I want to believe…in serial killers.
Koichi is met on the street by Rohan Kishibe (who Koichi has surprisingly not gotten a restraining order against). Rohan is looking for his childhood home and need Koichi’s help, but they end up going down a weird alley which leads them to…purgatory! There, they meet Reimi Sugimoto and her dead dog Arnold, who tells the two the story of how she and her parents were killed by a serial killer. She’s stayed behind in this border between the living world and the afterlife in order to pass on knowledge that the killer is still in Morioh and still killing people. She then leads Koichi and Rohan back to their side, but on the condition that they don’t look back once they pass the mailbox, otherwise spirits will take their souls. Koichi fails, but Rohan manages to save him.
Later that day, Rohan checks Reimi’s grave and finds out she used to be his babysitter who saved him from also being killed that night, making this personal. Koichi tells Josuke and Okuyasu about the killer, but Josuke doesn’t think Jotaro’s going to put resources into finding them if they aren’t a stand user. They then run into a strange man named Kira (DC Douglass) who is talking to his oddly quiet girlfriend. When he returns home, it’s revealed the girl is just a hand. He is the serial killer Reimi warned about.
This begins the first rumblings of the arc that will carry through to the end of the season. We’ve seen small glimpses of Kira over the season so far, but because of the lack of focus on him, there wasn’t a ton of reason to consider what was going on with that. This is certainly a…wait for it…BIZARRE way to introduce a threat: Introducing the idea of an afterlife that has NEVER been in this series up until this point in order to foreshadow a very grounded enemy, especially someone who seems to be pretty deranged, even for this story.
A lot of Reimi and the afterlife found walking down the wrong alley actually has a lot of the spirit of spooky urban legends and a child’s imagination about seemingly mundane things. If you’re a kid and you don’t know your way around town, it can really feel like you’ve entered a completely different reality if you take a wrong turn. And get a few rumors going and it can seem like turning your head after passing something could get something to drag you straight to hell, kind of like the Bloody Mary chant legend that was once popular. Add to that some partial nudity from a former babysitter and you’ve got the thoughts and feelings of Shonen Jump’s key demographic on lock.
But the proper introduction of this killer named Kira (who probably doesn’t use a notebook) plays into a theme I’ve seen forming in recent episodes. A portion of the seeming “enemies” in Morioh have seemed threatening and suspicious but turned out to be completely harmless like that Italian chef, or Rohan and Okuyasu after their first beatings. Meanwhile, we have Kira here, who looks totally normal and mild-mannered while holding a dark secret that is plaguing the city so much that his victims are coming back from the dead just to take him down. And a KILLER like him has got to have Stand of his own to be a proper antagonist, which will make his maneuverability like the QUEEN in chess. This is to say, nearly unstoppable.
We’re creeping up on the halfway point of Part 4 and Kira’s presence is only going to become more prominent from here. I’m eager to see how he becomes the menacing force that Josuke’s team will inevitably hunt down and stop. This is looking to be a very different conflict from hunting treasure against Kars or knocking off rows of bad guys to get to Dio, and I think that means it’ll be a STAND out. Heh.