anyway Mista deals with Pesci easily enough, sending Sex Pistols in to destroy his supply of ice. Just as I was wondering why he didn’t shoot Pesci himself he blows off his pinky and puts a big hole in his palm, then threatens to shoot him in both eyes if he doesn’t tell him where Prosciutto is. Turns out he’s used Grateful Dead to age himself and blend in, and after making direct contact with Mista to rapidly age him, seemingly kills him with three headshots. Now at this point I knew that Mista survived, but had no idea how given that three bullets enter his head and result in a big pool of blood forming around it. But, easily explained: Sex Pistol #5 stopped them. Good stuff. Interestingly Grateful Dead also ages Sex Pistols themselves, and Number 5 only resists it thanks to the ice in Mista’s cap. He sends 6 back to warn Bucciarati, who puts up a fierce, lightning fast fight with Prosciutto and Grateful Dead, stopping briefly to thwart Pesci’s entry into Coco Jumbo’s Hammerspace room with an excellent kick in the chops. Unfortunately he loses the upper hand because his over exertion causes his body temperature to rise and accelerate the ageing process, but goes for a drastic measure by unzipping a big hole in the train and moving to throw himself and Prosciutto out as the episode ends.

It’s interesting watching the crew deal with a unique threat like Grateful Dead, and it’s good to see them go on the offensive now that they’ve figured out the temperature angle. Good episode, shows what kind of person Bucciarati is.

Sorry for the (checks) wow, six episode deficit in this article. I’ve got some stuff I’m working through and my motivation to actually do things can easily be squashed. But I’m doing these six now, and from then on I’m determined to get them out once a week. Thank you for your patience.

Episode 16: The Grateful Dead Part 2

Jotaro was a goddamn wimp, he only stopped his heart temporarily to fake his death while fighting DIO. Bucciarati temporarily cuts his heart in half after splitting his body into several pieces to avoid Pesci’s Beach Boy fishing rod. I’m getting ahead of myself though, for now Bruno and Prosciutto are hanging off the side of the train, and just as it looks like the former is heading for a fall, he manages to gain the upper hand and knock Prosciutto off, who ends up a bloody mess, crumbled in a heap under the train, missing an arm and close to death. This is after he sincerely apologises to Bucciarati for being rude and underestimating him as a capo; he’s one of those old timey assassins with honour despite relying on magic powers that age people to death. With him out of commission, but not Grateful Dead, it’s a battle of wits between Bucciarati and Pesci, who suddenly finds new resolve and becomes a cold-hearted badass, doing everything he can to find and rip out Bruno’s heart, hence the aforementioned splitting himself into pieces, to show his own resolve. It ends with him seemingly about to do so before Sticky Fingers brutally cracks Pesci’s neck with the line and then bloodily splits him into pieces when he threatens to murder Coco Jumbo on his way out. Bucciarati kills him in style with his own “Ora Ora Ora”: “ARI ARI ARI ARI ARI ARI Arrivederci”. The episode ends with the reveal that Trish is a stand user and wants answers, and another Hitman Team member, Melone, has picked up the trail of the now departed Bucciarati Crew.

Good episode, fine conclusion to both the train conflict and Bruno’s little mini-arc showing just how suited he is to being a capo. Lovely little battle of resolve between him and Pesci, the latter of which has his own little arc from bumbler requiring constant reassurance from his bro to cold-hearted killer (though it’s amusing that his first kill that he’s surprised doesn’t bother him is stepping on the neck of an old man on the verge of death). Good stuff.

Episode 17: Babyface

Melone has one of the more unusual stands in the series, and that’s saying something. The titular Babyface is a computer that uses the blood sample he got of Bucciarati and the characteristics of a woman he happens upon to birth a “baby” called Junior that turns living people into inanimate objects; splitting them into squares one at a time or all at once. There are some obviously rather creepy implications with its creation that the show leans into involving both the woman and Leone, that add to the sense of unsettlement and at times outright horror that JoJo dips into now and then. Let’s not forget the series started off as a Vampire story, and Part 4 was about a serial killer. The episode shows off an evolution in Giorno’s stand Gold Experience; it can do the exact opposite of Junior and turn inanimate objects into living flesh, which Giorno uses to replace his eye, a chunk of his foot and a chunk of his throat all removed by Junior. It’s not as quick and clean as Crazy Diamond, but it’s still healing, it can be used on Giorno himself, and it’s yet another example of how clever and creative JoJo can be. Also Giorno solves the issue of stealing a car attracting attention by turning an entire carpark’s worth into frogs that will all eventually turn into ruined cars in all different places as cover for the one they actually intend to steal. He’s a crafty one, that Giovanna. All in all a neat little self-contained episode with a creepy, interesting stand being countered by Giorno learning more about his own stand and defeating it in style; by turning his severed hand into a piranha and having it tear through Junior. I dig it.

Episode 18: Head to Venice!

In another scene new for the anime we get a look at Risotto’s stand in action, making nails (as in the kind you hammer) spring forth from someone’s hand, and destroying his left eye off-screen. For those of you who don’t want any more information than that, skip to the next paragraph. Still here? Metallica turns the iron in people’s blood into metal objects, like scissors and razor blades. It’s a brutal, effective killing technique and ideal for the head of the Hitman Team.

Anyway, onto the story at hand. Turns out Junior still had some fight left in him but not to worry, Giorno tricks him into taking a severed hand into himself which turns out to be a motorbike, which then explodes. He then takes Junior’s burned corpse and turns it into a snake that returns to Melone and kills him just as he’s making rapey eyes at another potential “mother” to a Junior. Giorno doesn’t mess around. For a stand that creates life Gold Experience sure is good at taking it. Bucciarati is instructed to have Abbacchio use Moody Blues to obtain their final order from Capo Mr Pericolo: go the Lion statue in a photo he was holding at the time and find a disc with instructions on how to hand Trish over. Then he shoots himself, to tie up loose ends and prevent any evidence from getting out. Speaking of handing over Trish, we get our first look at the Boss, again in a scene unique to the anime, sitting in a robe that obscures his face, as he thinks out loud about having his daughter brought to him. The meat of the episode is Mista and Giorno dealing with Ghiaccio; a member of the Hitman Team whose Stand “White Album” lets him freeze objects to -100 degrees centigrade, and cover himself in bulletproof ice armour that comes equipped with handy-dandy built in skis. Also he gets really angry about trivial things, because he’s a hot head with cold powers, get it? Having perched himself on top of the car Giorno is driving and frozen both him and Mista to an almost helpless degree, Mista realises a way out; fire bullets into Ghiaccio’s armour, and use the heat generated by them to turn them into tree roots that burst into life and knock the hitman off. He even calls out “GOLD EXPERIENCE!” beacuse Giorno can’t, which raises an interesting question about who can and can’t summon Stands, adding to the existing question of how exactly they’re summoned and why characters shout their names when it’s been shown to not be a requirement. Anyway the episode ends with Girono barrelling towards the water as Gold Experience’s hands and one of Mista’s forearms are frozen and in danger of being shattered.

This was a fine episode; I liked Melone being conclusively done in and it’s nice to see Mista have things to do because I’m a big fan of him, but I’m not a big fan of Ghiaccio. I do like how Giorno and Mista (mainly Mista, admittedly) work to overcome White Album’s powers, but as a villain he’s weak compared to Prosciutto, Pesci and Melone. Still, overall I enjoyed the episode.

Episode 19: White Album

HOLY SHIT that shot of Mista’s torn off skin stuck to the car with ice. Him losing a finger wasn’t so bad but that was brutal, Christ. Also Giorno’s arm going all Green Room when he smacks it on the concrete was pretty rough. Now, of this entire encounter the only part I remembered from the manga was the ending, where Giorno is patching up Mista and it’s misconstrued as sexual by an arriving Narancia. I did not remember that Ghiaccio is beaten by an elaborate plan involving Mista firing off about fifty bullets that all ricochet back into his own body so he can splatter blood onto Ghiaccio’s face and then knock him back into a spike that pierces his throat, but then Mista collapses and Giorno has to brutally finish Ghiaccio off with a MUDA MUDA MUDA. It’s one of those JoJo fights where things get increasingly dire as the enemy stand, despite having quite specific powers, is so adaptable because Araki is a mad genius, so after trying and trying the end result is something no normal person would come up with, much less in seconds, critically injured and facing an assassin with magic powers. Hats off to Part 5 for growing on me to such a degree. My favourite is still Diamond is Unbreakable but Vento Aureo is excellent. Finally there’s an after credits scene in which the boss curses Risotto for coming after him, drops his robe and is suddenly gone, and the roses on his windowsill have fallen. That’s odd what could that mean? Well, stick around and you’ll find out.

