You guys I finally shipped Slam Fighter II on Steam! Check it out!!
Whew and now that that’s done, I just might be able to get back to Jojo Part 4!
You guys I finally shipped Slam Fighter II on Steam! Check it out!!
Whew and now that that’s done, I just might be able to get back to Jojo Part 4!
We made it to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Volume 32! Given the fact that those three handsome devils up there turn up most frequently on promo images for Part 4, I’m gonna assume we’ve pretty much met our entire main cast at this point. And who are these fabulous well-coiffed teenagers? I’m glad you asked!
Has Joseph Joestar’s genes and ability to pull off wily schemes that should in no way work yet somehow do.
Koichi Hirose (u dont need to remember)
A boring teenager from a boring suburb who shows some interesting promise.
A libertarian. Sorry, constitutionalist conservative.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Chapter 294
Chapter 29 of Diamond is Unbreakable
Yukako’s Love (Part One)
Translation: Invincible Trio
We open on a well-composed set of panels with lots of great eye-directing going on, leading us down into the speech and then off to the left. Looks like Josuke and a friend are walking to or from school.
“…So, that Hazamada guy…doesn’t know…anything about…”
I really like this set of panels as an introduction to this chapter. The separation of the top panel with the bottom panel creates the effect of a pan down without actually using a narrow vertically oriented panel (So I don’t end up needlessly repeating myself, if you’d like to see more on how comic books recreate cinematic effects, refer to my Art of Dragonball series.) We don’t know who this is, but their speech is halting – we get this not just from the liberal use of ellipses but also from the speech bubbles themselves. They’re like puffs of smoke. You get the sensation that a greater amount of time passed between the words in the second and third bubbles than the other ones because of the literal distance between them on the page.
“The ‘Electricity Guy’ that killed my bro?!” (I’m guessing Okuyasu is using aniki here; I’m curious about why “electricity guy” is in quotes, so maybe in the original dialogue Okuyasu used some sort of interesting nickname?)
The speaker is Okuyasu! He was speaking haltingly about the murderer of his brother. This is a great bit of character building because it shows us that this is a very emotionally fraught issue for Okuyasu without delving into an inner monologue. This is a good choice in that it keeps the pace of the story moving but also because Okuyasu’s relationship with his brother, and thus his feelings about his brother’s death, are very complicated and I’m not sure a teenage boy like Okuyasu would realistically be able to articulate exactly how he feels when mature adults in real life have struggled to recognize their own emotions coming out of similar situations. At any rate, this is great exposition ’cause it not only gets us up to speed on how Okuyasu’s been doing, it shows us more of his personality: he’s a guy with a lot of emotions simmering underneath who tries to have some restraint but can’t completely hide how he’s feeling.
Heh, and Josuke is Okuyasu’s emotional opposite in this panel here. Not only does he look pretty relaxed, check out how much he’s talking. That’s words words words right there.
Josuke and Okuyasu are talking about the intel Josuke and Jotaro tried to get from Hazamada after he got the shit beaten out of him in the previous chapter. Oh, yeah, so how is Hazamada doing these days anywa-
AAGHH! Holy shit! Well, that fucker deserved it. Anyway, looks like Hazamada doesn’t know shit about the stand user who killed Keicho and tried to intimidate Jotaro on the phone. He does mention that he believes that stand users are drawn to each other so it’s inevitable that more will cross paths with Josuke. (I knew that already by virtue of this being a shonen manga!)
I like how Araki often shows his protagonists from the emotional point of view of the villains – as downright scary motherfuckers. You don’t see that too often in manga, probably because it invites you to sympathize with a “bad guy.” I like it though – it makes both the heroes and villains a bit more complex. At any rate, Hazamada was pretty much useless as far as intel goes, except for the detail that the user of Red Hot Chili Pepper is out to get Jotaro, which we kinda knew already.
Transitioning out of that flashback, we return to the streets of Morioh. Okuyasu has spotted something interesting! I like the shift as we pretty much literally jump into Okuyasu’s point of view.
“Hey! It’s Koichi…”
This is a great little panel. Okuyasu is happy to see Koichi out and about. Josuke notices Koichi’s emotional state right away. It’s such a small moment, but it shows us more about who these characters are. Okuyasu, despite seeming tough, is actually very friendly, and Josuke, despite being a teenage boy, is actually extremely attuned to the emotional states of others. (He noticed that Koichi was nervous from across the street.)
Okuyasu begins to call out to Koichi when he sees something shocking!
I like how Okuyasu’s look of shock wouldn’t be out of place in a scene in which someone got dismembered or something.
