JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 22 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Hey look, it's New JoJo Music o' Clock! Up next on the docket of openings and endings are 'Uragirimono no Requiem' ('Traitor's Requiem') by Daisuke Hasegawa and 'Modern Crusaders' by Enigma. Requiem immediately has its teeth in me, because I'm head over heels for that swelling prog-rock backing orchestration. It doesn't do itself any favors by feeling like the poor man's 'Great Days' at times, but even the poor man's Great Days is worth a mountain of gold. Modern Crusaders offers a much darker vibe. The statue made of Stands gives the impression of Team Bucciarati having already become the leaders of the criminal underworld, with the bodies of their enemies are immortalized as trophies.
Moving on to the episode itself, the gang is just now starting their new life on the lam, against a whole new pack of enemies. Apparently Fugo isn't just sitting the next few episodes out, but he's actually been written completely out of the story according to manga fans. That's a surprisingly blunt way to say "I don't know how to keep writing this character, so he's gone now." Fugo probably could have used a more concrete send-off, but oh well. I hope he finds the happiness he's looking for. Meanwhile, our slightly trimmed-down cast of ruffians need to get some lunch, and that brings us to our newest Stand battle.
Our opponents this week are the wielders of 'Clash' and 'Talking Head,' a small mechanical shark that can teleport between bodies of water and a tongue-twisting octopus gremlin, respectively. Their primary target is Narancia (who I can safely say is my favorite Bucciarati boy), as Clash bites off his tongue and Talking Head sneaks into his mouth and possess him to lie and misdirect the gang. The Stand users themselves are hiding out of sight, so Narancia has to figure out how to alert his friends that something is wrong. This is a strange episode that struggles to communicate some of its ideas through animation. The character is forced to lie, so Daiki Yamashita's performance is naturally at odds with Narancia's increasingly-contorted facial expressions, but the dissonance never quite falls into place the way I think it's supposed to. However, the messiness does contribute to what makes this episode endearing, and Clash teleporting into Narancia's tears to rub salt in the wound at his most frustrated moment is such a hilarious image. I've heard of drinking people's tears, but this is ridiculous!
This is a scenario that could easily frustrate me if they keep the comedy of errors going for too much longer, but the constantly escalating weirdness is keeping me glued to the screen nonetheless. It has piss jokes and some light body horror, so you know it's a fun romp for the whole family. Despite having turned a new page in our heroes' quest, not much has developed in terms of tone. The gang is still recklessly trigger-happy when it comes to beating up complete strangers, so I guess some things never change. These Good Boys are still also Very Bad Boys, and I hope that delicate balance never completely topples one way or the other. I'm mostly just curious if this fight is going to push the Narancia/Trish dynamic any further, since this conflict comes right as Naracia is realizing Trish might be considerably more resolute than him. The timing of this new challenge feels ripe for more exploration.
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