Jesus Christ, where do I start?! Guess I’ll go with the non-spoilery part: Holy fuckballs, that fight between Wham and Caesar is fantastic! And not just in the normal JoJo way of crazy powers and outwitting one another. The animators really bring the goods here; unless I’m forgetting something (which is, of course, possible), this is by far the best animated battle we’ve seen from this series so far. Give animators two giant dudes who throw flashy projectiles everywhere, and great things are bound to happen. It’s not just how fluid and dynamic the movement is that makes the fight so great, though; the use of space is also strong, which is appropriate since it’s so crucial to how the battle is built and concluded.
What I find interesting about this battle on second watch is that the action seems to mark Caesar as the dominant fighter, but the use of space and positioning shows how easy it is for Wham to gain control. It’s precisely when Caesar is at his most aggressive that Wham is able to take the upper hand. The first instance of this is when they’re both outside. Caesar is able to chip away at Wham when he’s at a distance; however, when he moves in after cutting Wham’s legs out from under him, Wham is able to use that energy to propel himself back indoors into a more advantageous position. This is an important part of the battle that foreshadows the conclusion. It shows that when Caesar gets up close to Wham, Wham will likely be able to counter it, even if it looks like Caesar is moving in for the kill.
The positioning once both are inside is interesting, too. Caesar bubbles the shit out of Wham nearly the entire fight and generally appears as if he will easily kill the Pillar Man. That said, Wham spends the battle on the high ground (traditionally the position of power), while Caesar spends the battle on the low ground (traditionally the position of weakness). This, too, is a foreshadowing of how the battle will end, but it can also be seen as a reminder that Caesar is the underdog in the fight, as the Ripple masters generally have been when taking on the Pillar Men. And, once again, the space and positioning bites Caesar in the ass at the end when he tries to jump in close to stop Wham from blocking the light with his wind power, but ironically blocks the light himself and gives Wham just enough time to rip Caesar apart.
That’s just a solid use of cinematic fundamentals that makes the fight that much more enjoyable! (Well, enjoyable to watch, even as we all mourn Caesar’s valiant death.) Along with that fun stuff, this is the most enjoyable fight I’ve seen from JoJo so far because it’s an advanced version of what we see during the skirmish with Cars. There’s a logical progression to how the fight unfolds; Wham and Caesar react well to each others’ moves, and the war to win the upper hand is quite cool. The sleight of hand is entertaining, but seeing that mini chess match at the end (bubble lights –> wind power –> jump kick –> wind attack) is cooler for me.
And this whole sequence, FUCK, IT’S SO GOOD. It reminds me a lot of the more mournful scenes from Giant Robo — not just the use of operatic music, but also how straightforward the melodrama is and how we’re seeing these strong, tough characters lay bare their emotions. Lisa Lisa maintaining the facade of the hardened teacher while dealing with the sudden death of her student is friggin’ heartbreaking. The cigarette? Such a great, human touch. And Joseph, too, realizing his friendship with Caesar taught him some empathy before the wood breaks, the light floods in and the horror of what happened to Caesar finally dawns on them . . . fuckin’ hit like a truck, everyone.
It’s so over the top and melodramatic, but it’s done with such a flair that I can’t help but be sucked in. JoJo makes sure all its battles are outsized, so the deaths — and the emotion people feel because of those deaths — has to be outsized, too, yes? If you look at this from a detached point of view, that Caesar will die is obvious: It’s not just the way the battle unfolds, but also the fact that his whole life story and the reason why he needs to fight the Pillar Men is in here, as well. The whole episode is one giant death flag. That doesn’t lessen the impact of what happens for me, though. Actually, it makes it all the more horrible, as if Caesar’s life is fated to end this way. The need to seek vengeance on the Pillar Men is Caesar’s undoing.
From the sounds of the preview, though, Lisa Lisa and Joseph aren’t in any mood to fuck around, so Caesar’s vengeance will be carried out from beyond the grave.
I can’t end this post without highlighting this pose. It’s just too great, as is Caesar’s bubble light attack. It’s such a shame that this is Caesar’s swan song, because his attacks are damn good here. I would have liked to see Caesar’s bubble ripple attacks develop more.