This was a better episode than the previous one, mainly because it dedicated time to showing off exactly what the armour form of White Album is capable of and how effective it is in a stand-up fight, and for having Mista and Giorno both bellowing about resolve in their heads while causing grievous injuries to themselves. Also Mista rides a snowboard made of frozen grass. I love this show so much.

Episode 20: The Final Mission From The Boss

Here we are, folks, the moment people who’ve read the manga have been waiting for since this season began: the coolest looking, and my personal second favourite, Stand, with awesome powers that have been baffling fans for years: KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING CRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON! HOW DOES IT WORK? FUCK YOU, THAT’S HOW. I kid, I kid, it’s actually quite simple really, but I’ll get to that another time. For now it’s time for Bucciarati’s backstory. As a boy his parents divorced and he chose to live with his Fisherman Dad over his pushy “You like me best, right?” Mum. To try and and make more money to send Bruno to a good school, Mr Bucciarati started taking tourists out to fish, and unfortunately a pair of those tourists turned out to be gangsters who got Bruno’s Dad shot seven times after he witnessed a drug deal. They came to finish the job but twelve year old Bruno brutally murdered them both with a knife, and realising that the whole thing was doomed to escalate and snowball, joined Passione and worked for them in exchange for protection. As he grew up he hated anything to do with the drugs that had caused his father to be attacked, and discovered to his dismay that the boss of Passione, whom Bruno thought of as a man of true justice, was involved. Fast forward to the present day: Bruno takes Trish up to the top of a tower alone, and on the way up suddenly finds himself clutching her severed hand, with a big hole having formed in the roof of the lift. That’s a mite suspicious, and Bucciarati deduces that the Boss had him bring Trish her to kill her himself, something that Bruno isn’t into at all. He gets out ahead of the Boss and prepares to strike… only to be completely outclassed and ending up with a massive hole in his chest for his troubles. This is King Crimson, who looks fantastic, especially when framed against the shadowy Boss, and in the Boss’ words: “I erased time and lept past it.” Uh-oh, that doesn’t bode well. I have some things to say about King Crimson, but I’ll save them for when he’s been on screen longer and more of him has been shown off. Anyway this episode was exquisite; from the slow, ominous build up of the crew arriving at the tower and Bruno’s accent, to the short and concise backstory providing weight to his cry of further betrayal everything was framing a reveal I’ve been literally waiting years for. I’m really happy with how it turned out; they got the look right, they showed off his power in a way that leaves him mysterious but shows off how dangerous he is, and they did that thing where the credits roll while events are still playing out, like the episode where DIO drinks Joseph Joestar’s blood. I love when they do that. Great episode, King Crimson is here, get hype.

Episode 21: The Mystery of King Crimson

Hoo boy. King Crimson eh? What a banger. My second favourite Stand after Killer Queen, but I think he has the best design and possibly the coolest powers, definitely up there anyway. So as is tradition for JoJo villains with Stands, King Crimson has time powers. The show actually does a really good job of both showing and telling you about them; those scenes of KC actually standing around in a void observing events and reacting are new. Basically King Crimson sees up to ten seconds into the future, decides on a course of action in response to events and then instantly makes them happen; it’s a time skip from A to B, no one realises what’s happened except for the Boss. There’s a wonderful scene at the start of the episode showing the rest of the crew outside experiencing the time skips as stranger and stranger things happen until Giorno realises they’re in trouble. I can’t say too much about King Crimson for spoiler reasons but he and the Boss are great villains with quite an extreme personality, they’re basically unique in JoJo in how they operate, the only similarities being to Kira and his desire for a quiet life, but to a far more drastic extent. By the way that’s why the Boss suddenly disappeared and the roses fell during that post-credit sequence in episode 19. So King Crimson can skip time, and that goes about as well as you’d expect for Bucciarati, who on top of receiving a massive hole in the chest also has KC chop into his shoulder and leave a huge, life-threatening gash in his chest. Were it not for sheer, Guts-style willpower he’d be dead already. He actually manages to fight back quite effectively with that cunning he’s been displaying in all his fights, and finally manages to reach Giorno only to die. Giorno revives him, but it’s clear something isn’t right when he impales his hand and not only doesn’t seem to notice, it doesn’t bleed at all. So Bucciarati is back from the dead with all his mental faculties, but he’s got some issues physically. I really like that approach to enemy encounters actually: both Bruno and a caption at the end of the episode refer to King Crimson as being “Invincible”, so they actually go the distance and have him kill Bucciarati. He didn’t win, he barely managed to escape after being revived. He has no idea how to counter the time skip and really just needs to get as far away from the Boss as possible. Unlike with DIO there’s no frozen time to move in, no matter your abilities; King Crimson makes that time cease to exist, it really is just a skip from A to B, and how do you counter that? That’s a question for another time however, because right now there’s a choice to be made: go with Bucciarati and be a traitor to Passione, hunted and denied safe haven for the rest of their lives? Or stay here and abandon a man of great personal importance to them all, who took them in and made them who they are today? Everyone but Fugo goes on the boat, though Narancia takes a little while, leaping into the water and swimming after the boat after realising and articulating in a crude, charming way that he and Trish are a lot alike, and that he wants to help her. It’s touching, and a powerful, hopeful end to a harrowing encounter with hands down the most powerful stand in the entire show thus far, across every part.

This and the previous episode are easily the best Part 5 has been so far. The suspense, the character drama, the outstanding reveal and depiction of one of the coolest stands in the series: it’s outstanding. Brilliant work, David Production, you absolutely nailed it.

Right then, that’s JoJo all caught up with. Next week seems to be a plot recap and if it is I’ll be skipping it like last time, but I’ll see you back here with the next proper episode, in good time. I can’t wait.

UPDATE: It was a recap episode, so I skipped it.

Episode 22: The “G” in Guts

Ooh, a new OP. “Traitor’s Requiem”, huh? That’s neat, I get that reference. Christ, this new OP sure does have a lot of spoilers in it. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. Remember End of THE WORLD and all the neat little references peppered throughout but that were slightly hidden? Remember Bloody Stream, which referenced Caesar’s death if you knew what to look for? Of course, they’d already set a precedent with this by having Sono Chi No Sadame, which recaps the first three episodes of Part 1 debut before the end of those episodes. If there’s one thing that David Production has a problem with it’s when to debut new openings; the most egregious one for me was Chase, which showed Josuke pursuing Kosaku Kawajiri before Yoshikage Kira had even been formally introduced. Not since then has a JoJo OP been more blatant about spoilers than Traitor’s Requiem, which spoils characters, stands and major plot reveals, including arguably the most important one of all, as well as a veiled reference to the ending. I cannot believe some of the stuff that’s in there. Having said that there are parts of the OP I like a lot; a rundown of everything that’s lead up to the gang becoming traitors, the few hints at future events that are just hints (that I won’t spoil) and my boy Doppio looking great. People who haven’t read the manga shouldn’t even know who Doppio is yet but there he is. Anyway, onto the episode itself. Having moved on from their harrowing experience at the hands of a time-deleting prog band Bucciarati’s crew stop at a water-side restaurant to feed Sex Pistols and take a break. Trish reveals that her Mother gave her a crucial piece of information: she met the Boss in Sardinia. Finally, a lead. While at the restaurant they’re set upon by two of the Boss’ elite guards; Tiziano and Squalo and their stands Talking Head and Clash. Clash leads the charge; it’s a shark that teleports between liquids, regardless of what and where they are, and uses that power to hide in Narancia’s soup and bite off a piece of his tongue. That paves the way for Talking Head, who hides in Narancia’s mouth and makes him say the exact opposite of what he means. There’s a whole fuss and to do with Narancia leading the gang back and forth, Giorno has to give him an emergency tracheotomy, it’s a mess. Finally, just as Giorno works out that Narancia being in distress and constantly contradicting himself is a sign that he’s under attack (and guesses the exact nature of said attack) Clash appears and bites into his neck.

I’d seen a meme going around about Narancia and Mista kicking the shit out of some guy while Abbacchio calmly watches and drinks wine, then suddenly it cuts and he’s also kicking the poor bastard. That was a real highlight, it’s hilarious. The art style was a bit all over the place this week; sometimes it was really sharp and detailed, sometimes it was vague and bland, sometimes the characters had strange proportions and features. It wasn’t a big deal but there were times when it was really noticeable, particularly on Bucciarati and Giorno. Apart from that, good episode. Nice eerie horror tone when Clash is around, managed to get quite a bit of drama out of a small-scale event and of course Giorno figures it out, because that’s what Giorno does. Finally there’s a new ED, “Modern Crusaders”, which is pretty good, but my main takeaway was that the title acknowledges the similarities between this and Part 3.

