JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Episode 3 – The Curse Of DIO
The episode from last week, “Who Will Be The Judge?!“, delivered us an awesome gift; the brand-new opening theme song for the series and damn is it a good one! That being said…the episode from this week brought us something even better. Something that I will assume no fan of the series saw coming. We were graced with the showcasing of the official ending theme song for the season and it just so happens to be a little song titled “Walk Like An Egyptian” by a pretty well-known band called “The Bangles”…yes, take a hot minute to let that one sink in before we move on.
I’m going to go ahead and say that, with only three episodes in, this series has already made it onto my list of animes that are without a doubt perfect in one way or another. “Stardust Crusaders” lands firmly on that list as one of the most outrageous and unnecessarily “badass” series’ I’ve ever had the privilege to experience. Episode 3 “The Curse Of Dio”, in my opinion, truly kicks off the series. The adventure is about to begin so strap in, hold on tight and anticipate nothing because, no matter what you think will happen next…it’ll be wrong.
A Serious Case Of “Flesh Bud”.
Followers of the series up until this point may recall the events of the last episode; Kakyoin was introduced, Jotaro and him had a bit of a “biff” and then our hero brought the transfer student back to the Kujo manor for assessment. Having the family meet in the main room, Joseph and Avdul give their diagnosis on what exactly Kakyoin’s problem is and it just so happens to be…yep; a serious case of “flesh bud”. Now this isn’t you’re average, run of the mill “flesh bud”, no it’s much worse. This particular ailment was brought about by none other than the main antagonist of “Stardust Crusaders”; the man formerly known as “Dio Brando”, who is now known simply as “DIO”. The crew silently freak out for a little bit before Joseph decides to open his old trap and explain, once again, that it’s simply too late for poor Kakyoin.
Closely inspecting what looks like the worst pimple ever, Joseph determines that beneath the growth and buried into the center of Kakyoin’s brain is a thin but sturdy “stinger” which, if not removed quickly and precisely, will mean trouble for both the operator and the patient. What I love so much about the “Stardust Crusaders” crew is that everything is too hard but at the same time everything is far too easy for them. For every negative comment about a situation there’s an opposing comment that makes the “naysayer” look like a whinging idiot. Joseph says “it’s too late”, “it’s far too hard” and “he’ll die” but Jotaro says “Nah, I can do it. It’s all good, old man”. To me, that’s the perfect metaphor for the series; just a bunch of shonen-type, conflicting ideas and ideals that result in unintentionally hilarious antics as well as some of the most defiant and action-packed shows of “badassitude” to ever be spotlighted in anime and, let’s be honest; that’s what makes this series royalty.
A Night To Remember.
Before Jotaro and Joseph can even begin bickering over Kakyoin’s swift operation, Avdul feels as though this is the perfect time to chime in with a story about his past. Luckily the story is actually relevant seeing as it is one that revolves around him meeting DIO. Many years ago in a small village somewhere in the heart of Egypt a young Muhammad Avdol – a fortune teller and all around mystical man – wanders the back alleys on what I’m assuming is on of his nightly “spirit walks”. Bounding up some steps he notices a malevolent presence, one that he’ll surely remember for the rest of his days…that is, if it doesn’t kill him. At the top of these steps is an odd man, almost nothing but a shadow. Avdul does his best to quickly investigate the situation, he describes the man to himself: Long, golden hair. Near-transparent, alabaster skin. An air of sensuality the likes of which he’s never experience…it can be no other.
This man, this silhouette, this specter of the night…it’s none other than DIO! Avdul, understanding the dangerous position he is in, jumps through a window and runs off into the night only barely escaping DIO’s carnal but benevolent embrace. If you were to read a transcript of Avdol’s description of DIO not knowing it was from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”, one would probably assume it an excerpt from a book in the “Twilight” series which, if I’m to be entirely truthful, is a series of books I’d read had DIO been written in as the main character instead of the sparkly teen that has taken the hearts of many young ladies. Avdul lives to fortune tell another day and even though it was an incredibly dangerous experience for the man…he did get a good story out of it. “You’ve got to live a life worth commenting on” as comedian Pete Holmes says.
The Doctor Is In!
Having heard just about enough of Avdul’s story, Jotaro jumps in to save Kakyoin. Having a stand that is incredible precise and faster than lighting really helps in this exact situation so Jotaro doesn’t exactly hesitate to get in and get his hands dirty. Holding Kakyoin down and letting his Stand do the bulk of the operation, our hero begins the procedure. Almost as soon as his Stand grips the “flesh bud”, it reacts by digging into Jotaro’s hand with one of its tentacles. Yep, it has tentacles. The longer the operation goes on, the deeper and deeper the “flesh bud” gets to Jotaro’s brain in an attempt to make him the next brainwashed victim. With the animation quality slightly bumping up and intensity rising, our jacket-clad hero puts the pedal to the metal and yanks the “flesh bud” out of Kakyoin’s face!
“Star Platinum” rips the bud in half and tosses it to Joseph who uses his Stand “Hermit Purple” to eviscerate what was left of the thumb-sized thought-manipulator showing us that “overkill” is not only acceptable in “Stardust Crusaders”, it’s encouraged. Kakyoin regained consciousness part way through the operation so, as you can imagine, he’s pretty shaken up so he heads down for a bit of a nap to recuperate. The next five to six minutes of the episode is basically filled with friendly banter as the group sit and discuss what just happened. It was a little odd and seemed to me like a bit of an intentional time-waster but I don’t know nearly enough about episode production and development so I can’t exactly “slam” it for doing what it did. It’s all good though because the next few scenes are real juicy ones!
Mama’s Got A Stand?!
It’s the next morning and everything seems “normal”. Old man Joseph has gotten up out of bed and is quick to begin complaining, calling out “Holly! Holly!” to no reply. Kakyoin sits up in bed and ponders his life up until this point, something we all do on occasion. Avdul is nowhere to be seen, my guess is that he’s somewhere being mysterious. Jotaro is really the only person doing what he’s supposed to be doing; getting up and getting ready for school but as he leaves the house he realizes something is wrong, something he never thought he’d think twice about. He recalls that usually his mum comes and gives him a kiss before he leaves for school, even though he makes out as if he’s too “cool” to get a kiss from his mum he actually couldn’t just leave without figuring out exactly why a kiss from mummy wasn’t delivered this morning.
Jotaro being Jotaro he jumps to the worst possible conclusion; something is wrong! Unfortunately for him…he was right. The group hears a scream from the kitchen, it sounds like Avdul, so they all dash to see just what the heck is going on. The audience is met with a terrible vision of Holly on the ground in what looks to be some sort of critical condition. Avdul being the quick-thinker he is explains that Holly, having Joestar blood coursing through her veins, has also developed a stand but it is one that is far too powerful for her to control and it is now damaging her body. After a slight freak out by the loving (grand)father, the group decides it is now time to track down DIO assuming that killing him will save her from the grips of the uncontrollable Stand. A proper explanation wasn’t entirely described but I feel like that’s the most educated assumption, especially for a series like this.
Where In The World Is Dio Brando?
Deciding that now is the time to begin a more thorough search for DIO, the group gathers once again for what I’m going to call a little “family meeting”. Joseph and Avdul explain that they’ve never been able to exactly track DIO, they’ve no idea where it is he’s hiding and the race to find him has truly begin so there’s no time to waste. Pulling out all of the photographs taken by Joseph using his Stand ability, the gang look through them noting that they are all far too dark to determine a location. One thing not mentioned by the characters is that DIO looks to be naked or partially naked in each and every one of the photos, all of which were taken at different times over a course of a while. This leads me to believe that DIO is constantly in the nude. It’s lucky I’m not the character of Joseph Joestar in this series because I probably would have stopped trying to take the long-distance pictures after the first nude shot of my family’s mortal enemy. After another act of quick-thinking, Jotaro decides to use “Star Platinum” to help find out exactly where DIO is. Not only is his Stand agile and precise but he assumes it has good eyesight too.
With nothing else to try, Avdul and Joseph decide to let Jotaro give the pictures a good old look. After a long stare at the naked body which once belonged to a member of his family, Jotaro has “Star Platinum” sketch a certain interesting figure seen in the background of the image. Fast, strong, precise, 20/20 vision and apparently artistic talent that would make Van Gogh spin in his grave; “Star Platinum” begins to sketch one of the most detailed pictures of a common fly that I’ve ever seen but, guess what? It isn’t so common. Avdul takes one glance at the fly and takes off to find a book about insects assuming he can trace exactly where that fly is from. It turns out he’s right and he swiftly confirms that this particular fly is native to Egypt, a place that Avdul is extremely familiar with and a place where he actually met DIO once before…why did you not just try there in the first place? Anyway, moving on. After Avdul went to all the effort to figure out exactly where this fly comes from, in walks our old friend Kakyoin who explains to the group that he met DIO and was infected with the “flesh bud” when his family and he went to Egypt not too long ago…YOU COULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING EARLIER, KAKYOIN! Calm down, Frank. Just take it easy.
What Time Is It? (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Time!)
Now they know where DIO is and they’ve got even more incentive to go and kill him, there’s nothing stopping the group from heading out so that’s exactly what they do. Leaving Holly in the caring hands of some of the world’s best doctors – obviously provided by the “Speedwagon Foundation”, God bless Robert Edward O. Speedwagon – the Joestar family alongside Avdul and Kakyoin head to Egypt! Episode 3 is over but it has done a great thing; it’s truly kicked off the “adventure” portion of the series and has pushed it to a place wherein which “Stardust Crusaders” can really show exactly why it is one of the most popular “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” parts in the history of the series. This show has piqued my interest in a huge way and, within three episode, has already outdone the last season. Bring on episode four! I can’t wait another week!