STOP! Hammer time!
JoJo’s chariot battle with Wham was one of my favorite fights in the Battle Tendency manga, but sadly, it was the one most badly affected by David Productions’ shoestring budget. A lot of corners had to be cut, and the end result looks more than a little silly, but silly is par for the course in JoJo’s, and when your fight is this good to begin with, not even an animation budget of peanuts can hold it back from being anything short of amazing.
As expected of a battle with the WARRIOR OF THE WIND, the winds of fortune are constantly changing. JoJo uses his bottomless cunning to trip Wham up at the starting line and nab the warhammer waiting for him at the checkpoint. Wham lives up to his name as a Pillar Man and grabs as his weapon the gigantic pillar upon which the hammer had hung – hapless vampire-zombie weapons-administrator and all – and gives JoJo’s chariot a WHAM of its own. JoJo hijack’s Wham’s chariot. Wham melts himself into one of the horses. JoJo oils up his hammer and readies a devastating ripple-fueled blow.
Like Caesar, like JoJo: that airborne instant just before the final strike is Wham’s golden moment – the hole in JoJo’s defenses quickly becomes a Holy Sandstorm. JoJo flies to the ground; Cars commends his bravery for surviving so long and calls for a celebratory glass of wine – the battle is over.
That glass of wine drops as hard as Wham’s bass once the dust settles – JoJo’s up on his feet, and Wham’s arms are an unholy mess. With the classic magician’s trick of misdirection, JoJo managed to take advantage of Wham’s focus on the impending Hammer Time to entangle the mighty sandstorm in a ripple-charged rein, and trick everyone into thinking the battle was over with some top-notch flopping.
Wham, U can’t touch this.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and admire just how many turns the tides of this battle have already taken. This fight is all about JoJo’s genius and wizardry against Wham’s brute muscle and combat experience, and it is an intensely even match. JoJo has a trick to counter every one of Wham’s attacks, but Wham has the strength to counter every one of JoJo’s tricks. But how can Wham counter having his arms shredded to bits?
Why by poking his eyes out, of course!
JoJo has shown Wham that he is truly an opponent to be reckoned with, and by “removing his limiter” as anime so often likes to call it, Wham is showing JoJo that he is at last willing to take this fight truly seriously. JoJo is becoming less and less of a mere “Ripple user” in Wham’s eyes (or horn, as the case is now), and more and more of a True Warrior.
Balls of Steel
The warhammer and sandstorm tossed aside, the next lap begins with our fighters on equal grounds. This time, the weapon is crossbows. Not any old crossbows – this is still JoJo’s, mind you – these crossbows come with iron balls as ammunition instead of bolts. To the fastest racer, there’s a choice between a large and a small crossbow as a weapon, and you know what they say about the size of a guy’s crossbow…
Yeah, I don’t know what they say either, but the point is that JoJo’s having some trouble with his balls. He quickly escapes to the other side of the arena’s roaring central fire to stay out of Wham’s sight, but of course, if Wham doesn’t know where he is, then Wham knows exactly where he is.
Even as a crumpled heap on the ground, JoJo’s got the iron balls to stand up to the man who killed Caesar, and indeed he tries to shoot one at him – the crossbow had cocked itself on impact when JoJo got knocked off his high horse. JoJo spasms from the recoil and the shot goes wild, and he’s reduced to chucking rocks at the honorable Warrior of the Wind as he begs for his life. Because when someone tells JoJo that they believe in honor, JoJo hears something different: the words he hears are, “I’m gullible.” A master of misdirection, if you’re looking at JoJo while he’s doing something stupid, you’re looking in the wrong place.
Following the trajectory that Wham showed him before, JoJo sends the steel ball running around the track, leaving his ex-fiance with a gaping hole in his heart.
You Put the Boom-Boom Into My Heart
Wham clearly read my post yesterday and decided that the most appropriate thing to do with this newfound breezeway is to use it for the most time-tested of all hotblooded battle tactics: the Rocket Punch. With JoJo held in place by a muscular pair of severed forearms, Wham is free to power up his ultimate attack: the Atmospheric Rift, a razor of wind with such power that using it causes immense damage even to Wham himself.
JoJo throws a firebomb, but Wham slices it in half – the flame is extinguished and the oil spills to the ground. Were JoJo alone in this fight, it would simply be a failed ditch attempt to get out of a hopeless situation. But JoJo is not alone. Caesar’s headband aflame, JoJo puts his faith in his best friend, his most powerful ally. Wham slices the headband to pieces, and the fight is over.
Wham’s Atmospheric Rift intake valves had already sucked the fumes from the oil inside of him. As the embers from the flaming headband follow the same path, Taku Iwasaki directs an opera singer in a mournful tune. JoJo may be the victor, but it is not JoJo who won this fight. With his final gift to JoJo, Caesar has at last earned his revenge. The embers reach Wham’s windy heart and do what fire and gasoline do best.
Manly tears are shed, as JoJo honors his fallen opponent for being the great warrior that he was, he takes the antidote with Wham’s blessing, and Wham launches his head out of a crossbow to take out an onslaught of vampire-zombies.
And thus does the Warrior of the Wind return to the wind.