Looks like there’s finally a JoJo character that Koichi is taller than.
Continuing from last week, the gang is nervously waiting around in the vineyard for Narancia to come back, unaware of what has befallen him. Narancia panics as it appears his car is growing much larger, and his shoes begin to fall off his feet. He quickly pieces together that Formaggio shrunk him using the power of Little Feet, but he can’t pick out where his enemy is hiding. He notices a payphone inside a building and attempts to run inside, but the entrance is an automated sliding glass door that his weight can’t trigger. He successfully unlocks it with a massive jump on the sensor, but it quickly closes again on his chest and neck. Aerosmith manages to shoot the door and free him, allowing Narancia to reach the phone while having now shrunk to a size smaller than the phone itself. Formaggio senses danger coming in, and his suspicions are confirmed when Narancia realizes where he is and grabs him out of his back pocket. He stabs him in the hand and escapes his grasp, but Aerosmith continues to track him down and unleash fire.
Eventually Formaggio tries to escape into a nearby storm drain, but Aerosmith once again finds his location, and as it proceeds to rain down bullets on him, the episode flashes back to a couple of years ago with Formaggio and his associates, known as the “Hitman Team” within Passione. One night after Formaggio commits a major assassination, several of the members meet back up at their hideout only to notice that two of them, Gelato and Sorbet, are missing. As it turns out, the group had interests in discovering the boss’ identity, and word of that managed to reach him. So he sees fit to send a little message to them: the dead bodies of Gelato and Sorbet, with the latter’s remains artfully chopped up into pieces and preserved in formalin. From this point forward, the group vowed to never overstep their boundaries and not pursue the boss’ true identity any further… at least until they heard about Trish.
Back in the present, Formaggio finds himself stuck around a group of rats in the storm drain. Aerosmith tracks him down yet again, but the plane proceeds to kill a few rats, allowing him to piece together that Narancia’s stand can track targets based on their breathing. He hides himself in the crowd of rats to confuse Aerosmith’s radar, but despite momentary evasion, his heavier breathing paints a massive target on his back, allowing the plane to blast him without remorse. In a last-ditch effort to stay alive, Formaggio undoes the ability of Little Feet on himself and returns to normal size, ensuring that Narancia’s minor stature won’t stand a chance against him.
The continuation of Narancia vs. Formaggio is an example of how David Production know how to enhance the experience of major moments from the manga. One of the more noticeable examples of this is how the fight plays up the sense of size and scale involved with the shrinking powers at play. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the general design of Narancia Ghirga. In the original manga, he appears oddly diminutive compared to the rest of the cast, almost like an analogue to Koichi from part 4 but with slightly longer limbs. The anime design straightens out some of his proportions just enough to appear less caricatured, a design choice that helps sell the perpetual shrinking aspect of the conflict just a bit better.
The camera work and shot composition is also in top form throughout the episode. Given that the two combatants are shrinking in direct relation to each other, the maintenance of visual scale becomes hugely important as they must be kept consistent and accurate throughout. Formaggio’s positioning in the overall geography of things becomes the main focal point for the camera to illustrate the various size differences. The scenes always pick the right angle from which to show him trying to escape Aerosmith, with the plane giving off a massive imposing presence akin to seeing a beach bombing in a war movie. The framing of scenes is appropriately intense as a result of this, even when we can see the bits of the background that remind us of the relative size of everything.
There’s a really great back-and-forth tension between Narancia and Formaggio, and much like the battle with Zucchero, a good deal of the fight is simply our hero trying to track down where the villain is. He spends the first moments of the fight hiding in his back pocket, drawing out the tension until Narancia finally pulls him out from there. At this point, the fight continues into a constantly moving game of cat-and-mouse where Formaggio hides in every conceivable place only to be attacked and forced into a new hiding place. The whole thing plays out almost like a darkly hilarious version of a Tom & Jerry short, punctuated by the literal incorporation of rats if the metaphor wasn’t entirely clear by then.
As far as pacing changes, the continued fight rearranges a couple of elements that occur during this part, specifically the flashbacks around these chapters. There’s two big flashbacks: Narancia’s backstory prior to joining Passione and the Formaggio/Hitman Team flashback, in that order. Given how this battle extends throughout three episodes, and taking into account the general flow of the first 1/3 of the season, the Narancia flashback is being held off until (most likely) the start of the next episode. The Hitman Team flashback occurs here first, and it’s actually significantly more fleshed out than as it appears in the manga. We actually get to see a particular assassination that the team, and Formaggio specifically, were ordered to undertake, and David Production get creatively grisly with the specifics. You know that one plot point in the movie Fantastic Voyage that every film nitpicker always goes on about? Well, this episode draws that out to its logical conclusion in… explicit detail.
To make things even more gruesome, the visualization of Sorbet’s chopped-up body is every bit as horrifying as the original manga. In addition, we get to spend a bit of time with the team themselves, foreshadowing some of the other potential antagonists that our heroes will have to face later on. Everything about the episode its continuous escalation of tension is tight and well-done, and I’m looking forward to its conclusion next week.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.