So the fake banana in Smash Bros. Ultimate… is a JoJo reference?!
Picking up from last week, the extinguishing of Polpo’s lighter forces Giorno into a conflict with his Stand, Black Sabbath, which manages to forcibly grab Gold Experience and prep an attack with the Arrow. He manages to retaliate and overclock Sabbath’s consciousness, but it vanishes out of sight as it hits the ground. Giorno keeps his eyes out but is ambushed again by Sabbath, eventually coming to the realization that its powers are rooted in shadows, being able to warp between shadows while being unable to travel in light. The fight is interrupted by Koichi, who believes that Giorno is responsible for killing the elderly janitor, but he finds himself ambushed by Black Sabbath during this confrontation. Giorno saves him by transforming the stair railing into morning glories and exposing the enemy Stand to sunlight, forcing it back into shadowy terrain away from them.
With a bit of breathing room now, Koichi interrogates Giorno further about the fight, recognizing the Arrow from the events in Morioh. The two finally manage to come to an understanding over the situation and team up to finish off their opponent. They make an attempt to lure Black Sabbath into the shadows of a moveable object that they can then move away to expose it to sunlight, but then Giorno’s ambushed from the shadow of a tree, as it jumped there from the shadows of nearby crows. Koichi uses Echoes Act 3 to crush Black Sabbath’s hands and force it to let Giorno go, but the Stand is gripped tightly around his legs. Giorno tells him to continue using his power, which eventually breaks the ground beneath him, allowing Gold Experience to age the tree whose shadow houses Black Sabbath until it dissolves out of existence, vaporizing the enemy once and for all.
The next day, Giorno visits Polpo in his cell with the lighter still intact. The still-intimidating figure observes the results of this test and, despite a seeming skepticism of our hero, grants him a pin signifying his official new member status of Passione. He goes off to meet with Bruno and confirms his admission into the gang as the two go off to meet the other members of his team. Koichi decides to leave Giorno alone as he seems to have a good heart, heading out of Italy to meet back up with Jotaro, and Polpo continues to gorge himself on food in his cell… until he picks a wrong banana that turns into a gun and kills him: just a nice parting gift from our hero.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of action storytelling for me is when thematic story and character elements line up neatly with the actual technical flow of the action in question. What makes the battle against Black Sabbath an exceptional example of a well-crafted fight is its heavy focus on light and dark, both in the mechanics and in Giorno’s character. The enemy Stand’s major mechanics are explored rather fully, emphasizes right from the start as the first shot we get after the “last time on” recap is a shot of the sun panning down to Sabbath’s shadowy presence. We’re also given several shots of the crows throughout the fight, some of which are rather innocuous before the eventual reveal of their purpose in the fight. It actually bears a bit of a resemblance to the abilities of J. Geil in Stardust Crusaders, trading in light reflections for shadowy spaces. The visuals heavily emphasize the sunset, as some scenes tend to fill up with a warbled lens flare-heavy haze as the fight goes on.
The contrast of light and dark also comes into place during a major moment of character resolve in the fight once Koichi confronts Giorno about the arrow. Our hero openly admits to his complicated moral nature, taking up the questionable act of gangster pursuits to use that status for morally just reasons. For someone whose power is about imbuing things with life, it’s interesting to see Giorno admit that he was responsible for the loss of an innocent life. Elements like these blend together flawlessly, which makes the endless reversals and fake-outs of the fight so much more engaging to watch. Black Sabbath’s animations are also well-done here, as it possesses a great degree of unnerving fluid movement as it fades in and out of the shadows, and its moments of pained agony upon exposure to sunlight are emphasized in a much more intense fashion here than in the manga.
Speaking of the manga, there are a few plot details shuffled around that actually benefit the flow of the narrative quite well. In the original story, the scene of Koichi thinking about the Joestars and their lineage occurs between the end of the main fight and the meeting with Polpo. The adaptation switches this around to afterwards, which works better as a proper end to this chunk of events since it doesn’t interrupt the Polpo conflict. It helps keep the pacing and tension consistent, emphasizing the two types of conflicts that occur throughout the series: the physical conflict with the Stands themselves and the tense mind games played between the actual Stand users. The theme of moral gray areas are painted in a really sinister way as Polpo’s interrogation of Giorno heavily invokes God while speaking of his wishes for trust, explicitly stating his belief that God would forgive his murders because he was wronged. This makes the final reversal with the banana pretty cathartic and satisfying, although the manga maybe handled this a bit better through its framing. The anime gives the game away a bit early by explicitly showing Giorno and Gold Experience’s hands reaching towards the fridge in his cell, whereas the manga framed this shot a bit more ambiguously with the pin, fridge, and hand in view.
Overall, this was a really good conclusion to a great fight that shows off some fantastic animation, strategy, and great use of themes at play. Next week, we’ll finally get to meet the other members of Passione, which is where things will get really interesting.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday at 1:05 PM and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.