JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 15 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
When we last saw our heroes, they were a batch of decrepit elderly men strategically handling ice cubes in order to avoid crossing over the rainbow bridge. Now it's up to old man Mista to sneak out of the Mr. President's pocket dimension and handle the intruding Stand users on board the train.
What's really striking me about this arc so far is the villains' relationship. Prosciutto is a man of cold, pragmatic confidence while Pesci is the inverse. Their dynamic mostly consists of Prosciutto scolding Pesci for not being an expedient enough as an assassin, but it's not entirely malicious. It's like a tough love teach-student thing, where all Pesci really needs is a little experience and backbone. In turn, Prosciutto feels like a response to the classic Bond-villain types who talk too much and give the hero too many chances to get away, as demonstrated when he unloads three bullets into Mista's head without a second of hesitation. Of course his ruthlessness isn't actually enough to kill off a main character, but I digress.
The concurrent theme that is tying the heroes and villains together is conviction. Bruno had a line in this episode that I thought was pretty interesting: "You're not here because you want to be," he says to Trish while she's trying to tend to Narancia's accelerated aging, instructing her to put her own life before anyone else's. It's almost callous how willing the members of Team Bucciarati are willing to let each other get killed in the line of duty, but they all understand that this is the life they signed up for. Trish is just caught up in this because of who her father is, so her death would be the most unjust. In a roundabout way this parallels how Prosciutto talks about the priorities of his own mission. You decide what it is you're going to accomplish (in his case, murder and kidnapping) and you have to put that goal ahead of your own survival instincts and sensitivities, or else you're going to fail.
As for the actual action this episode, there's the usual balance of snazz and style along with the perplexing minutia. The Sex Pistols are an exciting Stand and I love all the blood and gore they rally as Mista's shooting off fingers and the like, but then he gets shot in the head and Sex Pistol Number 5 was able to stop all three of them from within his hood? There's a lot to keep track of regarding which Sex Pistol is where and which characters have how much age-canceling ice, etc. The make-or-break stuff with me is a matter of how easily these details can be communicated visually. The ice cube gimmick is already treading a fine line (or should I say it's "on thin ice?") since the time it takes for the cubes to melt is inevitably at the convenience of the story anyway. The battle plows ahead as Mista's fight gets handed off to Bruno, who ends the episode with a big potential self-sacrifice where he pulls Prosciutto off the train with him. Dedication to the mission is the only way to win, so now it's time to separate the boys from the men.
The theming of this arc is pretty solid, but I'm still not quite as swept up in the rollercoaster as I'd like to be. The action's good, but I still feel like I'm hitting that emotional ceiling when it comes to these monster-of-the-week fights even if history has shown that when I get into that slump with this series, it means something amazing's about to happen. There are plenty of interesting directions this could go, so I think I'll keep myself nice and buckled in and hope the train doesn't go entirely off the rails.
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