Holy shit, Koichi is meeting a hot girl! You can tell he was expecting her to arrive by his expression. He’s not shocked at all. Heh, and I like the use of screentone here to make her look like she’s glowing.
Oh, that’s nice, Koichi is meeting a girl. Guess Okuyasu and Josuke will keep walking and meet up with Koichi later, right?
You can tell from Josuke’s surprise when Okuyasu pulls him behind the corner that he never would have decided to spy on Koichi’s date of his own initiative, but now that he’s in on the scheme you can tell he’s enjoying the shit out of every moment. This is such a great depiction of high school bffs. Ahh man, I wish Okuyasu were my friend, we’d have all kinds of excellent adventures.
Okuyasu let’s Josuke know that the girl is Yukako, one of his classmates, and laments not having a pair of binoculars. (I should have known a libertarian would have hoped to externalize the cost onto someone else!)
The girl begins to speak to Koichi. She was the one who invited him out! When I see the way Koichi is drawn, given the way Araki plays fast and loose with Jotaro’s size in relation to various objects, I take it to mean that Koichi is not literally half the height of the rest of the cast. The way I see it, his features which would stand out the most in real life have been exaggerated. So I believe that Koichi comes off as being a few years younger than he really is – he probably looks like he’s 13 or so but not like a literal elementary school student. On the flip side, Yukako here looks WAY older than Koichi despite being the same age. The way I interpret that is that we’re supposed to be seeing Yukako the way the cast sees her. And the cast is made up of boys who probably don’t have any girls among their close friends. So she seems impossibly mature and uh, “developed” as a way of showing the distance between them. Koichi and Yukako are both 15-16 and if they existed in real life wouldn’t look vastly different in age but have had their features exaggerated here to emphasize the gulf the main characters feel exists between them. So we’re meant to share the characters’ surprise – why would a hot chick like Yukako ask the boyish Koichi out on a date?
As a side note I’m not crazy about how often this happens in comics (girls are amazing unattainable creatures far removed from we normal people, aka boys, amirite?) but it works for this story. (This is the one arc I’m going into having already read the whole thing because of the Duwang cold reading shennanigans I got up to. Full disclosure!)
There’s some fun Loony Tunes-esuqe humor here as Okuyasu and Josuke scurry around to get a front-row seat of what appears to be an ordinary date and Koichi and Yukako somehow don’t notice.
As Koichi and Yukako chat, it becomes apparent that Koichi doesn’t see this as a date at all. He isn’t even entertaining the idea – he thinks Yukako has invited him out in order to ask him a favor. She denies wanting anything from him. On the contrary, she wanted to let him know that she liiiiiikes him!
I like that the idea that a cute girl like Koichi is more stunning to Okuyasu than to Koichi himself.
Josuke helps Okuyasu contain his outburst. I love how even with his mouth covered you can tell Okuyasu is making some kind of grimace by how the muscles on the right side of his face (our left) are bunching up enough to cause him to squint on that side.
This is an interesting moment! Araki often uses a black background in panels that show a character’s inner thoughts in order to isolate the thought from the scene playing out for all to see. While he avoided showing Okuyasu’s inner thoughts early on in the chapter, he opts instead to make Yukako’s explicit. I suspect he chose to do this to keep readers from barking up the wrong tree and assuming that Yukako is faking her love for Koichi. That would be the most likely explanation, so the fact that we basically have an author’s note saying “no really, she means it!” actually makes the story more intriguing, not less. More proof that “show, don’t tell,” should never be treated as the prime directive of storytelling. (I also have an entry in The Art of Dragonball on that theme if you want to explore that in greater detail.)
Hm, and Josuke, who could tell Koichi was nervous from 100 feet away, doesn’t look terribly shocked. On the contrary, he looks calmly pleased. “Whoa, whoa! Didja hear that, Okuyasu? No way, didn’t see that coming, huh? Koichi!” He clearly thinks Yukako is sincere, which further highlights the very interesting twist that Yukako is genuinely in love with Koichi.
As for Koichi himself, he needs a moment to process everything.
And he decides that he’s cool with this.
This expression is pretty interesting! He looks half-crazed. I guess I can best describe it as a “greedy” look. It’s the kind of look you’d draw on a character who just discovered a cache of diamonds or something. It’s worth noting here that Koichi’s reaction here demonstrates that he doesn’t consider himself capable of getting a girlfriend as pretty as Yukako under ordinary circumstances. He doesn’t consider himself to be much of a catch. Yukako does though, and she explains that recently she’s noticed that Koichi has been a lot more confident and that he’s got a winning smile. Confidence really is the sexiest trait a man can have, I’ll back Yukako up on that one. Confidence, and having a car.
