JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 12 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Our little gang-stars have a new mission from the boss—to head to Pompeii Archeological Park, the site of the famous volcano eruption, and retrieve a hidden key intended for Trish's transportation. The Boss's orders are starting to seem a little obtuse to me. It makes me wonder how much extra time was put into setting this treasure hunt up just to keep things on the down-low. Not that it's mattered much since Team Bucciarati already has the Execution Squad following them and stirring up trouble.
We've been cycling through each of the gang members one by one, and now I can safely say that we've saved the most interesting for last. It's Fugo's turn in the spotlight, and while he continues the pattern of criminal bad boys coming from broken homes, he brings a distinctly unique darkness with him. Once upon a time, he was a smart kid who was pressured heavily into academia by his parents. Then, when he was away at school, he had to ward off a predatory teacher who he promptly beat nearly to death with a book. This episode has extra spoonfuls of creepy violence for us this week.
There's a specific dynamic that was constantly being pushed on Fugo by the adults in his life, where any attempt to lash out at unfairness would be seen as his own failing. He has deep-seated anger issues and a killer instinct that he's constantly having to bury. We get a solid first-person perspective on the mind games and gaslighting that occur in his childhood, to the point where you can never entirely tell if his anger issues are a just defense mechanism he adopted or a curse that he was born with. Whatever the case, the circumstances in which it would manifest all seem justified.
These issues characterize Fugo's Stand, Purple Haze, which is easily the most powerful and threatening Stand of the team. Purple Haze is a slobbering terror, but he's also a paralyzed child who just needs a hug. It punches walls down in fury and releases a virus that will kill anything in the vicinity by rotting it from the inside out, as we see demonstrated with a couple crows. There's an enemy Stand-user in this episode, but he's not especially memorable compared to our hero this week. The villain's entire role is to get cocky and lure Fugo into a trap, only for him to learn along with the audience that Fugo is the real apex predator. The game from here is figuring out how to maneuver around the villain's mirror Stand ("Man in the Mirror," of course) with Fugo and Purple Haze separated between the glass, and Giorno and Abbacchio butting heads while working together because that's just what their dynamic will be for a while.
As silly as JoJo's has always been, there's so much emotional realism being brought into Golden Wind. The show is a rolodex of neglect, distrust, and trauma, where every character's case feels incredibly three-dimensional. There's the same beam of hope in The Healing Power of Friendship as always, but Purple Haze is probably the rawest and ugliest example of a theme that the series has already been exploring deftly. This is the "Who Hurt You?" arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
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