Wow, even Yakuza 0 won’t let you fish on a train.
The gang has left their safe house and are now acting on the boss’ orders, going to Naples Station and using the key to help transport Trish safely to Florence. They deliberate on their orders during the drive, especially as Bucciarati is told to look for a turtle near a fountain. When they all make it to the train station, Bucciarati finds the right fountain, but he panics as the key is unable to fit within any immediately present lock. Things grow incredibly stressful as the train is just about to depart the station, and on top of that, the gang is not alone. Unbeknownst to them, a pair of assassins have tracked them down to the station and are closing in: Pesci and Prosciutto, two members of the same Hitman Team that Formaggio and Illuso were involved with. The duo chase Bucciarati onto the train, but they are unable to find him once they board. Pesci uses the power of his Stand, Beach Boy, which takes the form of a fishing rod that permeates solid objects, to clear out the front car, but they only find the train conductor, despite sensing two lives within the car.
What the two fail to notice is the turtle from the platform is hiding under the chair… and the crew is hiding inside. It turns out the key functions as the Stand of the turtle, slotting into its shell and creating a small shrunken room for the crew to hide out in until the train reaches its destination. As Pesci inspects the car further, the train suddenly fills up with an odd miasma, being generated by Prosciutto’s own Stand, Grateful Dead, as a way to flush out the crew. Inside the turtle, as Guido offers a drink to Narancia, he suddenly becomes hard of hearing, and his hair begins to turn gray and fall out. Unfortunately for them, it turns out Grateful Dead’s ability is to rapidly age anyone caught within its range, and he plans to get the group in his sights that way. Most of the other crew members inside the turtle age at a similarly rapid rate, but Bucciarati, Mista, and Trish are noticeably less severely affected by the powers. Everyone deliberates on how this is the case, and they come to the conclusion that Grateful Dead’s aging powers are proportionate to an individual’s body temperature, their consumption of cold drinks having halted the process for them somewhat.
It’s decided that Mista will leave the turtle and look out for the enemy, taking a couple of ice cubes with him in order to survive. As he looks around the conductor’s train car, he gets the idea to turn on the A/C to counteract the Stand’s powers. However, Pesci had Beach Boy’s hook lying in wait within the power switch, and Pesci swiftly proceeds to reel in Mista.
Now it’s time for the middle third of Golden Wind, and with the group all together and fleshed out in terms of powers and personality, things can really take off from here and get more unique in its framing. In particular, this episode pulls back just a small bit from our heroes, choosing to heavily showcase things from the point of view of the villains of the week (well, weeks, in this case). The dynamic between Prosciutto and Pesci shows off some solid villain chemistry, showing a pair of characters whose interactions oddly echo the Nijimura brothers from Diamond is Unbreakable. Prosciutto is like Keicho in this situation, the wiser and more hard as nails of the two, while Pesci is analogous to Okuyasu: not particularly smart, and extremely dependent on his superior for guidance and direction.
Villain pairings like this are particularly fun to watch as it helps liven up the usual plot progression of the series. This is also true when compared to many of the antagonists we’ve seen so far, who are all portrayed as acting on their own during the various encounters. We glimpse quite a bit of Pesci’s annoyance at Prosciutto’s strict bossy demeanor, especially when the former is hanging out in the bar nearby complaining about his companion’s power while having to chew on ice. Having this pair working together works well in fleshing out the nature of interactions between Passione and its various deflectors, and it helps complicate the action in an even tenser fashion. Dealing with a single enemy Stand user is already tough enough in some cases, but having two Stand users coordinating an attack in this manner significantly stacks the odds against our heroes, even if they technically outnumber them.
The back-and-forth perspectives of heroes and villains portray a highly clear sense of the stakes involved. All of the necessary elements at play (locations, characters, powers, etc.) are made as direct as possible, with our heroes pretty much figuring out Prosciutto’s powers and even the loophole around them in a pretty brief period of time. The necessary new powers are established and visualized right away, and all of this clarity allows the viewer to get caught up in the innate tension of the scenario. This is made even more unnerving by the location, taking place within the tight cramped walkways of a moving train where it’s pretty much near impossible to successfully hide unless you’re the turtle, and even then we have no guarantee that the villains won’t stumble upon the turtle.
The production is still as on-point and bold as ever, with scenes shifting into different color schemes and visual motifs to evoke the seriousness of the situation, including a cheeky bit where Prosciutto is portrayed in a red and white color scheme (GET IT? LIKE THE ACTUAL MEAT!). The camera work also conveys a menacing sense of distance between unaware parties, especially in conveying the unnervingly long hallways of the train. The sound design in particular takes front and center stage, seeing as how the ageing powers involved create many opportunities for people to grow frail and gives an excuse to have skin tearing off and muscles snapping uncomfortably, sounding like the fragile twigs they are. As an aside on the OP and ED, while “Fighting Gold” is firmly still in place (and nominated for a Crunchyroll Anime Award for Best OP of 2018), the visuals for the “Freek’n You” ED sequence have been tweaked heavily, showing off actual visually interesting animation instead of stock character stills panning across a screen. With the heroes now beginning the second part of the story, I’m ready to see where this continues next week.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.