The Good, The Bad and the Baby (Part One)

I love Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It has one of, if not, the coolest battle systems ever made with the introduction of ‘stands’. They’re great for a plethora of reasons. They’re immensely creative in their usage and breadth of abilities. Stand battles also create a dynamic shift in the standard formula we expect from a fight by incorporating the discovery and counteracting of the enemies’ stand into the fight itself; a character with a seemingly weak and terrible stand can become a major threat if the heroes have no idea how it works or what to do about it. Take one of my favorite Jojo’s fights for example against the older D’Arby. D’Arby’s fight doesn’t involve a single punch thrown, yet is one of the most intense fights in the series because of the nature of stands. They have to play by his stand’s rules and try to out cheat/dupe a master gambler, and when the resident master of tricks in the party fails it falls to Jotaro and creates one of the most intense games of poker ever seen. There’s a nigh endless possible amount of possible abilities for stands, even for just water based stands we have four different ones that are all extremely distinct in the anime with Geb, Moon, Water Necklace and Foo Fighters. Power no longer being the most important factor makes fights incredibly fresh and unpredictable, and fights almost always leave you asking “how the hell are they gonna come out on top?”. And when they finally do, it feels as cathartic as solving a puzzle you’ve been stuck on in a game for hours.

At the end of last year/beginning of this year I wrote a series of articles detailing my top 10 anime series of all time, and Jojo’s ranked at # 4. However after recently finishing part six of the anime (alongside the awful way the ‘final season’ of Attack on Titan is being handled), it has comfortably climbed into my number three spot. I’ve also recently begun rewatching Jojo’s for the first time to see how my thoughts on the parts changed over time, and thus I thought it would be fitting to write about Jojo’s, starting off with part three when stands first get introduced. I’ll be discussing five fights from the first half of part three (which I will refer to as the ‘road trip’ arc), which starts with the Hierophant fight and ends with the High Priestess fight. Also if you’re wondering why the article has this title, it’s a Clint Eastwood reference. Araki has stated that Jotaro, the main JoJo of part three, was heavily inspired by him.

The Good:

The battle between Steely Dan and his Lovers stand against the entire crew of the Stardust Crusaders (SC going forward) was immediately impactful and well set up, and consistently raised the stakes as well as making you hate Steely Dan more and more. This fight does an amazing job making you hate its villain from the beginning as he ruthlessly kills Enya, a villain the SC managed to capture in hopes of learning from her. Even though she was fanatically devoted to Dio and would have never spoken a word, she is ruthlessly killed by Dan whilst he insults her openly. He then casually sips tea whilst the gang approaches them and has a smug air of confidence and sense of invincibility to his manners that make you wanna see this asshole get clobbered.

Tea Time

And that’s the brilliance of Dan, for the more you want to hit him the better his stand gets. When Jotaro smacks him, Joseph takes the same attack multiplied tenfold and almost dies. Thus the nature of his stand is revealed; it reflects and amplifies all the damage Dan receives back to whomever his stand is infesting. Sure Dan still gets hurt, but the reason he feels invincible is because he knows they can’t hurt him without risk of killing whomever his stand is inside. Such a brilliantly set up stand ability, and the SC leave Jotaro to keep tabs on Dan whilst the others run away to try and find a way to combat this stand. Dan continues to be an asshole to Jotaro throughout the fight, getting him beaten up for forcing him to shoplift and making Jotaro be a bridge with his body so that he wouldn’t have to walk 10 ft. to the crossing. Jotaro begins writing a ‘tab’ for him (which is also cold as hell), which proceeds to piss Dan off and really highlights the dynamic these two share in their contempt for one another. Seeing both of them be petty and spiteful to one another is hilarious. Dan is an irredeemable smug bastard who keeps racking up more and more terrible deeds over the course of the battle, and seeing them savagely paid back in full by Jotaro at the end of the fight is a pure dopamine hit.

