The Fall 2018 Anime Preview Guide JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
How would you rate episode 1 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
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How was the first episode?
With four arcs already on the books, it seems kind of silly at this point to describe JoJo's appeal as if we're newcomers here. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a story about giant dudes getting up to giant adventures, mixing flamboyant style, larger-than-life characters, and more than a touch of absurdism to arrive at a thrilling and highly influential shounen mix. If you haven't check out the show, this is absolutely not the place to start - I'd recommend either the actual first arc or the preceding Diamond is Unbreakable. And if you're still here, presumably your question is, “is JoJo still JoJo?”
The answer to that question is yes, with caveats. In terms of storytelling, this first episode offers all the thrills and absurdity you might hope for, following up on Diamond is Unbreakable with a direct temporal sequel. Koichi's quest to find the Son of Dio, and the formal introduction of the son himself, is elevated through plenty of the one-liners, ridiculous situations, and improbable duels you'd expect. Giorno is an immediately charismatic presence, and I'm greatly appreciating the small-stakes urgency of his current gang troubles. Having honed his Stand-focused writing all through Stardust and Diamond, Hirohiko Araki's writing feels as confident as ever, and I can already picture the bizarre and repulsive possibilities the currently revealed Stands offer.
That's all the good news. The bad news is, in terms of adaptation, Golden Wind seems to mark a dramatic step back from the unique, holistic vision of Diamond is Unbreakable. While that show's early episodes dazzled through their compelling art design, ambitious layouts, and persistently active direction, Golden Wind feels far more like the panel-to-panel rigidity and blandness of Stardust Crusaders, while also lacking the vibrant color experiments of the show's first two arcs. The animation is fairly limited, and the direction is strictly functional, meaning basically all of the show's “JoJo tone” comes down to how well it captures Araki's storytelling. This was all expected, given the departure of Diamond director Toshiyuki Kato and various other key staff, but it's still unfortunate to see.
Still, on the whole, a new season of JoJo is always a cause for celebration. Even if Golden Wind can't match the aesthetic strength of Diamond is Unbreakable, it's still a very stylish, inherently hilarious, and genuinely gripping production. It's good to see you again, JoJo.
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