Smack of Love and Revenge Part II
Episode 14 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean kicks off with a brief recap of Pucci and Jolyne’s individual goals. Pucci reiterates that he had attained Dio’s notebook and has access to Jotaro’s memories through a disc. The latter is thanks to his stand, Whitesnake. Jolyne recounts her goal to swipe back Jotaro’s disc to revive him as the anime’s opening theme plays.
We transition to the fight between Jolyne, F.F., Ermes, and the invisible alligator. Jolyne summons Stone Ocean (her stand), but the alligator hits her and sends her flying into a wall. It disappears, but Jolyne uses her strings to track its whereabouts through vibrations. As this is going on, Ermes and Jolyne discuss the situation about Sports Maximum and his powers.
Ermes argues his powers will disappear when he dies. Jolyne ponders why her string hasn’t detected the alligator yet, but it’s revealed that it had crawled on the wall. The creature attacks Jolyne’s shoulder and tears a nice chunk of it off before retreating. Ermes calls out to it to draw its attention, but F.F. exposes her arm to bait it to attack her instead. When it bites F.F., she transforms her finger into a pistol and shoots the inside the alligator’s mouth. The alligator dies, as Ermes witnesses the stuffed alligator in the workshop crumble and tear apart.
Although the alligator has been dealt with, Ermes notices that the pipe has been damaged. She infers that Maximum has broken out since there are visible handprints on the pipe.
Meanwhile, Maximum is sluggishly walking and complaining about being famished. He’s slightly delirious and decides to head for the chapel, but he stops when he remembers an ordeal he had with Whitesnake. White Snake tasked him with finding Dio’s bone that had gone missing somewhere in the prison. White Snake warns him that if he fails to recover the bone, he will forcefully remove Maximum’s powers.
Maximum decides to relax. He takes a short detour to the women’s ward to visit a girl he likes toying with. He tries bribing a guard but the guard ignores him for some reason. He approaches the woman and caresses her while asking for her company. The woman responds by beating up a nearby prisoner and telling them not to touch her. Maximum is slightly bewildered by the situation and plays along.
Meanwhile, Ermes fears the worst may occur. She argues that they won’t be able to see Maximum’s corpse and isn’t sure if he’s dead yet. As for F.F., she’s still alive but due to her leg injury, she’s immobilized and needs time to recover. F.F. argues Maximum has become an invisible zombie. She ponders the possibility that there may be a connection between Maximum and Whitesnake. She believes it may have something to do with Jotaro’s memory disc. This encourages Jolyne to travel alongside Ermes to find Maximum and recover his memory disc.
Maximum drags the beaten-up prisoner with him to the graveyard as his favorite girl follows him out of cautiousness. Maximum searches of the prisoner’s body. Keep in mind, that Maximum is invisible and no one can hear him thanks to the powers of his Stand. The woman looks on, confused by what’s going on. Eventually, Maximum finds the prisoner’s drugs and injects himself with a syringe.
The substance immediately flows out of his arm and leaks. Seeing this transpire before his eyes. Maximum finally realizes that he’s become one of the undead. Maximum attacks his favorite woman and feasts on her brain. While feasting upon her brain, he recalls his death and the person responsible for causing all this. He’s furious but too overwhelmed by his hunger to let out his aggression.
Eventually, Jolyne and Ermes arrive at the graveyard. They have no clue how far his abilities go. Suddenly, they find themselves trapped when Maximum slams the graveyard gate shut. Jolyne retaliates by deploying a string barrier around her and Ermes. She wants to get a feel for her enemy and pinpoint when and where he’ll attack.
She gets a feeling coming from above her, and ends up dealing a might blow to a foe, breaking several bones in the process. Unfortunately, this invisible enemy isn’t Maximum. It ends up grabbing Jolyne’s leg and lifting her to attack her. Jolyne encircles the enemy in strings and pummels them. Ermes spots Maximum’s favorite woman’s dead body and warns Jolyne that it has become an invisible corpse too.
However, she’s too late as the invisible woman delivers a mighty blow t Jolyne’s shoulder. Ermes rushes to Jolyne’s side to protect her. Jolyne declares they should surrender and fight Maximum another day, but Ermes denies her request. She tells Jolyne that she wants to settle things with Maximum now. After their bickering ceases, the graveyard’s tombs break open, letting loose many invisible zombies on the battlefield.
