One interesting thing I’ve found while watching the incomprehensible beauty that is Nisemonogatari is Karen Bee’s resolution, and indeed Karen’s development. Of course, the title means ‘Fake story’, and with the nisemono in question being Karen (Well, Kaiki too, but we’ll ignore that for now). Anyway, the thrust of Karen’s development is that, while she wants to be a champion of justice, she is only living for other people, and is forced to confront this side of herself by Koyomi. Sound familiar? I’m not saying Nise necessarily ripped off Fate/ Stay Night, but the similarity is striking. It just seems like a movement in Japanese media to challenge the Eastern outlook of other people being more important than oneself, which the Japanese are famous for in their work ethic. No surprise that Nisioisin and Kinoko Nasu are both hippie novel writers, one with LN’s and one with VN’s, and both are quite prolific. Nisio, more so, but still. One wonders if these similar people were both fed up with the Japanese outlook, influencing both to craft stories that addressed this problem.
So we’ve finally arrived at Duwang’s climax, and it did not disappoint. Not that I was expecting any less from David Pro, but this was just phenomenal.
The main draw of this episode is how well the tension is built up at the start of the episode. Unfortunately, and despite how much I love Jojo, it’s had trouble really setting tone, or building up tension. There have been a few standout moments, like the entrance to Dio’s mansion in Part 3, along with the horror that was Iggy’s fight with Pet Shop, and Kars finally getting the Red Stone of Aja. However, the series is generally just too, well, bizarre to really get my heart racing in fear.
This episode had my heart racing in fear. Even as a manga reader who knew what was coming I started off kinda nervous.
The scene is immediately set under a much darker sky. Not only do we of course associate this with the dark, the night, etc. but since this is only used for final or important battles in Jojo, for people who are more familiar with the series this is a great callback to Dio’s mansion in PB, Kars’ awakening in BT, and of course the end of SC. Even for those who don’t know the episode count or chain of events, this tells us things are coming to an end of Duwang.
Then we have the fact that the curtain is finally being drawn on the previous arc, which was a notable longer one. Again, you get the feeling that things are drawing to a close, but also that we’re leaving behind the past and finally approaching the climax.
Then we have Yoshihiro Kira’s frantic rush to warn his son, and we get to the crux of why this episode works so well, as well as the series in general: The sympathy we’ve built up toward Kira. The son, not the father. The father too, though.
Kira was introduced as the most mundane of mundane people, a salaryman who would go completely unnoticed in any other part of Jojo. And indeed, this was literally the case with Kira appearing before his introduction and being completely innocuous. His killing habits are established, but oddly the episode where he as revealed as a psychopath was entirely from his POV, and we’ve spent the series really getting into his head, and getting to know that this really is a compulsion for him, as well as entirely what he lives for. The part’s narrative thrust, and especially recent episodes, is based on him avoiding the Hoestar gang.
And we get to this episode, and we realise our hearts are beating quickly for him. We find we aren’t really rooting for the Joestars at all. The series has ingeniously cultivated a poignant bond between the audience and Kira, and it comes to a head now as he makes some grave mistakes, and his end is imminent. The tension is swinging towards him, and last episode, and the beginning of this episode, is his lowest point.
Then this happens, and it swings entirely towards Hayato, and we’re scared out of our goddamn minds. We suddenly remember that this guy’s the villain, and he has some terrifying new power. A moment of relief, followed by pure terror. But the tension’s still there, and it continues to build until this moment.
An elastic band was released.
Oh god. OH GOD. NOT ROHAN! We know the rules at this point, and we expect a death.
It is also now that one appreciates this episode’s genius.
This has been one hell of a ride, and absolutely one of the best episodes of the arc. Not only did it do the manga JUSTICE , but David Pro could really flex their creative muscles, and I have never seen this extent of individualism in the anime before. As a very literal adaptation, there haven’t been many opportunities like this one, and I dearly hope that the show’s remaining four episodes live up to this.
This image was still terrible, and will never leave me.
So, following a discussion on how incestuous anime is, and how few people realise this, I decided to test this for myself. I went to the by far most obscure show I’ve ever seen, and see if there was any kind of tenuous link to anything famous, and if it really was the case that it’s all made by the same people. In my case, it was some children’s show with 3 minute episodes called Kaitou Reinya. Go to MAL, Staff list, and there’s only three staff members, which is actually believable with this show considering how little work appears to have went into it. Anyway, my first reaction was of shock. Seiji MIzushima. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST’S SEIJI MIZUSHIMA. SHIROBAKO FAT DIRECTOR DUDE!! Oh, wait. He was just the audio director. Cool, but it doesn’t really count. Everyone left is credited for the theme song, or Takahiro Yoshimatsu for the storyboard. Is he anyone shockingly important? And, the credits roll in. FMA’s specials, DBZ movie 1, and Hunter x Hunter 2011’s chief animation director. The guy who worked on this most obscure of children’s shows, the most average of comedies, the least animated show since Thermae Romae… And he worked high-up on my favourite show, Hunter x Hunter. I’m done.
Well, does explain why the show looks like the sketches at the end of HxH episodes…