There are no strings on me.
Kobayashi informs Koichi and Josuke about Toshikazu Hazamada, who he suspects to have a Stand when a friend of his ended up in the hospital with his eye taken out right after the two had an argument. Deciding the be proactive, Jo and Ko investigate by checking Hazamada’s locker for the Bow and Arrow, but come across a giant wooden mannequin that morphs into an exact copy of Josuke when he touches it, confirming their suspicions. The Stand, Show Off, is controlled by Hazamada nearby and can control the movements of whomever it turns into. His goal is to find Jotaro and beat him up so bad he never comes back. He nearly blinds Josuke by having him stick a pencil near his eye, but Koichi’s Stand manages to imitate a squishing noise make him think that’s what happened before damage can be done.
Hazamada and Show Off call Jotaro in order to lure him out, but Josuke and Koichi try to intercept by heading to the hotel. They do get a bit of help, as Josuke’s popularity makes Hazamada jealous of his own Stand, leading him to punch it and hurt his hand, wiping the blood on a nearby motorcycle and beating up and nearly killing its rider. Fortunately, this is stopped when Josuke and Koichi finally catch up and distract them so they can learn where they’re going and reach Jotaro first. They explain the situation but don’t realize that Show Off has used Josuke to take hold of a pen in Jotaro’s jacket in order to land a killing blow. But that’s when their insurance kicks in they led the bikers Hazamada beat up right to him so he can receive poetic justice.
Josuke destroys the mannequin and Kobayashi (who was also beaten up by Show Off earlier) is hospitalized, but Chili Pepper is still out there with the Bow and Arrow.
This is kind of what I was afraid of with the last episode. These Stand battles are starting to feel pretty formulaic, and I can’t say how long my patience will last on that. This also happened with Part 3, and I liked that well enough, but that was back when I was first seeing how Stand battles could be done. Plus, I wasn’t reviewing that season, so my priorities were different. What’s potentially worse about this is that I have no idea how Hazamada (who I guess was the guy talking to Jotaro on the phone two episodes) is connected to Chili Pepper, or even how Chili Pepper is supposed to be the main threat, as opposed to Part 3 where every enemy was clearly connected to Big Bad DIO. This will probably pass soon enough, but this was just a nagging feeling I couldn’t shake throughout the episode.
With that in mind, I can at least say I’m still having fun with these fights, including the enemy Stand powers. As flimsy as his motivations are, Hazamada’s Show Off (or “Surface” in the original translation) is a surprisingly neat twist on the usual copycat battles I’ve seen. It would be really standard to just have Hazamada shapeshift into Josuke and then have the whole “no, shoot him, he’s the fake one!” shtick that is so cliché that even mocking it is a cliché, but its surprisingly creepy to see a look-alike of yourself and then realize THEY are the one in control. It really plays on irrational fears that you may be the reflection in the mirror and not even know it. That’s the imaginative wackiness that I’ve really come to love about Jojo’s since I started watching it, and it’s good that an average episode has that.
It’s also nice to see Jotaro in the story again, even if he’s mainly a target and doesn’t do anything of actual impact. I guess that makes an odd sort of sense, seeing how he’s supposed to be the strongest Stand user here, so his powers should be used sparingly in the story, otherwise it’ll just make people ask why he doesn’t solve all of Josuke’s problems for him.
Overall, a nice little episode that dips just below usual standards, but I’ll let that pass for now. Next time sees more focus put on Koichi as he finds love for the first time!