REVIEW: ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo’ Episodes 12 and 13
“The Second Mission from the Boss”
by Allyson McClain
“The Second Mission from the Boss” starts with the boss giving Bucciarati and his gang a new mission, to bring his daughter to him. The question of why they decided to hide the key to the car somewhere random instead of sending a helicopter or sending a password that they could use at a specific location to discreetly to pass on the boss’s daughter plagues me. It would have been a better idea to not hide a physical key, especially in such a prominent place such as Pompeii. Either this boss isn’t very smart or he just has a lot of faith in Bucciarati, which is hard to believe considering how young Bucciarati is compared to other Capos we’ve seen so far. This shows that that the pacing on this is trying to move quickly, hopefully it builds up to something worth the rush. Anyway, “The Second Mission from the Boss” starts with Bucciarati dividing his team in to protectors and searchers.
This division of the team helps us focus in on Fugo. Fugo’s stand’s name is Purple Haze, known in the subbed anime version as Purple Smoke, and it is a fitting name as it is commonly associated with poison. It can infect things around it with a virus that causes instant death upon breaking the capsules along his body. As far as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure stands, this one is rather frightening. Abbacchio says that Fugo doesn’t use Purple Haze often, probably because of the chance of fatality. Purple Haze steps up the Jojo game and it’s essential to have a stand like this among our main character team. It was good move to put such a serious life threatening stand user in with Bucciarati’s gang to drive home that Araki means business with Vento Aureo’s story.
Purple Haze is essential to really building the atmosphere, which is quite amazing. The feeling of danger is and can be everywhere. Each part of Jojo gives us an atmosphere based on the relationships our main character has with its villain(s). In Part 4: Diamond Unbreakable, there was a feeling of lurking danger hidden underneath the peaceful facade of a small town, which was based on the Josuke and Kira, and how the killer lived underneath the noses of residents like Josuke. The reason why Purple Haze is important for Vento Aureo is because of the relationship we have between Giorno and the boss, layers and layers of mystery that makes it hard to gauge atmosphere unlike the other parts of Jojo where the villains were usually revealed early and evolved the relationship.
Since we can’t judge our villain, we cannot see where he fits in this power struggle or even how he stands with Giorno. We can only see small interactions that are basically checkpoints in power. Purple Haze comes into this with a dangerous, lethal power that we haven’t seen since Vanilla Ice in Stardust Crusaders when Vanilla Ice was at the end of their journey to kill Dio. Purple Haze is a key point in really understanding how crazy the plot will become, because Araki places Purple Haze in the beginning of this story that already has a some dark forces at work.
“The Second Mission From the Boss” confirms a theory I had about stands acting like their users with Abbacchio warning Giorno that Purple Haze is like its master, has emotional fits of rage, and is nitpicky when not overseen by Fugo. Something that is intriguing about this theory is the encompassing thought of “Who is the boss?” If we start to figure out the boss’ personality, could we perhaps start to guess the power of his stand, if he has one? That is where the series is leading, with us catching glimpses of the boss’ personality from stories and backgrounds of other characters. The development that Abbacchio has brought to the table could change the game.
Either way, this episode was engaging as Giorno, Abbacchio and Fugo went off to Pompeii because as soon as they are there, they encounter an enemy, an enemy that pulls Fugo into a mirror away from his crew. In the past with Jojo, specifically during Stardust Crusaders, we had a run in with a stand user that utilized mirrors for an attack called Hanged Man. The enemy, J, used his stand, The Hanged Man, to attack people on any reflective surface with no way for them to fight back. They defeated him by realizing he traveled with light from mirror to mirror. They forced their enemy in a corner that made him come out of the mirror and defeated him.
The enemy stand Fugo has to fight is reminiscent of that stand in a way but this stand Man In the Mirror pulls people into the mirror world to fight. Once a victim is inside they unable to use their stand or fight back against Man In the Mirror. The two fights connect, though the roles flipped with Fugo being a highly intelligent man, compared to Polnareff who was never the brightest of the bunch. Not to mention the tense decision between Abbacchio and Giorno to split up. The dislike between them is palpable and makes one curious how Giorno can get the approval of Abbacchio. This tension is a small snippet of something we haven’t seen since Part 2 with Jojo and Caesar. Giorno wants to save Fugo and Abbacchio wants to find the key, so this is a decision that definitely makes you wonder what will happen and how will Giorno try and save Fugo when Purple Haze is running amok?
“The Second Mission from the Boss” is engaging as an episode with good tension between characters and has confirmed that Jojo stand powers could possibly relate to the behavior of the owner, which could help us piece together what powers the big boss of Passione might have. It was a good episode, and although it felt a bit slow overall, it’s still heading in a good direction.
