35 CommentsJoJo's Bizarre Adventure / By Shinmaru /

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders episode 11 – Meet the Newest Member of the Joestar Family …

jojos-bizarre-adventure-hol-horse-runs-away

Shinmaru: … Hol Horse!! You can’t deny that he secretly has Joestar blood flowing through his veins given his expert application of the Joestars’ most famous battle tactic. Only the Joestars themselves could see it coming, which is why Jotaro and Joseph were able to get the jump on Hol Horse. See, it all makes sense!

A good follow-up to last week’s stakes raising episode. Like I wrote last week, I like the idea of Stand users teaming up to fight when their powers complement each other. J. Geil/Centerfold and Hol Horse provoking Polnareff to fight them on their terms and picking him off when he’s separated from the others is basically the ideal way to fight. (This is how most Stand users approach things from now on, except without the advantage of multiple Stand users attacking at once.) I also like that their downfall comes from getting too confident and pressing the attack solo rather than coordinating another ambush. One could see why it would be beneficial to attack when Polnareff and Kakyoin are weak and confused, but the numbers eventually work to their advantage. Way to provide the blueprint to victory, villains!

But it is a clever solution like the best JoJo battles. That’s what I appreciate about this series: It’s both sides knowing their strengths and weaknesses and using their brains to put themselves in the optimal situation to beat/slice/roast/etc. the hell out of each other. Also, when attacking your enemy involves kicking sand at a kid’s face, you know you’re watching a good battle.

One small thing I enjoyed this episode is how it visually sets up the reappearance of Centerfold after Kakyoin and Polnareff initially escape in the truck. Polnareff rips off the rearview mirror, half out of anger and frustration and half out of suspicion since he knows that Centerfold appears in mirrors before going in for the kill. That sets up the idea that Centerfold is lurking around somewhere and that Polnareff and Kakyoin need to keep a sharp eye out. Then Kakyoin susses out how Centerfold appears in mirrors and the camera swoops around and emphasizes the sunlight and the truck’s reflective surfaces to further hammer home the idea that Centerfold is waiting somewhere. It’s subtle, but also obvious enough that people can catch it and think, “Oh yeah, Centerfold is coming. Where’s he gonna be?” And then there he is, right on the steering wheel. Again, just a small thing, but it’s a nice touch.

jojos-bizarre-adventure-hol-horse-confident

Hold on, I want to talk more about why Hol Horse is the best. In an alternate universe, Hol Horse would be the biggest underdog and the greatest hero. He knows exactly what his strengths and weaknesses are and accepts them without complaint. He doesn’t make a big deal about needing a partner to unleash his own potential; in fact, he thrives on it and doesn’t upstage his partner for his own glory. Hol Horse is out there actively setting up a prime battlefield for Centerfold while talking mad shit to Polnareff and Kakyoin. He has all the confidence in the world in his best buddy (who just happens to be a gross, child-killing maniac, but never mind). In another world, Hol Horse would blossom as the sidekick of someone way more powerful than him. Of course, this isn’t another world, so Hol Horse is a slimy asshole who uses women to influence his own escape so that he’ll live to fight another day. Just like our American cowboys!

Scamp: Did you see the Dutch absolutely tear apart the Spanish? With flying dutchmen leaping through the skies for spectacular diving headers and all of that. I was never that big on tiki taka anyway…wait, what? Oh right, anime.

stabbed inna backI liked a lot of the shit-talking done in this episode, and indeed in Stardust Crusaders in general. Kakyoin and Polnareff alternating their best “my name is Inigo Montoya” impression as they reveal that they have figured out the trick. It’s very silly altogether but works great in the professional wrestling world that is Jojo’s. Even the villain got into it. He was not as colourful as the suck ma balls puppet or you’re lower than a cockroach dick that was rero rero rero rero rero, but he still got stuck into his villain role. Mind you I’m with Shinmaru in that Hol Horse was better because he was less conventional a generic evil shit-talker in that he’s honestly just kind of a wuss. Wish he got a little more screentime, but we could probably do with speeding things up a bit anyway.