Yukako takes Koichi’s hesitation not at disbelief of his good fortune but as a polite rejection. She seems to believe, unlike Koichi and Okuyasu, that Koichi is such a catch that another girl has gotten to him first!
Heh heh, Okuyasu has a humorous meltdown out of his envy for Koichi. Aww, poor guy. Looks like he’s always wanted a girl but has never had one. I guess spending his whole life in social isolation helping his brother attempt to create a stand user to kill their father didn’t leave much time for romance. I bet Okuyasu is hilariously awkward around girls that he likes.
Yukako demands to know whether or not Koichi returns her feelings. While he’s flattered by her advances, he can’t bring himself to be dishonest – he isn’t in love with her because he barely knows her.
The panel that’s zoomed in on her face is pretty interesting. It shows that this question is more than just a girl fishing for affirmation and compliments. This is serious business for her. Also by cutting off part of her face she takes on a sort of spooky aspect, making her even farther removed from our Everyman Koichi here.
Check out as Koichi struggles to come up with the “right” answer, he has the debate with the teacup rather than Yukako. I take that as implying that he’s afraid to actually look up at her while he figures out what to say.
Suddenly Yukako switches from serene perfect waifu to scary horror movie abomination. She actually gets dark circles under her eyes and everything! And check out how BIG she looks compared with Koichi. Yiiiikes!
She then switches back to waifu mode as she bursts into tears. Koichi’s expression says it all.
What the Christ?!
Okuyasu, having become emotionally invested in the proceedings, is similarly stunned.
As Koichi starts to disengage from the shock that had gripped him following his very interesting “date,” he takes a sip of his drink. (This first panel here is hilarious both for Koichi’s look of terror and for the fact that it shows us that Koichi has been holding that pose since Yukako’s outburst.)
Unfortunately, his drink is now full of hair.
WHAT THE CHRIST?!
“That chick…can’t be…” a stand user? Come on Josuke, this is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Of course she’s a stand user.
This chapter is fabulous for its solid character building all around. While I’m never very fond of the “lol crazy women, amirite?” stereotype in any media, I do like that the mystery set up in this chapter is not “why is this chick pretending to like Koichi,” and instead is related to the air of menace we feel around Yukako. The fact that we do get a peek inside her inner world also keeps us from writing her off completely as an unknowable crazy bitch. I’m pretty excited about covering the rest of this arc as it unfolds.
Holy crap you guys I’m so so so sorry for the delay. This Let’s Read is still important to me and fun for me and I really appreciate everyone’s patience. To make up for it, please enjoy this picture of me posing at SXSW, which is what I was doing instead of writing this entry
I’m posing here with notable IRL shounen anime protagonist Michael A. Zekas, Voiceover Talent, who provided standout performances in Slam Fighter II and #Everest. You should play those games right after you finish reading this Let’s Read!
JJBA Chapter 293
Chapter 28 of Diamond is Unbreakable
Translation: Invincible Trio
Jotaro reads the newspaper while seated at a bench at the main plaza of the Morioh Station.
The composition here is interesting because it very strongly leads the eye to the white space on the left side of the panel, the opposite side that the audience should be reading in. The framing is so strong that it’s surely deliberate. I have a few theories on why this was done: first, to increase tension by forcing the reader to read opposite what seems comfortable, and second, to create a sense of expectation – the empty space feels, well, empty, so the scene feels incomplete. From Jotaro’s point of view this is surely the case, as he’s waiting for Josuke. From our point of view, we agree – Hazamada and Surface will be arriving any moment now.
Wanna point out that Jotaro is also comically large in relation to the bench here. Araki has been playing fast and loose with Jotaro’s relative size for ages now, but he’s doing so not because he hasn’t got a model sheet or doesn’t care – it’s more important that we see Jotaro as a man living in a world that wasn’t made to accommodate his size () than we try to work out how big anything is relative to his height, which is a “known” quantity due to character bio pages and the like.
So yeah, not a new observation, but yes, Jotaro is larger than life. Not only does he have neato powers that most mortal folk don’t have, he’s the protagonist of the previous story, so he’s “large” in the lore too.
Meanwhile, Josuke and Koichi are following Hazamada from a safe distance, sight unseen. They happen upon the aftermath of the hyperviolent scene that took place at the end of the previous chapter. (That delightful scene in which Hazamada brutalized some dudes for comparing him to a cricket.)