Episode 23: Clash and Talking Head 

VOLAVOLAVOLAVOLAVOLAVOLAVOLAVOLAAAAA! Volare via. So everyone else is off doing bugger all, and it’s up to Narancia and a rapidly fading Giorno to solve this thing. I’d just like to point out that Tiziano and Squalo are clearly a couple and that makes the second one this series, which is great. Tiziano’s gorgeous, good for Squalo. Anyway Narancia manages to temporarily gain the upper hand against Clash, and manages to tag him several times before being lured into a trap that causes a really ineffectual explosion. Talking Head is still useful but it’s a very situational stand, and therefore Clash has to do most of the heavy lifting vis a vis fighting off Narancia and trying to kidnap and murder Giorno, whose body Clash can shrink alongside itself. It all comes to a head when Narancia ventures out into the streets to attack Tiziano and Squalo directly, baiting them into revealing themselves by cutting out his own tongue with Talking Head still attached to it, and using a replacement from Giorno to declare that he’s found them both. He fills Tiziano full of holes, and when Squalo seemingly ends the conflict by having Clash burrow into Narancia’s neck, the latter just no-sells it and blows Squalo away, with his “Volare via” cry. With the two elite guards dead, Bucciarati’s crew head for the airport, where they’ll take a plane to Sardinia.

I realised this at the time but didn’t comment on it; Modern Crusaders has bits of O Fortuna in it. I’ve been listening to the full song and it also has a bit of Bach’s Toccato and Fugo in D Minor (the famous organ one) in it. It’s good anyway, I like it. Good episode overall, nice ending to the set-up last week and another chance for Narancia to show off his skills. Next week’s episode is going to be particularly interesting, so stay tuned for that.

Episode 24: Notorious B.I.G

I love it when JoJo does horror. It has a strong pedigree in that genre of course, but as the parts go on it becomes less of a focus. King Crimson brought it back with a bang, and now we have Notorious B.I.G (or as Giorno calls it “Notorious Big”), an amorphous blob of flesh that activates when its user dies and tirelessly tracks down anything that moves. Didn’t you just know that putting down Carne was too easy? After boarding a jet and beginning the flight to Sardinia using a combination of Moody Blues and autopilot, everything’s coming up Milhouse for once. Sure an odd looking man with a stand approached them and was promptly gunned down, but that’s par for the course at this point. But then fingers show up in a freezer, and the aforementioned amorphous blob incapacitates Mista and Narancia. Giorno loses an arm, then slices the other off with a shard of broken glass in order to throw B.I.G out the plane, and can I just say that the anime is reminding me what an indomitable badass the son of DIO really is. With no hands, Giorno can’t use Gold Experience, so he’s out for good. Now it’s just Bucciarati and Trish in the main body of the plane, solemnly travelling to The Fox’s Trail in Sardinia, where Trish’s parents apparently met. Unfortunately, B.I.G’s programming allows it to catch up with the plane, because it prioritises whatever’s moving the fastest. The episode ends with Trish seeing that Giorno turned his brooch into a replacement arm, and she plans to protect it from B.I.G and get Giorno back into the fight.

Like I said last week in anticipation, this is a really interesting episode. A stand that activates upon its user’s death and goes after movement is a unique threat, and clearly a dangerous one given that three of the crew are out for the count and one of them has no arms. Giorno’s commitment to the cause at the expense of his own safety is a sight to behold, and I like Trish getting more involved by the end of the episode. Also I like Bucciarati cradling a passed out Giorno; it just shows how far they’ve come since their initial clash. Good episode.

Episode 25: Spice Girl

Okay, as copyright-friendly renames for Stands go, Spicy Lady is a good one. Trish commits herself to recovering Giorno’s developing new hand, but she runs afoul of the increasingly dangerous Notorious B.I.G. Fortunately her Stand takes this moment to make herself known and get Trish out of a jam with her odd power of softening things. In practical terms Trish can make any object soft and rubbery, which makes it effectively unbreakable, and she can melt apart objects to travel through them. Spice Girl puts it best: “Making things softer… means they become harder to break than diamonds!” You could say that Diamond is Unbreakable, hehe. Spice Girl is unique among stands in that she can and does vocally address Trish as an equal, with a mind of her own that springs forth advice and encouragement. The only Stand I can think of that’s similar is Red Hot Chilli Pepper, but he was just a an instrument through which his user spoke. Spice Girl also picks her own name, which was unexpected. I’ve always had the impression that now Stands aren’t linked to fortune tellers and they’ve run out of Tarot cards, people are just naming them after bands they like. Spice Girl tells Trish that “I am you”, so maybe that’s what Trish subconsciously named her. Anyway, Spice Girl seemingly defeats B.I.G by ruthlessly dismantling it with a pole, but it comes back bigger, stronger and reminiscent of William Birkin’s final form from the Resi 2 remake. Turns out B.I.G is literally invincible, and the best they can hope for is dropping it in the sea, where it chases after waves forever and the occasional passing ship. Horrible, meat moss crisis averted, cool new powers gained, it’s off to Sardinia. The episode ends with what I’m pretty sure is a new scene in which the boss angrily monologues about a photograph that Trish has seen for every day of her life; one that could easily lead to Bucciarati seeing his face. He sets off for Sardinia after baffling a cleaning lady with King Crimson’s super cleaning up powers. I like this scene showing off the boss’ mental state when it comes to removing every last shred of evidence that could be used to identify, but at the same time I don’t want them to show him off too much. I’m glad they’re blatantly obscuring his face anyway, and I always enjoy seeing King Crimson. Overall a good episode: I’d forgotten everything about Spice Girl other than her powers so re-learning her personality and ability to independently speak to Trish was really cool. I liked Trish taking the lead and being an equal member of the gang. She has been ever since she got on that boat (EDIT: just been reminded she was placed onto the boat because she was unconscious. A better way to put it would be: she has been ever since she wasn’t killed by her Father), but she’s growing into the role. Good conclusion to the B.I.G story, looking forward to Doppio next episode.

Episode 26: A Little Story From The Past ~My Name Is Doppio~

Turns out that scene with the Boss in a hotel room isn’t new for the anime, so my bad. It’s been years since I read Vento Aureo and clearly I don’t remember it as well as I thought I did. Having double checked, this episode is all in the manga, but the opening flashback scene occurs much later. If I don’t re-read the manga before the anime ends I definitely will once it has. Anyway, back in 1965 an ominous looking baby with pink hair was born to a woman in prison, having apparently been sired two years prior to a now dead Father. The boy is raised in Sardinia by a priest, and everything is peachy until said Priest uncovers the boy’s mother, hidden under a concrete floor with her mouth stitched shut. How she’s alive and how long she’s been there is unclear, but it’s rendered moot when the boy burns down the village and is pronounced dead. Back in the present, a young man with excellent dress sense and suspiciously pink hair is in Sardinia on a mission from the Boss: to get to the location in the photo from last episode before Bucciarati’s crew does. His name is Doppio, and I love him. Now I thought that this was kept hidden until later in the story, but clearly I was wrong so let’s get into it: Doppio and the Boss share a body. Friendly, goofy Doppio goes out in public to do legwork, communicates with the Boss by thinking that various objects are actually ringing phones (he makes the ringing noise himself) and if anyone ever threatens him the Boss takes over and enacts violence upon them. It’s a fascinating set up and ties into the Boss’ extreme desire to be unknown to and unseen by literally everyone. First he King Crimsons a fortune teller who can tell that Doppio is apparently looking for his fifteen year old daughter and has multiple personalities, then he sticks his finger behind the eye of a cab driver who’s trying to overcharge Doppio and in the process, nearly sees the photograph. Finally he encounters Risotto Nero, leader and sole remaining member of the Hitman Team, who mistakes the cowering Doppio for a civilian after he faceplants into a rock and shows genuine fear. Unfortunately Doppio vocally remembers the Boss’ orders to get within two meters of Risotto and reacts to the presence of a scouting Aerosmith, revealing that he’s a Stand user. I described Risotto’s horrifying Stand power it in an earlier episode, but here we get to see it in its full glory: turning the iron in people’s blood into metal objects. For Doppio it’s pins impaling his cheeks from the inside and chucking up a throat full of blood-soaked razor blades. Risotto vanishes, presumably to avoid Aerosmith, and the episode ends with the Boss talking to Doppio via frog-phone, bestowing him a portion of King Crimson’s power and reminding him to get within two meters of Risotto.

