JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 37 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
Alright, this is it. For all intents and purposes, this is the climax of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. From the sound of things, there will be a one-hour finale send-off in a few weeks and there remains a tiny bit of the final battle left to show after this week's cliffhanger, but in terms of emotional punch this week's episode feels like a resolution.
For starters, we must finally say goodbye to Bruno, who ascends to heaven like the cherub angel baby that he is. The stylized clouds do a ton of work in conveying the otherworldly sensation that comes with this scene, and the solid gold that force-ghost Bruno radiates makes him pop from the background in a way that's distinct even by JoJo's standards. This scene makes me wish there had been a little bit more bonding between Bruno and Giorno throughout the show. Most of their personal connection happened nonverbally to keep Giorno's mob boss ambitions a secret from the rest of the team. Abbacchio's death had a really clear poetry to it that spoke to his personality and inner-conflict, but each successive death has resonated slightly less with me. They're more tragic inevitabilities that barely scratch the surface of what their respective characters have been through. Bruno's death is very "Thanks, Dad."
With Chariot Requiem defeated by Bruno's final actions (again, I don't really understand the back-of-the-head light thing) the battle refocuses on the golden arrow and getting to see who upgrades their Stand next. Diavolo is rejected by the arrow and Giorno is the one whose hand it ends up in. There's an interesting beat here where Diavolo plans to retreat, but because Trish calls him out for it he decides to stay and finish the fight despite having clearly lost. This gives Diavolo a brief glimpse of hope when it looks like the arrow is rejecting Giorno as well, but in actuality Gold Experience is going through a metamorphosis and becoming Gold Experience Requiem. Giorno's hair grows longer and he can hover off the ground with his new Stand, so he looks like the halfway point between a godlike being and a Super Saiyan. This is a Shonen Jump manga after all.
The arms race of confusing Stand powers has reached its natural conclusion, where the heroes and villains are at the furthest points in their stories and the author likely doesn't have to write serious challenges for them to overcome anymore. What does Gold Experience Requiem do? Whatever it needs to in order to give the middle finger to Diavolo specifically. There's some time rewinding to repair King Crimson's erased time, and Requiem will always stand between Giorno and whatever premonition Diavolo sees. If a character must operate in another dimension of space and time in order to defy conventional logic, then the way to beat him is to operate in the dimension beyond that.
As formless and unyielding as this final conflict has been, it's too visually interesting for me not to concede to it in the end. I'm certainly going to remember Bruno's ascension and Diavolo's panicked demise for years to come, though hopefully that upcoming one-hour finale can offer some balance after everything that's left me scratching my head. JoJo's is a special series in that it has such a clear personality and soul beneath all the weirdness, and it validates my belief that an audience will be rewarded if they open their hearts to all kinds of possibilities within storytelling. The way Golden Wind has balanced the love between its characters and the dark fascinations of its author really put it a step above the rest of the franchise for me, though I think back to how much I loved the end of Diamond is Unbreakable and I've yet to feel anything like that in this final stretch so far. As of right now, Part Five is still ending strong, but the flicker in its eyes is hardly the bonfire I once saw.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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