The group I watched this with was like, “WHOA WHAT THE FUCK” when Cars launched into crazy laughter. In a way, it’s more unnerving than ACDC’s crying fit, because up to this point Cars has been mostly stoic and focused on his goals. Now, though, he’s kind of excited about battling ol’ Joseph. One random theme I love is villains being unable to resist testing the limits of their powers when a particularly strong hero shows up. Cars was all about putting Joseph down once he heard about ACDC dying, but now that he’s actually fought the man, he’s gotta have another taste. It gets pretty boring being at the top for so long without anyone to seriously challenge you. (Not that I would know this from experience, mind.) Look at how happy Cars is even though he failed to secure the Red Stone of Aja! Fun times.
The battle between Cars and Joseph is pretty cool, though it comes off like more of an appetizer than the main course, you know? Obviously they’ll have the climactic battle of this arc, so of course they’re not going to go all out here. With that in mind, Cars and Joseph constantly working to one-up each other while take the world’s longest tumble into a chasm is quite fun. Once again, the back and forth of, “I have you now!” “No, it is I who have you!” is what makes this so great. There’s no sleight-of-hand here, either; Cars and Joseph both take the environment into account. Every detail matters. Cars uses the physical space to push Joseph into a more precarious position, while Joseph uses the stone to buy a bit of time and improvise an icicle rope. What a thinker that Joseph is!
Also, how could you not ship Caesar and Joseph after Caesar provides the upper half of Joseph’s icicle rope? They’re clearly made for each other. And just when they get super close, they have a fight and Caesar storms off in a huff; now, Joseph is going to learn Caesar’s dark past and make
out up with him. This shit writes itself, people! Plus, two people who look that great together and make such wonderful poses together can’t be with anyone but each other, right?!
That chainsaw blade is so fuckin’ boss.
Any writing about this episode should be forbidden to go without mentioning how amazing the music is. In general, Taku Iwasaki has done a great job in “Battle Tendency,” but I think this episode pushed it to an entirely different level. The track that plays during Stroheim’s battle with Cars? FUCKING PERFECT. If The Terminator were built by the Nazis, that’s EXACTLY what the theme to the movie would have sounded like. And the pacing, tempo and volume of the music during the battle outside with Stroheim and Cars and the battle between Joseph and Cars is spot-on perfect. It adds everything to the scene and takes away nothing; it amplifies all the feelings from the visuals without being intrusive. Now that’s what I call excellent sound design.
I can’t add anything to make this screenshot better than it is, so I’ll let Joseph’s face do all the talking:
The repeated cuts from the carnage Stroheim unleashes to Joseph’s shocked face are beautiful.