This was a great episode. Anything pertaining to the Boss and King Crimson will always be a stand-out for me, they’re easily my favourite things about Vento Aureo. I love Doppio and how he ties into them also, that weird mix of goofy humour, determination to do right by the Boss and the physical transformation he can undergo. The idea that in order to keep his identity hidden the Boss goes around disguised as an innocent young man who thinks a frog is a phone is one of those weird things JoJo does so well; that mix of comedy, darkness, violence and, yes, the bizarre. Good stuff, looking forward to the showdown with Risotto next episode.

Episode 27: King Crimson vs. Metallica

Goddamn, this adaptation is seriously threatening to make the Passione boss my favourite JoJo villain. Currently it’s Yoshikage Kira, but this episode is the latest in a series of attempts to make me jump ship. It picks up where the previous episode ended: in order to take out Risotto Nero and keep Doppio alive, the Boss gives the latter the use of King Crimson’s arms and “Epitaph”; the little face on King Crimson’s regular face that’s responsible for seeing into the future. Unfortunately that’s all sweet Doppio gets: he can see ten seconds into the future, but he has to manually get into position and attack Risotto, he cannot skip time. So get ready for shots of Doppio screaming in pain as metallic objects rip up his insides. He manages to quickly tear a pair of scissors out his throat before they kill him and then use them to slice off Risotto’s foot, but the assassin can use Metallica to stitch himself back together with a groaning collection of tiny metal ghost things. Also he can cloak. You can see why he was head of the Hitman Team. The Boss insists that Doppio stand down and let him take over, but the young man is oddly full of confidence and enacts a decent plan, but Nero sees through it, waiting for Doppio to die from his yellow, ironless blood being unable to take in oxygen. Making it even sweeter for him is the realisation that Doppio and the Boss are two personalities in one body, and he’s close to killing them both. Fortunately, Doppio’s aforementioned decent plan was actually to lure over Bucciarati’s crew, and it succeeds: Aerosmith takes out Risotto as the Boss stares at him victoriously, his face hidden in shadow.

I loved this episode. Doppio gradually figuring out how to find Risotto and attack him with King Crimson’s spectral arms was great, especially Doppio using the arms to smash the ground in frustration. I like how, similarly to King Crimson and Bucciarati, Metallica is a brutally effective stand that very nearly kills Doppio and is extremely hard to counter. He was *this* close to killing the Boss, but he was out-manoeuvred. The best part for me, however, is how they’ve realised Doppio and the Boss sharing a body, through the animation, voice acting and sound effects. As much as I love Kira the Boss, Doppio and King Crimson are just so cool, interesting and unique as a threat that they steal every scene they’re in. The shots of the Boss speaking through Doppio, his face in shadow are superb; a well-meaning, clumsy young man hiding the most dangerous man in the world just out of sight. Excellent.

Episode 28: Beneath a Sky on the Verge of Falling

Ah this is interesting. Whenever I think about or explain how King Crimson works I say that Epitaph sees an attack coming, sees a future where the Boss is out the way then King Crimson deletes the time between the start and finish of that sequence, so the Boss isn’t hit. Here we have a better example of how the time deletion works: Risotto grabs the Boss to try and get him killed by Aerosmith, but King Crimson deletes the 0.5 seconds where the bullets hit him so they just don’t, and he doesn’t have to move at all. With that, Risotto Nero is very, very dead. Cadaverific, you might say. Despite lacking the ability to take in oxygen the Boss is hanging on in there and determined to get down to the statue and kill Abbacchio, and does so in a crafty, gruesome way. First he bites into and drinks the blood of a passing frog for some iron, then grabs one of a group of children in football shirts and drinks a load of his blood, sews his mouth shut with his shoelaces, dons the shirt and turns back into Doppio for a disguise. After Abbacchio gets the kids’ football out of a tree Doppio/Boss swiftly donuts him and escapes. Abbacchio dies and goes to what seems to be heaven: “trapped” at a bus’ final stop at a small cafe with the police officer who was killed back when Leone was a cop and took a bribe, though said officer is filled with praise and tries to calm Leone down. Back in the land of the living Giorno discovers Abbacchio’s Kakyoin-style final message: Moody Blues used the last of its energy to leave an imprint of the Boss’ face on the statue. Abbacchio’s spirit is content in the knowledge that he helped his comrades.

This episode was fantastic, and Vento Aureo is killing it. This whole mini-arc with the Boss and Doppio has been consistently excellent, and this was no exception. The Boss’ cunning and ruthlessness in slitting a child’s wrist and drinking his blood then disguising himself as said child to kill Abbacchio echoes Yoshikage Kira’s desire to keep himself hidden. The sheer pain and despair in Narancia’s voice as he breaks down in tears over his fallen friend, Bucciarati’s lack of feeling resulting in him biting his lip so hard he draws blood before ordering Narancia to accept the situation and move on, out of concern for everyone’s safety; that whole scene was a raw gut punch. I remembered Abbacchio died in this way but I didn’t remember it being so sad and having such a touching pay off. Really great episode, loved every second of it, JoJo continues to go from strength to strength.

(There was another recap episode)

Episode 29: Get to the Roman Colosseum!

Finally, after all this time calling him “Boss” I can use his real name. The Passione Boss, user of King Crimson and big bad of Part 5 is named Diavolo. It’s Italian for “Devil” and that’s his real name, it’s great. All that remains now is for him to show himself, and I can’t wait for that, because I’ve always loved how he looks (and found him immensely attractive). Anyway, after losing Abbacchio but gaining the cast of Diavolo’s face, a mysterious voice appears on the laptop Giorno is using to trawl law enforcement records and gives them a lead: his name is Diavolo, the mystery man has one of the stand-creating arrows, which are made from a meteorite filled with a horrible virus, and Bucciarati’s crew need to meet him at the Colosseum, where they’ll team up and put Diavolo down. The boss realises something’s up from the renewed purpose the gang is showing however, and so sends Doppio after them. He also instructs Doppio to send in the Boss’ last remaining guards; Cioccolata and Secco, despite Diavolo thinking the former is “The worst piece of shit on the face of the Earth”, and his backstory explains why. Before becoming a stand user and gangster Cioccolata dedicated his time first to driving elderly people to suicide and filming their expressions, then working as a doctor and diagnosing healthy people with illnesses so he could conduct unnecessary surgery on them and have them wake up during it. There’s nothing he likes more than seeing people die, and now he’s here. Secco is basically a lapdog who films Cioccolata’s various murders, and follows him around everywhere. The episode ends with Cioccolata’s stand Green Day revealing itself and Giorno figuring out how it works: once you’re in its range, moving any part of your body to a lower level makes flesh-destroying mold burst out of your skin.

Best part of this episode was Doppio using the little girl’s toy phone to call Diavolo, that was adorable. The ice cream was good, but lacked that wholesome element. Whom the mysterious voice on the other end of the laptop belongs to is a cool reveal and I won’t say any more about that for spoiler reasons, but I’m glad the info dump was brief. It was less exposition and more the mystery man giving information that proves he’s legit and will win Bucciarati over. Cioccolata is the absolute worst and I’m looking forward to how he’s dealt with, that’s an awesome moment in the manga, and his Stand is even more brutally effective than I remembered. Good episode again, we’re moving towards the endgame now and so it’s moving at a quick pace and throwing everything it has at us. As long as this adaptation continues at this level of quality Part 5 is going to end up a lot higher on my list of best parts by the end. Seeing these characters in motion, voice acted and set to music has done wonders for them, more so than previous parts I’d say. It just works so well seeing how all these stands move and act. I’ve loved this adaptation so far and I’m looking forward to the next episodes.