angry jojosOn a more general note, I’ve seen people asking how they should get into the Jojo’s franchise (and that franchises page on this site could do with some updating on that note). People are asking can they just jump into Stardust Crusaders without watching anything previous. To which people have been saying yes you can. Read a quick wiki then jump straight in. And it’s certainly doable. But why would you tell anyone to do that? That’s like saying yes you can skip the sex and just jump straight into the part where you have to change the sheets you just had the sweaty sex all over. Yeah you could skip Battle Tendency, but why would you want to skip the actual great part of the franchise so far? Real talk: I enjoyed Phantom Blood more than I’m enjoying Stardust Crusaders, while Battle Tendency isn’t even a competition.

I just don’t think the monster of the week formula Stardust Crusaders is using works. I’m not feeling any of the character interactions. The constant nagging issue of none of these scenes having much tension or sufficient stakes riding on them means I’m not invested in their outcomes. OK sure Avdol died but he’s Avdol so who cares. The show is at its best with the nonsense shit-talking and generally being very silly and funny. It works best as a comedy, not as a monster-of-the-week shounen formula. Sorry Shinmaru, and I’m aware I’m raining on this parade, but Battle Tendency > Phantom Blood > Stardust Crusaders so far. It hurts me to say this, but I’m just not enjoying Stardust Crusaders that much.

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35 Comments

  1. Thomas
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I also agree that Battle Tendency was better than Stardust Crusaders currently is (didnt read the manga).

    In BT – JoJO had to fight almost gods, who simply walked through mens and eat them, the fate of whole world was at stake, and here:

    -monster of the week show
    -we dont event know what DIO is planning – he might as well play lord Dracula over village for next 100 years
    -and there are still tons of Stand users that would be able to fight against him (if he wouldnt buy them off), so our heroes are not the only “thin red line” between DIO and world domination

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      I dunno, I feel like what Dio has planned now — the eradication of the Joestar family — is a more personal and tangible motivation than conquering the world.

  2. Shinmaru
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Nah, I’m not too bent out of shape about your opinion. As much fun as I’m having, the show still hasn’t gotten to the odder battles, so I could see how it could feel underwhelming. I’m also not really opposed to a monster of the week formula so long as it’s done in a fun way, which I think Stardust Crusaders achieves for the most part.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I do really like the more comedic fights. Loved the shark episode and the rero rero rero episode. Needs more of them

      • Shinmaru
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Joseph’s fights, if I recall correctly, definitely have more of a comedic feel to them.

  3. BigFire
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    In terms of adaptation, part 4 Diamond is Unbreakable is a wee bit harder to handle. It’s longer than Stardust Crusaders, and it’s for the most part, a slice of life show with Stands. It’s also where the manga artist puts in an author-avatar (albeit, the personality is completely different). But we still got plenty of story to go here before we have to worry about that. After that, Vento Aureo is a bit more conventional story about mob war.

    • Posted June 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Adapting it would/will be a nightmare, but Diamond is Unbreakable has, in my opinion, a far better cast and superior storytelling.

  4. Jaysus
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    The only reason I’m liking Battle Tendency more that Stardust Crusaders is because Joseph Joestar is the best JoJo so far (I haven’t read the manga)… and it isn’t even close. Even old man Joseph is better than Jonathan or Jotaro by a wide margin.

    I actually didn’t like the Pillar Men that much, especially since the previous villain was Dio. So, I fully expect this to be a shitload more awesome once Dio stops brooding in his room like an angst-ridden tween and actually gets involved.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I agree to a certain extent that yes, Dio is better than the Pillar Men as a villain. Still though, the Pillar Men were brilliantly threatening.

      • Nick
        Posted June 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        The only Pillar men who gave me the heebie jeebies was Cars and Wham. The others went out like chumps.

        Phantom Blood was only great when Dio was directly involved, I really hated the episodes with Tarkus and that other zombie knight.

  5. gedata
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    “To which people have been saying yes you can. Read a quick wiki then jump straight in”
    Nah not even. Started with reading the English releases of this series and the beginning of Stardust Crusaders esatablishes everything you need to know about previous stuff to get what’s going on.

    Also Phantom Blood is balls compared to this.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Why would you do this terrible thing!

