JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 34 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Heads up, y'all. I'm starting a petition to get JoJo's Villain Interrupts the Opening Credits Day recognized as a national holiday. Who's with me?
That said, I'm honestly disappointed that Diavolo's disruption of 'Uragirimono no Requiem' is so similar to Dio's (literal!) showstopper in Part Three. I figured the only way to capitalize on King Crimson's gimmick would be to make the opening shorter, but maybe that's a dumb idea. They actually went with something based around the original untouched opening, which has a scene featuring blood drops to visualize time skipping forward, and now the new version of the opening shows that lost time from Diavolo's perspective, along with some Italian poetry and some new Diavolo/Doppio transformation animation.
The following episode features an unexpected change in direction for the climax of Golden Wind, where Team Bucciarati wakes up to find themselves in a Freaky Friday spinoff. Giorno has swapped bodies with Narancia, and Mista has swapped bodies with Trish. As a result, this is by far the most expressive we've ever seen Trish, distraught to discover that she's now—*gasp*—an ugly, smelly man. She's bizarrely mean to Mista in this situation, who is a very good boy and doesn't deserve any of this. Rather than swapping the voice cast around, the show decides each voice actor should stay with their characters' bodies, so we get to hear the different actors mimicking each other's cadence. It isn't always easy to keep track of who is who, but this twist offers some added fun to the performances. Kensho Ono's Narancia impression is especially wonderful.
The body swapping itself isn't that weird by JoJo's standards, but its placement in the story certainly is. I could easily imagine this happening in an earlier fight where the stakes aren't as high, but I don't know what else to do other than just roll with it at this point. It's a curious double-edged sword of an idea, because it softens up an otherwise dark and ominous final battle, but I see potential for this to work in the story's favor. One of the main points of intrigue comes from trying to figure out who the rest of the characters swapped with. We eventually discover that Polnareff has swapped bodies with Coco Jumbo the turtle, but what about Bruno and Diavolo? Bruno's decaying body isn't exactly up to housing anyone, and Trish doesn't sense her father's soul radiating from his body. The cliffhanger of the episode reveals that Bruno's personality is inside Diavolo, but that only makes the problem weirder. The reminder that Doppio and Diavolo are technically two separate characters also seems relevant.
The wind is completely out of Diavolo's sails for the time being. He's lost control, and our heroes' primary concern is no longer him but Polnareff's rogue Stand, which is now going by the name 'Chariot Requiem.' There's a lot of backstory here about how the golden arrow can make a person's Stand more powerful, which helps makes Kira's Bites the Dust from Part Four seem less out of nowhere. More dramatically, it can give a Stand the ability to control other people's minds, thus the body swapping. Diavolo getting lost in the shuffle as new challenges arise is the part I've got my eye on most. Is this a momentary upset to give our gang a chance to understand more about the arrow, or is there a thematic angle to this, meant to make our big bad feel much smaller than we were led to imagine? The threat of the golden arrow is something that unites the entire cast, including the villain, allowing the finale to be more about our heroes' relationships with each other than them simply defeating the bad guy.
I'm playing along with this turn of events so far, though it's far from how I imagined this climactic battle progressing. There's plenty of fun irreverent humor in seeing the gang react to whichever body parts they do or don't have, and the episode ended with me on the edge of my seat, hungry for more. The trade-off is that I wouldn't call this a particularly mind-blowing episode. This kind of misadventure feels so slight in nature considering how far we are into the series, so it's going to depend heavily on what happens from this point forward.
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