Annotated Anime: JoJo: Stardust Crusaders episode 17


A show of vengeance

When last we left Stardust Crusaders, a hostage situation was afoot. Steely Dan and his Stand, The Lovers, held poor old Joseph's brain hostage, with Jotaro turned into a 7-foot-tall punching bag, stripped of the ability to return the favor. 

Boy, thank goodness payback's a b*tch, innit?

This, folks, is how you lionize your main character. We've got a thousand and one anime series (several in this season alone) devoted utterly to making their lead heroes look like the hottest sh*t ever, seemingly incapable of doing wrong, or in the case of a show like Mahouka, even experiencing failure.

Well, JoJo neither does wrong, nor does he fail, but where Stardust Crusaders exceeds its latter-day competitors is in recognizing the true value of suffering to the heroic personage. In fact, I'd go so far as to wager that this episode and the one preceding sum up best why JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is awesome hero. They capture the soul of JoJo's (or at least Stardust Crusaders) so well it's hard to believe that Steely Dan is nowhere near a worthy match for anyone on the crew (not even dear departed Avdol).

It's not that we ever believed Jotaro could be beaten by Steely Dan in this fight. We know he won't lose, because JoJo's the hero, and he's going to go on to fight Dio and win. Even if we were watching JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with completely fresh eyes, we'd know that this is not the type of show to let its lead go down to so craven a foe.

Instead, the real value of JoJo's suffering is to make us hate Steely Dan all the more, and root for Jotaro all the harder. You want heroes to struggle and strain and put on a brave face, even when you know in your heart of hearts that their pain is just a dramatic pause before the punching.

Even in the parts of the fight not involving Jotaro directly, Studio David take time out to really dig in their heels on the "Steely Dan is about to get everything that's coming to him" tension, with an interminable round of multi-color taunting from the Lovers. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall" applies, it seems, to the size of one's hubris, as well.

And Jotaro does get his, in dramatic fashion, with a rapid punch sequence that's drawn out way longer than usual just to let the viewer imagine their own fists whaling on Dan's stupid face.

It is glorious

And it's also pretty great that they end it almost immediately after JoJo delivers the receipt, no need to dilute Jotaro's victory with place-setting for the next episode. 

Next episode, the Sun arcana!

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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