First off, Jojo’s not been very consistent in terms of quality. Episode 1 was fantastic, but afterwards it got kind of meh. And then episode 7 was pretty awful. I mean, episode 7’s ‘villain’ was a fucking monkey and I’m really perplexed by that creative decision – both on Araki’s side as the original writer, and over at David Pro for including this episode because I’m not sure if this was even necessary after the episode with Dark Blue Moon that should have been good enough to cover the trip up to the part where the Jojos reach Singapore without feeling kind of off in pacing. But yeah, what the hell was episode 7? Stardust Crusaders is definitely Jojo, but man does it not live up to the masterpiece that is part 2 Battle Tendency. It’s still better than part 1 in that at least it’s still watchable, but I’d like for things to get a bit more consistent now, and of course for the pacing to speed up a little.
Also, I’m not very fond of episodes 6-7 totally treating that little girl like absolute shit. Sure, females are probably destined to be sidelined in the narrative of Jojo (saying it’s sexist is probably, well, true, but I digress) at least up to part 5 Stone Ocean with the unveiling of Jolyne Kujo as the protagonist, but this is just not even done tastefully, even for 1980s manga standards. First off, the girl is probably like 12. She’s technically a loli, save the pandering for someone else because it just made things kind of uncomfortable. There was seriously no need for the camera to get crazy zoom-ins of her at all. I’d prefer close-ups of the Jojos themselves because, y’know, they actually matter in the story? (I’m not too sure if the girl /actually/ matters though since I haven’t read the manga so no spoilers!)
The main problem with the arc so far is that the story has basically established how Jotaro has the strongest Stand out of all the Stand users, so he can basically power through all his enemies with his ORAORAORA, and that means all the battles have nothing at stake, because there’s no way Jotaro could lose (I’m discounting plot armor here). There’s also a very standard approach towards all Jojo battles, so the only way to keep things interesting is to quickly establish limitations on Jotaro (and the rest of the protagonists’ Stand powers), while also actually making the enemy Stand users dangerous.
Luckily episode 8 fixes all the problems I’ve had with Stardust Crusaders and more!
I am so happy episode 8 was such a major improvement over the past few weeks, although putting Polnareff in the spotlight pretty much proves the point that no fight can be more interesting than the protagonist you’re supposed to root for, really. It’s hard to really care much about Jotaro beyond thinking he looks badass and acts like an overgrown dork that doesn’t know of his derpiness sometimes, and his straight face makes fights lose a bit of tension. Polnareff was great though, he’s clearly reacting to everything happening in the fight, he’s getting flustered, so we as the audience fear for his life as well.
Also, the fight between him and the Devil Stand user was brilliantly presented – lots of creepy as heck body horror harking back to the Chucky films with that creepy little doll crap, and great use of the trippy colours this time. It actually fits the bizarre tone of the fight much better, similar to how the colour schemes in Part 1 Phantom Blood felt out of place as compared to in Part 2 Battle Tendency. Jojo only gets good when it gets bizarre.
And seriously, the hotel receptionist getting his entire face sliced off? Damn, that’s brutal. And awesome as heck. I can’t wait to see more battles like this with /more/ seriously fucked up Stand users and abilities, this whole rage and revenge concept was really really fun to watch. Also, completely slicing up your enemy but leaving his balls intact? That’s manly.
(By the way, this is totally not how Singapore is like. Nobody really gives a fuck about litter nowadays since you barely ever get caught for shit. Just don’t be stupid enough to litter in front of a police officer and you’re good to go. Spoken from a legit Singaporean – me.)