JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a long-running manga series by Hirohiko Araki, which began running in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump all the way back in 1987. Here, I will give share with you some of my thoughts on the anime adaptation of Part 5, Golden Wind, which aired for 39 episodes from October 2018 to July 2019. This is an adaptation of the Golden Wind manga, which originally ran in Jump from 1995 to 1999.
Warning – there will be many heavy spoilers in this review!
If there is one word that sums up the David production anime adaptations of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it would be ‘faithful’. One thing that sets this anime apart form many others is how closely it sticks to the original work. For many anime it can be a little difficult, as what may work on the page may not work on the screen. We also need to take timing into account, as the anime has to fit in a certain amount of material into a certain amount of episodes. There is also the fact that the majority of anime are based on ongoing source material, and certainly not manga that ended nearly 20 years earlier. Although I can understand why changes need to be made in anime adaptations, it really is a breath of fresh air to have JoJo. Sometimes it honestly feels like the manga has been placed directly on the screen, and Golden Wind is no different. Every single chapter of the manga has been adapted, and the very little changes that have been made make complete sense! That’s why I’d like to start by looking at the series composition.
It’s difficult to criticize the series composition, as it mostly just follows the order and pacing of the manga. However, there were a few small changes that needed to be made, mostly involving the flashbacks. The placement of these flashbacks was slightly fiddled with to make more sense, and the scenes were expanded. There were a definite improvement on the manga, which may have used just a couple of pages to reflect on the pasts of Bucciarati and his team. One flashback that really stuck with me was Fugo’s. His past is expanded more that any other character, taking inspiration not only from the manga but also from Purple Haze Feedback, a semi-canon novel which brings up Fugo’s past and his actions after Giorno becomes the Boss of Passione (I highly recommend giving it a read if you can!).
In terms of the composition of the series, I think the most highly criticized aspect may be the final two episodes. After a break of a few weeks, many viewers started to believe we would be getting a huge fight between Diavolo and Giorno to end the series and were disappointed that we got two flashback-heavy episodes with no battles. For me personally, this is my favorite part of Golden Wind, but I can understand people’s frustrations. After the big fight at the end of Stardust Crusaders and the unexpected ending to Diamond is Unbreakable, it may have felt a little anti-climactic to get the Rolling Stone storyline. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I would take this sensitive storyline over a beat down (To be fair, the promotion of the anime during the break before the final two episodes aired not once implied that there would be any battles).
So, all-in-all, the series composition for Golden Wind was as good as it could be without straying too far from the source material.
Visuals and animation
The animation for Golden Wind is nothing to really scream about for the most part. However, it brings us what we know and love, including the experimental colors, still shots when we get to famous manga panels, the on-screen sounds effects, and more. Perhaps the most impressive piece of animation was muda muda beatdown during Giorno vs Cioccolata, which got its own section in the ending credits.
The use of cell-shaded CG was pretty nice to watch, as it blended in very well with the surrounding animation. Aerosmith especially looked really cool, and makes me excited for the future of CG in anime. Hopefully, one day the usage of 3D computer graphics in 2D anime won’t feel so awkward.
Finally, I would like to bring up the character designs! I was actually pretty skeptical when the character designs were first revealed last year (especially Bucciarati’s short hair…), but the actual designs used in the anime get a thumbs-up from me. The color schemes were also very well thought out, with a great balance between the main characters.
I decided to give this its own section as its perhaps the most important aspect of storytelling for me personally. The most prominent development in the series comes not from Giorno but from Trish, who is initially introduced as nothing more than a spoiled young lady. Yet, it is difficult to not feel sorry for Trish. She lost her mother, with whom she was very close, was put in the care of very weird strangers and then handed over to a father she had never met… only for him to try to kill her. In just a few days she grew extraordinarily, developing her own Stand and building her own confidence. Unlike the other members of the team, she had a peaceful life before the death of her mother and had nothing close to the battle experience of the men trying to protect her. Although her existence was basically there to propel the story, she became an extraordinary character in her own right, and I love her to bits.
The second character whose development sticks with me is Abbacchio. A kind man who just wants to protect, his experiences as a police officer left him bitter and untrusting. It’s thanks to Bucciarati that he is able to slowly get back onto the path that he originally intended. Having a very cold attitude toward new recruit Giorno, it is only immediately after Abbacchio’s death that we see that he was learning to see Giorno eye-to-eye, as he left a clue that could only be understood with Giorno’s Stand. Abbachio’s story is one of the most well-written in the series, despite being so short.
