Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is Next Level Insanity
by Nicholas Dupree & Andy Pfeiffer,
Part 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind has ramped up the shocking violence and nonsensical superpowers to previously unforeseen levels. This week, Nick and Andy weigh in on whether this runaway train of madness is an improvement or a derailment for such a beloved franchise.
Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work warning for language.
Nick Well Andy, it finally happened. After a full season of loving Golden Wind, we finally reached the point where all the discourse about it losing steam compared to other Jojo's Parts has finally come to pass.
I'm sorry Fugo, but you just don't have the same gravitas as a meme.
Andy To be fair, it's hard for Fugo to pull off anything with gravitas while cosplaying Slutty Business Casual Swiss Cheese. As for the rest of the story, I'm glad it's living up to the series' title (drop).
Yeah, regardless of what happens going forward, the rest of Part 5 has kicked insane amounts of ass. This second cour of Golden Wind has got to be the most buckwild streak of episodes in the franchise, and that includes the stuff where Joseph fought a vampire in space.
The Protect Trish/Hitman Team arc has been absolutely fantastic for weird-ass stand battles. The story may barely be moving because of it, but honestly this is what I'm here for. Part 3 introduced the concept and was fairly straightforward about Stands with a few notable exceptions (here's to you D'arby), and part 4 got very out there at times with a lot of weirder but relatively lower-stakes fights. Part 5 is turning out to be not just a marriage of the two, but a further evolution of the concept, with a healthy mixture of abstract superpowers and a lot more violence.
Like, a LOT more violence. You could rightfully call this part Jojo's Body Horror Adventure.
This is probably most evident in Stand abilities that are the same as ones from part 3, but used in completely new ways, like Iluso's Mirror Man compared to J. Geil's Hanged Man.
Or Ghiaccio taking a leaf out of Pet Shop's book with his White Album.
Meanwhile, even our heroes' stands have gotten more wild. Like Fugo's Purple Haze, which is as terrifying as its user's fashion sense is bad.
The rest of the team's Stands range from quirky to standard shonen power sets, but Purple Haze is just an oozing, screaming monster veiled in pure death. The good outcome of his battle still results in a dude straight-up melting to death.
I was very glad to learn that Araki also enjoys The Rock.
It's a wildly brutal power that we unfortunately may not get to see again. But that's jumping ahead in time and erasing it, so we're getting ahead of ourselves.
That's honestly alright with me. While it is one of my favorite Stands because of its horrendous Footballer/Jester/Tiny Cape design, along with it having a high likelihood of killing its own user, I think we could all use a little more time before seeing this again.
So instead let's talk about turtles!
I guess we can put "turtles" on the list of things more physically durable than Holly Kujo.
That list is getting real sad too. We're now at a bird, a dog, a turtle, and multiple babies.
By the time Part 6 hits, I imagine we'll be at microbes and and a quiche with Stands.
To be fair, it has since been clarified that Stands are more about mental strength than physical and oh my god that's actually worse.
And given how Jojo's is going, their Stands will somehow be MORE horrifying than the goddamn Grateful Dead.
I love Grateful Dead. It does one thing according to a very weird metric and works as a great setup to the entire train sequence. Never before have ice cubes been such an important piece of a life or death struggle.
It's a really smart ticking clock! Both sides have to fight over a limited resource, which makes the whole train fight tense yet able to shift momentum on a dime. And it even makes a plastic fishing rod intimidating.
The best part is seeing the themes of brotherhood and absolute faith in each other on full display. These characters, even when severely outmatched in number and power, find ways to build each other up and discover the resolve to win not just for themselves, but for each other.
It also sells Bruno as the indomitable leader that all the gang's flashbacks have painted him to be. The dude literally unzips his heart in a bid to beat the enemy with the most badass display of laziness ever.
Wait no, I was talking about the bad guys.
Okay, props to Prosciutto for managing to (literally) hang around as long as he did. That took both a ton of determination and a mythical amount of blood.
His only mistake was going up against someone that, as we learn later, had even more blood. (Oh god so much blood.)
For real, the Grateful Dead is probably my favorite just because of how ludicrous the fight becomes. We've got a dude wedged between a train's wheels, holding on out of sheer fuck-you-tude, while Bruno dismembers himself to hide from a penis-faced man's fatal fishing pole and the rest of the cast ages to death inside a turtle.
