I’m aware these reviews are a couple of weeks late, I have a perfectly good—
and that’s why they’re late… wait, what just happened?
Episode 33 – “His Name Is Diavolo”
Picking up from last time, Doppio is about to finish off the decaying Bucciarati before pausing to take note of the situation. Believing that he can lead him to Polnareff’s location, Doppio offers to help escort Bucciarati to the inside of the Colosseum. As they proceed, Doppio notices just how cold and lifeless Bucciarati appears, including his apparent blindness and deafness, but they are soon interrupted by the arrival of the other heroes nearby. As Doppio tries to cover his ass, Bucciarati becomes so delirious that he suddenly starts referring to him as “Trish”, sensing an aura similar to hers, and meanwhile the real Trish senses Diavolo’s presence nearby. As the two get further into the Colosseum, Doppio receives a warning from the boss that there’s a man hiding behind a nearby pillar as a voice calls out to him and Bucciarati. It’s Polnareff, who is immediately suspicious of Doppio’s presence, and Bucciarati’s attempts to inform him that he’s actually “Trish,” but he’s not buying it and demands to see “Trish’s” Stand. It’s then that Doppio catches sight of the Arrow in Polnareff’s possession, and it’s then that things begin to click for him.
Flashing back to a few years before the events of Stardust Crusaders, we witness an expedition in Egypt where the boss was an active participant. During his excavation, he dug up 6 of the Arrows and learned of their capabilities, having sold five of them to Enya and keeping one to himself to start his criminal empire. Some time after the defeat of DIO, Polnareff and Jotaro learned of the existence of the Arrows and began globe-hopping in order to track them down. Polnareff’s path took him to Italy where he learned of the Passione criminal empire and their drug trade, bringing him into direct conflict with Diavolo. The battle left Polnareff seemingly dead, with his eye damaged and his limbs violently amputated from his body, but obviously Diavolo didn’t finish the job. Back in the present, Polnareff tries to escape, but he feels the time skipping as he witnesses Doppio coming up the stairs and slowly walking past a pillar before suddenly shifting appearance and finally unveiling the proper identity of the boss, Diavolo.
Now that is a big muscle goth bf right there.
Polnareff knows that the situation is not in his favor, as he attempts to track Diavolo’s time skips using his own bleeding, on top of Silver Chariot trying to toss him out of range, but this doesn’t work as Diavolo lands a fatal blow on him… but not before the Arrow pierces Chariot. Diavolo grabs the arrow as our heroes reunite with each other, but he’s caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of a shadowy figure that has an Arrow emblem in its neck.
Episode 34 – “The Requiem Quietly Plays, Part 1”
Diavolo chases after the mysterious figure, only to be caught off-guard as the Arrow falls from his hand to be picked up by this entity. As he attempts to get it back, Diavolo begins to feel exhausted and passes out, along with our heroes as well and the entirety of Rome. Several hours later, the weather begins to get much stormier as our heroes finally begin to awaken. As they try to piece together what happened, everyone begins to exhibit strange behavior, with Trish especially being baffled by her physique and her instinct to reach towards Mista’s gun. As everyone comes to their senses, it soon becomes clear what has happened: this shit turned into Freaky Friday… that was a bad joke, I apologize.
Quick note here: from here on, the task of writing this review will become a bit confusing because of everyone having swapped bodies. So for the sake of convenience, take note of the following eyecatch. In addition, when I address characters from here on out, I will be referring to the person whose mind and soul is inside the physical body instead of whose body it is. Hopefully that clears things up.
The gang pieces together that Giorno has swapped bodies with Narancia and that Mista has switched with Trish. In addition, whatever transpired in the past few hours has causes *everyone* in Rome to body-swap as well, creating further chaos. While the gang knows that they’ve swapped bodies with each other, they observe Bucciarati’s body still lying on the ground as they try to figure out who he swapped with. The group figures out that they can still use their Stands from within each other’s bodies, so Narancia brings out Aerosmith in order to survey the area, but it has difficulty picking up the activity outside. Giorno attempts to use Gold Experience to sense any souls near them that could potentially be the boss, but they are interrupted by the turtle approaching them and beginning to speak. As it turns out, the turtle is actually inhabited by the soul of Polnareff, who managed to survive long enough for this to happen.
