The year is 1999. Morioh, a normally quiet and peaceful town, has recently become a hotbed of strange activity. Joutarou Kuujou, now a marine biologist, heads to the mysterious town to meet Jousuke Higashikata. While the two may seem like strangers at first, Jousuke is actually the illegitimate child of Joutarou's grandfather, Joseph Joestar. When they meet, Joutarou realizes that he may have more in common with Jousuke than just a blood relation.
Along with the mild-mannered Kouichi Hirose and the boisterous Okuyasu Nijimura, the group dedicates themselves to investigating recent disappearances and other suspicious occurrences within Morioh. Aided by the power of Stands, the four men will encounter danger at every street corner, as it is up to them to unravel the town's secrets, before another occurs.
#1: "Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town" by THE DU (eps 2-7, 11-13) #2: "Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town ~EDM Arrange Ver.~" by THE DU (eps 8-9) #3: "chase" by batta (eps 15-16, 18-19, 21-24, 26) #4: "Great Days" by Karen Aoki, Daisuke Hasegawa (27-31, 33-38)
I dont' know why there aren't more negative reviews about this series, but the JoJo series had been my favorite anime to watch (I don't read any manga), and this arc was a huge letdown after 3 solid, enjoyable, and often amazing arcs. The Stardust Crusader OVA from long ago got me hooked, and I was really looking forward to seeing Diamond is Unbreakable after finishing the TV series version of Stardust Crusaders.
I understand this TV series stays pretty true to the manga, but I feel that the writer Hirohiko Araki simply ran out of ideas after the EPIC Stardust Crusader arc and made this
filler arc (for the money) about nothing significant, creating characters that were hard to appreciate because they were whiny, talkative, immature, stupid, and simply lucky, in some sense, when defeating these super random unmemorable opponents with vaguely-defined abilities. I understand the characters are supposed to be young and immature, but I got tired of constantly seeing the characters suddenly act immature over and over in the middle of life-and-death situations.
I really enjoyed the JoJo series as a whole because of amazing powers and the characters having to be clever and creative in order to win, but this arc barely tries. Or perhaps the characters are so unlikable I don't care if the main characters actually lost/died.
The series brings back the main characters from the past storylines, Joseph Joestar and Jotaro Kujo, but Joseph is completely useless in this series and the reasons change from him barely having any memory and barely able to walk to being able to walk and think but having to take care of a pointless baby. I assume the baby becomes a major character in a future arc, but it's super lame how they introduced the baby and how Jonathan was completely out of commission.
If you are a hardcore fan of the series like I am, watch it just to get it over with. If you are new to the series, I highly recommend checking out the first 3 arcs over this one.
Before I get into my actual review, as well as not to distract from its quality I’m going to breakdown (See what I did there) common questions that people have asked before, are sure to ask now and for every subsequent part of Jojo’s going forward, this is for you people, newcomers and otherwise. I want to give future readers the most complete understanding of this series and by extension this franchise as humanly possible, so-----here you go:
ACT 1- The Q & A
Q: What is Diamond is Unbreakable?
A: Diamond is Unbreakable is the fourth part of the long running Jojo’s franchise. It
is one of the more story heavy out of the bunch. It isn’t particularly hard to follow,but there are quite a few intricate plot points that come into play over time in the story rather than immediately like most battles/ segments in previous parts. While it is also easy to follow and quickly gain a grasp of, this isn’t your best starting point.
Q: Can I start Jojo’s here? If not what is my best starting point?
A: Yes. You’ll still be able to understand what is going on to a certain extent. However I highly suggest against it. Watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012), Stardust Crusaders Season 1 and Season 2, then this, in that order would better engross you in the franchise and maximize your experience. Also no, I don’t suggest skipping parts there’s no filler so there is really no point in doing so.(Plus I’m sure if you’re like me at all you like feeling like a smart ass when people ask you information on a series.)
Q: Is the series worth watching? Would I be wasting my time?
