Reviews

Jun 9, 2009
Beatnik (All reviews)
This must be the zenith of the JoJo saga, because everything is almost pitch-perfect.

In the sun-dappled land of Italy, a supporting character from Part 4, Koichi, is seeking a person that Jotaro has a keen interest in. A stand user. Carrying the Joestar bloodline, a handsome Georgiano Giovanni. Our next JoJo!

A new arc begins in one of manga's longest-running sagas, one that utilises the locale to its full potential, a rise-to-power mafia tale, one of comrades on the run from assassins, one of hidden family secrets coming to the surface and changing lives forever. One of hilarious pop music puns.

Most of the stands this time round are named after famous bands or artists, like Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, Aerosmith, etc. These are hilarious in context, and there are some I won’t reveal as they simply get funnier as the story progresses. Hirohiko Araki's humour is still flowing strong through his nimble fingers as he draws a landscape populated by more great (a)typical shonen characters and the powerful abilities they possess.

Eschewing the humorous slant on character abilities in part 4, Golden Wind's stands are all devastating in a wipe-the-smile-off-your-face kind of way. All of the antagonists have amazingly strong powers that make you balk and wonder how the good guys can possibly beat them. But they do. Then the next bad guy rolls along with another impossibly strong power and you're again wondering how it’s going to be overcome.

But it is. This is Araki's skill. He can churn out these battles time and time again, making it look easy. So many battles with extremely interesting mixes of abilities clashing together, and each time the outcome is unexpected yet logical, always entertaining. Golden Wind contains the most intense and violent battles yet, so gore-hounds will like some of the mutilations and removal of limbs involved.

There are plenty of exciting action scenes in Golden Wind also, mostly involving moving vehicles and lots of blood-letting. Trains, planes and automobiles, all are trashed to hell along with whoever was foolhardy enough to go against someone of the Joestar lineage, and with Dio's good looks, well damn you have to be a fool to even try.

Araki is a genius author. He manipulates environments logically according to the wacky powers, whether it’s turning an inanimate object into something living or a zipper (yes, a zipper), and the payoffs to his battles can be so ingenious, so deliciously clever, so satisfying, there are times you'll want to punch your fist into the air like an idiot.

Golden Wind further elaborates on the history of the mystical arrow which was introduced in a clumsy retcon manner in the previous part, Diamond Is Unbreakable. Araki learns from his mistakes and continually gets better and better at developing the many potentials of the JoJo saga. It’s not perfect however, so for the sake of being objective there’s a character that appears to be in a main supporting role that is unceremoniously dumped from the story and never heard from again, which was a bit weird.

Though the big villain of Golden Wind is on par with the sociopathic loon of the previous volume, I personally feel the last battle of the previous Diamond Is Unbreakable was much better than the one in Golden Wind, but it’s still got plenty of twists and thrills to entertain you.

From one brilliant set-piece to another Golden Wind barrels along to a high-stakes climax that includes, almost as a side dish, one of the most epic beatdowns to a supporting villain in shonen manga history. You’ll know it when you see it. Despite the final battle with the actual main villain lacking a bit of the coherence and intricately planned brilliance of the previous part’s climax, the journey to get there in Golden Wind is ridiculously addictive reading.