One of my most consistent complaints for adventure serials: so many creators get so wrapped up in making the heroes look cool, they forget to make the villains threatening. Fail to do that, and none of the action ever has any sense of weight.
From Dio to the Pillar Men, the villains of JOJO’s have been unrelenting forces of evil, and few have been as excruciatingly hard to vanquish as Kars here. I was about to park the praise train for a moment to talk about how this final stretch of episodes felt a little padded. Kars seemed like Jason Voorhees, cheating death, over and over, and coming back after being thrown into every conceivable life-threatening trap...
However, I had to step back from my own frustration, and realize that emotion was actually the intended one. Seeing that monster hurtled into the void of space - - doomed to a living prison - - wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying if weren’t releasing all that built-up tension. What an ignoble, horrifying end… and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
Now that the secrets of the Pillar Men have been revealed - - and I can view this first season in the long view - - it’s amusing to realize that simplicity is actually one of JOJO’s greater virtues. Compare this with other contemporary shows… there’s a single-mindedness here that’s unusual. The first story arc was about Jojo #1’s desperate effort to defeat Dio. The second story arc was about Jojo #2’s desperate effort to defeat Dio’s masters. In both cases, Jojo was fighting an uphill battle against foes who were hellbent on killing him - - and very close to pulling it off. The stakes were raised immediately, and ratcheted consistently. Simple as that. All the rest of it was gravy.
Maybe that’s the show’s secret? That’s how it's able to get away with the bizarre particulars of this adventure - - by minding the basics and keeping those basics straightforward.