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?