Annotated Anime: JoJo: Stardust Crusaders episode 5


Constantly menaced by tentacles

This week's episode of Stardust Crusaders marks not only the fifth week that we've been exposed to another dose of concentrated badassery, but also the moment when everyone we see in the intro is gathered together.

Yep, JoJo and the crew meet, defeat, and greet (in that order), their newest comrade, the inimitable Jeanne-Pierre Polnareff, who players of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle may know as "Jeane-Pierre Eiffel", thanks to the least-considered localization gaffe in Bandai Namco's history.

Le sigh. Now, let's quit mourning and get to the good stuff!

Obviously, the good stuff I'm referring to is just how great a character Polnareff is. He's pretty much the first guy in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to really get into all that JoJo-style posing. I'm not kidding, it was this guy who started the trend.

Sure, Caesar did a bit of flamboyant posturing, and every JoJo's had his moments, but most of those "JoJo poses" came about as simple exaggerations of their movements, rooted in traditional action or martial arts stances.

Not so with Polareff. Even with David Productions' clearly limited (but judiciously allocated) animation resources, Polnareff's every movement oozes with character, based on the notion that he's posing that way because, well, that's just the way he do. Wearing his hideous tube top, broken-heart ear dangles and "Paul-Phoenix-before-Paul-Phoenix" hairdo, he's the frivolous, flamboyant French fencer. That his entirely serious-looking Stand, Silver Chariot, tends to mirror those movements only adds to the sense of fun.

But Jeanne-Pierre's more than flamboyant, and the knight-like appearance of Silver Chariot shows the steel in his soul, as he remembers to conduct himself like a properly chivalrous swordsman, even while burning to death. One of the best, this guy is.

Of course, we shouldn't forget the guy that beat Polnareff, Mohammed Avdol. I was always worried about Avdol. The black guy tends to get the short end of the stick in a lot of media, after all. But I'm glad I was worried for no reason, as this fight gave a guy who's been giving off the impression of being the weakest member of the crew so far (especially after Kakyoin proved his skill last week) a chance to be a real burning badass.

That said, to my jaded, 21st-century senses, the fight seemed to hew just a bit too closely to the current established template of Stardust Crusaders battles. Almost step by step it mirrored Kakyoin's battle against Tower of Gray, complete with being ended by a surprise strike from an unexpected direction, and a lot of narration from bystanders loudly spelling out exactly what is happening at the moment they see it. 

Of course, I shouldn't be complaining, since I've said before that the reason JoJo reads a little "cliche" is because it helped establish those very cliches. Anything that faithfully brought the original manga to the screen, as this show does, has no choice but to be as old-school - and as awesome - as the original material.

There's more than that here. There's also a quick view of Tiger Balm Garden, a hilarious real-life spot in Hong Kong that, by the time of Stardust Crusaders' original publication in 1988, had been replaced by a different theme park. It's a cute acknowledgement of the timeframe and location. There's also seeing Joseph grossed out at the sight of the flesh bud's tentacles, showing a bit of the classic JoJo spark that seemed to have gone missing since Joseph turned into a grumpy old grandfather. And Dio's incredibly sinister shoulder-bird. It's so sinister that I suspect it shall be revealed as the true villain of the series when Hirohiko Araki finally decides to call it quits.

But really, if all this episode had was about Polnareff's preposterous posture, that'd be enough. Thank goodness it had so much more. 

Next week, we're on a boat!

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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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