JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind – Episode 17 – “Babyhead”

Translation note: “Di molto” means “according to keikaku.”

Continuing from last week, Melone is investigating the aftermath of the train battle, even going as far as to intrude the cabin of a woman on board. While badgering her about her health information, he suddenly decides to attack her with his computer, which turns out to be his Stand, Babyface. Meanwhile, our heroes are hitching a ride to Venice on a truck while hiding inside Coco Jumbo. The group is stressed and on edge, not made any better when two of the Sex Pistols suddenly start eating a hamburger they stole from the truck driver, giving away their position. This forces Mista to get involved, knocking the driver out cold and derailing the truck, stranding themselves on the highway.

Back at the train, the woman wakes up following the attack to find Melone gone, observing from afar using his Stand. As it turns out, he has essentially impregnated her with a humanoid version of Babyface, one that he interacts with through his computer monitor. As he educates Babyface about animals and games, the Stand grows an impatient desire to kill, using its power to divide the woman into cubic chunks and killing her. Afterwards, Babyface steals Melone’s motorcycle and drives off to look for the gang, much to his surprise. Meanwhile on the highway, our heroes are debating where to go next in order to avoid detection, and Giorno decides to use his powers to turn all the cars in the nearby lot into frogs to throw suspicion off of them.

Inside of Coco Jumbo, Bruno and Trish are at odds with each other over the situation, but things get interrupted when Giorno informs them that he’s found a new vehicle for them to use. However, Trish suddenly disappears out of view, with Bucciarati tracing her location to inside of a cabinet. She’s been dragged in there by Babyface, who transforms the two of them into a weakened cubed state. Giorno notices their disappearance and decides to hunt around inside, coming across the cabinet where Babyface is. He attacks and rips out a chunk of Giorno’s throat along with his leg and eye, forcing him to remove the key from Coco Jumbo and free all living matter inside. Giorno attacks further and further to draw Babyface out of hiding, but his enemy rips more chunks out of his body, allowing him to grab Coco Jumbo and try to depart. However, Giorno suddenly appears behind him, revealing that he managed to fill in the missing chunks torn from his body. Our hero surmises that Babyface’s ability is the inverse of Gold Experience, allowing him to transform people into inanimate objects. Giorno uses his powers to trap Babyface in a mass of roots, forcing him to hide as our hero goes to collect Coco Jumbo. At this point, Babyface emerges from an oil puddle and punches off his arm, but this works in Giorno’s favor, as he’s transformed his arm into a piranha that infests Babyface and forcibly emerges from his body, leaving things on a cliffhanger for next time.

Golden Wind has found itself experimenting quite a bit with the idea of Stands that have their own consciousness and personalities which exist as more than just extensions of their users’ will. As of this point in the story, we’ve had Sex Pistols and Purple Haze on the heroes’ side, and now we get to see a villain participate in this dynamic. Much like with Pesci and Prosciutto, the relationship between Melone and his Stand Babyface is best described as paternalistic, though perhaps to a more literal degree than those two. Quite literally, Babyface is portrayed as an infant that grows at a fast pace, getting immediately impatient when hungry and even wetting himself at one point. Melone’s attempts to pacify and instruct him are of course appropriately juvenile, using children’s picture books to give Babyface a basic level of knowledge, enough to try taking on his enemies. Even as the two are far away from each other during the battle, Melone observes with intense scrutiny and offers joyous praise of his “son” whenever he succeeds, like the kind of proud parent who would put an honorary bumper sticker on their car celebrating the fact.

Speaking of Babyface, the nature of his powers are quite a mystery in and of itself. At first, the cubing effect he forces onto his targets seems simple enough, acting as a very specific form of mutilation. However, throughout the fight, we see that this ability is not just an offensive maneuver, as Babyface disguised himself as the cabinet that Trish disappears into, and we see the cubic shapes morph in and out of different whole forms throughout the fight. Eventually, his powers are properly described as a sort of inverse of Giorno’s Gold Experience, but it can be a bit misleading as, while his abilities are used to transform the inanimate into the organic, we’ve seen Giorno use it to disguise the inanimate as the organic. This leaves room to suggest that maybe Babyface’s powers could go back and forth, even if this ultimately turns out not to be the case. Hopefully the fight manages to be as clear as possible on this given that, even with the tense and engaging direction, the actual back-and-forth of the fight can be a little confusing to follow on Babyface’s end with all of his object manipulation. I’m looking forward to what happens next week. Di molto!

New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.

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