It has been a hot minute since the 5th part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has ended but I figure at this point pretty much everyone who was watching the show has probably finished it. While there will always be stragglers at this point we have passed the peak of the bell curve and hopefully, everyone else will just come back to this article when they are ready. I say that because this post will have ALL the spoilers. The initial post had a decent number of spoilers but I specifically avoided spoiling anything that had in the series past episode 17 (Baby Face.) But now I feel it is time to talk about the series as a whole and finish my thoughts on the role of protagonist in Golden Wind.
So, in the end, Giorno Giovanna survives the fight with Diavolo and becomes a Gang Star and the new head of a hopefully somewhat reformed Passione. This mostly happens partially because Giorno steps up more as a leader, partially because Giorno gets a major Stand upgrade that makes him near broken, and partially just because there is a leadership vacuum especially after the death of Bruno Bucciarati and Diavolo.
The main problem with this always seemed to me that the story was written so that in the end Giorno becomes the head of Passione and everything else is set up so that endpoint is reached. This is all well and good but it feels like if Giorno needed 10 credits to graduate to become the head of Passione but he only earned like 5 of them and then the other 5 just were given to him through some really dodgy methods. I don’t mean that in the sense that Giorno himself used some shady methods to rise to the top. He wants to be the boss of a crime family so doing everything on the up and up would almost definitely disqualify him from the position. It feels like the story is the one who is cheating a little and that can leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth.
Having recently run a game of DnD it sort of feels like a bit of railroading going on. For a quick bit of explanation for that term, railroading is a term from Tabletop RPGs. In tabletop games, the player characters can make any choice and the person running the game merely tells them how their choices play out. When PCs get railroaded the person running the game says that the players have infinite choices but really no matter what they do the end result will be the same. A classic example is the players come to a spooky house. The DM wants them to go through the front door. The players try going through a backdoor, window, chimney, or basement and they are totally blocked from doing so. Even spells or clever engineer all come short so the players are forced through the front door. It did not matter what choices they made they were railroaded towards their only real choice.
Now tabletop games and manga are radially different mediums and therefore the mechanics of choice for characters are very different. In the manga, the stories are all plotted out. The characters don’t really have any choices as their choices are made by the person writing the story. The thing is those choices should feel natural for the character. The results of their choices and the consequences therein should feel authentic. When someone says they are going to the King of the Pirates their journey should make it feel like when the stories end and the protagonist is the Sovereign of the Seas they deserve that position. Unless of course, the whole point of the story is people getting positions they don’t deserve.
The problem is Giorno sort of falls into the role of Moss Boss by the end. Considering how much of the story is about how active choice, sacrifice, and determination and how they can overcome fate and privilege it does seem a bit anti-thematic. Now it is not that the job just falls right into Giorno’s lap. He is a very vital member of the team and he is given some growth as a leader but it all seems a little forced. It does feel like a bit of railroading to get to a chosen end. Despite the story trying to get in through the window or the chimney, the plot is ultimately forced through the front door where Giorno is the head of Passione.
As I said in the first post it feels like Bucciarati should be the one to take over Passione. He has the leadership skills, drive, and determination. Giorno makes a good lieutenant and you see how down the line he could take over from Bucciarati after studying under his wing for a few years but nothing about him says Top Gang Star! When Bucciarati is killed and only partially resurrected the plot seems to be hell-bent of trying to justify why Giorno should be the one to take over. The rest of the story feels very determined to show how Giorno is meant to carry Bucciarati’s torch. It gets the job done but it always feels clumsy. When Bucciarati passes on he essentially names Giorno as his successor but it feels more like there was no better choices rather than Giorno was the best choice.
It feels to me that as the series goes on Araki realized that he had taken a bit too much of easy way out with having Bucciarati be in charge and had to scramble to thrust Giorno into a leadership role past that point. I don’t get the feeling that Araki killed Bucciarati just to make it happen. It easily could have always been the plan. I just think the part he had to scramble to fix was Giorno taking over from Bucciarati. That is the part that seems a bit ham-fisted.
Overall it feels to me that Bucciarati is the main character of the story and Giorno is mostly the point of view character. If this were The Great Gatsby then Bucciarati is Jay Gatsby and Giorno is Nick Carraway. The story is told by Nick Carraway but the story is named after Gatsby for a reason. That is why I say there is an argument for Bucciarati being the main character.
But that is just an idea I’m throwing out there for general consumption. Who do you pick as the main character of Golden Wind?