JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 35 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
While our heroes were distracted with the unexpected body-swapping, Diavolo has started killing from the shadows again. We've already established that characters keep their Stands regardless of whose body they're in, so wherever Diavolo goes, King Crimson goes too. My suspicion that Doppio was going to factor into the body-swapping turned out to be true, as Bruno ended up in Diavolo's body while Doppio moved to what's left of Bruno. Whoever Diavolo has swapped with remains a mystery, and whether there's a second soul sharing space with Bruno has been left unaddressed. Ironically, Diavolo has regained his anonymity. He could return to a life of hiding even more easily than before, and because of that he's starting to feel much like Part Four's Kira. JoJo villains all have time powers, and now they all must assume another identity at some point.
We're in the final battle now, so things were bound to take a turn toward tragedy. I'm just sad that my boy Narancia had to be the next to go. The ensuing imagery is powerful, with Narancia (in Giorno's body) getting impaled through multiple bars of a gate in a new lurid take on crucifixion. As far as pure aesthetic goes, this death is a rare sensory experience, effective on an emotionally distant level in a way that feels more delicate and graceful than visceral. The initial impalement looks like a renaissance painting, and Narancia's body is left behind encased in vines and flowers as the gang leaves to hunt down Chariot Requiem. Narratively, this whole sequence has me scratching my head over the body-swapping twist more than ever. Narancia died inside of Giorno's body and Gold Experience was able to heal his wounds, but not in time to save our friend. Then Giorno's corpse being an empty vessel then means that Giorno can move his soul back into it because...? Thematically, I could see some ideas being drawn about how our heroes are sharing each other's pain, but in execution I don't think I'm feeling it. The body-swapping was already pretty goofy and contrived, and now it feels like we're walking it back with Giorno returning to his original form so soon.
The sun is rising, so it's time to grab hold of that golden arrow as soon as possible. I love how Rome's morning sky is illustrated; it reminds me of Morioh's art style. I wish the gang showed a little more concern for where Diavolo could have escaped to, because right now Chariot Requiem feels more like the real antagonist. Your friend just died! And his killer might strike again! Getting the arrow out of Chariot's hand isn't too difficult on its own, but a problem arises with Stand-users being unable to pick it up. Since Polnareff isn't technically a Stand-user anymore, he's our last hope, but he's also a turtle with very little strength, so it's a race against time to prick Team Bucciarati's Stands before Chariot grabs the arrow again.
This episode has an extremely interesting tone, but it doesn't quite stick the landing for me. I applaud the soul-stirring texture behind Narancia's death, but I think it disrupts the pacing of the finale in several key ways. I'm too focused on wondering why these characters are behaving the way that they are, and I can feel myself emotionally de-syncing from the story. I hope this body-swapping subplot has at least one really good hook left to properly pay itself off.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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