JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 11 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
This show is good, y'all.
I was honestly ready for Narancia vs. Formaggio to be just another forgettable Stand fight, but now I'm thinking it might be one of my highlights for the entire franchise. To start with, we get Narancia's expected tragic backstory. As a child, his mother died of an eye disease, and in the wake of her death he rebelled against his father and hung out with a group of troublemakers. He was duped and framed by an older kid that he looked up to, and after getting caught by the police, he wound up on the streets with an infected eye before being brought into Team Bucciarati. I'm going to throw a dart and say the eye motif ties into how Narancia uses Aerosmith, because the scouter hovers over his "good" eye that didn't get infected.
And while that's plenty interesting—I think the weakest of these flashbacks so far has been Mista's, but even that one's pretty good—it's just icing on the cake compared to our main course. What makes me love Narancia isn't his backstory, it's the unfiltered power that he brings to a given scene. We open this episode with him getting squashed under Formaggio's shoe and barking about how he'd rather die than give up his friends' location. It's that "animal with nothing to lose" spark that gives him his sharpness.
The battle escalates to the point where Narancia is using Aerosmith to blow up the gas tanks of nearby cars, and the episode transitions into a fiery hellscape where Golden Wind's production values get to strut their stuff more than ever. It's amazing and terrifying. Terrifyingly amazing. This is where fiction about lawless criminals shines the most. Sure, we could concern ourselves with the impending property damage and the social irresponsibility of blowing half a city to smithereens out of spiteful rage, but instead we're reveling in the beauty of delinquency—a facet of human extremity that most of us don't experience in the real world. We already knew that Narancia was a firecracker, but now we see exactly how far he's willing to go.
I'm brought back to the dance scene from a few episodes ago. Golden Wind is far and above the most reverent adaptation of a JoJo's series yet—to think this started as a battle between a guy with shrinking powers and a magical toy plane. The usual quirks and gimmicks are certainly present, but they all get swept aside for something much more heightened and intense. I haven't even brought up the big spider scene, because once the finale kicked in, it felt so inconsequential. The word that keeps repeating in my head over and over is "cool". Narancia is so frickin' cool.
With the fight over, we return to the gang to learn that Bruno has received a mission from the boss, which should prove to be a handy way to keep our heroes moving now that they have enemies chasing them. I thought this episode was incredible, giving us a range of scenes from a tragic flashback to a more traditional JoJo's fight to something much bigger and avant garde. The further we go, the more clear it becomes that Golden Wind is something truly special in its story and execution.
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