Annotated Anime: Stardust Crusaders episodes 6-11


Running the gauntlet

Man, JoJo and his crew just can't catch a break, can they?

I forget to watch the show for more than a month and come back to see the party under near-constant assault. You'd think someone didn't want them to make it all the way to Egypt, or something.

I kid, I kid. JoJo's been great! But in retrospect, I'd actually been struggling to find something more substantial to say about the show rather than simply recapping what happened. I'm not familiar enough with the original manga to tell you whether or not David Production messed anything up in their adaptation, and for better or worse, the template for a Stardust Crusaders episode was established around the last time I wrote about the show.

If you've been following the show, you know what I mean. It's that familiar pattern of JoJo and crew meeting a new Stand user, being left at a disadvantage while they puzzle out the villain's abilities, then turning the tables and winning the day. That three-act fight structure has rendered Stardust Crusaders absolutely perfect for the TV series' structure, as a fight that might take up several chapters in the manga can be done in a single 24-minute episode.

Of course, the disadvantage here is that Stardust Crusaders has felt quite a bit like a monster-of-the-week show, and, structurally, had more in common with the likes of Kamen Rider or Super Sentai than the hypermasculine character designs might suggest. There's nothing wrong with that, mind you, but it's not especially interesting to comment on for recapping.

But then again JoJo's isn't the kind of show to be watched for its structural innovations, anyway. We're here for hot fights, and Stardust Crusaders has largely delivered. Even the most straightforward stands, like Dark Blue Moon and Yellow Temperance, have approached the party from unexpected directions, forcing the crew to adapt and roll with the punches until they can get the upper hand.

Not to mention the characters themselves. Where Stardust Crusaders has faltered in storytelling, it's excelled in making even the most minor villains feel like a deadly challenge, and reinforcing how utterly bonkers JoJo's is. Where else can you find a fight between a pervy orangutan and a guy built like a refrigerator, then in the very next episode meet a man who can only attack once someone's "defeated" him? Only in a JoJo's show, folks.

It ain't all well in fighting paradise, though. For all the creativity displayed in the enemy stands and environs JoJo and co. visit, the heroes haven't been especially inventive in dealing with their foes, JoJo in particular. Twice in a row he's dispatched a hostile stand-user with those stretchy "zoom-fingers", and in similar circumstances, to boot.

In fact, the really entertaining shows began when it was Polnareff who on the ropes, as his fights against Ebony Devil, Hol Horse and J-Guile really showcased imagination. Heck, it even felt brilliant that the way Polnareff (with Kakyoin's help) defeated J-Guile and his Hanged man was essentially his solution for beating Ebony Devil, except in reverse. Unlike JoJo and his spirit fingers, Polnareff's fights have felt positively inspired. 

Until they killed the black guy, anyway.

I liked Avdol, I really did. He was the heart of the group, more or less, and kept everyone centered. Sure, his personality doomed him from the start, but still, he was a cool guy and I was hoping he'd get a better fight to his name before passing.

Rest in peace, Avdol.

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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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