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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
Episode 21

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 21 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?

Our fateful encounter with King Crimson continues this week, so now's as good a time as any to see if I can make sense of this thing. The boss's power is to "erase time", and he describes a window of around ten seconds (not unlike Dio's powers) where he can see and interact with the world while it moves normally, but everybody else forgets what they were doing. If you've ever walked into a room and forgot what you even went in there for, perhaps King Crimson is out running amok. I'm not sure if that's the full scope of his power, though. This is probably going to take a few tries to understand.

So it looks like Bruno isn't dead yet, as he's still got some fight left in him. The boss gives us some insight into his motivation, which is to live a life of success without failure, a dream made possible with King Crimson's ability. He's starting to feel a little too Kira-like, now that I think of it. He's just a private man who wants to be left alone but doesn't want to give up his life of degeneracy and murder. Between this and the three most recent final boss villains all having time powers, I'm starting to think Araki has a type.

Bruno's scuffle with the boss is really cool and pulse-pounding, (though what's up with Gold Experience being able to copy Coco Jumbo's genes?) yet it's still the story development that really makes it special. Bruno is betraying the gang by fighting back and even letting himself get hurt badly in order to defend Trish. The situation gets suspicious enough from the outside that Giorno and the team come to his rescue despite being told not to set foot on the island, and they all manage to escape together since even the boss doesn't want to fight six Stand-users at once. We've dedicated a lot of time to establishing the gang's values of trust and loyalty, and now it's time to put them to the test.

This is probably the most straightforward I've ever seen JoJo's Bizarre Adventure tackle "the power of friendship" in a traditionally Shonen Jump sense. It's not just that friendship is good and some kind of ethereal power that connects us all, it's about how it plays into our heroes' risk-taking and conviction. The rest of the team doesn't immediately know what's going on, so the second they reach safety, Bruno has to put it as simply as he can: "I betrayed the boss just now." He's being cool and composed, which is great because it means he gets to be the emotional anchor as the rest of the group falls apart in shock before gradually coming to his side one by one.

Loyalty to Passione may have been important, but it can't beat genuine human connection. There's a certain sense of right and wrong that can't be defined by any hierarchal power; it can only come from your personal experiences. What's great about these characters is that they all have slightly different reasons for agreeing to betray the boss. Abbacchio comes along because these guys give him a sense of belonging, and Mista does so because he has unwavering faith in Bruno and Giorno. Narancia is more torn up, but the episode's big dramatic climax sees him realizing how much he relates to Trish and then diving into the water to swim back to the boat. I especially love that he asked Bruno to tell him how to feel at first, and Bruno refused. If Narancia doesn't make this choice for himself, then it means nothing. Fugo is the only one left behind.

This sequence is amazing, honestly. It should feel emotionally broad and Shonen Jump-like, but it comes across grounded and realistic instead. Without Fugo, it's not an entirely feel-good act break, but the nuggets of warmth and humanity radiate off it nonetheless. I'm excited to see where the story goes from here, since they've failed their initial task of uncovering the boss's identity and now they're acting without a concrete goal. More Stand-users are going to start coming for them, so whatever happens next should be pretty wild.

Rating: A

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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