Hey Jan, I recently re-read Stone Ocean and wondered what you thought about Anasui. He's grown on me a bit (his doofus-moments are more pronounced this time), but I am still uncomfortable with Jolyne getting together with a serial-killer, and it's weird how it's completely ignored towards the end. Kinda wish his best lines had just been given to Hermes instead, so she could have more screentime.
Oh, that’s a good question! In a perfect world, Jolyne and
Hermes would have spent way more time together. But at least we got to see Irene reciprocating
Annakiss’s love in the final chapter: it doesn’t feel so one-sided and creepy by the end of SO. That’s cool! Also, I agree that Anasui comes across as a better character in a re-read. I think I mentioned in my Pucci effortpost that he can’t ever catch a break, which I found kind of endearing(!).
Other thoughts about Anasui:
His interest in disassembly is never brought up beyond his back story, unless you count Diver Down as some kind of expression of his desire to dismantle things. I guess you could say that its ability to store and release energy is sort of like exploding things from within (?????). Diver Down’s power also goes from fairly specific to so flexible that Anasui can, e.g., implant a frog in a stand’s head without any problems. I sort of wish Araki had stuck with the original limits of Anasui’s abilities and shown him using his interests and powers together. (I mind this issue more than the gender swap, which seems like something that happened because someone in Weekly Jump’s editorial department realized most of SO’s cast was female and that it wasn’t a harem manga.)
Anasui’s back story (specifically, his murderous jealousy and his “dismantling” of his cheating girlfriend) is a super-creepy thing to have hanging over a character who is otherwise usually comic relief. It’s especially a problem because this comic relief takes the form of his mostly one-sided, obsessive devotion to Jolyne.
WTF. Slow down, dude. (Sidenote: For me, a similar problem comes up in JJL. I’m not a huge fan of Joshuu, who fills a similar comic relief role; I think he’s great in, e.g., Beetle Tendency and Swindlers’ Road, but I find it hard to separate those moments from everything he says and does around Yasuho.)
At the same time, Anasui’s love for Jolyne is clearly supposed to redeem him. This is a hard idea to buy because love tends not to change creeps in real life; I think your appreciation of his character depends on your personal tolerance for that “good girl redeems bad boy” cliché, and on your ability as a reader to sort of bracket his history from his present actions. But hey, this is a comic, and I like the idea that, in an arc that’s all about legacy, repetition, and choice, Anasui chooses to let go of his past. I don’t think this idea is very well developed, but we do see some suggestions that he’s gradually making room in his head for things other than jealousy and obsession. I especially like his chapters with Weather Report (and not just because Bohemian Rhapsody is bizarre even by JJBA standards). Remember the moment when Pucci blows off Weather’s leg and then yells at Anasui for trying to help and daring to care about his friend? Anasui goes from disregarding anything that’s not directly related to helping/wooing Jolyne, to helping his bro out and getting upset when WR is suffering. I love that! (Not the suffering, obviously: the caring.)
In any case, Anasui is genuinely funny. “Celebrate us” is so delightfully creepy. Jolyne throwing his engagement ring at an alligator is comedy gold. Most of his funniest moments come from his failed attempts to get Jolyne to notice him or rely on him–though let’s not forget “Where the fuck is Mickey?!” And in the end, it’s weirdly moving when he asks Jotaro for permission to marry his daughter right as shit hits the fan. It’s the same obsessive crap he’s been spouting throughout the arc, but in a new context in which Anasui has no control over anything and Jolyne sort of represents the idea of hope for him. He phrases the request super self-consciously, too: “I’m a murderer, I don’t deny it, and I also know that Jolyne won’t fall in love with me just like that.” He knows it’s an absurd request, but he needs to cling to something hopeful in a series of chapters in which it’s increasingly obvious that the bad guy has won.
The dude’s alright, I guess!