JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 33 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
The boss has spent the entirety of Golden Wind up until this point trying to maintain his anonymity. Even to the audience, his true appearance has remained a mystery, despite glimpsing traces of presence like his voice, his "death mask", his shape-shifting alter ego, and so on. We even got his real name a few episodes ago, but "the boss" still felt like the right thing to call him. This week, Diavolo finally steps out of the shadows in a meaningful way, revealing a character design far removed from the slick gangster we were led to imagine. His hair is long and covered in black spots, he's tatted up and shirtless aside from that weird spider web fishnet thing he's got going on. He doesn't look out of place in the JoJo's rogue's gallery, but it's crazy how long I figured he was going to look more like Giovanni from Pokémon or something.
Much happens to lead us to this point, as Bruno must make his way to the rendezvous with Polnareff before he can finally cross over to the other side. He can't hear or see anything, and his body's going numb. All he can recognize are other people's souls, and because of this, Doppio and Diavolo take on Trish's shape in his mind. There's something kind of sad about that, after we've come so far to pull Trish away from her father's grasp, but they still share a lingering connection on the spiritual plane. Normally, Diavolo would have just had Doppio kill Bruno while he had the chance, but he decides instead to trick Bruno in the hopes of snuffing out whatever weakness Team Bucciarati thinks they've found.
Such is the cruelty of JoJo's, but Polnareff's triumphant return quickly turns into his last stand. Again, something doesn't sit right with me about revisiting old characters and themes in a season that's done so well without them, but it's hard not to love ole Pol', and it's sad to see him in such a damaged state. This is Golden Wind's attempt to connect the story between Parts 3-5, explaining how Jotaro and Polnareff went to investigate the Stand-making arrows, which led to Polnareff losing his limbs at Diavolo's hand. A few birds are killed with one stone as the show fleshes out the lore of the arrows, gives us a final moment to spend with a beloved character, and demonstrates Diavolo's frightening power.
Golden Wind's central conflict has been a sophisticated mess, and I mean that in a good way. Our heroes have crossed paths with the main villain on several occasions now, and both sides have laid delicate plans that could go awry at any moment. Diavolo is incredibly manipulative and operates entirely in secret, but he's been put in extreme circumstances one after another, each threatening to destroy his intricate balancing act. At the heart of his conniving nature is simple paranoia, and the worst thing that could happen to our heroes at this stage of the game is to learn that being cornered only makes him more powerful. What will Diavolo be like when he has nothing to lose?
Polnareff has learned a few tricks for fighting King Crimson, but ultimately he perishes. The cliffhanger of this episode is a real head-scratcher, appearing as though a mysterious new figure has appeared to help Giorno and the gang in Polnareff's absence. Overall, there's a nice chilling atmosphere to this episode. Our protagonists must continue to be careful and observe their surroundings to keep track of Diavolo's time-erasing powers, and that attentiveness exists in tandem with sadness as we slowly lose Bruno and Polnareff. The search for the boss's identity is over, but the fight to expose his weakness and ensure our friends' deaths weren't in vain continues to be as intense as ever.
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