Jolyne suggests they retreat to form a strategy and that Ermes can get her revenge another time. Ermes decides to stand her ground and tells Jolyne that Maximum will come after them regardless. She wants to deliver the killing blow immediately and does not care if she dies doing so.
The zombies rush toward Ermes after breaking apart some of Jolyne’s strings. The zombies bite and tear at Ermes, who screams in agony. Although she’s suffering, she’s waiting for Maximum to make his move. Maximum bites her and swallows a chunk of her head afterward. Ermes manages to split her head with a sticker. She creates a duplicate of her head to absorb the impact of his bite.
Ermes proceeds to summon Kiss (her stand) to attack Maximum, but she doesn’t hit him. Maximum had torn off his to misdirect Ermes, as he expected her to attack his body. He puts himself together and shares some cruel words with Ermes (despite her not being able to hear or see him). He tells her that Gloria deserved to die and that he will feast on her brain.
Ermes removes her sticker and fuses her heads back together. This causes Ermes to tumble, giving Maximum his chance to strike her. Unfortunately for Maximum, the chunk of flesh he had consumed earlier comes out of his stomach and reattaches itself to Ermes’s head. This allows Ermes to pinpoint his location, and she delivers many swift kicks, crushing Maximum’s teeth. As she’s kicking him, she declares that this is all for Gloria’s sake.
Maximum tells his zombie army to attack Ermes, but it’s too late. Ermes attacks him with all her might, causing his body to disintegrate. His stand and memory disc pop out of his head and land on the ground. The zombie mob disappears with him, too. Gloria’s spirit ascends from the Heavens to comfort Ermes as she tears up. She falls unconscious due to her head having been split open during her fight. Jolyne calls for help, as F.F. rushes to treat Ermes.
We then get a retread of the flash-forward scene shown in episode 13 involving the guards finding Maximum’s favorite girl’s dead body and Jolyne next to an unconscious Ermes. The episode ends with Jolyne taking a fierce bite out of a piece of bread. She uses one of Maximum’s discs to uncover the truth concerning his connection to Whitesnake. She vows to stop Pucci’s plans.
The Episode Review
This episode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean felt like a mixed bag. While I adored seeing Ermes attain her revenge against Sports Maximum, much of the content in this episode bugged me. Many questionable decisions were made with the writing of this episode, from its lackluster antagonist to its various inconsistencies.
The way Maximum was portrayed in this episode didn’t sit well with me. In the last episode, he had this calm persona and completed various activities alone. Maximum came off as an intelligent individual who liked to plan things out. This episode spins his character in an entirely different direction, portraying him as this naïve and slightly dim-witted punk.
He feels like a downgraded enemy and doesn’t hold a candle to previous villains like Johngalli A and Lang Rangler. It’s bonkers that he didn’t think to ask Whitesnake how to utilize his powers. Furthermore, his powers are never fully utilized or explained in detail. With the time spent building up Maximum, I expected him to be a formidable threat. The payoff wasn’t what I hoped, and I’m disappointed with how they handled his character.
Jolyne’s injury from Whitesnake and the weirdly placed recap at the episode’s start are also bothersome. Jolyne makes a big deal out of her injury, causing her immense pain, but we never see that crop up during the fight with Maximum. The anime should not have addressed the injury–as it’s a minor inconsistency that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Otherwise, I enjoyed my time with this episode. The animation was immaculate and brutally gorgeous during Ermes’s fight with Maximum. Thanks to the anime’s excellent sound effects, I felt the weight of her kicks and punches. The imagery and fluid animation made my heart pump in excitement. Her voice actress did a phenomenal job capturing the misery and pain in Ermes’s voice during this brawl. Having Gloria hug her sister as a spirit was heartwarming. It was a touching scene with a powerful message.
I appreciate the designs implemented for the zombie characters and backgrounds. Each zombie looked distinct in design, and I love that this anime went the extra mile in that regard. They’re embracing the wonders of traditional animation, which allows them to avoid uncanny visuals.
Despite being the weakest chapter in the series, I enjoyed most of its content. Ermes will most likely be down for the count, with the attention shifting toward Jolyne’s character. I’m curious to see how she plans to foil Whitesnake’s scheme.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|