Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
Following the conclusion of the last fight, Giorno, Abbacchio, and Fugo drive out to Pompeii Archaeological Park as instructed by the boss. After driving around for a bit, they finally arrive at their destination: the House of the Tragic Poet. The three of them begin roaming the ruins looking for a dog mosaic which will give them the key they need for the boss’s vehicle. Suddenly, the group comes across a mirror where Fugo sees a hidden assailant approaching them. However, when he actually turns around to look behind the group, there’s no one there, but the assailant is still there in the mirror. When he busts out his Stand power, Fugo pushes his allies out of the way, but they appear to get the Thanos treatment while he survives. However, something doesn’t seem quite right about his surroundings, and it’s then that the enemy Stand user appears directly near him and lands a massive punch.
The enemy, Illuso, begins to taunt Fugo and recite several detailed facts about his personal history while inquiring about the group’s mission. Soon, the nature of the situation becomes clear: Illuso used the power of his Stand, Man in the Mirror, to drag Fugo into the mirrored world itself. Abbacchio and Giorno are still fine and well, but they’re unfortunately on the other side of the mirror away from the battle. Fugo tries to fight back by summoning his Stand, but despite the fact that he feels its presence, it fails to materialize near him. Back on the other side of the mirror however, Abbacchio and Giorno are caught off-guard by the appearance of a menacing purple humanoid entity. Abbacchio quickly warns Giorno to step away as far as possible, recognizing this creature as Fugo’s Stand: Purple Haze.
The episode then flashes back to Fugo’s backstory, revealing some surprising information about his upbringing. He grew up within a rather wealthy and privileged family, and he was highly intellectually gifted. The constant pressure to be the best and succeed at everything took a toll on his temper, leading to fits of rage that often led to attempts to kill his father. While attending university at age 13, he got himself arrested and expelled after an incident where he murdered one of his professors for attempted sexual assault. This led him to a life of crime after being released, which naturally led him into meeting Bucciarati and becoming one of the first members of his team.
Back in the present, Giorno is determined to get inside of the mirror to find Fugo, but Abbacchio insists that he stay far away from Purple Haze. They notice that the crows around the Stand dissolve into puddles of blood and guts, which is reflected in the mirror world as well, unbeknownst to them. Abbacchio then explains the nature of Purple Haze: its ability unleashes a deadly flesh-eating virus that kills anyone around it within 30 seconds. The Stand is every bit as short-tempered as Fugo himself, as evidenced by its hectic attacks at seemingly nothing in particular, although it breaks the mirror that Fugo and Illuso passed through. The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Illuso prepares to attack Fugo once more.
Nearing the end of the first cour of Golden Wind, it’s now time to learn more about the last of our heroes, Pannacotta Fugo. The scenario set up here highlights a lot of very strong aspects of its storytelling overall, starting with the establishment of his short temper. This aspect of his personality has been there since his introduction (remember, one of the first things we see him do is stab Narancia in the hand for failing a math problem), but it’s drawn heavily into focus and deeply contextualized. Right from the bat, his frustration builds when Giorno fails to inform him of the proper directions to reach their location, showing a massive overreaction to a minor screw-up. His backstory bears this out further as the result of a stressful childhood where he was expected to be a skilled perfectionist at all costs, having little patience for the failures and inconveniences caused by others. It’s also worth noting that Fugo’s history is expanded upon further in the anime, as I can’t seem to find the chapters in the manga that directly showcase these events.
These factors reflect heavily in the specifics of his Stand, Purple Haze, which is every bit as short-tempered as him and lethal beyond belief. It’s seen as behaving pretty frantically without clear direction from Fugo to begin with, but this is exacerbated by its own power. The effects of its virus are put on fairly brutal display with the crows around him, dissolving into these horrific blobs of guts and flesh, where the only weakness is apparently a half-minute of disinfectant by sunlight, something that seems fairly useless since it takes 30 seconds to kill you. Much of the shot work on display does great in selling Purple Haze’s menace, as it gets many close-up shots that fill the screen with a toxic purple sludge/miasma. On top of this, these close-ups feature some very minimal-but-precise animation, mainly consisting of its head bobbing back and forth in an eerie manner while viciously clenching its fists, looking like a menacing idle animation in a fighting game. As a contrast to all of this lethality, Purple Haze is portrayed with an odd quirk: it appears to be somewhat obsessed with cleanliness, as it has a nasty habit of drooling and constantly needs to wipe the drool off itself. It’s a characteristically Araki-piece of goofy-bordering-on-dark comedy that certainly helps reinforce Fugo’s perfectionist tendencies.
As for the antagonist introduced, this is where the story takes a bit of a turn for the not-as-great. This is actually when some of my own issues with the arc as a whole begin to crystallize a bit. As I mentioned in a couple of reviews before, there are some character/structural elements at play that echo aspects of Stardust Crusaders to varying degrees, and Illuso is arguably one of the most explicit nods yet. His powers are very much a direct nod to part 3 antagonist J. Geil, whose Stand power Hanged Man traveled in and out of mirrors and reflective surfaces. Admittingly, the heavier focus on reflections is a decent touch, especially with the cool visualizations of the reversed ruins and a few shots where Fugo’s view is warped through a fisheye lens effects, but at the end of the day it doesn’t feel all that exceptionally distinct from its blatant forbearer. There is a decent amount of tension set up for the end of the first cour, and it’ll be cool to see how things get resolved next time.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.