“He’s doing whatever he wants with your impersonation!” Koichi’s sweating bullets here (also appears to be leaning diagonally for some reason.)
“Yeah he sure is…” Josuke says looking mildly inconvenienced. “What do we do with Hazamada now, I wonder…” Koichi expresses incredulity that Josuke doesn’t seem to be worked up at all.
Koichi explains – with a slickly drafted visual aid – how Hazamada will arrive at the station and encounter Jotaro.
It’s always interesting to see how Araki combines storytelling through symbols (stuff you aren’t supposed to take literally, like Jotaro’s size relative to the bench) with storytelling through worldbuilding (this map here implying that Morioh has a stable, internally consistent street plan.)
At any rate, Josuke’s definitely rockin’ the
He then puts an arm around Koichi and begins to relate to him (but not us!) what will surely be a cunning plan.
We cut to Hazamada and Surface – Hazamada asks Surface if they’re being followed but Surface hasn’t seen any sign of Josuke or Koichi.
They suddenly hear the sound of a train coming. Hazamada lets Surface know that with the fastest path to the station blocked by the passing train, they’ll have to take a detour. They hurry off towards their alternate route.
AAAAahh Koichi did it!
I actually didn’t expect that. Nicely done!
From the pedestrian bridge above the street he had just scampered from, Hazamada spots Josuke and Koichi dashing across the train-free tracks and on towards the station. While this would make anyone do a double take, we are once again treated to signs of a deeper freakout on the part of Hazamada.
Heh, I like this scene transition – it has a lot of impact. We just immediately get all up in Jotaro’s face. It’s almost startling. It leaves the impression that Jotaro didn’t watch Josuke and Koichi approach, he just looked up from the paper and suddenly noticed them.
While he’s not aware of the severity of the danger he’s in, he’s waiting on some critical intel, so he was probably somewhat anxiously awaiting Our Heroes’ arrival.
Koichi and Josuke get Jotaro caught up on the day’s events as Hazamada arrives looking dead tired.
Damn, he looks like a fuckin’ zombie. Well, so driven over the edge that he seems to have lost his humanity. He looks crazy enough to do all kinds of fucked up shit. (Narratively, these panels raise the stakes.)
Incidentally, this is hilarious:
As Josuke gives Jotaro the full story, he nonchalantly grabs a pen from Jotaro’s jacket.
”Why the hell am I holding a pen?” wonders Josuke. “Why did I….take this pen from Jotaro’s coat pocket?!”
Jotaro seems kind of…not concerned. Particularly after hearing what Hazamada can do. And Koichi too, what the hell? I thought he was being set up to be reasonably perceptive!
But for Hazamada to be controlling Josuke again with Surface, he’d have to be somewhere nearb-
Looks like Surface can control Josuke’s facial expressions. Don’t think I need to explain why that’s unsettling.
As Josuke fights Surface’s control, Hazamada takes the time to have a nice internal monologue. Fuck it, I ain’t typin’ that shit out.
This manga is so fucking good.
Hazamada’s insecurity led him to mistreat those biker guys which led them to return the favor, which led to him failing to succeed at his goal – the goal at this point having shifted away from any kind of practical villainy and into attempting to assuage his deeply set insecurity.
Hahaha, Josuke seems calm but he’s avoiding Jotaro’s gaze. This implies to me that he was pretty sure they were fucked. Koichi’s drowsy expression here makes me forgive him a bit since it seems to imply that the last several pages happened over the course of like, maybe two seconds.
Our eyes are invited to linger on this panel by its size and spare black background.
Looks like that blow to the noggin’ was enough to disrupt Hazamada’s ability to project his stand power.
The two biker guys explain that Josuke healed them and told them where Hazamada was heading. Ahh, so this was Josuke’s plan this whole time! I retroactively change my interpretation of his dodging Jotaro’s glance from “I didn’t have a plan and thought we were fucked” to “I was depending on an extremely risky gamble to survive this and I thought it didn’t work out and we were fucked.” Heh.
Oh yeah so then they presumably go on to beat the shit out of Hazamada.
Well, all’s well that ends well, right Josuke?
“Well, guess I’ll just break his doll-thing too. It’ll make me feel better.”
A few Dora Dora’s and Surface is in pieces.
Damn this was a really well-written story. Great themes, great art, and we get a lot of really great moments that show us more facets of Josuke and Koichi.
