Story/Art: Hirohiko Araki
Translation: Evan Galloway
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Mark McMurray
Design: Fawn Lau
Editor: Urian Brown
What They Say:
The conclusion of the fight against the Pillar Men! It has been a long and perilous journey for JoJo and his allies. Many battles have been fought and many lives lost. Now the final showdown with Wamuu is at hand, and armed with the red-hot desire to avenge his fallen comrade, JoJo faces an evil being so powerful it staggers the mind. Find out who prevails in this explosive finale!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Another part of Jojo’s ends yet again, this time the much more robust Battle Tendency. This arc builds upon, and increases the stakes from, Phantom Blood in ways that I could barely imagine. Having already faced The Ultimate Being, I cannot begin to fathom what will await in Stardust Crusaders. Fans of the anime are, of course, already familiar with Jojo’s through Diamond Is Unbreakable. Perhaps I’ll start watching Stardust Crusaders…
Anyway, this book continues where the last book left off, with Jojo and Lisa Lisa meandering through Kars’ manor, trying to find him and Wamuu. There’s a lot of flavor in Jojo’s as this (and basically anything else that’s narration) is happening. It describes the building as built as a castle for Bailiff Gessler until he was defeated by William Tell. It was then remodeled as a hotel until its owner died in 1930, and soon after converted to Kars’ hiding spot from the sun. That’s a ridiculous amount of little detail for a place that is ultimately inconsequential, but it also shows just how much Araki loves to fill his world with little tidbits like these.
The rest of the book is full of fights, as well as the usual Araki flavor. First is Jojo v. Wamuu to avenge the death of his friend Caesar. Wamuu, being a noble warrior, agrees to fight Jojo one on one as a sign of honor. Even among 10,000-year-old beings, honor is not lost. This is an exciting, edge-of-your-seat battle, but I can’t think of much else to say. It brings to the forefront that Jojo himself is a little ridiculous and will always find his way out of the most absurd of situations. If anything is learned about Joseph Joestar, it’s that he will get out of any situation with his ingenuity and luck.
The next fight is Lisa Lisa v. Kars, the fated battle between two masters. This is a much less noble battle. Kars is very much a ‘means defines the ends’ kind of individual and will do anything to get his hands on the Red Stone of Aja. He puts on airs of a fair fight, but he tricks Lisa Lisa from the outset and defeats her in quick order with a vampire double. Jojo is infuriated. Not only has Kars insulted their honor, he has defeated his teacher in doing so, leaving her to bleed out.
So the Kars fight is probably the coolest in the series yet. Battle Tendency has defined itself by being more and more ridiculous as it goes on, because Jojo isn’t actually that good yet, demonstrated by Lisa Lisa being able to mow over any vampire that stands in her way. Certainly, Jojo is super strong—perhaps stronger than Jonathan—but he went through the cliff notes.
He beat Wamuu on ingenuity and luck. He gets through Kars through much of the same, though arguably more of the latter. Kars becomes the Ultimate Being after taking a thorough beating from Jojo and on the brink of death. Speedwagon and the Nazis come in to help take care of the remaining vampires, but it’s not enough!! Kars is too powerful that not even Hamon is putting a huge dent in him.
Jojo does what he does best…RUNS! He runs away and takes one of the planes, taking a secret stowaway as he does, and makes his way to the Isola di Volgano and fights Kars there. He thrusts Kars into the volcano, with help from Stroheim, and they think it’s the end. Truly, nothing will defeat an Ultimate Being. Kars returns to fight again and only once he is thrust into the vacuum of space that he is defeated…or is he?
(Araki says yes.)
Battle Tendency is pretty damn cool, all things considered. I wasn’t as lukewarm as some others were on Phantom Blood, but Battle Tendency is a step above in every way. This is the best Jojo’s has been thus far and I can’t imagine it getting even better (even though I know it does). The fights between Wamuu and Kars were some of the most inventive I’ve ever seen and the growth Jojo goes through—not just in his fighting, but in his personality as well—is absolutely amazing. There was a guy who could barely get through a fight at the beginning of the book standing against Kars at the end, and willing to sacrifice himself to do so. Joestar blood runs through his veins.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 2, 2016