Episode 30: Green Day and Oasis, Part 1

You know, Cioccolata may be a monster, but his relationship with Secco is oddly sweet. Dude clearly loves his pet human-dog partner in sadism, that’s all I’m saying. Anyway after showing off Green Day last week, this time it’s Oasis’ turn in the spotlight: it’s a suit that covers Secco’s body similar to Ghiaccio’s White Album, and allows him to soften, destroy and move through concrete like it were mud. His ability to, say, destroy a staircase while Bucciarati and Mista are climbing it combined with a Stand that decimates any living being that’s moving downwards makes it incredibly useful for this very situation, and it’s up to Zombie Bucciarati to save the day. They’re acknowledging in universe that he’s undead now, and that he’s rapidly approaching a second, inescapable death. For now though it’s working in his favour, because not being alive makes him immune to Green Day’s mold, and he manages to draw blood from Secco’s face, enraging him. They manage to take a car up the nearby mountain, but Cioccolata somehow has access to a helicopter and shows why Diavolo didn’t want him involved; spreading mold all over the place and almost instantly liquefying a whole load of civilians. Realising that the mold’s range will eventually grow and include the Colosseum, Bucciarati takes on Secco as Giorno and Mista team up to turn bullets into strong vines that hold the helicopter in place and set off to put Cioccolata down.

That Cioccolata’s a bad dude. His Stand is lethal even by JoJo standards, and makes Purple Haze look like it gives people the flu. It’s clear that he’s a desperate last resort for Diavolo now that he’s in such danger of having his identity revealed, he must know that his own disgust with the two aside this is a terrible idea. Nice to see Giorno create plant life again, and I love him teaming up with Mista. A highlight was Bucciarati telling Giorno how he’s come to terms with his situation and has to push on just a bit further to the journey’s end, as well as the ending, with the three splitting up to quickly take out the new threat before it wipes out all of Rome. Good episode, I’m hyped for what happens after but I’m more than happy to let this encounter play out in the meantime.

Episode 31: Green Day and Oasis, Part 2

WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I’m so glad that Wryyy is a congenital thing and not just something DIO did. I love that Gold Experience instinctively does it as well as yelling “Muda” when he punches. The seven page Muda is upon us and it was glorious, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bucciarati is trying to deal with Secco, who can use his powers to turn the ground into a bouncy material that adds recoil to his arms to strengthen his punches. It’s his version of an ORAORAORA I guess, given that he yells “OAAAAASISUUUUUUUUUUU!” while he’s doing it. This fight only gets a small amount of screen time, with Bruno dropping to a lower point to escape, and Secco commenting that there’s clearly something wrong if Green Day’s mold won’t attack him. Back to the main event: Cioccolata’s stuck in the now trapped helicopter, but somehow manages to evade and mutilate all but one of Mista’s Sex Pistols, putting Mista out of action for now. Turns out Cioccolata has the genuinely disconcerting power to slice himself into pieces that can move independently, and as Giorno climbs into the helicopter to see what’s going on, he’s met with Cioccolata’s head and torso with one arm attached and a wriggling spine sticking out, skittering away after Gold Experience twats him. His severed limbs are surprisingly strong, and pose a genuine threat to Giorno until he and Sex Pistol Number Five manage to enact a plan: turn a bullet into a branch to stop Giorno falling, wait for Green Day to destroy said branch and then turn a fragment of it back into a bullet, have it hit the propeller and lodge itself in Cioccolata’s brain. Job’s a good’un, but Giorno isn’t convinced that Cioccolata is really dead. If he is alive, but stays where he is, Giorno will show him mercy. Sure enough he’s still kicking, and his severed arm is about to kill Mista until it’s shown that Giorno’s offer of mercy was a lie, and that he’d never go easy on a piece of shit like Cioccolata: the bullet in his head is now a stag beetle, which explosively bursts out the other side in a fountain of blood. He launches himself at Giorno in a last ditch attempt to salvage a win, only to be hit with what we’ve all been waiting for. MUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDA! Personally, I was hoping Giorno’s Wryyy would be more like DIO’s, but it was amazing all the same. The sound effect of Gold Experience’s fists connecting, the music, the shot of Giorno afterward looking all badass: it was great. He’s a noble young man, but don’t you dare give him a reason or you will regret it.
Meanwhile, Secco is underground listening to a voicemail from Cioccolata, who talks about how he’s going to scratch Secco’s back and throw him five sugar cubes at once, something that drives Secco wild with anticipation. He ends the message by saying that Giorno is approaching and he has to hang up, and in a genuinely touching moment tells Secco that he loves him. The episode ends with Secco sneaking up on Bucciarati, and a look at the man waiting for the gang in the Colosseum, who looks oddly familiar…

Another great episode, as per usual. The fight between Giorno and Cioccolata is another good example of the former using his intellect and knowledge of his Stand to great effect, the seven page Muda was wonderully realised, and the relationship between Cioccolata and Secco continues to be genuinely sweet despite them both being awful people. Good stuff.

Episode 32: Green Day and Oasis, Part 3

The oddly familiar looking man was Jean-Pierre Polnareff, because who the hell else would it be with that hair? He’s changed a lot since Stardust Crusaders though, he’s lost both his legs and the use of one eye, which he’s attempting to cover up with an eye patch that covers up precisely bugger all. So he’s the contact waiting to help Bucciarati’s crew take down Diavolo, but first Bruno has to deal with Secco, who’s proving himself to be a dangerous opponent. Turns out Secco only hung around with Cioccolata because he thought he was a big tough cool guy, but now he’s dead he thinks he’s a total punk and either way he never loved him. So that’s kinda sad. Most of the fight between Secco and Bucciarati is the former chasing the latter underground, where he can swim through the liquid rock and pavement, the liquid strengthening sound waves which he uses to track Bruno. When he can’t find him he tries to force him to surface by chewing up mud, spitting it into the air where, as it moves away from Secco it hardens and turns into razor sharp daggers that fall through the liquid earth and impale Bucciarati. Fortunately Bruno’s Zambambo body can survive that, but Bruno does have to surface eventually. It’s looking like it’s all over as Secco goes for the finishing blow, but Bucciarati has a brutal plan: wait for a car to be dragged into the liquid earth and have Sticky Fingers burst one of its tires, bloodily destroying Secco’s ear drums and rendering him all but useless. Sensing defeat, Secco makes one last ditch attempt to survive by grabbing some random tourist hostage. A tourist with pink hair and a cool outfit, whose eyes seem to change colour from brown to green… Oh Secco, if only you realised the sheer irony of declaring that you WERE going to kill the Boss, but now you’ll settle for just using this teenager to escape instead. Bucciarati punches through Doppio, leaving him unharmed but fixing Secco’s flesh-melting hand to his own neck, giving him a death sentence on the spot. But that doesn’t matter because Secco wanders off and falls into the same bin lorry Cioccolata did, putting him out of commission for good. The episode ends with Bruno collapsing, his body seemingly having reached its limit, as Doppio creeps up behind him and raises his hand.

This little trilogy of Green Day and Oasis has been great, acting as a last hurrah for the Bruno’s Crew vs Passione members format before they encounter Diavolo next episode in the aptly titled “His name is Diavolo”. Secco and Cioccolata have been effective, enjoyable villains, these three episodes have had some wonderful, memorable moments not limited to the seven page Muda. This week I loved the moment when Secco slaps Doppio and Diavolo takes over for a second just to give a death glare, the surprisingly brutal efficiency of Oasis, and the little flashback to the Stardust Crusaders in Egypt. It all goes down next episode, I’m looking forward to it.

(Note that after this episode I re-read what’s left to be adapted of the manga, so I should be slightly more up on what is and isn’t new for the anime. In theory)

Episode 33: His Name is Diavolo 

Ooh, I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been particularly hype for it since I re-read the end of the manga, but much like the first appearance of King Crimson I’ve been looking forward to this particular reveal since the anime began. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Turns out his method of defeating Secco proved to have a pretty drastic effect on Bucciarati after all, and he can no longer hear or see, something that comes in handy when Doppio offers to help him across the road for surveillance purposes but gets a call from Diavolo halfway across. Bruno is blind, but he can see people’s souls, kind of like Hyakkimaru from Dororo, and remember that because that’ll be important later. Due to this very specific vision, he mistakes Doppio for Trish, due to the link between her and Diavolo, and so allows Doppio to lead him into the Colosseum. They run into Polnareff, who feels a murderous intent from “Trish” that he’s felt once before; that time when he tried to investigate Diavolo and King Crimson robbed him of his legs, one of his arms (though it was re-attached) and the use of one eye. Unfortunately all that reminiscing allows Doppio to get the drop on him, transforming into Diavolo and attacking; killing Polnareff with a punch through the chest, but not before Jean-Pierre can stab Silver Chariot with the arrow.  The episode ends with Trish, Giorno and Mista arriving on the scene, and a mysterious figure appearing before Diavolo and walking away, ignoring his commands to stop.