So, thoughts on this arc now that it’s wrapped up: in short, I thought it was great. Once again, in this arc, I would argue that the real protagonist is Hazamada. Why? Josuke and Koichi don’t really face any dilemma on a personal level. Hazamada is the one who has to grapple with whether or not he can resist taking the kind of self-destructive action that shields him from confronting his flaw (crippling insecurity in this case.) Josuke is pretty much the same person at the end of this story as he was the day before. What is nice about the fact that Josuke and Koichi didn’t really change in this arc is thatour understanding of who they are gets to change. What I mean by that is, this arc allowed us to refine our picture of who these guys are by putting them in some novel situations. We knew before that Josuke could be cool under pressure, but after this story we now have a clearer and more specific idea of how that reflects on who Josuke is as a person. A lack of character growth isn’t bad if the story still allows us to see new facets of a character.
Because Hazamada was the character who was under the most pressure emotionally, I can’t help but compare him to Keicho. Not only was Keicho also someone who would rather behave in a self-destructive pattern than confront their own flaws, Keicho was also undone more or less as a result of his own choices with little direct action by Josuke. I’ll be curious to see if this ends up being how most enemies in this series end up getting taken out. If so, that’s pretty zen – Josuke defeats his enemies by redirecting their momentum back at them. Still, I kind of hope that that isn’t the case as in both this story and Echoes Josuke seemed so cold and detached that he stopped feeling like a teenager to me, which is a shame because I thought Araki managed to strike a pretty good balance between having him seem wise beyond his years and keeping his behavior age-appropriate.
I agree with everyone else, Echoes was way more fun in this story than in the one in which Koichi was the star. Go figure. I did think the one misplaced thing in this arc was Kobayashi’s appearance as Koichi’s manservant, but I’m pretty interested to see if that has some kind of narrative payoff at some point.
Ah, and with that out of the way, that means we can move on to an arc I’ve been looking forward to for a long time! While I get started, everyone please enjoy this extremely serious video. I know I posted it before several months ago, but damn it it’s good enough to watch again!
A lot of people were asking me, you know, “why? Why do you wanna do it?” And that’s-that’s a really common mindset to have. It’s easy to ask “why?” But you know, I’ve always been the kind of person who looks beyond that and says “why not?”
You can’t take any more than what you and your three teammates can carry between the four of you. With inventory space limited, bringing one item means leaving another. #Everest is a game of opportunity costs. you must balance your selection of the props that will get your selfies to earn the most likes with the equipment needed to survive the trek to the next great photo op.
Be unique…ish! Change up the colors of your gear and play as either a dude or a lady.
Voice of Michael A. Zekas
Voice of Manuela Malasaña
Time waits for no mountaineer in the unforgiving altitudes of the mountain locals refer to as “The Holy Mother.” Take too long trying to get the perfect selfie and you won’t be able to make camp before temperatures plunge at nightfall, but make sure you don’t lose your cool because if you forget to pack anything back up, it will be lost on the mountain forever.
There’s no garbage collection service on Mt. Everest. Carry your trash with you or dump it on the mountain. It’s your choice.
The player character will be posting to their fictional in-game social media accounts throughout the game, but you can choose to post the pictures you take in-game to the player character’s real twitter account, @HashtagEverest or connect your own twitter account and post to it through the game! How’s that for meta?
JJBA Chapter 292
Chapter 27 of Diamond is Unbreakable
Translation: Invincible Trio
Josuke and Koichi run as fast as they can to try to get to Jotaro before Hazamada does. The perspective in this panel here drives home that they have quite a lot of ground to cover.
Unfortunately, they have no idea where Jotaro is.
In their haste they don’t notice Kobayashi lying in the tall grass, still knocked flat from his encounter with Hazamada and Surface.
He appears to be dazed but conscious – possibly aware enough of his surroundings to be very confused about seeing two Josukes running by.
We cut to Surface-as-Josuke walking in front of Hazamada some distance away. There are five high school girls in shot and all of them are calling flirtatiously to what they think is Josuke. OK yep, this panel pretty much confirms it – Hazamada is hella jealous.
“Why the hell do you get all the chicks to say bye to you…?”
“I’ve…never had a girl say bye to me, my whole life…heh! There’s only ugly bitches in this school anyway…”
Oh dang my theory from the last chapter was totally correct! By the way, since more than one person has asked me privately – the only chapters I’ve read ahead are Yukako’s love 1-3. If something I predict comes true it’s less that I’m great at guessing and more that Araki does a good job of foreshadowing future developments without beating the reader over the head with them.
A girl gives Surface a love note intended for Josuke and Hazamada FLIPS HIS SHIT. He snatches it away and rips it up.
