OP2: 「裏切り者のレクイエム」 (Uragirimono no Rekuiemu) by Hasegawa Daisuke
「ガッツの「G」」 (Guts no `G)
“The ‘G’ in Guts”
To get the most obvious out of the way first, this episode marks the grand debut of the new opening and ending themes. With the OP, they bring back Hasegawa Daisuke, the performer of Part IV’s “Great Days”, to perform the Part V-centric “Traitor’s Requiem”. At the moment, it doesn’t have the catchiness or bombast of Coda’s “Fighting Gold”, but makes up for it in the polished visuals of the OP. They did give away quite a few spoilery details, more than “Fighting Gold”, but as a manga reader, it was exciting to see what was being foreshadowed.
The ending is much more interesting as they switched in another song from a Western artist. This time around it’s Enigma. Remember that Stand user from Part IV that creepily trapped Josuke’s mom in his Stand book only for Fungami Yuya to gladly turn himself into a piece of paper to turn the tables and trap him in his own book? This is where his Stand name comes from. But rather than choosing their bigger smash hits like “Return to Innocence” or “Sadeness”, they went with a deeper cut from 2000 called “Modern Crusaders”. Understandably, the title alone fits in by positioning Passione as the newer equivalent of the Stardust Crusaders from Part III. What I personally enjoyed about the two sequences, however, is how much they call back to prior fights. Whereas the OP skims the highlights of the first half’s fights, the ED has a stone pillar with a collection of Stands that are featured in Part V starting with Black Sabbath and ending with Gold Experience. It was nice to see them looking back at past fights, especially with so many of them in the rear view as Passione starts to take on the Boss’ own personnel.
Despite the “quality” that permeated the deteriorating art of this episode, the content makes up greatly for these shortcomings. This sections fight is particularly fun because of how much chemistry that Tiziano and Squalo have with one another through both their personalities and abilities. So far, dual opponents have tended to be disjointed with how Pesci had to maneuver around Grateful Dead to try to lure out Passione without getting caught and how Prosciutto had to deal with Pesci’s erratic behavior in order to better utilize his Stand on the train. The big brother/mammoni relationship of Prosciutto and Pesci made it all the harder for them to work together without the former getting angry or the latter trying to lean on his aniki.
With Tiziano and Squalo, however, their relationship is more symbiotic, starting with how comfortable they are with feeling up on each other as they formulate a plan to take on Passione. On top of their overall confidence in their relationship together, their confidence helps the two know exactly how their Stand abilities can complement each other. As a result, Squalo’s “Clash” synergizes comfortably and effectively with Tiziano’s “Talking Head” to trap Narancia into dooming his squad. As proof of their deep bond, Tiziano’s main strategy in the fight is to use Talking Head to manipulate Narancia into misleading Passione into a watery death trap where Clash can freely move about to strike as many of his targets as necessary.
It’s one of those fascinating battles in JoJo where, because their current opponents have remote Stand abilities, our protagonists have to rely on their wits rather than their strength to win the battle. In Narancia’s Talking Head-induced trance, he has to find a way to communicate with his friends without leading any one of them to a shark-infested demise. And because Narancia isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, his only means of making sure he can try to effectively stop his friends from heeding his misleading advice is through over-the-top physical actions such as peeing in front of everyone and cauterizing a wound with a burning handrail. It’s hard not to get excited about the battle when it encapsulates how much thorough planning and quick-wittedness goes into constructing such fights. Where only time would be able to tell how the dimmest member of Passione could find a way to out-maneuver two Stand users with such a strong connection that their abilities work in unison to create a highly-lethal combination. Where the plot goes with Trish as they plan to unearth the Boss’ identity at his hometown of Sardina will be neat to see unfold, but first, we’ll have to see what will happen now that Giorno is being attacked by Clash.
ED3: 「Modern Crusaders」 by Enigma