JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 27 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
I've been fairly certain for a while that I'm going to end up in the "Part 5 is the best JoJo's" camp when all is said and done. I do have a soft spot for Part 4, and I've been cautiously ready for this season to shift its weight too far into weirdness for its own sake sooner or later, but Golden Wind just knows how to shine when it counts. Last week kicked off the fight between Doppio and Risotto, and this week's conclusion is an immediate highlight of the series, perfectly representing the kind of delightful ugliness that gets under my skin in the best way possible.
This is the rare Stand battle that doesn't involve Team Bucciarati at all (at least not until the very end—but even then they're not deliberately participating), and instead focuses on two of our major antagonists violently hashing out their beef. Motivations are fast and loose; Doppio is just following his boss's orders and Risotto doesn't have much of a story beyond having outgrown Passione, and yet there are still layers of character keeping the fight interesting. We're forced to wonder where Doppio ends and the boss begins. Risotto has a more difficult challenge in front of him depending on how quickly Doppio can learn, and he appears to do surprisingly well until the boss just steps in and wins the fight for himself. Both Risotto and the boss are men of experience, equally skilled in keeping their presence unknown to the world around them. When the boss wins, there's a chilling sentiment of "you never actually stood a chance" that makes Risotto's demise all the more tragic.
Backing up to the details of the fight itself, Risotto's Stand is 'Metallica,' and he has the ability to manipulate the iron in people's blood, which was how he was able to summon those razor blades from the inside of Doppio's face last week. The razors may have been nasty, but they've got nothing on the scissors scene from this week, where Doppio has to pull a full sized pair out of his neck in gruesomely animated detail. It's cringe-inducingly gory, but in a hot-blooded visceral way that really turns my crank. (Maybe I'm just weird like that.) Metallica also allows Risotto to cover his whole body in a reflective iron powder of camouflage, which is why he made for a perfect assassin.
Meanwhile, Doppio can use King Crimson well enough to let him see slightly into the future. His hair floofs upward to work as a projector screen for the audience, though it's a little silly that his clairvoyance can be so easily impacted by the magical dark art of camera angles. Several times we're shown snapshots of the future that imply Doppio's about to get hurt, but then it turns out he just saw himself winning.
This is a great-looking episode from beginning to end. JoJo's character designs have been gradually becoming more lithe as the franchise goes on, and it's fascinating to see how that impacts the series' famous "JoJo posing". An episode like this is an opportunity to take that flamboyant idiosyncrasy and make it intrinsic to the art's expression. These men are drawn so beautiful and attractive as they gnash each other's guts out like pigs, and the downright fetishistic violence becomes part of the episode's impact. There's so much warmth radiating from the little details, like the meticulously animated body language and Doppio's blindingly pink hair, that I almost forget to even notice the blood and gore.
By momentarily breaking away from our heroes, this episode gets to feel fresh and unique, but by focusing on the villains, it cuts to the heart of what makes Golden Wind stand out compared to its predecessors. This show works so perfectly as a "Shonen Jump crime drama," where our ultimate destination is a gospel about humanity's potential for good, but in the meantime we're taking a step back and doing what crime stories do best, which is taking the chance to observe terrible people for no other reason than because they can be so interesting. Things are heating up in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
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