“What the hell is the difference between you and me…?”
Check out Hazamada’s lack of balance and how all his limbs are bent and contrast with Surface-as-Josuke standing straight up. This visually communicates Hazamada’s internal unbalance (and if you wanna read more about this, I wrote about it in my Art of Dragonball series.)
“What the hell can be so different?!”
idk man, he’s a punk, you’re a massive goth, he’s exotically half white and you’re the Japanese version of wonderbread, or maybe it’s because he has a healthy level of self-esteem and you’re an insecure goon? I mean I could go on…
“Who cares about that right now? Now’s not the time to be lagging around, you know?” This bit is kinda interesting – Surface having this kind of will independent of Hazamada. I’m taking this to mean that aside from being obedient to Hazamada, Surface takes on the exact personality of whoever it is copying at the time.
“Wha–you think you can talk to me like that?!” Hazamaza says looking like a cornered animal.
“What do you mean, ‘like that’? This is how I talk, remember?” Surface says in, yeah, a pretty Josuke way. Hazamada can’t take this anymore and socks Surface in the jaw.
OH SO THAT’S WHERE THIS PART OF THAT DUWANG VIDEO COMES FROM.
“you OK reatard I am wood. Stupid.”
OK this whole scene here is interesting as hell from a character standpoint. In the words of Strongbad, Hazamada needs some serious clown care, man. Dang, wearin’ that gothy shit all bishonen with the long hair, but insecure to the point of self-destructive instability. What this kid needs is a fat blunt.
AHA holy crap, Hazamada in his internal monologue says he had Surface turn into Junko, the girl he likes, so he could “have [his] way with her” but she got on his nerves and he “couldn’t fucking do anything.” Do you guys realize what that means? If Surface has to be obedient to Hazamada, then it’s not like Surface-as-Junko could refuse to boink Hazamada but I bet she laughed at his dick or something so he wasn’t actually able to perform. Haaaahahaha….
“Aren’t there any nice people in this world? Damn it…” Oh jeez this the very image of an entitled shut-in loser.
Hazamada steadies himself for a second on a parked motorcycle as he walks down the street, leaving behind a handprint on its freshly polished surface as well as some blood – he busted his hand pretty good during his little tantrum. A reatard indeed.
The bikers see this and the one who owns the motorcycle gets pretty peeved that this random kid just undid the his bike’s fresh polish job and he resolves to beat the shit outta Hazamada.
Not really. Maybe it was a good pun in Japanese?
Well anyway, the next thing that happens is that Surface busts the back of the other biker’s skull in holy fuck!
Oh yeah and check out Surface’s eyes here! They’re totally blank and creepy. Does that mean Hazamada is making Surface do something that Josuke wouldn’t ordinarily do? Or is it just to add some extra discomfort to this hyperviolent moment?
Wait, I spoke too soon. It just got creepier.
Hazamada has Surface restrain the motorcycle owner’s arms. He then takes out a box cutter, weapon of choice of maladjusted Japanese schoolkids, if you’ll recall 4chan’s Nevada-tan obsession from a decade ago.
He elbows the now helpless biker guy in the mouth – looks like he may have broken the guy’s nose and possibly knocked a tooth or two out.
He then approaches with the box cutter
note the framing of these shots – the object, then the biker’s fearful reaction. Very classic horror movie composition. Hazamada’s face is removed so the approaching disembodied hand with blade seems more fearsome since it is visually divorced from a human identity.
Hazamada then sticks the box cutter in the guy’s mouth holy jesus fuck he’s gonna like give him a glasgow smile or something holy shit holy shit.
This surprisingly brutal turn of events is interrupted by the high-velocity arrival of shards of glass, which Surface catches looking like some sort of evil owl. (“Most owls can turn their head 270 degrees in both directions. This owl can fuck itself in all directions.” )
Wait, who do we know that likes throwing stuff? It’s Josuke!
Hazamada looks worried for a moment but quickly composes himself. He directs Surface to take control of Josuke again. But much to his surprise, the glass shards Josuke threw before start forming into a bottle around Surface’s hand. Damn, that’s clever!
“That piece of glass that the copy caught…I didn’t throw it ’cause I wanted it to hit you.”
“I threw it so I could ‘fix’ it into its original shape.”
And with that, Surface’s right hand is fuckin’ dismembered as the bottle completely reforms. Nice!
