JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 8 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ?
As expected, Golden Wind had Guido Mista's backstory waiting in the wings for us, much like Abbacchio's story from a few weeks ago. Young Mista looked a lot like Phoenix Wright's dad-phase, and he lived a carefree life (while always conspicuously lifting up his shirt to show his abs) until the day he tried to stop a sexual assault, and a series of point blank shots from the assailants missed him. He took this as an act of fate, killed the men, and joined the same path of noble crime as the rest of our heroes. While I don't think this flashback quite carries the same sympathy as Abbacchio's, I'm pleasantly surprised by how quickly the show is addressing the members of Giorno's new gang. When they were first introduced, I felt like they may as well have been nobodies, but now it's clear that their goals and personalities were far better defined than I was ready to give them credit for.
We're raging on with Part Two of Mista's Bizarre Adventure, as we chase down Mario Zucchero's partner, Sale. The episode is pretty much the movie Speed, with the action taking place on top of a truck going up a winding mountain, complete with an exacerbated driver who can't catch a break from either our hero or villain. Sale's Stand is Kraft Work, and its ability is to freeze objects in place, so his opponent's hand might get stuck to an object, or a bullet might get trapped in midair. There's something amusing about the immediacy of gunplay being subverted by a guy slowly tapping a suspended bullet while monologuing about how it's going to shoot his nemesis eventually.
With Mista's backstory now covered, it makes thematic sense why the Sex Pistols would skip the Number 4 due to bad luck. I just chalked that up to being a one-off character quirk, but everything about Mista is defined by chance and luck. A huge chunk of this episode's suspense comes from that superstition, with the darkest hour coming when he has four shots left in his revolver. If you were thinking logically, then of course you would think four meant he was better off than three, but the show stops you and says, "But four is bad news." You kind of just have to roll with it.
The Speed comparison really gets my imagination going about how JoJo's would fare in live-action (sacrilege, I know), especially now that the series' cast consists of more normally-proportioned adult men. I just love the melodrama that gets strung out of the same elements you might see in an action movie. Nothing in Hollywood is this weird or this exciting. I was kicking with glee when Mista finally gets that last shot off and pushes an already lodged bullet further into Sale's brain. There's that moment of suspense when you're just waiting for the bad guy to fall off his feet and die. It's the staging that really gets me over any of the animation-specific oddities.
So far it seems as though I'm just going to like everything Golden Wind does. The thrills have been astonishingly reliable, and even the aspects I was ready to brush off, like most of the Passione gang, have really come through. There's still some incoherent nonsense to sort through and understand, but everything's been so punchy and entertaining that I'm definitely still along for the ride. Maybe all these fight episodes will blur together as we get further into the season, but so far I'm having a blast.
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