JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 36 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Well, there certainly is a lot of stuff happening in these final episodes. Whether that stuff is good or bad, I'm still not sure how to feel.
The name of the game is keeping the golden arrow out of Chariot Reqiuem's hands. Turtle-Polnareff has it, but we've got a multitude of additional problems stacking up, like how Chariot's body swapping is entering a new phase that mutates all the life around it into new shapes, and our heroes are living time bombs as a result. Likewise, the mystery of Diavolo's whereabouts finally becomes pertinent. The gang figures his soul must have transferred inside one of them, and they have to put the golden arrow problem on pause because the second any of them are within King Crimson's reach, they're doomed.
There's plenty of JoJo's weirdness making the rounds here, as the conflict shifts towards our heroes trying to understand the in-universe mechanics of souls. Giorno makes some interesting claims about how his body being empty enough to return to when Narancia died is proof that he's the only soul left in his body, and I'm glad the other characters chimed in with "Wait, why are we assuming that's how souls work?!" because I thought that was weird too. The suspense is super goofy for this whole scene, because they fake you out into thinking Diavolo had remained inside his own body this whole time, which is the least interesting place he could have ended up. It turns out he's actually slumming it in Mista's body with his daughter, so hopefully Trish can get at least a few good hits on him while she can.
The climax of this episode leads Diavolo back to the arrow, where he remarks that what makes Chariot Requiem special is how its shadow exists relative to the individual's perspective. I've been thoroughly warned that this final battle would be where Golden Wind comes off the rails, and while nothing's been as dramatically out-there as I anticipated, this scene is like crashing into a wall of incomprehensible gibberish. Somehow the shadow is the reason why Requiem can control people? And the way Diavolo conquers it is punching the back of his own head and destroying the symbolic "light" that casts the shadow? Oddly enough, King Crimson's powers themselves have been easy enough to follow (it's predicting a short period into the future and erasing people's memory of those few seconds, right?), but Requiem gets one big thinking emoji from me.
With so many pieces moving in this final battle, I wish I could say they were working together better than they actually are. Whether we're focusing on Diavolo or Chariot Requiem, the rules and stakes keep changing on a dime. The chaos doesn't feel like it's funneling to a specific point, it's just a bunch of semi-related ideas wrestling for the viewer's attention. The off-kilter strangeness of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure rarely manages to nail the Rube Goldberg plotting that Hirohiko Araki seems so inclined to tackle. This would be less of a problem if we weren't in the final stretch, where I was hoping the thematic richness of Golden Wind would still be at the wheel, but my favorite elements of this series haven't been present for a few episodes now.
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