“Well, looks like it’s time to hide…”
Surface picks up the hand in the bottle and tells Hazamada that it won’t turn back into a hand again. Whoa, that’s pretty serious. But Hazamada seems to not be missing any appendages himself, so I guess damage to Surface doesn’t sympathetically affect Hazamada in the manner of other Stand/Stand User pairs. Interesting.
Hazamada reorients himself on his goal of getting to Jotaro before Josuke, but this time his motive is slightly changed! Previously he wanted to get to Jotaro first because, well, if he didn’t his chances of being able to kill Jotaro would be significantly diminished. Now? He wants to get to Jotaro first because he specifically doesn’t want to lose to Josuke. The difference is subtle but significant.
We end on a panel showing Jotaro arriving at the station.
Some of the earlier chapters in this arc had some dodgy art, but this chapter has had some of the best linework I’ve seen in Diamond is Unbreakable yet. This whole chapter was great! Didn’t end with a little doodle though, so I’ll just repost that really cool set of panels from before.
Surface continues its attack – it forces Josuke to dig even deeper at his eye with the pencil. Josuke’s response to this is pretty badass.
The writing here is a bit vague but I think that Surface is telling Josuke that he’ll stop his attack if Josuke promises to skip town with Jotaro. Otherwise I’m not sure what Surface is getting at here.
“Even if you struggle, you gotta give up some time, Josuke!”
Josuke struggles to keep from stabbing himself in the eye, and then apparently falls over.
I have to confess that to me the speed lines with the sound effect make this look a bit comical.
Josuke falls forward (spurting blood!) then falls again (?) as Hazamada has a private thought.
Hazamada discusses this most recent turn of events with Surface.
“Did you squash it?” Hazamada asks. “It made a nice sound. If he didn’t sever any nerves, he’ll be lucky to see again…if he’s lucky that is.” Invincible Trio, surely there was a more elegant way to word that.
“Well, he’ll be knocked out for a while, anyway…looks like we can get rid of Jotaro in that time. The name of the hotel that Jotaro’s staying in is…uhhhh…”
“It’s ‘Morioh Grand Hotel.’ Hey, pick up my shoes!”
Hmmmm interesting. So Surface appears to have a will independent of that of Hazamada. (I suppose perhaps it picks up the personality of whoever it is impersonating at the time? I wonder if it can even move when it’s not taking anybody’s form. Can it take Hazamada’s form?) Additionally, looks like Hazamada can’t actually see through Surface’s eyes as I had originally assumed – I figured he could use it for scouting like Kakyoin used Hierophant Green. And then Hazamada had to tell Surface to pick up his shoes, which would imply that he can’t control his stand through his will alone, although it does appear that Surface is obedient to him. So I’m wondering to what extent Hazamada can control his own stand. If he doesn’t give it orders in battle then how does it know what to do? Was Surface making Josuke stab at his own eye because Josuke had heard Hazamada made his friend do that so Surface actually picked the idea up when he imprinted on Josuke? So if Josuke hadn’t thought Hazamada would attack his eye, maybe Hazamada wouldn’t have attacked his eye. rly makes u think, doesnt it?
OK so I had to glance at this again because my first thought was that we were seeing a cross section of the inside of Surface’s head and that we were looking at machine parts – but then I realized we were seeing a sound effect that Echoes put on Surface (since Hazamada is also a stand user, why didn’t he see this?)
Posting whole page because the panel transitions are nice. We realize we’re surveying the scene from the POV of Echoes – and since echoes seems to be speaking for Koichi does that mean Koichi can use Echoes like Hierophant Green?
Also AIDS? wtf.
But yep, looks like Josuke didn’t stab his eye out after all, Koichi just fooled Hazamada into thinking he did! (wouldn’t it be obvious because Surface didn’t stab his own eye out? I’m probably overthinking this.)
But if it didn’t stab its own eye out then how could it make Josuke do same? If it didn’t make a motion that would cause that to happen, how could Hazamada think Josuke made a motion that would cause that to happen?
yeah I totally noticed that….I was just testing you guys….hahahaha…. LOOK A DISTRACTION!
Josuke rushes to Koichi and we get some expository dialogue explaining what happened.
So Koichi didn’t spend more than a moment with a zillion broken bones, he’s “just” sliced up from busting through a pane of glass. Looks like a job for Crazy Diamondman!
Something about this whole exchange is morbidly amusing to me.
Ahaaaaa so that’s why Koichi was a focal point of this earlier panel!!
Dang if my tablet weren’t broken I’d be drawing lines on this shit. Oh well. Look at the lines and where they point and think arty thoughts! Also this panel is boring. BORING! Which is good. We just got out of a scene that was tense as fuck. Araki’s dialing down the intensity so he has the space he needs to jack it up again.