I’ll readily admit that I find Diavolo very attractive, more so than any other character in JoJo, and upon first viewing of this episode I think he’s actually even more attractive in the anime. The shot of him just after he’s changed looks great in the anime: that whole reveal didn’t disappoint. I do have one slight complaint though, which is Diavolo making the switch from Doppio by skipping time, which didn’t happen in the manga, or at least I didn’t get that impression. I’ve always liked the idea of Doppiavolo being able to switch between each other really quickly, so it could happen in the time it takes for them to pass by a pillar. It’s not a big deal, the reveal was still great and I love how Diavolo looks here. I really like him and Polnareff sharing narration duties for the flashback, and how the shot of the latter and Jotaro together looked exactly how it did in the manga, only with a different colour scheme. It’s a very focused, streamlined episode; focusing entirely on Doppio/Diavolo and Polnareff, with an interesting look at just how far gone Bucciarati is, which is to say very. Doppio is good here, Bucciarati is good, Polnareff is good, it’s more clear what happens in regards to Silver Chariot throwing him and his wheelchair into the air, I thought in the manga he had him push off the ground with his Stand-feet, Star Platinum-style, and of course Diavolo looks amazing. I really liked this episode, having refreshed myself on the upcoming chapters I’m eager to see how they play out in the anime.

Before we get onto the next episode, there are some things about the previous one I need to address, because I was so caught up in how gorgeous Diavolo is that I forgot to mention them. Firstly, he was the one who dug up the arrows and sold all but one to Enya from Stardust Crusaders, meaning that he is responsible for everything bad that happened in Parts 3 and 4. To be fair, he’s also responsible for most of the good, stand-related things that happen, so swings and roundabouts. Also we get an interesting look at how King Crimson’s powers work and how Diavolo fits in, with the combination of forseeing and deleting time being shown as a world similar to DIO’s frozen time in which Diavolo can freely move around and act, throwing blood into Polnareff’s eyes. He also refers to time resuming, again much like DIO, which is odd given that King Crimson deletes the time it skips. Personally I always got the impression that Diavolo was also affected by the skip forward but knew everything that had happened. Of course this could just be a visual representation of it, I’m not sure. It’s cool either way, and the visual effect of everything exploding, leaving the void of space behind is a great one. Although it makes the anime version of Diavolo’s reveal even stranger and reaffirms my assertion that the manga version didn’t contain a time skip, because if Diavolo is acting in the deleted time, why is the pillar still there?

Episode 34: The Requiem Quietly Plays, Part 1

Hooooooooly shit that opening. I was hoping there’d be a special intro like DIO stopping End of THE WORLD and Kira forcing Great Days to play backwards, and David Production hasn’t disappointed. In addition to changing the shot of Doppio looking at the camera so that he now transforms into Diavolo (and there are flashes of Diavolo’s mesh shirt and hair being inlaid over the top of Doppio’s jumper before he transforms), the man himself interrupts the OP just after the bloody finger appears to blow apart the street outside the Colosseum and send him and a worried looking Giorno into King Crimson’s void. Operatic singing frames Italian voice over: “No one can escape the fate that was chosen for them. All that remains is the end, where you will all perish. Eternal greatness exists only within myself. Sing a song of sorrow in a world where time has vanished.” The singing and voice over herald the King of this world: Diavolo. For all that bluster about DIO’s “World of stopped time”, he had to share it with others, others who could move within it and stand toe-to-toe with him. Not so here. I like to think the unique music and language choice show that Diavolo’s world of deleted time is his and his alone, one where he; the emperor will always stand at the apex. David Production have been killing it with their depiction of Diavolo and King Crimson’s power, and this is yet another brilliant way to show it off. It’s unnerving, as Diavolo looms over a helpless Giorno and uses Epitaph to foresee his MUDA rush with the ominous operatic singing basking everything in dread. Time resumes with the same shot as the normal OP, but with Diavolo now revealed for all to see. It’s as thoughtful as Kira’s Great Days, but swaps the looming, sinister dread of a fixed end point that must be avoided at all costs with an immediate, seemingly insurmountable threat. Good stuff.

That mysterious figure from the end of last episode is Chariot Requiem; a version of Silver Chariot untethered from its now dead master, and seeking to keep the arrow safe by putting everyone in the area in and around the Colosseum to sleep, and swapping their souls between their bodies. A man is now his dog, a woman is now her baby, two police officers in a car are now the criminal in the back seat and a bird on the bonnet respectively. Inside the Colosseum Trish and Mista have swapped, as have Giorno and Narancia. Polnareff has swapped with Coco Jumbo, and Diavolo’s soul is apparently nowhere to be found because Trish insists that she’d be able to sense him otherwise, meaning Bucciarati’s body is currently lying motionless with some unknown person’s soul inside. Coco Polnareff tells the gang about in an incident two years ago in which the arrow nicked Silver Chariot’s finger, and resulted in it going Requiem for a minute and putting every living being on the farm they were staying at to sleep until Polnareff snatched the arrow back. This is the power he was intending to give to Bucciarati’s crew, but Diavolo got the drop on him. He also alerts Trish to the mysterious young man disguising himself as her, and working in tandem with Diavolo as part of a well-coordinated team. The episode ends with the gang getting ready to deal with Diavolo, who has suddenly sprinted into the Colosseum, only for him to activate Sticky Fingers and punch Chariot Requiem’s arrow-carrying arm off, revealing that he’s actually Bucciarati.

I get the feeling the bodyswapping angle is Araki’s attempt to escape the hole he’s dug himself into by having someone as immensely powerful as Diavolo on the field of play, and to stop him from destroying the Modern Crusaders in seconds flat. But it’s fun, so I’ll go along with it. The first part of the episode is really well done, the voice actors are clearly having a good time portraying a different soul inhabiting their characters, particularly Trish and Mista, and Narancia speaking in Giorno’s calm, collected manner. The latter half with Polnareff explaining what’s going on with Chariot Requiem and the arrival of Diavolorati sets up the arc going forward. Fun episode after the tense drama last week, excellent new opening, looking forward to next week.

Episode 35: The Requiem Quietly Plays, Part 2

Bucciarati goes for the arrow, only for Sticky Fingers’ sticky fingers to rip their way out of his arm and grab him by the throat. The rest of his Stand moves in to attack him, and Mista’s attempts to save him result in one of Sex Pistols trying to ram a bullet into Mista’s skull, fortunately stopped by Trish using Spice Girl to soften the bullet. So grabbing the arrow is out, what’s their next plan? It’ll have to wait, because even though Mista’s put a few bullets in the newly risen Bruno body, time just skipped again. Seems like wherever Diavolo is, he took a dislike to Narancia’s little speech about going back to school, eating fresh pizza and looking forward to seeing Fugo again, because he’s impaled him on iron bars. Shouldn’t have tempted fate, Narancia. Now you’re dead. Giorno tries to heal him but it’s too late, his soul has vacated Giorno’s body, which Giorno can now just climb back into somehow. Just in case you needed an extra punch in the gut, there’s a new scene of Fugo looking up and seeing what seems to be Aerosmith turn into a bird and fly away, that then shows the clouds above where Abbacchio died back in Sardinia. Polnareff realises that Diavolo and Doppio are two separate personalities and that Doppio is currently in Bucciarati’s body, so Diavolo is presumably in a civilian outside the Colosseum. There should be a scene here with Doppio but it didn’t happen, presumably it’ll be next episode now. Giorno promises to come back for Narancia’s body, and in the meantime he makes white lilies grow around his fallen friend. Just before they leave, King Crimson briefly looms out of the darkness, and Trish clearly senses him but can’t do anything about it for now.

What’s left of the crew head off in pursuit of Chariot Requiem, briefly waylaid by that cop with a criminal’s soul who tries to assault Trish, only for Mista’s soul to shoot him through the cheek and use that hole to handcuff the cop to a lamp post. Bucciarati examines Chariot and notices that despite looking human it also looks as if it’s made of black plastic, it’s slow and doesn’t recognise him as an enemy, even when he trips Chariot up. The episode ends with Polnareff picking up the arrow with his tortoise mouth, and shouting for Mista to use it on Sex Pistols as Chariot Requiem sprints towards them.

Things are moving quicker than I expected actually. They’ve covered the Colosseum and had the gang take to the streets after Chariot Requiem in the span of two episodes, but all the emotional heft is intact and they even managed to fit in a new scene. That little moment with Fugo was quite on the nose but it was fine, and it got me hype for a potential Purple Haze Feedback OVA. I really like Narancia and I’m not a big fan of how he goes out but it does show how dangerous Diavolo is and how even now they absolutely cannot let their guard down. Last week was bodyswap shenanigans, now it’s serious and they’ve got to get back down to business. Good episode again, of particular note is how much each character looks and sounds like the soul currently inhabiting their body through facial expressions and voice acting.

