JoJo is back and better than ever!
In a franchise as long and well-established as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, there's really only one question to ask when a new season comes out: does it live up to the franchise's name. Based on the first episode of Golden Wind, which premiered at Anime Expo 2018, the answer is a resounding "yes!"
While the first episode was mostly about introducing our new JoJo, Giorno Giovana, it still maintained the same spark that makes JoJo a one-of-a-kind experience. Every part of JoJo has walked a narrow line between being dead serious about everything and not taking a second of itself seriously. Golden Wind continues this trend by being as silly as possible while still framing everything in a completely serious light. It's odd to think that a character licking someone else's sweat to determine if they're lying would be intimidating, but that's exactly what happens at one point in this episode. Through JoJo's distinctive brand of melodrama, the scene comes off as simultaneously hilarious and off-putting in a way that you don't see outside of JoJo.
Giorno himself is also off to a great start. He follows the same trend of "punk with a heart of gold" that we've seen before with Jotaro and Josuke, but still feels like his own character. As befits the Italian setting, Giorno comes off as more of a young gangster than just a delinquent like previous JoJos. He cons tourists, bribes police, and occasionally clashes with the local mafias. In spite of all this, he seems like a nice guy at heart. He's the type who'll steal your wallet, then use the money to buy some kids ice cream on a whim. There's still a lot we don't know about his background and motivations, but Giorno seems like a worthy successor to the JoJo name.
Of course, it wouldn't be JoJo without the wacky powers! Outside of a brief fight with Koichi, who fans will remember from Diamond is Unbreakable, there isn't too much action in this episode, but we're still introduced to yet more new Stand abilities. Giorno's seems to be able to transform into animals and inanimate objects, as well as reflect damage. We also get to see one that can apparently unzip people to pull off all sorts of strange things. Both powers have a lot of potential for bizarre and cool battles that I have no doubt Golden Wind will deliver on down the line.
Part 5's animation is, for the most part, about average quality. There's one shot near the end with an impressive camera sweep, but most of it is fairly standard for a TV production. What isn't standard is Hirohiko Araki's distinctive art style. JoJo's aesthetic has always grown and changed with each part, and the same holds true for Golden Wind. Part 5 maintains Part 4's leaner designs, as opposed to Part 3's cartoonishly muscular leads, but doubles down on the facial details. Characters' faces are narrower and leaner than before, with highly detailed features and lips that are so large they almost look feminine. Different as they are, Golden Wind's designs have the same campy charm to them as all of JoJo's previous styles. Seeing familiar characters in the new style can be a bit jarring, but everyone is still recognizable, and that's a minor complaint considering the general artistic quality.
Even though not much has happened so far, Golden Wind is off to a strong start. It continues JoJo's campy traditions, introduces a likable new lead, and even connects back to previous parts by having Koichi appear in a supporting role. There's no other way to describe it: it's JoJo!
Skyler has been an anime fan since he first saw Naruto on Toonami in 2005. He loves action shows and strong character writing, and finds writing about himself in the third person awkward. Read more of his work at his blog apieceofanime.com and follow him on Twitter at Videogamep3.