No Lars Ulrichs were harmed in the making of this episode.
Picking up from last time, the boss explains to Doppio that he has a portion of King Crimson’s immense power. The ability, named Epitaph, allows Doppio to predict events and movements several seconds into the future. Using Epitaph, he can see Risotto camouflaging himself amidst the rocky terrain along with an incoming attack where a pair of scissors will emerge from his throat. Unfortunately, the boss informs him that the futures seen by Epitaph are unchangeable, so Doppio is forced into attacking Risotto. However, he dodges out of the way and summons the scissors as predicted, forcing Doppio to pull them out by hand before things get worse.
Doppio’s being pushed further and further, trying to go in for another attack against Risotto before he foresees something unclear to us. The boss orders him to run, but he insists on getting near Risotto no matter what, revealing that he had a vision of his foot being severed by scissors. As a change of tactics, Doppio decides to stand completely still and make Risotto come to him, realizing that he’s trying to wear down his stamina to prevent the boss from emerging. He confirms to himself that Risotto’s Stand ability, Metallica, allows him to generate metallic objects from the iron in one’s blood, and Doppio is able to use his precognition to sever the enemy’s foot with the scissors. He receives another “call” from the boss through a cigarette this time as Risotto’s Stand manifests more fully: his severed foot is brought to him and restored by miniature ghost-like beings made of metal.
Doppio is able to piece together that Metallica’s abilities are not only reliant on magnetism, but that he uses iron powder to camouflage himself. Epitaph’s power helps him foresee an incoming barrage of medical scalpels, and as King Crimson comes out to try and defend himself, he’s not fast enough as some of them pierce his leg. Risotto’s taunting doesn’t help the situation, especially since drawing all this iron out of Doppio is slowly suffocating him over the course of the fight. To complicate matters further, Doppio catches sight of Bucciarati, Narancia, and Abbacchio stalking out the general area, and he receives another vision of a giant hole exploding in his head. He uses one of the scalpels left behind to trace Risotto’s path and throw it in that direction, but the enemy sneaks up behind him and causes a razor blade to burst from his head. Risotto pieces together that Doppio is just an alternate personality for the boss himself, and as he goes in for the kill, he is suddenly attacked by… Aerosmith! As it turns out, his strategy to exhaust Doppio had the negative effect of removing him from its radar, and the flung scalpel from earlier naturally drew attention to their location. Risotto then collapses on the ground, bleeding out from the bullet wounds.
What’s immediately striking about this battle is the character dynamic at play. Something that’s been emphasized greatly throughout the story is the complex hierarchy of Passione as an organization, up to and including the defectors within the Hitman Team betraying their leader for their own ends. Every Stand battle we’ve seen up to this point has exclusively involved our heroes fighting against various other members of the organization, so the dynamics within the fight in terms of hierarchy has remained rather consistent. This is the first battle we’ve gotten that removes the primary focus from our heroes in an effort to broaden the perspectives and sense of conflict within the organization. It’s a hugely important moment given how the Hitman Team’s pursuit of the boss’s identity runs parallel to our heroes’ own traitorous pursuits, and now the assassins have been reduced to just Risotto. When witnessing the flashback scenes of the formerly living members hunting around for any trace of the boss’s presence, we really get a sense of just how personal this has now become for him, and that fuels his tenacity during the battle.
There’s a constant fluctuation to the back-and-forth rhythm of the battle, seeing as it basically boils down to a 2-on-1 battle of Doppio and the boss vs. Risotto, with the boss’s capabilities inhibited by the Doppio persona. There’s an extremely strong sense of tension the battle because of the running question at the center of it all: how can the boss take out Risotto without revealing his true face? He needs to get within two meters of him for King Crimson to deliver the killing blow, but the Doppio disguise must be maintained at all costs, and while Epitaph does grant the advantage of precognition, said visions are inevitable in their consequences. Conversely Risotto’s Stand, Metallica, has an immediately useful set of offensive capabilities which are particularly lethal. Perhaps the best illustration of this is in my favorite shot of the episode after Doppio is attacked by the flurry of scalpels, and he is left coughing up blood in a particularly nasty display. Blood stains pool up on his body and even on the screen as well, with the vision blurring as if he’s coughing blood directly onto a camera filming the scene.
The addition of our heroes in the background makes for a nice added wrinkle to the situation as they technically have the same general target as Risotto but motivated by wildly different reasoning. The amount of elements being juggled in the battle is staggering, from Aerosmith to Metallica to King Crimson, and the remarkable tightness of how these elements intersect with each other demonstrates how tight of a grasp the writing has on the franchise’s signature bizarre mechanics. Next time, we’ll see the fallout of this fight and what exactly our heroes will come across now that they’re so close to the boss’s vicinity.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.