Well I hope Rome has a hefty budget for infrastructure projects.
Having escaped to a nearby coffee shop, Bucciarati tries to catch his breath and figure out what to do about Secco, but his enemy manages to catch up to him. Suddenly, he’s distracted by the cries of the public, who seem to have recovered from the effects of Green Day’s mold. Secco pulls out his phone and listens to the other message Cioccolata left for him, confirm that he is indeed dead, but rather than emotional devastation, Secco is smugly dismissive at what he perceives to be weakness in his former ally. Having been informed of our heroes’ destination of the colosseum, Secco dashes ahead, but Bucciarati tries to take him out with a street sign, to no avail. As they continue to exchange blows, Secco notices the lack of blood from Bucciarati and a glint from the colosseum that is the mystery confidant spying on them. The fight continues as Bucciarati uses Sticky Fingers to zip into the ground, with Secco observing that he’s trying to get ahead of him to the colosseum. Unfortunately this seems ill-advised given the nature of Oasis’ powers, and he immediately gives chase.
Secco has an advantage here: he has very perceptive hearing underground, allowing him to track Bucciarati’s location down to the meter. He closes in on his target, only to come up near a water pipe that Bucciarati busted open to cover his tracks. Thinking on his feet, Secco then surfaces and begins swallowing the muddy ground around him and spitting it back up in the air. As the mud leaves his vicinity, the chunks turn into sharp spears that pierce through the floor and begin pummeling Bucciarati, forcing him to be stuck in place. Meanwhile, the man in the wheelchair begins pondering the circumstances of the situation and wondering if our heroes will make it to him unscathed, and after an extremely specific flashback to 12 years ago, we learn that the mystery confidant… is Jean Pierre Polnareff!
Okay I know this is a weird time to interrupt the recap, but HEY POLNAREFF! LONG TIME NO SEE, MAN! How’s it going? We haven’t seen you in forever.
As Bucciarati is trapped underground, he tries to continue his forward path to the colosseum, but Secco immediately closes in on his path. Bruno surfaces and punches apart a lamppost hoping that the resulting debris will inflict some damage on his opponent, but this is ineffective, and to complicate matters further, Bucciarati can feel his skin melting apart, with Secco’s powers getting more concentrated as he pulls him back underground. Just as things seem to be looking desperate for our hero, Bucciarati turns the tables as he points out a car dragged down with him, bursting the tire and emitting a sound so large it severely deafens Secco. As he tries to navigate his way back to Bucciarati, he emerges onto the surface where he is immediately caught within oncoming traffic. When he makes his way out of the streets, Bucciarati catches up to him, and with his hearing fully destroyed, Secco decides to take a nearby hostage as leverage to gain an upper hand…
…unfortunately, that hostage turns out to be Doppio.
The situation gets exceedingly tense, but Bruno manages to use Sticky Fingers to punch through Doppio and go straight for Secco, attacking his neck and throwing him so off-balance he falls into the same burnable garbage truck as Cioccolata. However, despite the temporary victory, Bucciarati begins falling apart more, believing that he’s finally at the end of his renewed life, and as the episode closes, Doppio sneaks up behind him to deliver a fatal blow.
There’s a central thematic crux to this episode (and the whole overarching battle) about the dichotomy between the bonds and teamwork of Bucciarati’s comrades and the fractured power-hungry nature of the rest of Passione, and this is reinforced straight from the beginning when Secco picks up his phone. The episodes have made a big deal about the goofy but powerful relationship between these two sadomasochistic combatants, but it’s really telling that the second the other voicemail ends, Secco immediately begins acting dismissive of his deceased partner and speaking with a viciously negative tone about him. The man that he was subservient to for so many years has shown signs of weakness, so he is immediately discarded as nothing in Secco’s mind. This extends further to when he tries to take Doppio hostage near the end of the fight, and he goes on and on about how he’s going to try to kill the boss and potentially take over the organization.
Secco and Ciocollata are only the latest in a long line of villains in this arc that’s expressed a high level of disdain for the man at the top of the underground gangster pyramid. All of this coming together after more than 30 episodes shows something deeply dysfunctional and broken at the core of Passione’s organizational hierarchy. For all the talk of Diavolo’s immense level of power and knowledge with how he micromanages the organization, it’s very clear that quite a lot has slipped through the cracks. The implications of this are quite striking, as we are ultimately only seeing a vertical slice of the gang’s dissidents, to say nothing of the parts of the organization that exist outside the periphery of the story.
The attention to detail with the mechanics of the battle are yet again displaying the production team at its strongest. The sound design is appropriately murky, with the underground swimming sections having warbled and muffled audio to drive the idea of moving through something liquid, especially with the watery motion lines in the animation. The rumbling vibrations of the rocky ground exploding and the uncomfortable sloshing of the muddy sections of ground are also on point. The animation shows off the grisly detail of characters’ skins melting as Secco’s powers affect them, along with the gloriously cartoonish psychedelic visualization of Secco’s eardrums exploding with steam like a 1930s-era Fleischer Studios production. With the lethal duo now having been taken out, that just leaves one more thing getting in the way of our heroes: the boss himself, Diavolo. Let’s hope our remaining heroes can find a way to meet with our fine French comrade before things get any worse…
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.