Sturdy Bridge

This is also one of the only fights where we see Jotaro lose his cool. Throughout all of part three, even against some of the most wretched and despicable individuals, one of Jotaro’s greatest strengths has been his ability to keep calm and analyze the best route to victory. However Steely Dan is just so punchable that Jotaro continuously forgets his place for a bit and is overcome with a bloodlust to just knock this deplorable dickhead’s lights out. Even at the end when the fight was ‘won’ by the SC, Steely Dan does two deplorable acts that further cement him as irredeemable scum. He tries to use his stand on a child that was nearby and he admits to doing all of this for money, even offering them the money Dio paid him. However Jotaro responds with one of the coldest lines before he ices the bastard. “You can’t pay back what you owe with money!”. The savage beatdown at the end of this fight was also the precursor to the ‘7 Page Muda’ that has become infamous in the JoJo’s community. Here Jotaro’s beat down of Steely Dan at the end lasts for a solid twenty seconds and is brutal and cathartic.

Ice Cold
Keep the change

The other fight I wish to talk about here is the fight between the SC, the ‘Hanged Man’ and ‘Emperor’. This was another amazing fight in the first arc of part three. It was the first time we saw the villains team up, and they did so with terrifying effectiveness. J. Geil’s ‘Hanged Man’ stand lets him attack you from inside of reflections, so a mirror, a puddle, or even the reflection of someone’s eyes are all fair game for him to attack you from inside. You’ll see his stand in the reflection but if you look to where that would be in the real world they aren’t there and you can’t touch them. This seemingly invincible stand was paired with Hol Horse’s stand of the ‘Emperor’, a gun that he can control the trajectory of the bullets with. He uses his stand to break the glass of nearby buildings to create reflections for the Hanged Man to attack from. This combination was so effective it even brought down one of the SC, which was a serious change to the status quo that had been established with the fights up to this point.

Aside from the fight mechanics, this fight also had great character moments in it as well. Hanged Man was the entire reason Polnareff went on his journey, got captured/mind controlled by Dio, and met the crusaders in the first place. He raped and killed Polnareff’s sister and sent him on the warpath for revenge, and when Polnareff finds out who is after them he leaves the group to fight him alone because of his reckless and emotional nature. However after Avdol saves him from death when he’s attacked by the two of them, Polnareff begins to truly understand and appreciate both the weight of his actions and the bond he’s grown with the SCs. J. Geil is also one of the evilest and most deplorable people we’ve seen in this show, even more so than Steely Dan in many ways. Where Dan was ruthless, smug, selfish and willing to harm children to win, J. Geil has done much more heinous and horrific deeds. He rapes and murders young girls, and brags about doing so. He also shows no remorse nor belief that anything he’s doing is wrong, a truly disgusting piece of human filth that we also can’t wait to see pay.

Kakyoin is also one of the smartest characters in the part, and he really gets to show off his intelligence in this fight. Kakyoin manages to find a way for the two to flee safely (albeit only temporarily) and the two pool their knowledge together, and Kakyoin manages to deduce exactly how his enemies stand works. Polnareff was convinced the Hanged Man stand was invincible and that it attacked them from another dimension entirely, but Kakyoin figured out that it’s based off of light and reflections, bouncing between them to keep its target ‘in view’ so that it can attack, and that it has to move to a new reflection if its current one is blocked. This leads to one of the coolest big brain finishes to a fight I’ve ever seen. J. Geil is face to face with Kakyoin and Polnareff, however he tells a group of desperate beggars that those two are handing out free money, who proceed to surround them. With all the eyes on them, J. Geil was free to use his stand and stab them to his hearts content… or so he thought. However Kakyoin tossed a shiny coin up into the sky, getting all of the beggars to look up. Polnareff catches on and kicks up a cloud of dust, causing the beggars to close their eyes and forcing Hanged Man to head to the only reflection available, the gold coin. Knowing the exact trajectory his stand would take, Polnareff is then able to slice the stand in half as it was moving and win the fight.

And… that’s a wrap! For now anyways. This article is already fairly long and if I try to cover all of the fights I planned to it’ll just be a big mess, so instead I’ve decided to talk about the good more in depth! Next up we’ll be discussing ‘The Bad and the Baby’, and after that I’m going to cover the second arc of part three! I may even keep this type of format and discuss each of the parts a bit more in depth like this depending on how this does! Also, I did mention posting my cosplay photos in the last article, so I’m doing that here at the end. Until next time, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed, and stay healthy!

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