The saga 10 years in the making finally comes to a close.
Much has been said about the nature of Stone Ocean’s animation between its production values and the delivery of its batch release format but one thing can be made certain: It is a fitting finale to the series.
It’s been over a year since the first batch of episodes dropped and while I can admit they started slow, I was pretty hooked to the finale starting from Underworld. I have a couple of things to cover so let’s get started on evaluating the end of an era.
The OP and ED
I have grown to appreciate Stone Ocean’s first opening a lot more over the year. I occasionally hum the song’s chorus and ending but I still doesn’t think it matches some of the earlier openings. It still gets a lot of points for its visuals.
Now, Heavens Falling Down’s visuals were already amazing and the song itself is not too shabby. It’s big points however come from what the finale changes the opening to. This mirrors what I think of Traitor’s Requiem because I don’t think the song is better than Fighting Gold but I did appreciate how it changed three times. Heavens falling Down gets the privilege of changing only once at the very end but providing a homage to the entire series and to Sono Chi no Sadame’s start as well as the end of Stand Proud. Then you also have the unaltered version’s reference to Sono Chi no Sadame with Jolyne’s eyes lighting up with fire as she charges towards Pucci, an obvious nod to Jonathan running up the stairs to Dio. The opening did not disappoint.
The shared ED theme across the series didn’t do me too much favors either. The melancholic tune definitely starts to fit more as we approach the end but it was no headturning song like Freak’n You was.
I had to do a proper double take and a “no no no” before Roundabout fully kicked in with the final moments of the saga and I can say that it was beautiful.
Maybe it was because there was so much RUNNING involved with this chapter that it felt a lot longer in the manga but the start of the 3rd of Stone Ocean begins with the separated crew dealing with the effects of Ungaro’s Bohemian Rhapsody. These sets of episodes definitely had the most changed around due to the nature of copyright and Disney which has come a long way since 2001. Beloved lines like “Where the fuck is Mickey” and “This shit ain’t Disney” no longer appear but sacrifices understandably had to be made. Instead of Spiderman we get Batman and we thankfully had a lot of Japanese characters who showed up in the manga show up in the anime, or at the very least mentioned like Kenshiro and Raoh.
It’s a bullshit power that gets beaten in a bullshit way so it served its purpose in introducing the ugliest of DIO’s kids and eliminating him while bringing the crew together again.
Rykiel’s clothing always confounded me but Furukawa Makoto’s performance really elevated his characterization despite such short notice. Sky High’s standout moment was when Jolyne lights herself on fire and then Rykiel, matching her resolve, does the same. They also understandably cut out a ton of the information present in the manga regarding the Rods seeing as though they are a debunked lifeform.
Rykiel gets a bit more characterization on him than Ungaro, mostly through self-confidence and the entire Apollo 11 correlation. Also I forgot it was him that revealed the relationship between Pucci and Weather. As mentioned at the start, Furukawa Makoto really put a ton of work on this guy’s voice work which elevated a pretty hype fight into an even more exciting one. Cutting out the explanation of rods and just knowing that they’re not actually real does slightly take away from their threat though.
Versace definitely has the strongest characterization with extended time with Pucci and then growing to resent him. Underworld ties itself together with Heavy Weather as Versace underestimates Jolyne and Hermes and he uses a last ditch attempt to live his own life. Versace’s story about the shoes falling from the sky reminds me so much of Holes but I’m convinced something else must have inspired both occasions.
Underworld, and this entire 3rd of Stone Ocean resembled parts of Part 5, where there was so much happening in the panels that it was hard to parse out the information but seeing it like this definitely clarifies the stuff I read almost a decade ago. I never did remember how Jolyne and Hermes survived the plane crash.
My favorite arc in the entirety of Stone Ocean. While the previous arc’s differences, aside from obvious ones like Mickey being gone, had dialogue sequences and the likes moved around, I immediately noticed stuff was different with Heavy Weather’s start. For one, Weather doesn’t make much small talk to Anasui and doesn’t deliberately behave like an asshole to a crowd of people, instead only doing it to like two people.
Instead, Weather is more intently focused on getting at Pucci for their shared past. A revelation so important that it is given an entire episode for itself to explain the connection between the two which I absolutely loved. Up to this point, I was pleased with Seki Tomokazu’s voice work still having Sho Hayami in my head but Heavy Weather’s flashback episode really cemented that his voice was absolutely worthy of this role without a shadow of doubt.
Weather’s own voice work was great and while I don’t remember hearing his sick theme from the 1st batch, I still enjoyed his performance, especially during the proper fight between him and Pucci with the blood spikes. I joked about Anasui never getting his own solo fights but was reminded just how hard he supported literally everybody with an ability as useful as Diver Down.
C-Moon and Made in Heaven
Somehow, I had never put things together of just how hard the rest of the world has been fucked up thanks to Bohemenian Rhapsody and Heavy Weather but now C-Moon is flipped turned upside down all over on Florida. I’m not sure what was going through my mind when I first read Stone Ocean and if I ever thought things would return to normal after such catastrophic incidents.
Pucci mentioned this fact to Versace but Jolyne growing into such a powerful fighter despite the simple nature of her string-based Stand always impressed me with its applications. This point is never made stronger when she’s faced up against C-Moon and practically nullifies its abilities on her. It was tough getting a picture of Pucci at high speed due to the blurring effects all over his movement but watching shit hit the fan in these types of situations is always a point I enjoy.
The single qualm I do have is during the Made in Heaven acceleration effects around the world scene where I thought they’d show Rohan completing his drafts and submitting on time. The actual kicker for me was instead another scene that wasn’t shown, one of my favorite panels is the clump of cash disappearing into the wind and that wasn’t around so that bit bummed me out.
Part 6 definitely starts out slow but Pucci’s involvement always made for it in my mind. Pucci thankfully does show up as early as the first batch of episodes and continues to be a major presence throughout the series. I will say Part 6’s fights definitely rank slightly lower on the overall fights in the series as Stand abilities become more abstract and ridiculous near the end. As mentioned before, Bohemian Rhapsody, Heavy Weather, Underworld, and C-Moon fuck up a ton of things before Made in Heaven really takes the cake with just how absurd Stand powers can get besides Gold Experience Requiem just saying “no” to whatever your abilities might be.
Stone Ocean runs opposite to my thoughts on Vento Aureo, starting slow and then ending on a bang. Even with the anime’s visual clarity making the final arc of Vento Aureo comprehensible, I still felt as though the Squadra fights were the most entertaining. Similarly, the last stretch of Stone Ocean starting from Underworld is probably one of the better finale set-ups in a Jojo part.
While I had my doubts, I definitely think Stone Ocean is a worthwhile watch and addition to the series. Already people are pondering about the future of the animated project with Steel Ball Run but I think David Productions deserve a break from their 10 year project. After all, Stone Ocean fulfilled its promise shown at the start of Sono Chi no Sadame so I have no expectations for Steel Ball Run to become a reality for a couple of years at the very least. Plus the constant need to animate horses galloping will probably necessitate some corner cutting and I would not be excited for any of that.