JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 13 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Our enemy Stand-user this week is Illuso, the wielder of "Man in the Mirror"—a Stand that flaunts the ability to pull people into an alternate mirror world where everything's exactly the same, but reversed. What makes this power effective is that Illuso can separate our heroes from their Stands and even be selective about how much of a person's body gets let in. It really cuts your mobility in half when your body's been bifurcated vertically.
This is both a wildly amusing and low-key frustrating episode, because it has so much to offer in terms of weird gory violence and absurd solutions to our protagonists' problems, but it's also incredibly dumb and obtuse as a result. Man in the Mirror is a chore to try and follow because the scope of its power seems so wide, requiring us to constantly jump back and forth between dimensions with rather vague rules for how each side affects the other. Then multiple characters start moving in and out of these two locations, and every one of them has a Stand to account for as well.
That's just sort of the JoJo's way of life, isn't it? It's the not-so-happy middle-ground between an intricately plotted battle of wits and an emotion-first color splash showdown. Giorno's solution to this battle is to deliberately infect himself with Purple Haze's virus, infect Illuso from within the mirror world to force him to exit, turn a brick into a snake to use its natural heat-seeking abilities so they can track Illuso's movement from inside the mirror world, use Purple Haze to wreck him, and then use the snake's immunity to the virus as a makeshift serum to heal himself. The part with the snake was really pushing its luck for me. Why did he assume that would work?!
From there we have a few solid character moments at least. Another victim to copious dismemberment this week is Abbacchio, who shows how committed he is to the mission by spending half the episode bleeding to death. When faced with a challenging situation, Abbacchio's first instinct is to play martyr, appearing not to value his own life as much as the organization that he serves. The fact that Giorno didn't just take the key and leave him to die is a genuine nuisance to him. Fugo doesn't end up playing much of a role in his own two-parter, though this is also the first time Giorno's done much since the beginning of the season, so I suppose everything balances out eventually.
This was a fairly run-of-the-mill fight for the series, showing hints of something greater but also being limited by the more generic side of JoJo's trappings. Illuso strikes me as the kind of nobody henchmen we would have encountered already in Stardust Crusaders, so it's hard to tell how important this episode is meant to feel. Fugo's newfound admiration of Giorno is nice, but ultimately this feels more like a passing introduction for Purple Haze. Is Abbacchio's hand cut off for real now? Or will some kind of Stand magic put him back together? Permanent one-handedness would be a cool twist of fate, but I'm not holding my breath.
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