You're not gonna get this shit in any other shonen anime. Not even Hunter x Hunter.
You left out the part where Mista is barely conscious, bleeding out on the train floor, so that his bullet friend can continue holding an ice cube for Bruno.
Mista's been through so much this arc. Somebody save this pure dumb boy. Or at least buy him some kevlar.
Listen, he's got his stupid hat and a gun and nothing is gonna stand in his way. I love him. Especially since all his fights devolve into:
Step 1: Shoot person
Step 2: Oh no they're immune to being shot
Step 3: Guess I'll push them with bullets
Before we get to Mista's Xtreme Bullet Challenge, we do need to talk about the aforementioned baby stand and his proud foster dad.
Do we? Cause uuuugh is this my least favorite stand. Even if it does feature cute murder graphics.
Yeah, it's not great. At least the idea is suitably crazy. Melone fuses Bruno's blood with a host to create a learning AI-powered stand that exists entirely on its own. But the way it gets made is pretty uncomfortable, and not in the crazy ultraviolent way we associate with Jojo's.
It falls decidedly into the "He's a villain, so I'll show that by doing something really gross and creepy" side of Araki's writing, which I don't need. Stick to the dog murder, or better yet, general weirdness like being this mad about pronunciation.
That said, a Jojo fighting Basically Twitter is a pretty cool idea.
The Babyface fight is mostly an excuse to give Giorno a powerup, but on the flipside it gives him a healing power that opens us up to whole new avenues of injury for our heroes to endure, so I'll take it. Also it gave me this *chef's kiss* image.
I don't think Araki knows how piranhas work and I am so thankful for that. Also, while I usually prefer the rest of the gang's fight scenes, Giorno's sense of logic continues to be amazing both in and out of combat.
I guess this is as good a place as any to mention that Giorno's powers make no god damn sense. And I am here for it.
His fight with Babyface Jr. teaches him to be even more bullshit than ever before. He's certainly no Josuke, but his new "healing" method is certainly memorable. Just ask Mista.
Crazy Diamond was too clean and easy, obviously. Giorno's healing power has to be just like, shoving new body parts into his friends like it's reverse-Operation.
"Reverse-Operation" just made my whole body cringe, so thanks for that. Please protect Narancia's virgin eyes.
I'm literally living in fear of when Giorno eventually dies, whether it be in combat or old age or whatever, and suddenly a bunch of people turn into the most horrifying Mr. Potato Heads.
It's their own fault if you think about it. If Mista didn't want to be a human jigsaw puzzle, then he shouldn't have done, well, everything he did against White Album.
I disagree because he absolutely should've done this no matter what. Araki, please make part 9 about extreme sports.
There's an entire pantheon of skate punk songs he could reference too! Gimme [ALL THE SMALL THINGS]! Anyway, White Album's a deceptively simple power compared to a lot of the other stands, but it's a suitable opponent for the equally simple Mista, whose defining strength isn't his cleverness or versatility, but his ability to charge in headfirst with absolutely no plan and just believe that it'll work out.
It's also a damn visual treat, since ice is a solid concept he can shoot against, unlike aging or a spiritual fishing line. This is the full Roger Rabbit bullet experience I wanted ever since he was introduced.
It's wild, and the only downside is that the end of the fight means we won't get anymore Italian Bakugo. Dear Anime: never stop paying Nobuhiko Okamoto to scream like a madman.
The White Album fight is fast and wild, and I like that it sees Mista and Giorno genuinely bonding, since they haven't had much time together. We've gotten a sense of camaraderie with the rest of Bruno's Funky Bunch, but Giorno's been the odd man out for much of that time.
Mista works well for that, because he's very straightforward and trusting Giorno came naturally to him. Other members of the team will take a bit more to win over.
God bless Abbacchio. The dude loses a hand and his first thought is "shit, now I can't punch Giorno Giovanna, who I hate".
We've come a long way since then, though. Now Giorno can give him a new hand made out of spaghetti to slap him with!
But we can't have spaghetti right now, since Bruno spilled all the tomato sauce.
Damn it, Bruno. Do you have any idea how long it's gonna take to get those stains out of white fabric?
Don't worry, the gang's new friend will make it feel like it didn't take any time at all!
The mission to discover the boss' identity is going badly, but at least they've learned of his stand, [OXY CLEAN].
Scrubs out everything! Even family ties!