Koichi and Josuke talk about their game plan. Because of how thorough Surface’s copying was, right down to personality and speech patterns, they can’t think of anything they could tell anybody that would help them distinguish Josuke from Surface-Copying-Josuke. I guess Koichi forgot about the screw that he explicitly noticed in the previous chapter.
“What creeped me out the most wasn’t the face, though. It was the fingers…you see your fingers a lot more than you see your face, right? I could tell that he had me copied, right down to my fingerprints.”
“This is pretty damn bad…even Jotaro’s not going to be safe if that copy gets anywhere near him!”
You can tell Josuke really does believe Surface to be dangerous by how he’s sweating. Again this whole bit is kinda expository and not that exciting, but Araki is setting up the narrative questions from which the tension will rise: “can Josuke and Koichi get to Jotaro before Hazamada does?” “If Hazamada gets to Jotaro before Josuke and Koichi, will Jotaro be able to tell that Surface is an impostor?”
Josuke makes a beeline for the nearest phone booth – wow, after Stardust Crusaders looks like JJBA goes back to being a period piece! – and he dials the hotel Jotaro is staying in.
Curses, foiled again!
Koichi’s expression and placement in this panel cracks me up. Also, guys, how is this shocking? If Surface-as-Josuke can think of anything Josuke would and the first thing Josuke thinks to do is to call Jotaro, then it doesn’t seem at all surprising that the line is busy. Really at this point if I were Josuke I’d tell Koichi to start spitting ideas at me and then use the least bad one.
Still, this stunning revelation gives us this neato panel:
I really like the art here. This is just a damn cool portrait of Josuke being shocked as fuck.
Josuke asks Koichi how many other phone booths there are at school – OH I GET IT ‘cause for Hazamada and Surface to be calling Jotaro they would have had to place the call pretty much immediately after leaving the locker room which means they must still be on campus. Koichi rattles off a list of phone booths scattered hither and yon. Man so they could be all sorts of places. Upon realizing this, Josuke looks excited as fuck:
Once again Araki uses a zoomed-out aerial view to establish a scene transition.
Surface-as-Josuke tells Jotaro to come to the Morioh Station ASAP, saying that he’ll fill in Jotaro on the details about another stand user he learned about from Kobayashi. Jotaro tells him that he’ll be there in 15 minutes. Surface hangs up and he and Hazamada exchange shit-eating grins.
Hey that’s pretty scary! At no point did Josuke or Koichi mention Kobayashi or the photo within earshot of Surface or Hazamada so I guess Surface was tapping into Josuke’s memories to come up with what he said to Jotaro. So in an indirect way I suppose that makes Hazamada capable of reading people’s minds.
And unfortunately Jotaro leaves before the real Josuke’s call goes through. Nice perspective/eye-guiding happening in that panel with the phone by the way. Man, none of this would have happened if they had cell phones. I’m now imagining Jotaro and Josuke running around with those massive vintage 1993-era cell phones that Araki had to have been aware existed at time of writing. Fan artists out there – you know what to do.
Josuke calls the front desk to ask them to look out for Jotaro, but Jotaro is already walking out the door by the time Josuke is able to speak to the concierge.
AW YISS KOICHI MAKING PLANS! Go get that copy!
HA oh my this panel. Hazamada gothing it up while seeing all the girls cooing at what they think is Josuke. (Hmm, also his posture reminds me of the posture Surface first had after taking Josuke’s form.) I’m also thinking about Hazamada’s earlier comment about how stand users are basically better than other people. I read once that people with low self-esteem see the world as being full of people who are superior or inferior to themselves. Calling it now: Hazamada is insecure and before he had a stand he resented people he saw as more successful than himself.
Kobayashi, still skulking around for some reason (checking out the girls?) spots Surface-as-Josuke and Hazamada and sprits over to them.
I like how he’s eager to find out what happened. I wonder how much of that is from wanting more juicy gossip.
Ahh yes some nice tense stuff here since you KNOW Kobayashi’s gonna get attacked so you just have to bite your nails until the comic reveals to you how.
Wait for it….
Check out that double chin. Hazamada confirmed for resentful loser.
The girls from before spot Josuke and Koichi heading off campus. “Why are you coming out of school again?” asks one. “I thought you just left,” says another.
Ha ha ha, I hope this is as silly in Japanese as it is in English.
Note: Aurain’s username currently displays as “Josuke Higashikata” and I’ve maintained it here as Aurain so that post attribution remains clear.