Jesus, these time skips are getting more and more severe. It’s like I haven’t written one of these in over a month or something…
Episode 35 – “The Requiem Quietly Plays, Part 2”
Picking up from last time, Bruno manages to temporarily take down Chariot Requiem and sever the hand holding the arrow. Once he finally catches up with the gang, Polnareff quickly catches him up to speed as they ponder how to handle both the arrow and Diavolo. Bruno tries to reach for the arrow, but then he is suddenly attacked by Sticky Fingers as Chariot Requiem rushes towards the arrow as well. Mista tries to get in between the two, but Sex Pistols suddenly starts going wild and tries to attack Trish, but she manages to avoid any serious damage. Amidst the chaos, Polnareff pieces together that Chariot is using mind control on the other Stands, determined to not let *anyone* grab hold of the arrow.
Suddenly, Bruno’s body awakens, catching everyone off-guard, but Mista is prepared as he manages to land some bullets into the body housing Diavolo. Everything seems calm at first, as Narancia muses about things going back to normal after this struggle is over. However, the others suspect something is up as Mista asks for some extra bullets just to be sure of Diavolo’s demise. Unfortunately for them, they feel a time skip occur, and to their shock and horror, they slowly look around and find Giorno’s body impaled on the iron bars above them. While the real Giorno is able to heal the wounds with Gold Experience, it’s unfortunately too late to save Narancia, who’s now dead, leaving Giorno’s body behind for him to swap back into.
Polnareff is baffled by the situation, but he remembers being approached by the scrawny Doppio before being taken out by the menacing Diavolo, piecing together that he has a split personality, with the Doppio persona residing within Bucciarati’s body. With Diavolo still out there, the group begins to aggressively pursue Chariot Requiem, as the arrow remains their only shot at victory. They explore the outside streets of Rome, observing the body-swapping chaos created by Chariot Requiem, and they eventually come across the rogue Stand stumbling forward aimlessly, with Bucciarati being able to trip it over unnoticed. It’s only when Giorno tries to reach for the arrow that any kind of response happens with Gold Experience retaliating. He manages to toss a stone at the arrow and free it from Chariot Requiem’s grasp, but that just leaves the matter of who will actually grab the arrow. Polnareff suggests that it’s best for a non-Stand user to attempt this, volunteering himself to grab the arrow as his former Stand immediately charges in his direction.
Episode 36 – “Diavolo Surfaces”
Before getting to the main action of the episode, we see Doppio in his final moments before passing away; he knows whose body the boss is actually hiding in, as he begs for one last call before passing away.
Chariot Requiem chases after Polnareff as he orders Mista to impede its progress, but unfortunately his revolver suffers a mechanical problem and breaks suddenly. Giorno tries to pick up the slack with Gold Experience, but he’s unable to get close enough as Chariot Requiem still goes after Mista, who narrowly manages to swing out of harm’s way before the rogue Stand reobtains the arrow. Suddenly, things take an even stranger turn as Polnareff’s turtle body begins mutating into a horrendous hybrid entity. It’s not just him though: everyone in Rome suddenly falls victim to these same kinds of horrific mutations. This is described by Polnareff as the beginning of the true Requiem, a further extension of the new Chariot’s powers.
As the group continues to pursue their target, Giorno suddenly commands Mista to stop, realizing that something further is off about the situation. He points out that the damage on Mista’s revolver seems inconsistent with the idea of it resulting from a standard mechanical failure, soon using Gold Experience to prove his point correct. It’s clear to them at this point that the soul of Diavolo is hiding inside one of their bodies, with everyone keeping their distance from each other as Giorno tries to suss out where their enemy is hiding. Everyone is getting immediately paranoid about the state of things now, with Mista even suggesting that Giorno is the one hiding Diavolo inside himself. Bruno eventually volunteers to have himself examined first, but when Giorno goes to do so, there’s a time skip, and he’s suddenly attacked by King Crimson emerging from the body of Mista.
Trish attempts to stop Diavolo, but King Crimson attacks Spice Girl and manages to escape, chasing further after Chariot Requiem as he now understands the secret to its abilities. Chariot Requiem functions as a shadow of the world around it, generating a light source behind the head of everyone in its vicinity. Diavolo manages to destroy his own light, severely weakening Requiem to the point where he can grab the arrow for himself. Giorno generates a colony of ants to bite through the shaft and separate it from the arrowhead, forcing everyone into a further mad dash for it. Mista and Trish manage to use their powers to injure Diavolo as a distraction, but then he uses King Crimson to violently attack Spice Girl, sending his body hurling closer to the arrow as the episode ends with Bucciarati crying out for Trish.
Episode 37 – “King of Kings”
Things look desperate for our heroes: Trish is fading further into death, Chariot Requiem is on its last legs, and Diavolo is just about to fully claim the arrow for himself once again. However, in a surprising moment, the arrowhead fades through his hand, and he can’t grab it. To make matters worse for him, everyone’s souls begin to leave their temporary host bodies and return to their original vessels. Unbeknownst to the enemy, Bucciarati managed to destroy his own soul light, completely eliminating Chariot Requiem in the process and undoing its abilities. Unfortunately, this means that Bucciarati’s time has finally come, and his spirit must finally pass on to the heavens to join Abbacchio and Narancia. Before fully moving on however, Bucciarati leaves Giorno with a message of thankfulness for bestowing him with a second life after the original encounter with King Crimson.
