If there’s one thing the previous three parts of this series haven’t lacked for, it’s been direction. Even if the individual arcs within them went off in some pretty odd directions, each Jojo had his own particular goal to strive for. Until now, that is. The second storyline in this volume, “Chilli Pepper,” features the return of the Stand and user that killed Okuyasu’s brother and took the bow and arrow that were creating other Stand users back in the first volume. You’d think that this would be the encounter which sets the stage for future conflicts that will drive this part and culminate in a showdown in the final volume.
That… doesn’t happen here. What happens is that we do get the expectedly thrilling battle of wits as Josuke, Okuyasu, and Koichi have to figure out how to defeat a Stand that can call upon the power of electricity. There’s even some added drama as the story gets a ticking clock in the form of Josuke’s biological dad, Joseph Joestar, eventually making his first appearance in this part. Yet when Chilli Pepper is defeated, things start feeling kind of aimless.
I’m not saying things get boring or anything of the like. It’s impossible to say that about storylines where Josuke and Joseph have to deal with an invisible baby and Koichi encounters one of the series’ most famous characters: Egomaniacal manga artist Rohan Kishibe. (Why “most famous?” Call it a hunch.) Things get wild in this storyline by its end and I have a feeling the climax will be even moreso. The problem is that it doesn’t feel like there’s any greater purpose driving these stories like there has been up to this point. Seeing Hirohiko Araki cast around for direction is still pretty entertaining, even as I’m left hoping to see the next big bad arrive to drive the plot in vol. 4.
(There’s also a story preceding the “Chilli Pepper” arc in this volume. The reason I didn’t say anything about it is because it’s the kind where you’ll enjoy it more the less you know about it. Take it from someone who had it spoiled for him years ago…)