    • gedata
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Ignorance since I didn’t know about fan translations way back then and thought it was impossible to read the rest of the series. They probably weren’t finished anyhow.

  6. fathomlessblue
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I resisted the urge to post a snarky “you crazy Scamp!” style comment last episode, but at this point I think it’s just clear this current style of Jojo’s just isn’t your thing. It’s probably better to jump off the wagon if you’re not really feeling it.

    I can sort off see where you’re regarding the stand-of-the-week progression. I’m certainly enjoying this arc far more than the Victorian horror tone of Phantom Blood, but outside of the creativity in the battles, SD currently isn’t quite hitting the highpoints of Battle Tendency’s Indiana Jones-esque adventure story. I can’t agree regarding the cast, mind. Sure, they’re pretty dull (although I love the knowing wink Araki gives to their dryness), but I’ve never looked at Jojo’s for deep character investment or powerful backstories. For me they’ve always been tools to enable wacky events to transpire. If it want to use a serious poker-faced group, rather than excitable trickers, then so be it. As long as I get my dose insane hi-jinks and knowing self-awareness, I’m perfectly happy with what the story delivers.

  7. Posted June 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Can’t watch Jojo where I’m at currently, but I’ll say that I’ve been enjoying Akuma no Riddle’s “monster of the week” format more than Jojo’s this season. That stuff is freaky. Without the quick pacing, Jojo is just your normal shonen action anime except insane. That insanity is the main reason I’m still liking it, but it’s making me question what it was that made it one of my favorites in the first place.

    I foresee taking moving Jojo from my top list and into the runner-ups one in the future.

    • fluffymoochicken
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      Try reading the manga instead.

      It removes the “lack of quick pacing” problem right away.

    • mm
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Of course Stardust Crusaders feels like a normal shonen battle anime. That’s because it’s one of THE shonen battle series. Back when it first came out there weren’t a lot of series like it, SC was one of the trailblazers of the genre and was hugely influential on just about every battle manga that came afterwards.
      It comes off as more generic now because there’s been about a billion shows that have imitated it.

  8. Mormegil
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    For the most part I agreed with you, Scamp…until this two-parter hit. The fight with the Hanged Man was very clever. Also, Hol Horse is already best character. So, yeah, if we get more clever fights and more Hol Horse, I’m okay with this.

    Of course, it would be nice if Dio would do something instead of skulking in the shadows all the time.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      That is definitely one of my problems with this arc. Dio has such a personal stake in this, but he mostly dicks around until the end.

  9. fluffymoochicken
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, count me in as yet another person disagreeing with Scamp. Already, the battles have become way better than any battle in Phantom Blood, and most of the ones in Battle Tendency. By the time the series is over, SC’s fights will be better than ALL of Battle Tendency’s.

    Basically, Scamp is judging the value of the entire arc as a whole in less than 3 and a half volumes, when we’ve still got 12 and a half more volumes of material to cover. At the very least, he could wait until we’re in volume 13 or something before declaring, “Yeah, SC doesn’t work as a MotW series.” He’s calling that judgment waaaay too soon.

    Believe me: Everybody who’s ever read the SC knows that the early volumes aren’t as strong as the mid-to-late volumes. That’s how it usually is for Jojo arcs. Nobody should expect the fight between Jonathan and Jack the Ripper to be as good as the one between Jonathan and Dio. And especially since stands were a brand new idea for Araki, he needed time to develop the idea and really make them truly great.

    Also, enough with the “tensionless” crap. Everybody watching Battle Tendency knew that Joseph wouldn’t die except for MAYBE during the final battle, but all of his battles prior to facing Cars were still enjoyable despite knowing he’d survive. SC is enjoyable in the same way, and really, it’s too long of a journey for main characters to be dying every other episode.

    • Posted June 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      What I loved about Battle Tendency was how most of the fights seemed nigh impossible to win, and yet were still won – with wacky strategic genius. This episode brought back some of that goodness, but is still lacking.