Polnareff begins delving into some backstory on the arrow based on an incident after his confrontation with Diavolo. As he was recovering away in a small village one day, he got the Arrow stuck behind his desk, and he requested Silver Chariot’s help getting it back. Chariot nicked itself with the Arrow, turning it into the shadowy figure currently present and causing everyone around them to fall asleep. Unfortunately, with Polnareff’s physical body now deceased, the powerful new Silver Chariot Requiem is acting to guard the arrow from anyone with no one controlling it. He commands our heroes to get the Arrow back as it is the key to defeating Diavolo, and it’s at this time that Narancia is able to pick up on a man running into the colosseum that quickly turns out to be Diavolo. Silver Chariot Requiem is hiding just out of sight and goes in to attack, but Diavolo retaliates… with Sticky Fingers, confirming that the real Diavolo is inside Bucciarati’s body.
So we’re finally getting down to the endgame of Golden Wind, and we’re right around the point where it’s time for some huge overarching bombshells to drop. Perhaps the biggest ones we get are in regards to the activities of our long-absent Frenchman, Polnareff. At the moment we first saw him a couple of episodes ago, it was immediately surprising when he was shown in a severely crippled state. As the events move closer to the inside of the colosseum and he witnesses Doppio and Bucciarati, we get to find out what exactly happened to him, and there’s some legitimately interesting things going on in regards to his conflict with Diavolo. What works best about this from a narrative level is how, in more ways than one, it completely flips the victories achieved in Stardust Crusaders.
To start, we learn more about the Arrows here, and while I mentioned the ostensible midichlorian angle to how they work was a bit underwhelming, I do like how their presence in parts 3 onward are explained. It adds a greater level of menace to Diavolo as a villain, placing him as the indirect true architect of the events of parts 3 and 4 which helps feed into the idea of him as a leading criminal mastermind. In addition, knowing that he’s still alive and how he came into conflict with Polnareff makes for a surprisingly compelling tragic reversal of the Crusaders’ triumphs. DIO may have died, but the real hand behind the scenes is still out there and ultimately found the opportunity to destroy him within an inch of his life.
To add even more layers to the fatalistic nature of JoJo’s ongoing conflicts, the visual direction as Diavolo confronts Polnareff in the present is deliberately evocative of Stardust Crusaders. Polnareff’s encounter with DIO saw his enemy at the top of a staircase and him at the bottom, with the power of The World preventing him from getting anywhere near him. That imagery is inverted heavily in this scenario, with Diavolo approaching from the bottom of the stairs as Polnareff is unable to escape thanks to King Crimson. There’s a darkly cyclical nature to all this conflict, as it invokes the feeling that DIO, in a way, managed to get his revenge from beyond the grave, something that’s expanded on in even stronger detail in part 6.
These storytelling strengths, while incredibly well-done, unfortunately are confined to episode 33, with episode 34 turning into something of a slower exposition dump. Granted, the episode does introduce the body swapping mechanic with Silver Chariot Requiem as an interesting wrench in the mix, but the backstory details given here in regards to Polnareff’s understanding of the arrow take up a bit too much of the runtime. Additionally, what it explains about the Arrow’s ability to enhance Stands is something we already somewhat know from the battle against Yoshikage Kira in part 4, and while I’m not ready to dive too deep into it here, let’s just say that the particular ways the Arrow is going to factor into this final battle against Diavolo will be… maybe just a tad underwhelming. With that being said though, the presentation is still quite strong from the excellent haunting music cues to the utter ridiculousness of everyone trying to figure out how to act in each others’ bodies, and I do want to see where things head next time.
New episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind premiere every Friday and can be streamed exclusively on Crunchyroll.