Although every character goes through some kind of development, those are the two who stick with me the most.
Every JoJo part in the David production adaptation has a completely different soundtrack. This one is one of the most substantial, being released over 3 CDs. The OST perfectly fits the atmosphere of the show. The main theme, titled ‘il vento d’oro’, is catchy and as soon you hear it, you’ll get in the Golden Wind mood! The track also features Daisuke Hasegawa’s vocals, and when you hear him sing ‘JoJo~ Golden Wind~’ in the track, you know something awesome is about to happen! Other tracks that stick in my mind are ‘alba’, which is a track that reminds us of a peaceful town that you would like to vacation in, ‘aereo de caccia’, which is Aerosmith’s theme, ‘morte’, which is the string theme played after the death of certain characters, and ‘fine della vento aureo’, a full-on orchestral piece which plays in the very final scene.
And of course there is ‘canzoni preferite’, also known as the ‘torture dance song’ and a very obvious tribute to ‘Pussy Control’ by Prince. The fact that this much attention got squished into just a couple of panels of the manga shows just how much love is put into the series.
As well the music, the usage of sound effects is also worth paying attention to!
The casting for this anime is pretty much as close to perfection as you can get (talking as somebody obsessed over voice actors here). There have been game adaptations of Golden Wind before, all with different voice actors. The most obvious name here has to be Keisho Ono as Giorno. It seems to be fate, with Jotaro and Josuke having both been played by voice actors surnamed ‘Ono’. He takes over from huge names such as Romi Park and Daisuke Namikawa to play the 5th JoJo. Ono’s depiction is strong and youthful, but has that ‘brightness’ that the previous cast members weren’t quite able to nail. Most importantly, he pulled off those muda muda beat downs PERFECTLY. The rest of the squad were perfectly cast, but I want to give a special mention to Daiki Yamashita as Narancia. All the previous depictions of Narancia cast a female voice actor, and so some people were surprised that a male actor was cast. But do you know what? He absolutely NAILED IT. When I reread the manga now, I can literally hear Yamshita’s depiction ringing in my ears. For those of you who may have only heard him in this and My Hero Academia, I’d just like you to know that his vocal range is actually pretty outstanding, and he can actually sound like a woman if the time calls for it… Anyway, you go Narancia!
Another special mention goes to Sayaka Senbongi as Trish. She has a naturally very pretty voice, and really showed off her acting chops here. She gave us Trish, she gave us Spice Girl, she gave us Mista. Thanks to this anime I’ve become a big fan and will support her all the way!
I actually have something to say for the casting of every single character, but then I would write about 50 pages. So I will just leave it with one thing. The casting director is a genius.
Also, I honestly wanted Soma Saito to play Jonny Joestar, but he was brilliant as Doppio so I guess I’m satisfied.
As with all JoJo parts, there were some really iconic scenes to behold. First to mind may be the so-called ‘torture dance’ scene as it was so obviously put in for the fans! The ‘muda muda rush’ with Cioccolata on the other end was worth the wait, too!
Other favorites for me are the appearance of Spice Girl, Fugo bringing out Purple Haze, pretty much all the flashback scenes and Abbachio’s death. That last one especially had me blubbering for ages, it was just so well-written and made perfect use of the soundtrack.
If you have any favorite scenes, then I’d love to hear about them!
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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was a very enjoyable series. It was never my favorite of the JoJo parts, but the anime made me rethink my stance a little. I definitely connected to the characters a lot more via the anime thanks to the pacing of the show. The animation is not exactly brilliant, but the visuals are creative and the CG is really nice. The OST and voice acting are very lovely on the ears, and most importantly, there is a lot of love put in the series! I think some of my biggest criticisms apply more to the source material than the adaptation and can mostly be answered with a famous phrase: ‘Araki forgot’. If you are willing to ignore plot holes and lack of logic, then the series is very enjoyable! I do wish there were a few more female characters… but hopefully we have an anime adaptation of female-led Stone Ocean to look forward to.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is definitely worth your time!
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
Anime Info | Simulcast