So normally I open these reviews with some kind of witty non-sequitur, but instead I’ll explain what’ll happen with the next couple of Golden Wind episode pieces in order to catch up. This article that you’re reading now will cover episodes 18 and 19 (since they are both primarily dedicated to the fight against Ghiaccio), and then episode 20 will receive its own dedicated piece. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Episode 18 – “Head To Venice!”
As the fight with Babyface goes on, the remaining members of the Hitman Team are keeping in touch about the situation. In particular, the assassin Ghiaccio is driving to our heroes’ location on orders from the sole other assassin, Risotto. Melone is concerned that Babyface’s heated temper is throwing off his control of his son, and this ultimately proves to be his downfall. In the heat of battle, Giorno gains the upper hand, as it turns out the hand that he turned into a piranha was generated from Melone’s motorcycle, which expands and bursts from Babyface’s body, which leads to the gas being ignited electrically and incinerating the enemy Stand. At the scene of the battle, Ghiaccio notices the absence of cars and hurriedly contacts Melone about the situation, but as he tries to create another Babyface, he’s attacked and killed by a venomous snake sent by Giorno himself.
With one enemy out of the way, the gang uses their newly crafted car to finally drive to Venice, with Giorno and Mista driving while the others remain inside Coco Jumbo. Bucciarati gets an order from the boss, who commands Abbacchio to use Moody Blues near the chair and rewind 14 hours before. Doing so transforms it into a duplicate of Mr. Pericolo who then delivers their last orders before committing suicide: the gang is to find a lion statue containing a disc that will direct them to where they must go next. The long drive finally brings our heroes to their destination, and things seem calm at first as their car is the only one on the road. However, as they continue onward, the windows start fogging up and the road begins to get slippery, and the car soon reaches an internal temperature of -100 degrees Celsius.
Ghiaccio has caught up with the gang and is using the power of his Stand, White Album, to generate these chilling conditions. Not only is Mista’s face frozen solid and stuck to the window (with Sex Pistols also frozen in place), but the brakes are frozen in position too. In a moment of desperation, Mista asks Giorno to hand him some bullets to fire, a request which he promptly obliges. He fires up at the roof, and the bullets seem to freeze in Ghiaccio’s surrounding ice shield, but the shots generate enough heat to allow Gold Experience to activate, creating vines that burst and toss the enemy off of the car. However, he recovers and chases after them in an ice-skating suit of armor, eventually catching up to them and continues his assault. In a last-ditch effort, Giorno viciously swerves off the road, sending the car plummeting into the river below.
Episode 19 – “White Ice”
Following the plunge into the river, Giorno and Mista try to escape the car, but unfortunately Ghiaccio is still alive, freezing Giorno in place and causing more damage to Mista’s hands. Giorno manages to turn the steering wheel into vines with what power he has left, but the enemy takes notice and freezes them, leaving behind short grass. This manages to work to Mista’s advantage, cobbling together a snowboard that lets him ride away, forcing Ghiaccio to undo his freezing momentarily and sending him into the river. As he swims aggressively towards him, Giorno orders Mista to gather what remains of the grass and simultaneously fire at Ghiaccio. The powers of Gold Experience turn the grass back into car parts, which when struck by the bullets create enough force to pierce through Ghiaccio’s previously impenetrable armor and knock him back into the river.
Our heroes now have time to reach the statue and retrieve the disc, but Mista instead decides to try finishing off Ghiaccio once and for all. Ducking down the water’s surface, he finds the enemy still alive, breathing through a hole in the back of his neck. Mista sets up Sex Pistols to aim at this opening, but he then begins swimming up towards the surface, with the back of the helmet covering up the neck hole during this motion. He manages to get Ghiaccio’s attention by shooting and killing some nearby fish, distracting him enough to fire directly in the hole. It seems like this works at first, but then he unveils another ability of his, Gently Weeps, which generates several floating icicles that ricochet the bullets back in Mista’s direction. This distracts him long enough for Ghiaccio to track down the disc, but then Mista tries to confront him again, and meanwhile, Giorno offers a distraction by violently breaking his own arm.
