Wow, holy Christ, that OP! I think we know now where the budget for the first episode went! Hands down my favorite OP for the fall season. Like that Code Geass movie, it’s a good use of stylized CG to do some things it might be extremely difficult to do with regular animation while also minimizing the downsides of CG. Crazy shit happening everywhere with a super evil Dio — who, no doubt, will end up becoming a vampire himself; how could he resist all that power? — and a heroic JoJo. Pure awesome.
So we’ve got another wild episode of JoJo‘s Bizarre Adventure, except this time around JoJo and Dio are gigantic, hulking 19-year-olds rather than gigantic, hulking 12-year-olds. They do things I imagine every English university student does: play some rugby, dabble in archaeology and law and wear silly clothes. Not much like my college experience. The closest I came was playing in a dodgeball tournament with my colleagues on the student newspaper. We got our asses kicked because we were journalists going up against athletes. In fact, it probably turned out similarly to the other rugby players ganging up on JoJo and desperately trying to drag him down. Every shonen series at some point has to have some part that shows how ridiculously awesome the hero is, and the rugby match is an all right way of showing JoJo in his element rather than getting his ass kicked by Dio.
This episode does a good job of showing how much JoJo has matured, although the moment at the beginning where he wonders why he can’t get close to Dio is pretty ridiculous. Stuff like poking JoJo in the eye can be forgiven, obviously. Being a royal jerk to Erina is a major step on the asshole scale, clearly — much harder to forgive, and nobody would blame a person for cutting off all ties to an asshole like Dio after that. But putting a dog in a position to be roasted alive? That’s Britannia levels of evil right there. You can’t reason or be friends with someone who has stepped into the realms of Cartoon Evil. Just can’t be done.
Thankfully, JoJo wises up a bit when he finds the letter Dio’s father sent to JoJo’s pops, although I wonder exactly why Dio’s dad describes his illness in such detail to a man he barely knew. Then again, Dio’s dad seemed pretty gross. I bet he talked about his various bodily ailments all the time to anyone who would listen. That’s the real reason Dio hated him: the man would never shut up about his goiters and gangrene. Also, he passed on his alcoholism to Dio. That’s kind of bad, too. Anyway! At least JoJo puts two and two together and realizes that Dio is slowly poisoning his father. I’d have thought Dio would have no problem swearing on his father’s honor and lying to JoJo, because fuck that guy obviously, but no, any connection with that scallywag is too much for Dio. I dig the Dickensian vibe behind Dio’s origin and villainy. So much squalor and so much melodrama, man, especially in the visuals as Dio recalls how much he despises his father. My only wish is that he shouted, “Curses!” as his nefarious plan was foiled.
I’m loving the idea of inserting a shonen vibe into this distinct era of history, especially since there’s a small hint of alternate history with the brief mention of Jack the Ripper. (Aside: I love pretty much any alternate history story, no matter how dumb or ridiculous. I couldn’t get enough of those glyph entries in Assassin’s Creed II, for example, even as they became more hilarious with each one. The one where Henry Ford laughs about using the magical artifact to trick his workers into thinking they’re getting raises when he is actually cutting their pay, and afterward chuckles as he plans to pass the artifact to Hitler so that he can start the Holocaust, is undoubtedly my favorite. That’s supposed to be funny, right?) The tone of how we see the Victorian era versus shonen anime could not clash more, but in the ridiculous world of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it somehow works. I literally laughed out loud when I saw JoJo in his outfit while searching the alleys. He looks like Sherlock Holmes after a year in WWE. But it totally works! Grabbing a knife? A hat with blades as the rim? Why not?!
And a mask that turns people into vampires! You can’t have Victorian England without vampires. It’s impossible. Come hell or high water, Dio is becoming a vampire. Not sure whether it will be by accident or on purpose, however. I could see Dio being attracted to the kind of power that felled him so easily, but the downsides are obvious, even to people who may not know what a vampire is.