JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
Episode 23

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 23 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?

The Stand-using baddies spearheading the Clash/Talking Head fight are Squalo and Tiziano, two members from Passione who are clearly supposed to be boyfriends. The show never outright says that, but they care a lot about each other, not to mention the constantly rubbing each other's chests and sitting inches away from smooching behavior. I'm far from the first person you should come to when evaluating the intrinsic queerness of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, but I think these guys might be gay for each other.

Last week's cliffhanger saw Giorno getting his throat chomped out by Clash, leaving a frazzled Narancia behind to solve the battle on his own. Tizanio can turn Talking Head's powers on and off, so communication with the rest of Team Bucciarati is still at the villains' whims. I wonder what would happen if Narancia willingly tried to lie. Would Talking Head make him say the truth? I don't think that possibility is ever brought up in this fight, so I assume the answer is "don't worry about it."

The basic mechanics of this fight are amusing enough, though Clash is the kind of Stand I don't think I'd enjoy much if it had gotten a fight all its own. The teleporting, size-changing, puddle-diving powers seem so scattershot in terms of theming, especially compared to Talking Head which has a singular hook. But the strength of this episode isn't in the minutia, it's in that incredibly bombastic ending. Narancia is the perfect kind of character for these blood baths, because he's so intensely apathetic about the harm he's causing himself. How do you save yourself from a Stand possessing your power of speech? Cut out your own tongue! When Narancia wants his enemies dead, he wants them D.E.A.D.

We're seeing a lot of that "resolve" concept being repeated throughout the show to varying success. For most of Team Bucciarati, it's a matter of how committed they are to the mission, but for Narancia it feels like more of a self-worth thing. It's scary yet a little exciting when he cuts loose, because there are some genuine anger issues being worked out, and ultimately he likes the friends who gave him a home way more than he likes himself. He'll cut his own tongue out and allow Clash to take a bite out of his neck, because he isn't intimidated by that kind of pain. You kind of start to feel bad for the villains by the end of this episode. They're ostensibly two lovers who didn't expect their plan to go so awry, and when they're backed into a corner, you can see how much they love each other. Even they have a breaking point where their relationship is more important than the boss's orders.

This is also Narancia's chance to start seeing Giorno as leader material, just as Mista did in the White Album fight. There's a pattern going on where Giorno continues to hang around as an ancillary figure in the more interesting characters' fights, and by virtue of being the main character, everybody's become increasingly amazed by his presence. I think the series wants Giorno's rise to power to feel cloaked, where the outside world will always see a newbie who can be underestimated, while he's secretly climbing up the criminal ladder through his new friends' hearts. The idea is neat, but in practice he feels weirdly inactive, like he's getting a lot of street cred just for standing around while everybody else does all the cool stuff.

Our next objective is the island of Sardinia, which must be accessed by plane. I'm curious where all the hubbub over the boss's identity is going to lead the story. The belief that we need to know about his past in order to defeat him is a really specific assumption that our heroes have been making, but I guess there wouldn't be much of a story if they didn't have a scent of some kind to follow.

Rating: B+

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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