JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 18 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Up until now, there hasn't really been a case in Golden Wind where a Stand battle feels too long to work as a single episode, but not long enough to be stretched into a two-parter. I'm a little bummed that Melone is out of the picture already, because how can you introduce a Stand like Baby Face and only give us one example of what it can do? "Junior" might as well have been Melone's Stand from the get-go.
Ah, well. A snake bit him and now he's gone. The Execution Squad is down to its last two baddies now, so I presume this is the final stretch before the story starts to focus on Passione's mysterious boss more seriously. Next on the docket is Ghiaccio who—OH MY GOD, HE'S BAKUGO. I remember recognizing his voice when we first met the Execution Squad, but he yells a lot in this episode so it's impossible to separate the two characters. Even if Ghiacchio looks much nerdier and tidier than his explodey counterpart, I guess Nobuhiko Okamoto is just born to scream.
Giacchio arrives on the scene with an ice Stand called 'White Album', as our team drives toward the next destination in their fetch quest. We're searching for a computer disc in Venice, though our new villain feels strongly that we should be calling it "Venezia" to preserve the original language's intent. I can't wait to watch the English dub of this Japanese show where a majority of characters are speaking Italian. So far, most of this Stand battle takes place while Giorno and Mista are driving across a bridge and Giacchio's attached himself to the roof with ice. The car becomes so cold that our heroes get stuck in place, and the ice can even stop Mista's Sex Pistols. The threat of getting driven off the road makes this battle feel a lot more immediate than the recent train action, but this really isn't the time of year to be watching ice-themed anime episodes. Nobody likes ice levels in video games, this show is known for having much more interesting powers, and my midwestern polar-vortex-surviving butt doesn't want to think about being cold ever again. I actually hate this!
The most potent aspect of this episode is how Team Bucciarati learns of the computer disc in the first place. Passione's boss is continuing to be secretive, but we do get a glimpse of him moping around in the shadows as a cutaway from the main story. There isn't much room for any deeper reading yet, but I do find it interesting how he seems to withdraw and hug himself closely in a similar manner to Trish. Part of the boss's cryptic scavenger hunt included having Pericolo, the old man who was escorting Trish before our guys took her in, recite instructions near a specific chair inside Mr. President, just so Abbaccio can use Moody Blues to replay it as a scene later. At the end of the instructions, Pericolo commits suicide to remove himself as evidence, leaving us with a message that implies Bruno and the gang are just as disposable. I was expecting Abbaccio to turn the recording off just before Pericolo shot himself, but the story really goes that dark.
Beyond the rumblings of the larger narrative coming to the forefront, I thought this was a relatively weak episode. I don't like the Giacchio fight much so far, not just because I think ice is a boring power to be throwing at us this late in the game, but because all of its attempts to make the battle more complicated just make it more annoying. This is one of those episodes where I found myself having to rewind several times because I wasn't sure if I understood the plot right, and of course its riddled with Araki's scrupulous half-science about wind chill and whether or not living organisms can be born at certain temperatures. Unless this is going to be another one of those fights that ends on a surprising high note, I'd like this one to wrap up quickly.
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