Everyone finally wakes up in their original bodies, including Diavolo, who’s now royally pissed at how these proceedings have damaged his pride. Determined to become the king he feels he should be, Diavolo needs a strategy, especially considering that Giorno is able to successfully pierce himself with the arrow. At first, it appears to just cause some harm to Gold Experience, leaving an opening for Diavolo to savagely attack his enemy and break off part of the Stand’s face. He attempts to grab the arrow once again, but it slips away once more, this time permanently embedding itself into Gold Experience. The spot of its face where it broke apart instead reveals a new eye hidden underneath, with it further breaking off and shedding its current physical form revealing the end result of the arrow’s powers: the new form of Gold Experience Requiem.
Diavolo receives a vision of himself defeating Giorno, so he initiates a timeskip to throw him off. Unfortunately, the newly revealed Requiem Stand is unphased by King Crimson’s power, unleashing a barrage of scorpions to attack the enemy. He was unable to see this attack coming, throwing a massive wrench into his strategy. He tries to blind the enemy using his own blood, but it suddenly flows back into his own body, with all of his actions being rewound to their starting point. Gold Experience Requiem is able to undo the abilities of King Crimson’s timeskip, leaving him unable to do anything as he proceeds to unleash a rapid volley of brutal punches.
As Golden Wind nears closer to the endgame, it’s worth taking stock of everything going on right now and seeing what the battle against Diavolo is trying to accomplish, especially in comparison to previous arcs. The biggest element of the production to take note of is how the visuals, sound, and some of the writing are trying to create an extremely surreal numbing vibe like a slow-burn horror film. The events leading up to the arrow piercing Giorno are overwhelmingly cloaked in shadows, whether it be the darkened shadows and corridors of the Colosseum or the overcast cloudy skies slowly transitioning into an eerie dusk.
The progression of the pursuit towards Chariot Requiem further drives this point, as his powers emphasize some truly Cronenbergian body horror as the population of Rome morphs into these inflated lumps of flesh. The situation only gets more nightmarish upon realizing that all of this is literally coming right after the chaos brought upon them by Green Day’s deadly mold attack, causing them to be trapped in this prolonged cycle of plague-like events. There’s also a heavy emphasis on uncomfortable spiritual imagery, given the plot’s focus on soul-swapping, with every other shot coated in ethereal sparkling glows and baths of golden heavenly clouds. The music once again places heavy emphasis on the usage of microtonal vocals droning on uncomfortably in the vain of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s arguably one of the most horror-feeling final battles in the anime up to this point, coming close to the gothic horror appeal of Phantom Blood’s horror, and the language being used in the episodes to describe the events and emotions call attention to this. The frequent references to the progression of the battle as a requiem feels appropriately poetic in a dark sort of way, on top of Diavolo’s constant references to himself as not just a mob leader, but a King worthy of power.
The production values put on display through these episodes is as strong as they’ve ever been, but it’s when digging into some of the plot details and character work that things get a bit less impressive. Probably the biggest sticking point in the climax up to this point is Chariot Requiem itself, as it illustrates a perfect example of the technical logic of a Stand getting a little too complicated for its own good. Seeing how the pieces all fit together, it starts off with a fairly understandable body-swapping mechanic, and as the fight progresses and escalates, the effects of it escalate further, including manipulation of other Stands and the aforementioned mutations. While the attempts at increasing the threat make sense in terms of maintaining the tension, a lot of this seems like it’s coming out of nowhere just because the writing says so, especially once it delves into the shadow aspect of its powers. The individual lights behind all surrounding people comes across like an odd throwaway detail that’s not really consistent with its abilities. Not to mention, the fact that it would only take the destruction of two of the lights to completely annihilate him is a bit odd of a requirement. Shouldn’t it make more sense to at least destroy all of the lights in the immediate vicinity? Chariot Requiem is a perfect example of a fight where the intricacies feel more like they were birthed out of pressure to escalate rather than any sort of real ingenuity.
The plot hits on certain staples of the JoJo experience up to this point, including the death of Narancia which, to draw on a point I’ve been making about the nods to Stardust Crusaders, is a moment that feels framed very similarly to Kakyoin’s demise. Narancia is the victim of the Araki tendency towards sudden and unceremonious deaths, being impaled on a gate out of view from the others without a sound being made. Additionally, he’s given a dramatic and suspiciously convenient moment of contemplation where he expresses his desire for things to settle into a more normal routine after these events. While Narancia is given the expected Araki death scene, Bucciarati’s death is more traditionally poetic in its conception. He’s allowed a bit of time to say some parting words to Giorno before moving on, and the visual/design of the scene are absolutely saturated with heavenly imagery.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem that’s come about during this last run of episodes is Diavolo himself. The importance of a strong main villain in a JoJo story cannot be stressed enough, as the eventual final confrontations are what they spend most of their time building up to. There’s nothing more upsetting than spending so much time working towards an unsatisfying climax, and Diavolo is kind of an underwhelming villain when all is said and done. Conceptually, he seems to be an amalgam of Yoshikage Kira’s sense of cunning anonymity and DIO’s pure killer instinct and god-like view of himself. Unfortunately, because of how much his identity preservation instincts factor into the plot (hiding in the shadows, letting the Doppio personality dominate, etc.), he’s not a towering force of personality like DIO, but we also don’t get to learn much about him as a character like we do with Kira. He’s kind of just there as a villain, which affects the relative tone of the final arc. It’s going for a numbing surreal horror vibe, but it never really hits any sort of peaks in that regard as the pursuit of the arrow gets tangled up in its overwhelmingly dense logic, so it falls a bit flat in comparison to the psychological torment of the battle against Kira or the adrenaline-fueled thrill ride of Jotaro vs. Dio. There’s one more thing to bring up in regards to the battle, but that can wait until the final two episodes. Let’s just say… what even is the arrow at this point?
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.