Episode 36: Diavolo Surfaces

Oh god, here we go. This is the Doppio scene I was talking about last week, and it’s even worse than I imagined. As Doppio lays in Bucciarati’s dying body, he takes some comfort in the idea that Diavolo will surely win, but in his last moments he expresses his loneliness and asks the Boss to call him like he always does, his soul being shown alongside the body (unlike in the manga) pleading for comfort that will never come. Back in the streets, Mista manages to halt the charging Chariot Requiem, using a Beretta he stole from that cop last episode after his revolver suddenly falls apart. Requiem is trying to kill Polnareff after he touched the arrow, but stops when it’s revealed that yet another power is taking hold of everyone in the area: rapid, forced “evolution” resulting in hideous body horror as twisted faces and facial features burst out of people’s skin. Polnareff grows an extra face and a pincer out of his neck, and Trish’s finger splits open, revealing what looks like a metallic bone underneath. Requiem returns to slowly walking away, and King Crimson is somehow amongst the gang, biding his time and, apparently, is close to figuring out how Requiem works. Just as it looks like he might have the upper hand, Giorno insists everyone stop and let him check their bodies to see whether or not they have an extra soul hiding within them, as he believes Diavolo’s unthered soul is possessing one of them, and that he skipped time and broke Mista’s revolver. Mista wants nothing to do with this plan, so Bucciarati volunteers. Giorno uses Polnareff’s method of biting his finger and checking how many drops of blood have fallen, approaches Bucciarati and time skips as King Crimson leaps out of Trish and punches Giorno’s arm off. Trish brings out Spice Girl but that’s just what Diavolo needs, because by grabbing hold of Spice Girl he can control Mista’s body, and uses it to sprint after Requiem, using Epitaph to foresee Mista’s shots and dodge them with time skip. He’s also figured out how Chariot Requiem works: it’s the shadow of everyone’s soul, and to beat it you have to punch a small, glowing orb behind your own head, which Diavolo does. So he’s got the arrow now, but fret not: Giorno and Trish have plans. Giorno turns the drops of his blood on the arrow into ants who chew through the shaft and break off the arrowhead, and Trish reveals that the bullets King Crimson deflected had actually been softened by Spice Girl, then returned to their natural state and with it, their kinetic energy, propelling the arrowhead towards Mista. Diavolo is decidedly unimpressed by this, and the episode ends with him slamming his fist through Trish in order to propel them towards the arrow as Bucciarati yells Trish’s name in horror.

Even by JoJo standards Chariot Requiem is really weird, but the anime’s done a really good job with this arc. The forced evolution thing is given about as much screen time as it needs really, it’s just a quick jolt of body horror to add an extra visual layer to the already dread-tinged atmosphere of this whole situation. I love the music that accompanies it, that eerie, rising drone. It’s been in previous episodes too but it really sticks out here. The demonstration of how shadows work in regards to Chariot Requiem was a nice touch, I think that and Diavolo’s current status as a free roaming soul are made clear, the anime has, again, done a great job there. Seeing all these events in motion gave me a better grasp of them, and a greater appreciation for them. Also it’s nice to see Trish use her Stand again, and Spice Girl’s declaration that she’ll “Overcome this” shows how far Trish has come, something last touched on way back at Notorious B.I.G. We’re nearing the end of Vento Aureo now, and there are big things coming soon. I can’t wait.

Episode 37: King of Kings

It’s time, today is the day. Let’s begin.

So Diavolo just launched himself and Mista’s body towards the arrow, and he seemingly grabs it, only for it to phase through King Crimson’s incorporeal hands. Bucciarati has also figured out how to put down Chariot Requiem, a job Diavolo avoided finishing altogether. Despite the Boss’ pleas that he is the only one worthy of having the arrow, which is a bold move, he even asks Bruno who he thinks should have it, expecting him to say Diavolo, Bucciarati completely destroys his own glowing orb, killing Chariot for good and putting everyone’s souls back where they came from. Unfortunately this means that Bruno’s soul is headed back to a dead body, and so is instead moving on to the afterlife, which presumably exists in JoJo. They never outright say, but given the presence of souls that drift off into the sky, I think it’s a safe bet. Bucciarati doesn’t mind anyway, he’s made peace with his death, and he tells Giorno that his soul was fated to slowly die, only for the newcomer to bring it back and give him something to live for. The literal golden wind carrying Bucciarati’s soul away dissipates, and Giorno is left holding the arrow.

Diavolo plans to retreat, but Trish informing Giorno of this makes him reconsider, thinking that anything other than rushing over to try and reclaim the arrow would destroy his pride, a decision buoyed by Epitaph predicting that Giorno will be rejected by the arrow, and then gain a brand new hole in the chest courtesy of King Crimson. Gold Experience pierces itself with the arrow, and Diavolo delivers what seems to be the deciding blow, smashing KC’s fist into Gold Experience’s face. However, something is peeking out from inside the hole, a very different looking eyeball that rapidly scans the area. Diavolo panics and has King Crimson machine gun punch Gold Experience, but it’s just speeding up the process of destroying the shell of whatever’s about to reveal itself. The shell is empty, discarded on the floor; and hovering in the sky is Giorno and Gold Experience Requiem. It fires a beam of energy that turns rubble into scorpions that sting Diavolo’s hand, but the boss foresaw it and is certain that Requiem is just a power up: he will still emerge victorious. Epitaph makes a prediction: Mista fires five shots, Gold Experience launches into a flurry of punches, but King Crimson will end up ripping out Giorno’s heart, and so Diavolo makes his first move of throwing blood in Giorno’s eyes. But then he stops, as it appears things are moving backwards: a bee flies in reverse, the blood returns from Giorno’s eyes to Diavolo’s wound, the bullets fly back into Mista’s gun. Most alarmingly, the effect the world of deleted time produces in which the surrounding area explodes into a void also reverses and the world puts itself back together. Diavolo is thrown back to his starting position, but seeing Epitaph still predict his victory, throws a punch at Giorno, only for something really strange to happen. Lines of Diavolos gasp and stare in disbelief; a visual representation of his actions being reversed, moving from Giorno back to where Diavolo started. Gold Experience Requiem explains its power, a power even Giorno isn’t aware of: “You will never arrive at the truth that will happen”. Basically it resets actions back to zero; whenever I describe it to people I say that it essentially points at someone’s who’s done something and says “You didn’t do that.” Diavolo predicts the future and skips towards it, GER steps in and undoes the time skip, so no one moved and nothing happened. You try and do something, anything, and GER makes it so it never happened. Returned to the starting point and unable to use his Stand’s powers, all Diavolo can do is take a brutal, prolonged pummelling from GER as the episode ends.

For me, there are three reveals in Vento Aureo that the anime absolutely had to nail: King Crimson, Diavolo, and Gold Experience Requiem. The first two were fantastic, and having seen screenshots and a couple of clips I was certain they’d gone three for three, and having seen the whole episode that’s very much the case. This episode has an animation bump apart from the odd hilariously off-model scene and it looks glorious, especially Bucciarati’s golden soul, Diavolo and GER’s reveal. Speaking of, I like the look of Requiem, it looks mean and like it really wants to hurt Diavolo, which is indicative of Giorno’s approach to putting down people who deserve it, and having finally come face-to-face with the target of his journey. Personally I’m not a big fan of it having Giorno’s voice, in the games All Star Battle and Eyes of Heaven it has a woman’s voice instead, and I think that adds to the sense of mystery about the Stand and helps give it its own personality separate to Giorno, but it’s not a big deal. I loved the scene where it resets everything: that haunting score and imaginative visuals were beautiful, and wonderfully accompanied Diavolo’s look of disbelief and horror as he realises his invincible Stand has been outclassed. Much like the depiction of King Crimson’s powers this visualisation of how GER operates was brilliant, hats off to David Production once again. They do such an amazing job with JoJo. This is easily one of the best episodes this season, partly due to it nailing that reveal and partly due to how much pure quality it packs into its runtime.  Lest I forget, Bucciarati’s send off was lovely, and a fitting end to the character. No tears, just the end of the road. He’s done all he can and now he has to go, such is life.

Apparently the last two episodes are airing as an hour-long finale on July 28th. Not sure why it’s airing so late after this episode (maybe to pool budget and go out with a bang) but I’ll be writing about then around that time, so see you then.