What makes this moment all the more gruesome is that it comes right on the heels of the most emotionally vulnerable moment in possibly all of Jojo's.
Girl just wants some assurance that things are gonna be okay after her entire life has turned into a murder circus.
It's this simple, quiet bit of empathy between characters who haven't had much time together, but just knowing how Bruno's treated the rest of his gang assures you that he cares about Trish regardless. And then a literal two-faced monster shows up and tears it all to hell.
We still don't know who the boss is, but we do know he quickly propelled himself into the top echelons of bad anime dads. His paranoia runs so deep that this entire thing was a setup to verify his daughter's death by killing her himself. It's fitting that by doing so instead of simply ordering to have her offed, he ended up forging the bonds that protect her from him.
Our mysterious villain cements himself as the perfect antagonist for Golden Wind's cast. Everyone in this show has been spurned and exploited and abused by those in power, and their entire reason for joining the mob was to exercise some kind of justice in a broken system. And here's King fuckin' Crimson using all that hope and trust as a means to kill a teenager and protect his own ass.
Even before Bruno's flashback, you can tell exactly why he's so completely pissed.
Speaking of the boss' ass: "I was going to protect my identity but curses, the clap of my thicc buttcheeks has alerted Giorno!"
Listen, the only talk about his ass I wanna hear is about Bruno and friends kicking it. Sadly, that's gonna take a while because whoops, the show's only half over so we can't beat our Dio just yet. But at least Bruno gets in a decent taunt before he BAMFs out.
Boy does The Boss want to be Dio.
Gotta hand it to Araki for making basically the same power as The World, but somehow way more complicated to explain in a sentence.
Thankfully, the endcard has a nice summary for us.
It's definitely a case of trying not to overthink it, much like Giorno's own ability. They'll do some weird things in the moment and we'll just learn to roll with it. Speaking of Giorno doing weird things, you wanna fill me in on Bruno's current sitch?Because I think we've got a case of a hollow calzone here.
Okay, just because I like one or two zombie-fucking shows doesn't mean I can explain everything about the undead. But yeah, even Giorno doesn't seem to understand how he's managed to Lazarus up Bruno, and now that they're busy trying to get out of town, there's not really much time to dwell on it.
Their rushed escape is probably the single clearest example of JJBA's pacing issues. At least during fights, the time dilation for exposition or internal monologue feel somewhat natural, but the pier scene is supposed to be both rushed and emotional and it just drags. In the end, the only unexpected result is that this dumb one stays behind.
Yeah, the scene is kind of awkward since they're supposed to be fleeing the most powerful mob boss in Italy, but then they take their sweet time hashing out their feelings. Still, it's a good reminder of how and why these guys came to be where they are. Plus I couldn't help but feel proud of Narancia's tiny stupid heart stumbling into empathy for the first time.
If even this boy can learn it, then there's still hope for all of us.
But yeah, Fugo's departure is both novel and frustrating. It's novel because you always expect this type of plot device to end with everyone joining together through the power of friendship. It's frustrating because it's so obviously a way to avoid having to make another Purple Haze fight.
It's the type of setup that's begging for a dramatic return to the group, but in the end it really feels like a case of Araki not knowing what the hell to do with Purple Haze.
The answer is, of course, to let him melt some boys. For real, Fugo's fashion disaster status notwithstanding, there was a ton of interesting stuff for his character in that Mirror fight that feels like it's never gonna get explored now, which is pretty lame. I'm still excited to see what comes next for Golden Wind, but now I gotta keep hoping it won't involve just writing off characters because you don't want to try with them anymore.
I fully understand when people tell me this is their favorite arc, but personally it's things like this that keep it from being my own. There's more potential in Golden Wind than a lot of the others, but that also means there's many times it doesn't live up to it. I can't wait to see the Boss's Elite Guard in action and how our gang manages to finally topple the Crimson King, but its emotional level will always be tarred by this simple act of writing Fugo out.
It's disappointing, but honestly it's also the first time I've felt Jojo's had the capacity to disappoint me. I sleepwalked through the latter half of Stardust and only got into a couple of the big fights in DiU, but Golden Wind has managed to give me expectations for emotional investment, which counts for a lot with me.
So I say bring it on! Part 5's already given me way more than I ever expected, speedbumps and all, and I'm hooked to see what I'm sure will be either a stunningly insane finale battle against King Crimson, or something like this.
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