The JoJo franchise is one I have some fondness for. It has an absurd naming scheme, over the top machismo & action, but I’ve still found it pretty endearing. I’ve talked about JoJo, Stardust Crusaders series 1 & 2. This time around, I’ll be discussing Diamond is Unbreakable. Like the others, this is brought to us by David Production. It aired from April to December of 2016. I look forward to seeing a bunch of characters named after musicians & bands fighting in an absurdly over the top fashion. Let’s get right to it.
We open with Joutarou heading to a small town called Morioh to meet Joseph’s bastard son, Jousuke. Yeah, apparently Joseph had an affair with a woman forty years younger than him when he was in his sixties. Way to keep it classy, Joseph. Arsehole. Joutarou wants to discuss the old man’s inheritance because, at this point, Joseph’s really old and could die from a heavy wind. Actually, now seems like an opportune time to go into a detail that bothered me in the last series, but I couldn’t go into too much detail about because it was a spoiler. But, since this series takes place after the ending of that one and goes over the basics of what happened, I can talk about it freely here. Okay, so Vanilla Ice is turned into a vampire by taking Dio’s blood but we also saw Joseph take Dio’s blood so why isn’t he an ageless vampire with the same appearance that he ad in the last series while being unable to go out in sunlight. Rather like I can’t on account of being a pale ginger. That seems to be a thing with this franchise, the internal logic doesn’t always hold up. Any way, it turns out that there’s some dangerous stand user on the loose in Morioh with an arrow that can create more stand users. So, Jousuke begins his own bizarre adventure, aided by Joutarou and some friends to find the arrow. This quest ultimately brings them into conflict with the town’s most notorious criminal and stand user.
Let’s look at the issues with the series first. And it starts with the aforementioned internal consistency problem. Here’s the thing, our group of heroic stand users summons an elderly Joseph to Morioh to help them find the stand user who controls Red Hot Chili Pepper. He arrives but they end up not needing his help. So, he sticks around doing bugger all. Then they encounter our main antagonist for the series with his stand, Killer Queen. He escapes them and they begin the hunt for him. So, no one thinks to have Joseph use his Hermit Purple, the stand that he was going to use to find a stand user for you, to find this guy? He’s literally right there. He could do it with no real risk to himself and you could find this guy in five minutes. Another example comes with Jousuke’s stand, Crazy Diamond. It’s established that his stand can heal, but can’t bring someone back to life and yet, he manages to put someone back together who gets blown apart. How does instantaneous death not happen in that situation? We also have Kouichi’s super unhealthy romance sub-plot that serves no purpose but makes for an awkward, uncomfortable time. This series also gets some rather dreadful attempts at “street” dialogue from Kouichi’s Stand, Echoes. This thing spells out the word shit on multiple occasions and it does it with the mannerisms of someone who thinks they’re tough, but they just come across as cringey and trying too hard.
With all that being said, the series still retains its sense of over the top machismo fun. It’s also very much self aware about it. It’s not asking you to take it really seriously, it’s asking you to join in the fun. That’s especially apparent in scenes where the characters monologue about why they’re going to win and strike over the top poses. It’s also pretty obvious in, for example, the Pearl Jam episode where everything is a bit of a goof. I also do appreciate the way this franchise establishes its battles as being less about brute forcing your way past an opponent and more about tricking them into a corner. I rather like seeing the characters playing mind games.
The fourth iteration of JoJo and his Amazing friends is just as archetypical and trite as all the others. Similarly, the antagonists are just as much evil for the evils. There are three major ones. The first is a serial murderer and rapist. Has been since he was all of twelve. The second is a murderer and thief, which isn’t as bad. The final one is a long-running serial killer who makes women disappear and keeps one of their hands to serve as his “girlfriend.” Dude, just buy a mannequin and use its hand. Still weird, but at least it won’t make you terrible. All three of them are completely unrepentant for their crimes. This series also maintains the franchise’s tradition of having a main cast that’s largely enjoyable in spite of their relative shallowness as characters. The naming theme of band & song names continues, although this time it’s used for the stands. Araki Hirohiko must have really liked Pink Floyd since two of the main stands, Crazy Diamond & Echoes, are named after their songs. In addition to the other ones I’ve mentioned so far we also have Super Fly, Cheap Trick, Highway Star, Heaven’s Door and others. Stay tuned for the tenth JoJo where someone has the stand, Dinosaur Laser Fight. (I don’t actually know if he’s gotten that far or what the stands are called if he has, but that would be amazing.)
Are you ready for muscular boys with absurd hair to strike over the top poses? If that sounds awesome, this anime has you covered. The art style continues to be overwhelmingly macho. I think my beard actually grew by ten centimetres just from watching it. It’s that macho and my beard wasn’t exactly short before. I do like a lot of the action sequences in this. That’s one arena where I’ll keep giving this franchise credit. Even with the pauses for monologues and dramatic posing, it has some solid, creative action sequences.
So, what kinds of performances can you expect? If you said that it’s going to be largely over the top and exaggerated, congratulations on your pattern recognition skills. That is exactly right. The cast they got is good at that. Ono Yuuki, Ono Daisuke, Kaji Yuki, Sakurai Takahiro (Hi, Cloud) & Morikawa Toshiyuki (Hi, Sephiroth) are all good choices for that. This time around the ending theme tune is a selection from Savage Garden’s I Want You, which is appropriately ridiculous for the ending theme tune of an action anime. Kanno Yugo’s score is quite good too.
Jousuke & Okuyasu get a bit of a “bromance” going. But this franchise has never been big on romance and this one’s no exception. Even Kouichi’s kind of shit het romance is pretty downplayed.
This series… this entire franchise is ridiculous and I can’t deny that I enjoy watching it. I didn’t like Diamond is Unbreakable as much as I liked the first half of Stardust Crusaders, but it’s still solid and I liked it bout as much as I have most of the franchise. My final rating is going to be a 7/10. Next week will kick off horror anime month and I’m going to start things off with a review of Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror.