「ボスからの第二指令」 (Boss kara no Daini Shirei)
“The Boss’s Second Assignment”
With Passione heading to Pompeii for the next piece to the boss’ puzzle in getting Trish to him safely, the gang once again finds themselves caught in one of La Squadra’s traps as Illuso traps Fugo in the world inside of the mirror. As Fugo faces off against him, however, it gives the audience some time to learn about who Fugo is and why he acts as he does.
Right from the get-go, the anime has been far kinder to the cast as Abbacchio and Fugo have been given far more to work with by helping us understand why they are more skeptical or heated about tagging along with Giorno. For Fugo, he had the strongest presence yet in this episode with how much further the anime went into his backstory. Blending a combination of the smaller details present in the manga and smaller details from the sequel novel Purple Haze Feedback, David Pro helped flesh out Fugo far more than before. They did take some liberties since his professor in this iteration was beaten with the encyclopedia because he was predatorial towards Fugo, but it does make it more impactful that he bludgeoned his professor because the straw to break the camel’s back for Fugo unleashing his wrath would be a situation that pushes him to the edge like being targeted by a pedophilic teacher. The anime showing his temper being an issue also lends itself to explain far more of Fugo’s personality as well such as him stabbing Narancia with a fork for getting a question wrong or throwing his shirt on the ground when Trish got under his skin. It’s also neat how his sharp temper was immediately linked back to the powers of his stand “Purple Haze“, inspired by the psychedelic rock classic from The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The stand is already very cool and very gross since it doles out corrosive viruses to whoever is hit, but to see it in action is not only really awesome but does a lot to connect the compulsiveness and wrath of Purple Haze with Fugo’s attitude.
Along with the Moody Blues episode, this one also gives Abbacchio some depth as he faces the conundrum of being the Pompeii companion that distrusts Giorno the least. His leadership role in the mission puts a ton of the responsibility on his shoulders to be as supportive as he can be, which means having to calm Fugo down when he aggressively challenges the shots Giorno tries to call. Additionally, when Fugo is trapped inside the mirror world, Abbacchio can’t find himself to trust the intuition that Giorno has to save Fugo. Even if he wanted to save him, he prioritizes the mission over his own interests and takes it personally when his role as a leader is challenged by Giorno taking the initiative to try to save Fugo.
The main challenge, however, is pitting two of these highly fascinating stands up against each other. Whereas Purple Haze is designed to be completely overpowered, Illuso’s Michael Jackson-inspired stand “Man in the Mirror” functions to shut his stand out of the dimension he’s sucked Fugo into. In the process, it gives Fugo the need to have to think fast as he tries to control his stand remotely from inside of Man in the Mirror. Meanwhile, Man in the Mirror functions as Illuso’s interrogation room so he has to find a way to avoid lowering his guard so that he doesn’t allow Purple Haze to hit him. It’s been a while since I’ve read through Part V so it’ll be fun to recollect what it took for Fugo to try to get the upper hand on Illuso.