With Diamond Is Unbreakable having wrapped up, a new adventure is set to start. Leaving Japan behind, the next tale in the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series takes us to Italy for some interesting surprises. Golden Wind has finally been released in America and it’s time to dive in. Is it good?
According to the official description provided by Viz Media:
Golden Wind is here! The highly-acclaimed fifth arc of Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure shifts the action from Japan to Italy, as Koichi Hirose heads to Europe to find an aspiring gangster named Giorno Giovanna, the secret son of Dio Brando, scourge of the Joestar family. Organized crime meets family drama and unbelievable enemy Stands in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 5—Golden Wind!
The first volume for this part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a breath of fresh air for the series in a way. No, not in the sense that the “bizarre” nature of the franchise is being downplayed. It’s still as kooky as ever. No, the past isn’t even being glanced over in favor of something new. It sort of is, but what came before is still here and necessary for building Part 5’s foundation.
It is a change of pace in the formula. Golden Wind is not exactly a Jojo story. Yes, one of our titular Jojos is around, but he’s not a focus (at least for now). This is a story about Giorno Giovanna, a Japanese kid raised Italian living in Naples with his own extraordinary power. He has different goals in mind than the Joestar Family, looking to cement a reputation and build his own criminal empire. However, there are many roadblocks before him, many with superpowers, and he still has a sense of justice and humanity to him that most lack. The change of setting and focus is nice and while the story has really only begun, it does offer a lot more promise than Part 4 did right out of the gate.
A good change of pace is nothing without an equally good lead and Giorno Giovanna fits the bill. He starts off as a jerk, stealing Koichi’s suitcase when he arrives in town. However, through more encounters we start to get the idea that he isn’t necessarily a bad guy. During an actual fight, he tries to warn people to back off and pulls his punches when he recognizes a person isn’t actually all that bad. There’s a sense of nobility to him.
And the more we learn, the more interesting and compelling of a character he becomes. The son of Dio (not sure how that worked), he had a hard, hard life growing up from an emotionally distant mother to an abusive stepfather. Everything changes when he saves the life of a mafia member, finally giving him a real father figure and a purpose in life. It’s a strange and potentially evil-looking purpose, but given what we know, there are definitely good intentions in it. It makes you want to learn more about him and I’m eager to do so over the coming volumes.
The other characters making up this series could use some more work. They’re definitely a memorable bunch, no matter how brief like the shovel assassin, but there’s not a whole lot to them currently. Bruno Bucciarati offers some potential, but their characterization is so subtle that when the story explains where they stand it comes across as coming out of nowhere. Polpo is an interesting-looking villain that leaves quite an impression, but a bit more of him would be nice to see. Koichi Hirose returns from Diamond Is Unbreakable, tying these Parts together well. I didn’t dive too deep into Part 4, but seeing his growth really shows how far he has come when it comes to bravery and putting himself on the line.
As for the rest of the writing and story, it is fine at the moment. It’s still early game so its full potential has yet to be seen. For instance, the manga lays out a good foundation but it does end very abruptly and without resolution. The setting of the story is intriguing, but we don’t get to see much of Naples to make it memorable outside of its Italian names and language. And, again, there is potential with these supporting characters, but we’ll need more time with them to truly understand them and their goals. The first volume is good at hooking you in, but the real treat is lying in wait in the next volume or two.
Lastly, the artwork itself. Unlike the jump from Stardust Crusaders to Diamond Is Unbreakable, the quality of the art remains relatively equal between Parts. It still has that wholly unique vibe that I haven’t seen in any other series out there with its vivid, imaginative Stand fights. It’s characters never look the age they’re supposed to be, but are always memorable and distinct in their looks and powers. The layouts are mostly easy to follow, capturing that intensify and dramatic flair the series is known for. If you like the art of what came before, it’s the same level of quality here.
The only issues come with two things: the final fight and Koichi Hirose. The final Stand fight wasn’t as interesting of a fight as the previous one. The powers and design felt too typical for the series if I were to describe it. It didn’t have enough flash and energy to it as it were and even the panel layouts were awkward at times to follow. Then there is Koichi himself. I didn’t read through all of Diamond Is Unbreakable I admit, but checking the first volume, he used to be a lot taller and more human-looking. The proportions are horrific, from his baby-size body, over-sized head, scrawny arms and legs. It’s so hard to look at sometimes.
Is It Good?
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind Vol. 1 a solid start to a new adventure in the Jojo saga. It lays down a fresh, exciting story and setting for us to venture into. It has a pretty good main character who feels like a much appreciated change of pace. It’s artwork is still the same as ever in capturing the bonkers nature of the series. While not perfect, I can easily recommend Golden Wind as a manga to keep your eyes on. This has oodles of potential worth checking out.
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