I would have had this review up earlier, but it took me 5 days to figure out how to spell coliseum right. …wait, it’s “colosseum” isn’t it?
Picking up from last time, our heroes are in a mad dash to track down the boss using the death mask Abbacchio left behind. As Mista and Narancia survey the area, Bucciarati, Giorno, and Trish are checking any police record they can find to pin down a lead on the boss. In the middle of their search, a mysterious voice suddenly emerges from the laptop to communicate with our heroes. The voice reveals some startling information: the gang is really close to finding the boss’s location, and he even tells them their enemy’s actual name… Diavolo. Bucciarati is skeptical of this mystery individual, but after he reveals his knowledge of King Crimson’s time skip, he decides to hear him out. During their conversation, he reveals that the key to defeating Diavolo lies within the Bow and Arrow, which he can give to them if they meet with him within the Roman Colosseum. While this is happening, Doppio receives another “call” from Diavolo, who suspects that the group has actually found something to track him down with. He advises bringing in a particular duo of assassins, Cioccolata and Secco, to impede the progress of our heroes and take them out.
As Mista and Narancia make their way to the coast of Rome, the mysterious voice on the computer goes into great depth about the history of the Bow and Arrow. In 1978, a team of explorers searching for resources in Cape York, Greenland came across the site of a meteor crash from tens of thousands of years ago. Two men in particular contracted a mysterious illness and shortly died from it, but not before exhibiting strange powers and mutations. As it turns out, the virus on the meteor had the ability to unleash powerful abilities within anyone who had the willpower to do so. Centuries prior, a man seeking the power of god crafted the Arrows from the meteorite to infuse these powers within himself and others. With all of this information in hand, Bucciarati decides that the group is to meet with their mysterious new confidant at the colosseum.
As the gang arrives off the coast of Rome, they witness a couple of rowdy drunk assholes making a scene. Mista and Narancia decide to wait until they sneak past them and steal a car to the colosseum, but unfortunately one of the drunks is suddenly bisected at the waist by some sort of mossy algae, eventually killing them both. Mista prepares to attack, but some of the moss emerges on his hands. As it turns out, Cioccolata and Secco are already on the scene causing trouble for our heroes. Diavolo and Doppio are hoping the duo will eliminate our heroes without finding out anything about the boss, with the two of them flying out to Rome to clean up afterwards. Back at the coast, Narancia attempts to survey the environment and notices the mold has spread through the entire surrounding populace, eventually infecting himself as he jumps back into the boat and subsequently infecting the turtle and everyone within. After a little bit of experimentation and analysis, Mista is soon able to piece together the nature of the situation: Cioccolatta’s Stand, Green Day, operates based on the relative position of its targets. Anyone who is geographically below his location is immediately hit with the Stand’s effects, and each subsequent victim enhances its range. Thinking quickly, Narancia tosses the turtle to Mista as he uses Sex Pistols to blow up the motorboat, generating an explosion that sends him to higher ground, free of Green Day’s control.
So we’re beginning the path to the endgame of the arc, and this episode immediately introduces curveballs into the overarching plot. Most of this emerges from the conversation with the mystery man through the laptop, which delves surprisingly deep into the backstory of the Bow and Arrow. Whoever this man is knows quite a lot about Stands and where they come from, and the sequence of the conversation/backstory is really well-presented. The film sprocket borders and usage of sepia-tone filters add quite a bit to the disturbing imagery of the men infected by the virus, although I have to ask: what the hell kind of tomato sauce is laptop man eating? The visuals shifting between the expository film reels and the shifting digital imagery of the laptop screen keep the exposition quite engaging… although I do have a bit of a bone to pick with the content of the backstory. As someone who’s read the manga quite a bit, I have to be honest and say this was one of the most underwhelming plot points in the entire series. With something as wild and out there as the concept of Stands, the level of detail put into the explanation of their origins kind of robs them of something special. The series could have been content with just leaving it at “there’s this weird arrow that creates Stands in its victims sometimes,” but to take this bizarre and unique idea and reduce it to the anime equivalent of midichlorians in the Star Wars universe is an unnecessary bit of exposition. I will say that I did appreciate the little throwback to the Stardust Crusaders heroes (wink) along with the brief musical accompaniment from that arc.
Conversely, everything surrounding the enemy duo of Cioccolata and Secco works stunningly well on all fronts from the visual presentation to the horrific character work. As we learn through flashbacks, Cioccolata has a history of working in the medical industry, having assisted with elder care at age 14 and later becoming a surgeon. However, his treatment of patients and the elderly bordered on pure unfiltered sadism. He would constantly torture and manipulate elder people, feeding them toxic food and drugs in an effort to kill them. On top of that, he would often tell them emotionally and psychologically destructive things in order to drive them to suicide, filming their death faces and keeping a video collection for his own use. His career as a doctor was just as barbaric, often misdiagnosing healthy patients in order to trick them into surgery where he would reduce the anesthesia during the procedures, forcing them to wake up and experience every single knife cut into their body. He was eventually fired for medical malpractice and linked up with Passione, where he teamed up with Secco, who was one of his only patients to survive his torturous procedures and formed a strange bond with him.
There’s an intense sadistic glee with how the episode portrays Cioccolata’s murderous instincts, going as over the top as possible in the various aspects of the production. Naturally, his character design is quite intimidating, considering the malicious toothy grin he puts on and his off-putting hair that looks like a juggalo version of Coolio. The shot composition in his flashbacks always pull in up close to his face to an intentionally uncomfortable degree, fully imprinting his murderous instincts onto the viewer. The visual filters here have a very grimy aesthetic to them as well which, oddly enough, call to mind the torture porn motifs of the Saw series while predating them by a great degree. With the pieces in place for a solid battle, I’m looking forward to where things go next week.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.