A: Again, yes. Even if you don’t enjoy it, it is worth the look. There’s just such rich and deep history behind the Jojo’s franchise. It began as a homage to the late Fist of the North Star series which inspired other beloved franchises such as Berserk and Street Fighter. Jojo’s carries with it a powerful legacy inspiring its own fair share of series such as Persona. In short Jojo’s understands what a winning formula is, it takes some of the best aspects of battle Shonen anime and breathes life into the genre with unbelievable flare. It is definitely worth a peek if not just to understand why it is so popular.
Q: What makes Jojo’s so good? Why is everyone so interested in it?
A: Depends on who you ask really. For some people it’s clever writing and flamboyant, masculine style. For other people Jojo’s hit its peak in part 2 and will never be as good as the masterpiece that is Battle Tendency. Others the over the top characters and the powerful, legitimate bonds they share. For me, the constantly changing narrative and wonderful world and lore are why I love Jojo’s. There’s really not one person that’s going to see the exact same thing from Jojo’s, even between parts. To advertise one as definitively the best or worst to you would be insincere on my part, as I really love them all.
Q: The Manga, how is it? Am I missing anything by not reading it?
A: I suggest it. Some characters are handled slightly different, but I must say David productions takes so much care with this series. There are plenty of scenes and small bits that are not present in the manga, primarily in this part, that flesh out the world a lot more. On the other hand, some of the fluff, such as certain conversations were shortened, reduced or completely removed. In short you aren’t missing much other than actually consistent art work, some dialogues that don’t really matter to be honest and a certain character ( Okuyasu) changing from more of a thug who’s kind of a softie, to a softie that kind of pretends to be a thug, but really isn’t if that makes sense.
ACT 2- The Review:
Oh, how I have waited for this day. I get to review DiU and by extension give my minor thoughts on some of the rest of the series. If you just want the short answer, Diamond is Unbreakable is a good series. Go read it, go watch it, I don’t care. If you even remotely like Shonen the likes of Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter X Hunter, One Piece, Fist of The North Star, etc. you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice by not watching this series. This was hands down my favorite show of this season. After the shit fest that were the Berserk 2016 and Ace Attorney anime adaptions, I was disappointed, but there was one show that never failed to put a smile on my face. It may sound like I’m sugarcoating it but I have such a love for Jojo’s. After those failures, OH YEAH, I believe a bit of positivity is in order.
DiU follows the lives of three seemingly ordinary teenagers, Josuke Higashikata, Okuyasu Nijimura, and Koichi Hirose, who would be leading similarly ordinary lives as they start a new high school life, but of course that won’t be the case. Jotaro, the main protagonist of the part 3, now a side character, is investigating the mysterious forces within the town of Morioh. Josuke, Okuyasu, Koichi and those around them awaken to extraordinary powers which lead to strange encounters and deadly showdowns. The series is primarily broken into two groups for most episodes, Josuke and his group of friends and Koichi and his group of friends (which take up a surprising majority of episodes).
Contrary to popular belief, that summary I just gave you is less than about ½ of the series. It is a common belief that DiU is episodic which could not be further from the truth. I don’t know any other way of putting it, telling someone that is literally a straight out lie. While on the surface, the audience jumping into this straight off of the heels of Stardust Crusaders may think from the setup that Diamond is Unbreakable is just a less interesting version of SC’s “villain of the week” plot it really isn’t. Episodes 1 through 16, actually serves as a way to introduce the supporting cast and develop character relationships. In other words, the antagonists are more than just obstacles to overcome. The ACTUAL plot from episode 17 through 39 revolves around Josuke and the gang chasing down a murderer who shares a similar power to theirs (albeit with a few more of those "obstacles" to overcome). The series from here on out gets much darker, with many twists and turns and some of the best fights in the series. I won’t say more about the story, as doing so would ruin it and it is without doubt the best thing about DiU. Just know this commonly accepted “fact”, much like any badly held stigma, is not true.
You’re probably wondering, “How’s the animation?” I won’t lie; I believe Stardust Crusaders was the best season animation wise. Take note, because I’m really going to focus on SC here. The character designs in DiU are neither as crisp nor as detailed to be honest. The characters however are really smooth looking in most scenes, giving off almost rubber appearances. As far as errors, well….some of the animation errors were too consistent in the initial run of this series. I’m obviously not going to spoil anything here, but there are a few episodes that were handed over to a completely different studio from David Productions. They got their hands on an episode where a character reveals something VERY important and I don’t even need to mention it. People who watched it know what I’m talking about and if you plan on watching it you will too. At this point it’s like bringing up episode 5 of Dragon Ball Super. That’s still a thing people talk about right? To be blunt, it damn near killed the hype of one of the most badass reveals ever and in truth it really upset me how little care was taken with that in particular. However, where DiU lacks in comparison to SC it actually fixes a lot of the problems I had with the previous part.
The biggest fix as far as animation I must say is that they severely toned down the amount of color changing. It may not have been a big deal to anyone else, but SC inverted color sections were not always easy on the eyes and seemed to happen a little too often. DiU thankfully has bright colors, but it’s a much more mellow and pleasant color scheme, rather than looking like an explosive comic book. The auras also look a lot nicer and much more distinct than in previous parts. However, the best additions to me are the old film filter and the way signature poses are portrayed. The still shots are a lot more interesting and much more dynamic than they ever have been.
The soundtrack is fantastic. Each intro from the catchy yet mysterious Crazy, Noisy Bizarre Town, the melancholic but fitting Chase, and the triumphant and conclusive Great Days are visual and audio treats. The ending theme, I Want You by Savage Garden is also just, for a lack of a better word, perfect. The rest of the soundtrack you will find has more rock and synthesized “sounding” music this time around. The soundtrack is quite memorable, If you’re curious about that, they’re all floating around on the internet.
ACT 3- The Conclusion:
Listen by the time this review goes up I’ve already watched all but the last episode of this series twice. I’ve gotten friends, family into this great franchise, not that I suggest you showing the series to someone who’s sensitive or easily disgusted. There’s some content even in DiU that isn’t for everyone. I may sound a bit biased. I may be gushing way too hard. But I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life just discussing Jojo’s. I earnestly believe that it is series like Parasyte, Hunter X Hunter, Kill La Kill, Jojo’s, etc. that will be defined in the future as the “ New” anime classics. There’s a lot to value here, interesting characters, clever writing, stylish animation, catchy music, and in truth a series that is both like and unlike anything and well….everything I’ve ever seen. There were faults to be sure, which is what kept this series just shy of a higher score, but I have to be somewhat objective. If anything I hope this review was helpful to you and gave you a bit of an understanding of what the series is and my personal perspective on it. I’ll leave you with this, if you enjoyed nothing else in 2016, if you’re tired of the shallow end of anime to point where you feel you’re in a never ending loop, if the sheer amount of crazy caused you to break--- what’s one more chance to fix it?
Morioh, an insignificant town that sits out in the sun for anyone to visit and the new home for the never-ending battle carried out by one family. Somewhere in this scrambled slice of suburbia, we're introduced to the latest member of the Joestar lineage, as we encroach on what would be one of many fights to come.
A new enemy Stand makes its entrance; veins protruding through swollen biceps; wrinkled brow plaster the expression of a robust figure; eyes fixated on the opposition; pompadour takes aim, a tangerine sky hanging above; onomatopoeias floods the screen—BAM! MENACING! RUMBLE!—with wall-to-wall color dancing around on the border of psychedelia
and pop art. Head titled, shoulders rolled back, chest puffed out; an epic pose is struck. A feeble old geezer hunched over in the background, hands clasping his cheek, lets out a compulsory "Oh my Gawd!" in Engrish. A powerful aura exudes from the frame of the young Joestar. A muscle-bound, apparition clad in lavender emerges from within him, as he lets out a herculean roar: "CRAZY DIAMOND!!!"..., Gritted teeth, fist wound up, body arched back—fades to black..., trumpets blare, cue intro, welcome to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable!
Since 2012, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has been spearheading a campaign to bring GAR and all things manly back to the limelight; introducing newcomers to an anime staple that's been underrepresented in the 2000s, while also shamelessly serving as a form of fanservice for veteran viewers who self-indulge in all things retro. For those people that miss the blockbuster era of beefy action heroes that were deep-rooted in the product of 80s Americana. With a dedicated following that only grows bigger year after year, Jojo's crusade for "manly ass men doing manly ass things" has proven to be a successful one. A fact that's made all the more surprising when accounting for the current cultural shift in anime that favors infectiously cute shows or those garishly showered in 2edgy4u content. Jojo stands firm, pressing forward to the beat of its own drum while giving sensitivity the middle finger as it flexes its biceps in the name of awesome.
But perhaps the strongest aspect of Jojo isn't this flippant disregard towards popular trends, but the way it goes about expressing itself within it.
There are a few cardinal rules that most writers try their best to abide by, one of which is maintaining some semblance of plausibility within the realm of the written work being presented. Whether the story in question is grounded in reality or contains plenty of fantastical elements, maintaining some level of plausible "cause and effect" is what helps the audience experience immersion. Even in a fictional universe that contains many otherworldly themes, there are still constants that are expected to be maintained. In the same way, the theoretical law in our universe remains consistent no matter the time or location; the same is also expected with works of fiction. Anything that doesn't uphold established in-world laws tends to be perceived as poorly constructed or just outright "bad writing." We may not always identify it up front, but somewhere in our subconscious, the "bullshit" meter is going off.
And yet, even with this unspoken rule in mind, there are some stories that purposefully leave common sense at the front door. They're shows that are propelled by nonsensical conclusions, improbable physics, and pure absurdity. But somehow, despite this, or perhaps because of it, they have been adored the world over. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is that kind of show. A show driven forward by madness, adrenaline, and a gratuitous amount of machismo. It embraces the "Bizarre" in its namesake to the utmost extent, doing whatever it pleases with total conviction and never looking back at the body count trailing behind it.
And like the hyperactive installments before it, Part 4 continues to keep the ball rolling, following the lineage of the Joestar family and all the inherent problems that come with the blood-line. This brings us to the next Joestar tasked with carrying on the legacy, the ever-fabulous Jousuke Higashikata; a man of few words, unless the words addressed to him are insults directed at his ultra sleek Greece Lightening hairdo. Unlike the hard-boiled demeanor of Joutarou, Jousuke actions are driven by hot-tempered impulses, choosing to punch first and ask questions later. He wears his heart on his sleeve, an attribute that would usually be perceived as weak in the testosterone-filled world of Jojo, except for the fact that Jousuke kicks all kinds of ass with his Stand, Crazy Diamond. A Stand that grants him the ability to restore any damage inflicted to something back to its original state or alter it to its base elements. Pairing that with his hair-trigger personality makes for a formidable combo, something that many enemy Stands find out the hard way.
As the aftermath surrounding Dio Brando begins to settle down, remnants of his misdeeds are still spreading when the Bow and Arrow—the weapon used to create Stands—ends up in the wrong hands. Because of this, Joutarou finds himself traveling to the town of Moriah where his illegitimate nephew Jousuke calls home. And as the Joestars team up to rid the town of Stand users hellbent on causing harm to the citizens, they find themselves encountering greater threats along the way.
With a narrative that solely exists to have as many physical encounters as possible, Part 4 manages the impossible task of circumventing the trappings of episodic content while using that exact structure to create bottle episodes filled with high-octane battles. Whether it's pounding the snot out of an enemy Stand or simply going to a restaurant to eat, Part 4 is continuously pressing down on the gas peddle. For those that don't like stagnation, this sequel is a Godsend.
There's no calm moment of clarity to reflect on the situation at hand, all that's left on display is brittle logical leaps followed up by gonzo wall-texts flying in with a flurry of saturated color. It's vivid, it's spastic, it's a mural hacked up on PCP. And while this commitment to never slowing down may seem like a detriment for any other show, for Jojo—a show that's as straightforward as the content being displayed—there couldn't have been a better marriage of purposeful storytelling.
Jojo's brilliance is in its simplicity. It isn't a show that's out to have an intricate story-line filled with multifaceted themes, nor does it try to craft layered personalities that appear 3-dimensional. Jojo personifies the mindset of a neanderthal, where problems are solved with fists and beating enemies into submission. Loyalty is proven with actions and not half-baked words. And motivations that's as explicit as the expository dialogue being used to express them. The only thought process being taken is assuring that they properly utilize their Stand abilities to defeat their enemy with optimal results. These muscle-bound brutes painted up like Easter eggs leave no room for interpretation, what you see is what you get.
This isn't to say there's no thought placed into Jojo's production. The show is littered with inventive encounters that overlap Stand abilities to create a chess game of wits, seeing both sides constantly fighting for the upper hand over one another. Matches that eventually dissolve into pissing contests to see who would cave in first. Each Stand ability is accounted for, creating interesting back and forths between the combatants. And with there being countless possible Stand abilities that could manifest in someone, the end result is no two fights being the same. The battlefield is forever morphing, with something as simple as the changes in partnership or location altering the very course of a how a match can turn out.
It's this very ingenuity that demonstrates that behind the burly men clashing fists, there's still a thought process keeping the madness together. This also includes the more straightforward parts of Jojo's production, such as the naming of the characters and the reasoning for its brightly-colored world.
If you've made it all the way to Part 4, then this should come as no surprise to you that Hirohiko Araki, the creator of the Jojo manga, has consciously decided to name characters after musicians and songs, mostly from western pop culture. It's an inconsequential bit of trivia that doesn't do much for the long-haul but despite that, adds to the overall appeal of his work. And with French post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguin being cited as an influential person in his approach to color theory, there's always a sense that Jojo was much more than just a whim being held up by simple admiration for a particular era. If you've ever felt like the colors used was oddly at home despite the constant clash of sassy meet gusto, that's because of this conscious effort on Araki's part to blend the two. This well-cultured sensibility is what gives Jojo such a distinct personality from its counterparts. It's an entity birthed outside of typical circular influence, having a unique appeal while winning the admiration of a broader market in the process.
But let's not mistake all this appraisal of Jojo as the show being a flawless creation, it does suffer from its fair share of issues. For one, because of its straightforward approach, there's never any questions posed at the actions being taken. And as such, this is an anime that only works because of the universe pre-established before it. Had we not seen the impossible happen time and time again, Jojo would have never worked. Its absurdity disallows genuine immersion in the circumstances taking place. You're entertained but never for a second buy into the ridiculousness of it all. It's a show where you laugh at the nonsense and take enjoyment out of how committed it is to seeing it through, despite the apparent shortcomings of said actions making close to little sense. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is always entertaining but never something to be held up as proper literature. It's the show's greatest strength but sadly its greatest weakness as well.
This issue also means that all of the characters are usually dwindled down to becoming internet memes or lovable caricatures. No one is looking onto Jojo for enriched characterization. All that's expected out of it is hyperactive personalities with cool abilities trading blow for blow in an environment that allow these occurrences to go on undisturbed. This is usually the trade-off for dumb-fun entertainment. Finding a balance between the absurd and tightly written is a rarity that escapes Jojo. But what it still has is an unshakable commitment to do everything at 110%, so even when you question the logic of a scenario, it doesn't take long before you accept it for what it is to continue seeing the Joestars pummel enemies into submission.
And if this fact can be accepted for what it is, then Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable should be nothing short of an entertaining ride for most fans of this bizarre adventure. With more epic poses, more stands, more cool ass character designs, and too much awesome shit to know what to do with, Jojo Part 4 has been one hell of a ride. And with this being another successful adaptation by David Production, here's hoping it's an adventure with many more iterations to come.
-Sepia bathe the screen, title card cropped in an arrow: To Be Continued-
David Production was hardly a household name in the otaku community a few years ago. However everything changed when the fire nation attacked...I mean when they released their JoJo's Bizarre Adventure adaptation in 2012! While the budget was pretty low, David Production blew the community away with their attention to detail and loyalty to the source material and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable is no exception to this.
JoJo Part 4 tells the story of Josuke Higashikata, Joesephs illegitimate son. In Josuke's home town Morioh someone used a magical bow and arrow to transform normal people into Stand users. This time we get
to know a little bit more about the origin of the Stand abilities, which has something to do with these arrows. Of course, Josuke and his friends have to stop them.
Most of the time they just encounter random enemies, but later they try to find out the identity of a certain someone with an especially dangerous Stand who is living in Morioh, who is the main focus of the second half of this story arc. This person is commiting gruesome murders for several years, but was never caught, so it's up to JoJo and his pals to stop him.
The reason why this plot works so much better than Part 3's, is because it feels much more natural. In Stardust Crusader, the plot felt very video game-ish, but in Part 4 fighting Stand users is more of a daily routine and not part of a journey to save the world or something. Araki succesfully mixed Part 3's semi-episodic structure with some slice of life elements. Since they never leave their home town, there is also a lot of attention to the city Morioh itself, almost like the city is it's own character. I wouldn't go so far and call it "world building", but all these little things about Morioh + the recurring places definitely gives this arc it's own flavor and identity compared to the rest of JJBA.
Most enemies they fight turn into friends later on or are at least somewhat relevant for the plot later. This causes the team of allies to be very large, almost twice the size of Part 3's.However the last third of the show has very simmiliar issues as Stardust Crusaders (TOO obvious monster of the week) and some episodes are obviously more exiting than others, but in the end Part 4 feels much more tightly written than it's predecessor.
The characters are great in Diamond is unbreakable! Almost all of them are interesting and their interactions are super entertaining. Of the 4 JoJos that are introduced at this point, Part 4's main character Josuke is probably the most interestig. He is introduced as a polite delinquent, but he gets series when it comes to his hair: when someones insults it, the person get's his ass kicked! This is pretty much Josuke's thing. Joseph had his predicting thing, Jotaro his "yare yare daze" and Josuke has his hair thing.There is even a little flashback about why he is so sensitive about his hair in the first place. He doesn't use it as much as Joseph and Jotaro though and his tick is pretty much dropped later on and his flashback never received any further explanation, but it was still a nice touch.
The main villain of Part 4, Yoshikage Kira, is also great. He is not as "EPIC" as Dio, but he is very memorable in his own way. Unlike Dio, who was more of a cartoon villain (wants to take over the world etc) Kira just wants to commit murders without being disturbed by other people. He doesn't want world domination or anything like that, just a quite and peaceful life. Unlike Dio or Kars, Kira feels like a person who could actually exist in real life, which makes him legimately scary. The final battle against him was a little messy and the way he died was pretty anticlimatic, but I guess that made sense in this context and steting, since Kira is a more of a realistic villain. The fight was still exiting nontheless and the way they used their Stands was pretty creative.
As you would expect from JoJo, the fights are awesome. The Stands are much more creative than in the previous story arc and they are used in very creative ways. You can really tell how much Araki improved the fighting mechanic in this arc. This is probably the most bizarre aspect of Part 4: melting bodies together, turning people into books or trapping people in a time loop; these are just a few examples for the crazy abilities. There were even new types of Stands introduced: automatic Stands and Stands that evolve into a more powerful form over time.
Sadly DiU is much less "GAR" and manly that the previous parts. The characters are also not nearly as buff anymore. This was around the time when the mangaka started to change up his art style. David Production chose to make the whole arc look more like the second half the DiU manga, insteadt of having this (admittedly awkward) transition from bulky to skinny.
Similar to the earlier seasons of JoJo, the animation looks very low budget at times. However David Production makes up for that with an unique artstyle, great use of color and lots of crazy effects. In the end it's very nice looking anime, despite some derpy faces and low quality character models here and there (they'll be probably fixing these things until the Bluy Ray release anyway).
The soundtrack however was a bit less memorable than in previous parts, but I guess that's a matter of preference. I like how they remixed Jotaro's theme from Part 3 and the way they mixed up the opening theme in the last couple episodes was really creative.
In conclusion, Part 4 has all the bizarre action, manly tears and likeable characters that would you would expect from this series and it even improves quite a bit on some of the flaws in Stardust Crusaders. How do I say this...? It's a bit crude, but...hehe...I got a boner!
General production value: 7,5/10