“Man in the Mirror and Purple Haze”
by Katherine Sinkovics
In “The Second Mission from the Boss”, the stand Man in the Mirror was introduced, proving once and for all that there is such thing as a world inside a mirror, despite what a certain cherry-loving dead boy might’ve said two parts ago. Disrespect for the dead aside, the Illuso fight is honestly one of Part 5’s weaker fights. Not to say it’s bad or anything, because the episode itself is still entertaining, but there are a still quite a few noticeable writing issues that not only plague this episode, but might end up becoming problematic in later episodes.
Continuing from where the previous episode left off, Team Bucciarati is in a bit of a tough predicament. With Fugo trapped in the mirror world, he is unable to summon Purple Haze, which is stuck in the real world with Abbacchio and Giorno. Unable to approach the stand in fear of contracting its fatal virus, the two debate on whether they should try to find Fugo or abandon him in favor of the dog mosaic. Unaware of his teammate’s current whereabouts, Abbacchio runs towards the dog mosaic and abandons Giorno, who refuses to join Abbacchio until he’s able to locate Fugo. On his way to the mosaic, Abbacchio finds out what’s going on with the mirror world and has Moody Blues go inside the mirror to fight Illuso.
If there’s one strength the Illuso fight in the anime has, is that it’s much less convoluted than the original manga. For anyone whose first exposure to Vento Aureo is through the anime or recently completed fan retranslation of the manga, the initial fan-translation of Part 5’s manga was notoriously incompetent and soured most fans opinions of that part until better options became available. The Jojo manga is no stranger to sub-par fan-translations, with hardcore fans still quoting the comically awkward Duwang translation of Diamond is Unbreakable, but Vento Aureo’s reputation noticeably suffered the most from its shoddy translations. While the translation was technically more competent than Duwang in terms of basic grammar, it failed to properly elaborate on Stand abilities in a straightforward manner, which lead to a lot of fights being a lot more convoluted and harder to understand as a result.
I bring this up because the Man in the Mirror fight was one of the worst offenders and was borderline impossible to follow in the old scans. Notice how the Crunchyroll subs were able to properly explain how the mirror world works and how it affects the people inside it in a straightforward manner? Well in the original translations, they don’t do that at all and instead opt for overly-complicated explanations for how everything works and expect the reader to understand what the heck is going on, so everyone’s just left wondering why Purple Haze is stuck in the real world or how the mirror world and real world interact with each other. Keep in mind, these were the only complete translations of Vento Aureo until fairly recently, so you can see why the West wasn’t initially too keen on Part 5 when the only way to experience it to completion was through a borderline incoherent Comic Sans fan translation. While the Crunchyroll subs may have their own problems, I’m glad that it’s the most readily available version of Vento Aureo and that people now have a more positive opinion on the part thanks to it.
So with all that translation stuff out of the way, how does the fight stand on its own? Well, it’s a very hard fight to critique because there are a lot of interesting things going on, but there are also a few frustrating or baffling moments that make the episode kind of questionable. The episode plays on the whole “real world and mirror world” dynamic in a lot of very creative ways, such as Fugo’s separation from Purple Haze and Giorno’s use of Gold Experience to track down Illuso. It’s really cool to see how actions in both worlds affect each other and how they’re used to the fighters’ advantages, making the episode really fun to watch in that regard.
However, while the fight itself is very well executed, some of the stuff surrounding it isn’t so great. For starters, Abbacchio’s stubbornness when it comes to cooperating with Giorno continues to be one of the series’ most frustrating elements. Even after Giorno has proven himself to be just as capable as the rest of Team Bucciarati, Abbacchio still holds a grudge against him and only sees him as just a rookie. Granted you could chalk it up to this being the first time they’ve cooperated on a mission, but Giorno has still been on the team for a long enough time that Abbacchio should at least trust him a little. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if they used this opportunity to have some character development between the two, but they still came out of this relatively unchanged so it just felt like pointless bickering for the sake of conflict.
Speaking of Giorno, the way the fight wraps up is kind of lame. In order to defeat Illuso, Giorno decides to purposely infect himself with Purple Haze’s virus and infect Illuso through contact. While this plan ends up working and the gang is able to defeat Illuso, there’s still the problem that Giorno deliberately infected himself with a fatal virus that’ll cause his insides to melt away within half a minute. During the fight, Giorno used his stand to turn a brick into a snake in order to track down Illuso, and because that snake was created in Purple Haze’s smoke, it apparently developed an immunity to the virus. With this in mind, Giorno extracts the antibodies from the snake which cures him of Purple Haze’s virus.
As established early on in the part, Gold Experience is an extremely versatile stand that’s able to do a lot of crazy stuff, but it might just be a bit too versatile. The fact that it can be useful in just about any situation makes it a very easy cop-out for when Giorno needs to win a tough fight. If he was able to cure himself of a quick-acting, flesh-eating virus like Purple Haze’s just because a snake he created happened to be close to the stand, who knows what else that stand is capable of? Ideally they’ll use Gold Experience as part of creative solutions to future stand battles, but it could just as easily be abused to end fights quickly without much thought or effort.
Featured Image: Jojo Animation
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