      Almost every stand user in the series (I’m on Stone Ocean) has the obvious weakness of being a squishy human who can also suffer injuries via damage on his stand depending on what type it is. The vampires didn’t have to worry about taking a few hits unless it involved hamon. Sure, there are MANY insane logic-fucking abilities in Stardust Crusaders and beyond, but only an elite few give the villains a presence of being invincible.

      • fluffymoochicken
        Posted June 16, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

        And the bad guys of PB and BT were squishy vampire/zombie/pillar men things that the good guys had the kryptonite solution for. All it’d take is one good direct hit and they’d be defeated. Ultimate Cars was the only exception.

        What makes the fights interesting isn’t the mortality of the characters at all, but the variety of powers, the strategies, and the amount of thought that they have to utilize in order to win. Granted, some of them are asspulls, but it’s still more interesting and fun than seeing two guys punching each other and throwing fireballs a la Dragon Ball Z. (No hate intended towards DBZ either, btw. I still enjoy mostly-mindless fighting as well. <3)

      • fluffymoochicken
        Posted June 16, 2014 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        Nowadays, I guess it’s easy to take Jojo for granted given its age, but the series really did change SJ fighting manga for the better, IMO.

    • mm
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      It does feel like Scamp is complaining just to complain about some of these things. The lack of tension and investment in character deaths has always been there.
      Did anyone really get that emotionally invested in Will Zepelli before he died two episodes after his introduction?

  10. Posted June 15, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe how no one is talking about how nuts Centerfold’s ability was. I’m still confused on how it worked.

    … Maybe I should watch this episode because animation might help explain better than still images.

    • Nadgers
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      Basically when hanged man is within a reflection, he can interact with the real world within the boundaries of that reflection. Whenever a reflection he is in gets “destroyed” (covered up, altered, etc) he has to reflect into another one. It’s not that hard to understand imo.

      • Posted June 17, 2014 at 5:16 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I just realized a fight in part four and one in part five actually expand the concept and make sense of what I saw here.

  11. Nagisa33
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    Yeah, for my brother and I it’s Battle Tendency > Phantom Blood > Stardust Crusaders. I brought up the lack of threat a few posts back as my biggest complaint and the slow pacing is another factor that brings SC down a bit. Also, characters like Jotaro and Avdol are about as entertaining as a bowl of oatmeal. I hate to say it but I’m glad that Avdol is out of the picture. If it were any other show I probably would have stopped watching by now. Anyway, these last few episodes have been a step up from the first 8 and I hope it only gets better. Speaking of which I can’t help but think of the phrase “It gets better I swear!” as watch this arc. I think “lukewarm” or “mixed” is my attitude for SC at the moment.

  12. Kenjeran
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Dunno why, but I feel like this adaptation lack the ‘cheesiness’ that made PB & BT so good and entertaining. I mean, yeah SC is still cheesy as hell, but not as cheesy as the previous arcs.
    Though, the battle and comedy are definitely a step up, which kinda make up for it.

  13. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, this series is funny but I stand my point that at least Battle Tendency was better (and Phantom Blood was at least way more original in mood, with the Victorian horror meets superpowered martial artists). I guess the problem is simply that this has been imitated and redone to death and BT hasn’t. This episode’s fight was especially enjoyable but the characters are generally very dull compared to the ones in BT. Pillar Men also were better villains, so damn creepy. They felt truly dangerous, while here we know that 95% of these buffoons are only going to be Stand-fodder.

  14. Ian Porterfield
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    4 COURS CONFIRMED!!! 4 SEASONS CONFIRMED!!! 48 EPISODES CONFIRMED!!!

  15. leokiko
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I`m enjoying these insane battles a lot, but I`ve marathoned it so maybe thats the reason.

    For me so far, it`s the same ranking as Scamp for the Jojo parts, with the exception that I`m actually enjoying this arc a lot.

    • ShigyC
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Even aside from the marathon aspect, same here.

  16. Magicmew
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying Stardust Crusaders a lot. I don’t have any problem with enemy of the week if these enemies are pedophile orangutans and killer dolls, and the battles are creative and interesting. Phantom Blood on the other hand didn’t have that many strengths, except of course for DIO.
    IMO Battle Tendency > Stardust Crusaders > Phantom Blood

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