Episode 38: Gold Experience Requiem

Turns out the final two episodes, on Crunchyroll at least, were released together, but as two separate episodes that weave between the final scenes in Part 5. This episode, despite the name, predominantly deals with the final, flashback arc of Vento Aureo, one I’m really not fond of. The episode opens with Mista asking Abbacchio, Fugo and Narancia whether they think human meat would taste any good, something that disturbs and irritates Narancia, then we’re whisked off back to the present day where Gold Experience Requiem has punched Epitaph clean off King Crimson’s face along with one of its eyes, and Diavolo attempts to salvage the situation to no avail. We get a new opening, one where just as Diavolo enters his world of deleted time and looms over Giorno, everything reverses with the same visual effect from last episode, and Gold Experience explosively sheds its skin to reveal GER, who sets about pummelling Diavolo and King Crimson. Bonus points for the wonderful shot where Giorno replicates his father’s iconic pose from the photo in Stardust Crusaders; one hand in front of his face, with the camera over his shoulder. It’s been obvious GER would get its own intro because how could it not, even more so after the already excellent Diavolo one, but it’s no less impactful, and that DIO shot is glorious. David Production once again doing beautiful work. Anyway back in the episode, GER launches Diavolo into the River Tiber, where he just manages to cling to life, and a small ledge, and climb up into a tunnel. As he does however, a homeless man charges over and stabs him, accusing the Boss of trying to steal his coat. As Diavolo writhes in pain the man finishes him off, only for Diavolo to wake up on a metal table, completely naked (interestingly he has tattoos on his arm, whereas in the manga they were part of his mesh shirt). He can’t move, and unfortunately the doctor who arrives can’t hear him, and so sets about performing an autopsy on the poor bastard. Thankfully, he jumps again, this time to a pavement where he’s startled by a dog and falls into the path of an oncoming car. Finally he ends up in front of a little girl who asks if he’s ill and starts to approach. The last we see of Diavolo, King of Kings, Emperor who stands at the apex and ruler of a world of deleted time is him screaming at a little girl to stay away from him. As Giorno explains and understands purely through instinct, this is Gold Experience Requiem’s power. Diavolo’s end has no end, he will never reach truth, he is destined to experience death and have that death reset, only to experience it again and again, forever. As Mista and Trish leave for the Colosseum, Giorno hears Bucciarati claim a total victory for the crew, stating that “Fate is a sleeping slave, and we’ve set that slave free.” As Giorno goes to leave, the arrow falls out of him and hits the ground with a quiet clang.

Back in the flashback, Mista explains his human meat theory further: animals who eat meat aren’t served as food because they taste bad, all the tastiest meats are from herbivorous animals, therefore humans would taste bad. Narancia declares with seemingly genuine discomfort that he eats far more veggies than meat, to which Mista replies that he might be pretty tasty, actually. Bruno has been sent to investigate Leaky-Eyed Luca getting shovelled by Giorno’s frog, but first he has to deal with a visitor, a local florist. It’s basically the first scene from the Godfather, only Bucciarati warns the man to go the police and avoid being indebted to Passione, but upon hearing that no one on the side of the law was moved by his tale of his daughter falling from a balcony to her death clutching an object made by her new sculptor boyfriend, sends Mista to investigate. As they travel to the sculptor’s apartment Mista is seemingly followed by the sculpture; the large sphere sitting a the bottom of the stand totem pole in the ending credits. He arrives at the apartment and sees his target, Scolippi, in the elevator alongside his stand Rolling Stones. Mista shoots Rolling Stones and it takes the form of Bucciarati.

Okay, lot to get through here. I don’t like the Sleeping Slaves arc, I don’t think it adds anything to the story and I personally feel it’s crammed in at an inopportune moment. At least here it’s interspersed with scenes in the present rather than in the manga where it’s dumped in its totality between Diavolo’s infinite deaths and the final scene in the manga, but it still does nothing for me. Credit to David Pro for trying to make Rolling Stones intimidating or at least seem like a threat, but I just don’t care about it. Diavolo’s end(s) at the hands of GER are wonderfully done, no surprise there, and I loved how brutal King Crimson’s beating was; in the manga Epitaph flies off cleanly during a barrage of punches, here it and KC’s eye are broken off and still hanging on by a thread before GER goes in for another round. It’s hard to describe just how OP GER is, there are some really strong Stands in JoJo but none of them even come close to one whose power is to make it so people just didn’t do whatever they wanted to do. No matter what your ability, it’s only effective if it actually happens, and how the hell can you possibly counter a Stand that just stops things in general from happening? The arrow falling out of Giorno implies he no longer has that power, but what’s to stop him stabbing Gold Experience with it again? Anyway, good episode overall, even the bits I don’t care for were really well animated and everything, so it didn’t bother me, and their presence made everything with GER and Diavolo all the sweeter. His end is brutal even by JoJo standards, and fitting for a man who’s power is to skip forward and avoid misfortune. Now he’s forever skipping forward INTO misfortune.

Episode 39 (Season Finale): The Sleeping Slave 

You know what? Somehow David Production made me think Rolling Stones is pretty cool actually. Mista wounds and interrogates Scolippi to try and find out who he is and why he’s been following him, but the sculptor informs him that Rolling Stones has a life of its own and always has, and it was in fact following Bruno. The stone predicts and depicts how a person will die, in this case foreshadowing King Crimson ventilating Bruno’s chest, but if the person shown touches Rolling Stones they die peacefully. The florist’s daughter foresaw a painful death from disease, and decided to end her life while her organs were still healthy enough to be transplanted into her Father, who currently has said disease. Unfortunately for Mista, Bucciarati is in the apartment building and being actively pursued by Rolling Stones, being saved at the very last second by Sex Pistols. What makes Rolling Stone cool here is how its depicted; normally it’s hard stone, but when it’s after someone it becomes rubbery and slick with goop, sinking through floors and bouncing up stairs to try and forcefully mercy kill Bruno. I never got that impression in the manga, personally, I always thought of it as a big rock. Mista seemingly saves the day when he leaps out a zip created by Sticky Fingers and smashes Rolling Stones into the ground below, breaking it into pieces. He himself survives, as does Scolippi when Mista tries to execute him, because those Rolling Stones hasn’t depicted are not yet fated to die. Unfortunately, breaking the stone makes it change to show not only Bucciarati, but Narancia and Abbacchio.

Back in the present, Polnareff suggests Giorno keep the arrow inside Coco Jumbo, which is now home to the Stardust Crusader’s soul, which Giorno seemingly does, having vocalised his intention not to destroy it. Trish apparently doesn’t think Mista smells funny anymore, and the episode ends with what’s left of the crew setting off for the Colosseum, with a new version of the ED featuring a Bucciarati-shaped Rolling Stones, and GER atop the statue.

(Phoenix Wright voice) HOLD IT!

That’s not the end, because there’s one last thing to see, one last spoiler shown in the OP. Remember those windows and someone kissing a hand? Those windows are opened by Mista, and that hand belongs to Giorno. Giorno Giovanna is now the don of Passione. Parte 5 Fine.

Seeing the Rolling Stones arc in motion really helped it out for me, I was surprised at how much more engaging it is than its manga counterpart, so well done David Pro. The final ED was nice, and having that act as a summary of everything the Modern Crusaders have faced before the Part ends with one final shot of Giorno’s victory was a nice way to end things.

Speaking of which: that’s Part 5 then, I really enjoyed it. As I’ve said, when I first read it I wasn’t a huge fan of it really. I liked Giorno fine and I really liked Diavolo, but it seemed too similar to Stardust Crusaders, and it didn’t stack up to Diamond is Unbreakable. Having watched David Production work their magic on it I think I actually prefer it to Stardust, both in terms of its enemy Stand users and Giorno’s mixture of open benevolence and cold-blooded, unflappable approach to danger and bouts of ruthless brutality. He’s a good mix of his two Dads, and goes well with the rest of Bucciarati’s team. Diavolo is still the most attractive JoJo character in my mind, and I love his Stand and powers even more now that I’ve seen them in motion, particularly everything exploding into a void. GER was done beautifully also, and while I’ll fully admit it’s completely OP, it does make for a good “Holy shit” moment when it appears, and I think the blow is softened by how brief its appearance is and just how seemingly unstoppable King Crimson is. Overall David Pro did a fantastic job, I have a new appreciation for Vento Aureo and it’s higher of my list of favourite Parts, and I really hope they keep things going and adapt Stone Ocean. It’s been consistently obvious across all five Parts that they have a real love and appreciation for JoJo, and I couldn’t be happier.

By James Lambert
@jameslambert18