REVIEW: ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo’ Episode 21: “The Mystery of King Crimson”
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Now that the Vento Aureo anime is over halfway through its 39-episode run (not including the two recap episodes) and the main antagonist has finally made his first appearance, the series’ turning point has officially begun and the stakes are only getting higher from this point on. Episode 21 of Vento Aureo does an excellent job establishing that things are about to get real while also showing some development in its cast.
After learning of the boss’s true intentions of wanting to murder Trish, Bruno rushes to try and save her. However, he is ambushed by the boss’ Stand, King Crimson, and is left in critical condition. Meanwhile, on the boat, Narancia and Fugo are fighting over chocolate and Fugo asks Giorno to hand him a bottle of water. With no explanation, Fugo suddenly ends up with a bottle of water in his hand and Narancia has a mouthful of chocolate. The gang starts to suspect that something is wrong and Giorno attempts to contact Bruno to warn him about the boss, which is right when the encounter with King Crimson happens.
Luckily, Bruno is able to use Sticky Fingers to zip up his wounds and go after the boss again, but not before it uses its time erasing ability to attack Bruno. Just as the boss is preparing to finish his daughter off, the broach planted on him is revealed to be a cloned version of the turtle and he is briefly transported inside the turtle, allowing Bruno and Trish time to escape. However, the boss predicted this attack and strikes Bruno again, but Bruno is able to escape promptly afterward and meets up with Giorno, who heals his wounds and essentially saves him from death.
A common complaint/in-joke within the Jojo fandom is that King Crimson’s ability to erase time is very difficult to understand, and for very good reason. Aside from the original fan translation not doing a good job at explaining stand abilities in general, King Crimson’s ability is very difficult to convey in manga format and lends itself better to being shown in motion. The anime isn’t the first time King Crimson has been shown in motion, since Vento Aureo did have a Japan-exclusive game adaptation for the PlayStation 2 and King Crimson’s user makes an appearance in the PlayStation 3 fighting games All Star Battle and Eyes of Heaven as part of their playable rosters, which does help give people a better visual representation of what his ability does. However, there are still a few logistical implications that King Crimson brings up that begin to complicate things even in motion, such as how he’s technically “erasing” time that has yet to exist, or if he’s only erasing the memories of what happened instead of actually erasing it.
This stuff does get cleared up a little bit in later arcs but to keep things simple for now, just imagine The World’s ability of freezing time from Stardust Crusaders, but instead of time continuing where it left off, it moves on as if those five seconds have actually passed and nobody remembers what happened in that time. It’s among the same lines as playing an online game with a laggy connection or cutting a few frames out of an animation. It really isn’t the easiest ability to explain and my explanation isn’t perfect, but the stand actually does make a bit of sense once you’re able to wrap your head around some of the messier implications. As far as the stand’s implementation in the anime goes, it’s surprisingly very well done and the fight between King Crimson and Bruno is extremely intense, especially with Bucciarati being on the verge of death several times in this episode.
After escaping from the church, Bruno explains what happened to the team, telling them that he’s betrayed the boss for rescuing Trish. Bruno invites anyone who wants to go against the boss to come with him on the boat or stay behind if they want to leave the team. Everyone except for Fugo agrees to join Team Bucciarati. Narancia initially hesitates to join Bruno, but after noticing Trish’s injuries and how she was betrayed by her father much like how he was betrayed by the people close to him, he decides to join the team and leaves Fugo behind.
For many people, the departure of Fugo from the team seems like a bit of a letdown, considering he only had one fight and didn’t leave much of an impact on Vento Aureo’s story, though this could be explained by Hirohiko Araki having to change the story at the last minute. Originally, Fugo was supposed to be a spy for the boss and was going to betray everyone near the climax, but due to issues in Araki’s personal life, he didn’t feel comfortable going through with that plot point and decided to have Fugo simply leave the team of his own volition instead. This also explains why betrayal is such a prevalent theme in this episode and Narancia’s extreme empathy towards Trish. While this would account for why Purple Haze feels like it was more suited towards being a villain stand and why Fugo wasn’t all too prevalent in Vento Aureo’s narrative, it still stings that he wasn’t able to do more in the story before his departure.
Some fans have accused Fugo of selfishly betraying his team, but it’s completely understandable why he didn’t want to say in fear of putting his life at further risk. Keep in mind that the boss’ stand is extremely powerful, so opposing him seems like a death wish in Fugo’s mind. Plus, Bucciarati gave him a choice to stay behind and nobody villainized him for it, so it’s not like he was going behind anyone’s back by leaving. For those who are still disappointed by Vento Aureo’s lack of Fugo as a prominent character, I’d highly recommend reading the light novel spin-off Purple Haze Feedback, which deals with the aftermath of Fugo leaving Team Bucciarati and is considered by many to be one of the best Jojo spinoffs by far, though I’d recommend waiting for the anime to finish before seeking it out due to it taking place after the events of Vento Aureo. Fugo’s backstory in the anime was actually partly derived from that light novel despite it being considered non-canon, which should speak volumes for its quality.
One of the best aspects about this episode and the arc as a whole is how well it develops Trish by drawing parallels to her and the rest of the gang. While Trish did technically have a more privileged upbringing than most of the team, she was still dragged into this mess by a father that actively wants her dead. Up until the moments before the King Crimson fight, Trish is unable to find anyone in Team Bucciarati to confide in due to not being able to relate with them and believing that they only saw her as a means to an end.
This changes when Trish finally opens up to Bruno about her feelings as he attempts to comfort her before meeting the boss. This is further punctuated with Narancia proclaiming that Trish’s injuries are his and that they’re the same, showing that she has more in common with the gang than initially thought, encouraging her to start opening up to the rest of the team from this point on. It would’ve been easy to write Trish as the token girl who constantly needs to be protected from harm, but these past few episodes have done an excellent job at giving her depth beyond being a plot device and cementing her as Jojo’s best written female character bar-none.
Featured Image: Jojo Animation
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