Monday, July 13, 2015

25 Days of Jojo’s - #13: Funny Valentine

(Fair warning: there will be spoilers abound in this series of posts, as I find there are major moments that define some of these characters late in their respective story arcs. So in the event that you have not yet read/watched a particular part of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure storyline, you may wish to skip over certain entries.)

#13 - Funny Valentine: Funny Valentine is a man who very much buys into the philosophy of ‘he who dares, wins’. Introduced in the earlier volumes of Steel Ball Run, it is never particularly secretive that Funny Valentine has dreams of grandeur. His confidants are made well aware that the race, sponsored by one Stephen Steel, is essentially a cover for his search for the mythical corpse parts, something that has dwelled in Valentine’s mind since his days serving in the Civil War.

Initially appearing as a short, stout man, Funny Valentine is smart, laying back and allowing others to uncover the corpse parts he so desires along the race route. While racers like Johnny Joestar and Gyro Zeppeli appear more or less unassuming to him at first, their consistency with gathering the corpse parts and fending off would-be thieves and pursuers draws President Valentine’s attention. He first sends highly-skilled and highly-dangerous Stand users after the duo, and though they suffer more than a few scrapes and bruises during their standoffs, Johnny and Gyro constantly manage to best their foes, forcing President Valentine to perform a more direct intervention.

Funny Valentine describes his ideology at a dinner table, with all the plates and silverware set out properly. He explains how the first person to take the napkin on either their left or their right forces everyone else at the table to follow suit, lest they be left without a napkin – essentially, the first person to make a decision causes ripples on down the line, a practice which can be applied to any number of real-world scenarios. Funny Valentine believes that if he is successful in securing the corpse parts, it will secure his place as the most powerful man in the nation, and perhaps even the world.

While Funny Valentine begins Steel Ball Run with a generally average, somewhat stout build, his later appearances are tall and muscular, thanks to the dimension-hopping abilities of his Stand, D4C (shorthand for Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap). D4C is one of – if not the single – strongest Stands in the entirety of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and its only notable drawback is that it cannot warp to another reality unless there is a fold between two objects within the immediate vicinity. In the middle of a field, Funny Valentine is a sitting duck, but in the streets of a city, the wheels of a carriage rolling along the pavement could just as easily provide him a gateway to a parallel dimension as could the front door of a building.

The other significant catch with Funny Valentine’s Stand is that, while he is able to swap bodies with other versions of himself to heal any wounds, anyone else that might attempt to follow Funny Valentine to one of these parallel realities will ultimately be drawn towards that reality’s version of themselves, colliding with said counterpart, and then being torn apart, ceasing to exist on both planes. However, to call Funny Valentine’s strategies cowardly would be inaccurate. When cornered by Johnny Joestar near the end of Steel Ball Run, he explains the logic behind his plan, as well as the extent of D4C’s powers, offering to bring the now-deceased Gyro Zeppeli back to life by swapping his body with that of a Gyro from a parallel dimension, so long as Johnny allows him to obtain all of the corpse parts. Johnny, however, does not comply, and uses the fully awakened form of his Stand, Tusk, to finish off the already weakened and pleading Funny Valentine.

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