Mista tries to fire into the neck hole yet again, but Ghiaccio reflects this back at our hero, but this works in his favor as the resulting bullet holes spurt forth blood that blinds the enemy. This allows him to fire more and more, eventually backing Ghiaccio into a spiked broken piece of a metal pole and piercing him directly through the neck hole. The assault continues as he is pushed further and further into the spike, but he manages to freeze the blood to avoid deeper penetration while firing one last bullet into Mista’s head. However, the wound immediately heals itself as Giorno shows up to end the battle once and for all, violently pummeling Ghiaccio until the spike fully penetrates through his neck and killing him. With the battle finally over, our heroes can now focus on recovering and reaching their ultimate destination.
Now that Golden Wind is at the official halfway point of the story, it’s clear that the production team is interested in getting to the big bad of the entire story: the boss of Passione. Throughout the two episodes, his presence looms heavy within the various proceedings, even though he only shows up twice on screen. Even then, he’s deliberately obscured by cloaks and shadows within the natural darkness of night, constantly being spoken about in various tones by the heroes trying to protect his daughter and the Hitman Team who have betrayed the boss for their own ends.
As a significant tell that the series is eager to get to the boss already, the pacing across these two episodes (and last week’s episode as well) is pretty rapid considering the rate of two and three parters common to the adaptation. Two enemy Stand battles are split up across 3 episodes, getting a pretty clean “episode-and-a-half” pace for each of them. The series may seem in a bit of a hurry to get past these battles, but it’s only really noticeable with the Melone/Babyface battle, which makes sense since, while the duo present some decently interesting combat concepts, they’re the relatively less interesting of the two, especially since Melone doesn’t get to directly interact with our heroes at all.
Now Ghiaccio on the other hand is some prime JoJo villain material. Immediately, he sets himself up as a much more outlandish presence than Melone with his easily aggravated temperament mixed in with a healthy dose of Araki’s own odd comedic sensibilities. Case in point: one of the first scenes of Ghiaccio that we see shows him having a random fit of rage over a metaphorical expression that he can’t quite wrap his head around. There’s a similar moment later on when, seemingly without provocation, he gets himself worked up over the inconsistencies in how “Venice” is pronounced. It’s a trait that adds some much-needed flavor to what could otherwise just be a generic short-tempered enemy, and it creates a sly bit of comedic irony considering his Stand abilities. For someone with a fiery-hot demeanor, his powers create some extremely ice-cold environmental conditions, which kind of feels like an action story dad joke if you think about it for long enough.
The production of the episode is naturally incredibly on-point in selling the visceral effects of White Album’s abilities. The freezing cold is conveyed with such detailed breaks and crackles in the mix, especially with the frozen blood and skin breaking off as our heroes struggle to survive. The rushes of wind bursting forth along with the extreme cold feels very tangible, as if the wind is actually blowing right there near you, and the brisk swish of the ice skates riding the ground is oddly satisfying to listen to. Similarly, the visuals get intensely white and blue and convey a similarly chilling sensibility along with the incredible sound design.There’s even a great visual inversion used near the end when, as the battle reaches its bloody end, the visual palette changes from watery and icy blues to the orange haze of the rising sunset.
The usual nail-biting thrills and reversals are in place as usual, driven by Mista’s need to attack the same weak spot over and over again. In a way, it’s almost comical as we see our hero more or less falling into the often quoted definition of insanity as he does the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result each time. At the same time however, it creates a great back-and-forth tension as it’s clearly presented as the only weak spot possible, and on top of that, Mista seems like he gets a little bit closer each time, with his stubbornness and determination showing through all this along with his sense of resolve, which once again becomes a running motif in the dialogue. The Ghiaccio fight was a brutally intense encounter, and I’m looking forward to what happens now that our heroes are planning to meet the boss.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.