It Just F–king Works

Author: Dom Rottman

How does King Crimson work?

Does King Crimson know if there will be a sea battle tomorrow?

Does King Crimson’s knowledge of a matter affect the necessity of its outcome?

In King Crimson’s world, there is no free will (Except for its user. Kind of. Unless actions affect the user. To an extent. Actually don’t worry about it just roll with it). The real gift of King Crimson, then, is to allow its user an outstanding opportunity to practice virtue and live according to the path nature has carved out. Too bad it’s wasted on a schizophrenic mafia boss.

Besides an English Rock band from the 1960s and 70s, King Crimson is a supernatural power which is best explained through analogy. Imagine that our reality in time is a grand film reel, with each frame being an infinitesimal moment in time. King Crimson is the divine film editor, with the power to cut ten seconds worth of frames of reality from the film of the cosmos.

King Crimson, as the supernatural power of the main antagonist in the fifth arc of the acclaimed manga and anime series Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, has far too many interesting philosophical implications than something in a manga series about people with absurd and fantastic supernatural powers who resolve their issues by shouting and punching really fast has any right to be. Its existence implies a certain belief about the world and freewill. It suggests logical fatalism: that propositions about reality are true or false regardless of when they are made, and that therefore it is not in our power to do anything other than what we do.

If Aristotle says that there will be a sea battle tomorrow–or in the next ten seconds–he does not know whether it is true or false, but it is already true or false. King Crimson can make the same claim–except he can see the frame of reality in which the sea battle starts, and therefore knows it to be true. Can we say that King Crimson is somehow “more true” than Aristotle, even if they make the exact same claim?

There are certain outs to this sort of fatalism, but none of them are compatible with King Crimson. If truth claims about the future cannot be made, then King Crimson is useless because he has nothing to edit, for the film of reality has not yet developed.

Does this mean that King Crimson’s user is the only one with free will among otherwise unfree individuals? Not quite. The user of King Crimson can conduct himself as he pleases, but reality ends up in the same place regardless. Another analogy is helpful here. Consider a dog which is tied to a cart which drives on a set path. The dog can do one of two things: he can either, in vain, resist the cart’s pull, tossing himself this way and that, and be dragged along to its destination, or, it can faithfully follow the cart’s lead wherever it chooses to go. Both the resistant dog and the obedient dog nevertheless end up in the same place. In the same way King Crimson can show its user reality’s destination, therefore allowing the user to position himself in the optimal way to meet it, and then expedite the journey by erasing time.

Though some might find King Crimson a gift to progressors of virtue it really is a suitable power for a villain. For one thing, it makes true the phrase “the ends justify the means”–for with King Crimson, the means do not exist, and never existed at all; sins are thus not even absolved but put beyond absolution, unjudged. At the same time King Crimson’s unique power is prone to rashness and imprudence, for as powerful as the user of King Crimson may think himself, as infinite in number the roads open to him may be, they all lead to the same place; reality is already determined. Yet manipulating reality is a vain exercise if it is determined or not. Is it easier to carpet the whole world, or just wear shoes? Inconsistencies notwithstanding, King Crimson is a poetically fitting ability for a story’s villain–as the villain in a story is usually fated, in a sense, to fall–who thinks himself as one beyond fate’s whims.

King Crimson therefore ultimately makes more thematic sense than actual sense–which is probably for the best. In short: It just works–as long as you suspend free will.

Image: The supernatural ability King Crimson, known as a “stand,” as it appears in the anime adaptation of Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure