Fourth story arc of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken series.
The coastal town of Morioh is plagued by the "Bow and Arrow," an ancient artifact which manifests latent stand abilities in criminals and ordinary folk alike. At the same time as they are dealing with the huge influx of stand users—both good and bad—in Morioh, high schooler Jousuke Higashikata and his friends are searching for the culprit of a series of homicides.
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 4: Diamond wa Kudakenai has been licensed in English as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond Is Unbreakable by VIZ Media. The series was published in Italian by Star Comics from March 1997 to July 1999.
A live-action film adaptation of the series by director Takashi Miike premiered in Japan on August 4, 2017.
Part 4 of one of manga's longest running series gets off to a rocky start but with each volume gets better, funnier, more creative with battles and character abilities and culminating in re-establishing JoJo's Bizarre Adventure as one of, if not the, greatest shonen manga franchise ever.
Diamond Is Unbreakable's story begins with a few missteps, that of focusing on an illegitimate son thus almost rendering Joseph Joestar's courageous mission in the previous volume moot and making him look like a jerk (although this is played for laughs), and also more importantly slightly retconning the evil granny character of Enya by having her be a source
of more trouble for the worlds citizens by going around with a mystical bow and arrow and randomly shooting people, giving them randomly assigned 'stand' powers.
Author Hirohiko Araki goes full on with crazy stand powers this time, emboldened with what he achieved in part 3 and the introduction of the crazy powers and their potential, you'll see a full range of quirky abilities that cause as many laughs as they do terror.
The main character of Josuke is thankfully livelier than the stoic and bland Jotaro of part 3, and with a more funky wardrobe courtesy of Araki's brilliant fashion sense. In fact the stylistic choices throughout the saga continue to get more and more inspired in their lunacy, it really is a joy to read and appreciate the unique art on display.
Josuke is surrounded by a motley crew of friends, family, enemies, enemies turned friends, friends turned enemies, random ghosts, aliens, and animals with attitude. They all fit one genre trope or another, but they're all very entertaining and very distinct.
Part 4 has awesome battles and abilities as usual for the franchise, and is almost worth it just for an action scene towards the latter half involving a motorcycle, a baby carriage and an unstoppable 'stand'. Araki's battles rarely ever rely on what today's staple shonen bestsellers always use: the old 'allies appear from nowhere and save the day' routine. Araki's characters get pushed and pushed into tight corners and work their way out using brain power, or if their allies do appear, it’s because of planned out teamwork, not mere coincidence or luck.
And even though there are a lot of 'standalone' stories in part 4 as opposed to a big mission, they're for the most part well thought-out and have plenty of great payoffs. They all thankfully advance the plot or character relations in some manner too, which is essential for good storytelling using a standalone format.
Especially the last story arc of Part 4 which is excellent indeed, with our plucky good guys facing-off against the saga's best villain. Yes better than Dio and his generic world-domination plans, Part 4's villain's threat is much more terrifying for its relation to reality. It’s easier to be threatened by a sociopath who avoids fights and attention (knowing full well he can silence anyone he pleases easily) and preys on the weak for his own satisfaction.
Despite its flaws and rocky beginning, part 4 sustains JoJo's tendency for making readers laugh out loud at the surreal humour and quickly turn pages in anticipation of the next outstanding battle and all the twists and turns it entails. Even Joseph's playa ways, which I cited as an unnecessary misstep, gets a humorous payoff at the end.
I can barely think of anything negative to say about this manga after all. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is probably the greatest shonen ever, its amazingly long publishing run and popularity proves it.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is, as of writing, 28 years old, and save for a gap year between Stone Ocean and Steel Ball Run it has been running the entire time. As such, this is one of the most enduring franchises in the entirety of manga. In a big way, it owes this to the way it is split up into parts - each new part introducing a new JoJo, a new main cast, and a new setting - but perhaps both the least obvious thing AND the most important thing that changes is the genre. Whilst it remains a battle shonen manga throughout, it merges
the JoJo formula with a different genre each time, giving each arc its own firm identity.
In no other part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is this more apparent than in Diamond is Unbreakable.
Here, the series takes on elements of a slice-of-life series, and the sheer creative freedom afforded to Araki by this battle shonen/SoL fusion made way for some of the most inspired results possible (the fact that Araki would revisit the setting of Part 4 in Part 8, albeit with a new twist on the genre, is a testament to this).
It's a simple, but brilliant twist on things - everyday events, but with SUPERPOWERS. It's far more interesting to watch than the battles were in Stardust Crusaders, simply because all the enemies in Stardust Crusaders (Dio notwithstanding) were one of three things: A hired mercenary, a brainwashed puppet, or a Dio worshipper. In Diamond is Unbreakable, they can be anything from a manga-ka looking for inspiration, to a crazy stalker, to a beautician using their stand for cosmetic surgery. What other action manga could possibly make eating Italian food into a tense and thrilling viewing experience?
Interestingly, despite being hailed by most as one of the best parts nowadays, Diamond is Unbreakable used to be one of the most maligned JoJo parts - at least in the English-speaking parts of the fandom. This is due to the DUWANG scans, which for the longest time were the only way to read Part 4 in English - and which are legendarily, hilariously bad (they're worth a read in their own right - they transform DiU into something akin to The Room). That it was once hated, even though we all understood how bad the scans were, is a testament to just how much better the writing in Diamond is Unbreakable is than it was in the previous parts.
The same can be said of its protagonist, Josuke Higashikata, who was also once the most hated JoJo by most fans. Where Jonathan was noble, Joseph was outrageous and trickstery, and Jotaro was stoic, Josuke is simply an average guy. That's not to say he's boring, or an average protagonist - it's just that Josuke is very much your everyday regular dude. He's the kind of guy you'd want to be friends with (which explains why he befriends half the stand users he meets). He is defined by his jokes, his banter with his friends, and his witty dialogue... and also by his goofy pompadour, which he is very defensive of. Unfortunately, a lot of this was lost in the terrible translation we once had to rely on.
Part 4 has one of the best supporting casts of any JoJo arc as well. Rohan Kishibe, who is often considered an author avatar for Araki himself, is an assshole, but he's very entertaining at being an asshole, and his hatred of Josuke is always fun to watch. Okuyasu Nijimura is l̶i̶t̶e̶r̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶k̶u̶w̶a̶b̶a̶r̶a̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶Y̶u̶ ̶Y̶u̶ ̶H̶a̶k̶u̶s̶h̶o one of the most beloved JoJo teammates - he has the goofy idiocy of Polnareff and then some, and has great chemistry with Josuke. The only downside is that, unlike Polnareff, he's as stupid in combat as he is in general, winning only one battle in his own right (and that was mostly luck). That he is as popular as he is in spite of this speaks volumes about how fun he is. The only weak link in the main cast is Koichi, but he's not bad so much as he is just uninteresting.
We also have an excellent set of recurring minor characters, including a returning Jotaro Kujo and Joseph Joestar (although the latter isn't quite what he used to be - him now being an adulterer and slightly senile damages what was once the best JoJo). The real standout character, though, is the main villain of Diamond is Unbreakable: Yoshikage Kira. Kira is a sociopathic serial killer who only wants two things out of life: Some peace & quiet, and women's hands. ONLY the hands. The two desires obviously clash with one another, leading to a cat-and-mouse chase as the main cast try to hunt him down, with Kira wanting nothing to do with them whatsoever.
As with the battles and the characters, the stands benefitted from the creative freedom of the setting. While they're an iconic part of the series now, Part 3 ddidn't really use stands to the best of their ability. But because not everybody had to have a combat stand any more, the stands became more interesting and varied as a result, so we have stands that can make food, stands that gather items, and the aforementioned cosmetic surgery stand, amongst others.
Part 4 isn't perfect, mind you. I already mentioned that Joseph Joestar suffers from this arc, but there's also some lost potential when it comes to the final battle. Josuke has very little chemistry with Kira, and on the other hand, Rohan DOES have a reason to want to fight Kira, which is completely forgotten about by the time the final battle rolls around. And while the monster of the week formula works MUCH better for Diamond is Unbreakable than it did for Stardust Crusaders, this is because there is no clear end goal set for most of the series. Once an end goal IS set, it begins to suffer from the same problem as Stardust Crusaders, though not as badly - but there are a couple of fights that are below the standard of the rest of the series and could very easily have been cut.
But these ARE nitpicks. Overall, part 4 is one of the best parts of JJBA, and a very entertaining manga in its own right (which makes sense, as it is a fairly self-contained arc).
In a controversial shift, Araki succeeds his immensely action shounen series after Stardust Crusaders with a slow paced slice of life comedy/murder mystery. And you know what? It works. Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the greatest accomplishments in Araki's career.
Diamond is Unbreakable takes place 11 years after Stardust Crusaders. Jotaro discovers Joseph had an affair with a woman in a small town in Japan called Morioh, giving birth to Josuke Higashikata, the 4th Jojo. He travels to meet him to investigate recent Stand activity in the town and get to know his new uncle and eventually aids him and Josuke's interesting friends
to take out a Stand User serial killer in the town.
DiU has a near perfect story. There is ample character development and lots of time dedicated to fleshing out the world. The actual plot doesn't really kick in until halfway into the manga. The buildup to meeting Kira is great and it makes his first appearance all the more worthy. Character dynamics, chemistry, and interaction fuel Diamond is Unbreakable and thankfully it succeeds almost flawlessly. I knock off a point because there is a gaping plot point left unresolved in the end, which I won't spoil. However, if you're a Jojo fan, you probably know what I'm talking about.
The art in DiU is probably the pinnacle of Araki. It goes through three big shifts. First it's an improvement on Stardust Crusaders's style. Second, it's much more anime-like with larges expressive eyes and a great attention to facial detail, making for some truly great reaction pictures. Finally, it becomes a preview for Araki's more feminine artstyle that's seen in his future Parts. The art shifts match the tone of DiU very well and character designs are on point.
Everyone in DiU is nearly equally lovable and it's hard to pick out a select few as the "best". Koichi is very easy to root for, and his Stand Echoes is hilarious. Okuyasu is one of the greatest buddy characters ever made, pretty much a Japanese human Patrick Star; endlessly hilarious, entertaining, and stupid. Rohan Kishibe is a complete asshole, but that's what makes him so great. Even Jotaro gets significant character development and you know what? He was probably my favorite Jojo when I read this Part for the first time. A minor character, Tonio, is one of my favs ever, and he was only in like 5 chapters. Some fall slightly under the radar. Without spoiling, Josuke's friend Shigechi only exists for plot and is utterly revolting but he's thankfully not around long. Mikitaka, who I won't go into for spoilers also, is very mysterious and open ended and thus his appearance late into the Part may turn some people off.
The real stars are Josuke and Kira. Josuke is a perfect mixture of all 3 Jojos before him. He is an aloof loveboy like Jonathan, a smug trickster like Joseph, and can be ruthlessly badass like Jotaro. Even still, he has his own very unique personality, and is one of the more fleshed out and realized Jojos. He loves money and will do anything for it, evne screw people over. But he makes up for it in the end (Unless you're Rohan), especially with the help of his Stand Crazy Diamond, which can repair broken things. His co-existence and comradery with Okuyasu is pitch perfect chemistry and coemdy gold. Kirai s one of the best Jojo villains too. He's cruel but he's sympathetic. A misogynistic fetishist who murders women for their hands, he is still easy to root for, and his desire to "live a quiet life" seems true and innocent. One can't help but feel bad for him at times, eh can't help it. Even still, he can lavish in his villainous role and feels as 80-90's cartoon villain as the likes of Cobra Commander and Skeletor. He's goofy and aloof, but there's still an evil and trulyscrewed up darkness in him. His Stand, Killer Queen, help this, as its power is literally making people explode.
DiU is relentlessly hilarious while still having a story that can pack an emotional punch. While it may not be DIO'S WORLD, the final story arc, Crazy Diamond is Unbreakable, paired with Kira's Bites the Dust, is a fantastic and fitting conclusion. The fact that one cares so much for these characters makes the tension and payoff all the better.
Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the most fun and entertaining experiences I've had. A nearly perfect story arc, DiU is loaded with an equally great ensemble of characters, Araki's pinnacle of artwork, and a story that's half endlessly entertaining slice of life and half murder mystery. It's very reminiscent of the likes of Scooby-Doo, Ed Edd n Eddy, Persona 4, Seinfeld, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In fact, I'd say it's a pretty perfect combination of all 5. A radically different but nonetheless fantastic turn for Jojo, DiU was, for a time, the pinnacle arc of the entire series. It's hard to believe that this isn't even the best Part of Jojo.
As Hirohiko Araki always does with new Parts of JoJo, Diamond is Unbreakable has a whole new, a bit more lighthearted tone to it compared to the earlier chapters. This time the adventure and traveling are cast aside for a murder mystery in the small quiet town of Morioh Cho but as always JoJo and his friends are up against an ever so bizarre cast of dangerous Stand-users as they chase the mysterious serial killer and reveal the secret behind the origin of the Stand-powers.
The story starts out somewhat slow and in the beginning it might feel like one of the weaker parts of JJBA
but the story constantly picks up more pace and even, in my opinion, surpasses Stardust Crusaders later on when the episodic nature of it stands aside for the main story, even introducing a main villain that might just be scarier than Dio Brando ever hoped to be.
Some mentionable flaws could be the slow beginning and some of the characters who are introduced only to be nearly forgotten later but the latter half of the series greatly compensates for this as I mentioned earlier and some of the characters like Josuke himself or Koichi Hirose just grow on you and you start caring about them as you go on reading.
For me Diamond is Unbreakable is definitely up there among the better parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. It's surely worth a read if you liked the previous parts of JoJo this far as long as you get over the slow start.