It has been 11 years since the defeat of the Joestar's arch nemesis, Dio. In 1999, Jotaro Kujo went to Morioh in S City in M Prefecture, Japan, to find his grandfather, Joseph Joestar's secret child, Josuke Higashikata. However, Josuke had the same ability as Jotaro, the Stand. And as though Jotaro was summoning them, a new group of Stand Users start to make their moves. There's something in this town... Josuke rises up to save Morioh, his hometown that he grew up in.
Jotaro Kujo! Meets Josuke Higashikata
Josuke Higashikata! Meets Angelo
The Nijimura Brothers, Part 1
The Nijimura Brothers, Part 2
The Nijimura Brothers, Part 3
Koichi Hirose (Reverb)
Toshikazu Hazamada (Show Off)
Yukako Yamagishi Falls in Love, Part 1
Yukako Yamagishi Falls in Love, Part 2
Let's Go Eat Some Italian Food
Chili Pepper, Part 1
Chili Pepper, Part 2
Diamond is Unbreakable (hence DIU) is another TV series in the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure franchise, adapting part 4 of the original manga. Generally speaking, it is a good fighting shounen that keeps some fundamental elements of its predeccesors and also brings many new things to the table. Before writing anything else, I would like to point out that while each part of Jojo may be viewed independently from others, it is much better to watch them in chronological order, as you may lose some important context otherwise. So, if you haven't watched anything from Jojo yet, I highly recommend to start with the first TV series. STORYEach part of Jojo follows the members of Joestar family at different time periods, and each of the already released series makes some shift in the formula. Since DIU is not the 1st series in the franchise, I guess it makes sense to draw some comparisons in order to put things into perspective. I. Unlike the first series and both parts of Stardust Crusaders (hence SC), which have a strong adventure element with the characters travelling around the world, DIU takes place entirely in one town and its surroundings. However, even though the show has a relatively small slice-of-life setting, it doesn't prevent it from being interesting or entertaining in any way, as it has a good pacing and keeps introducing new characters, powers and stories which often take place in different locations of the town. II. Speaking of those stories and plot continuity in general, DIU has a more continuous plot than SC. Whereas the latter has an entirely stand-of-the-week plot where events in different episodes have little influence on each other and the final outcome, this series has short story arcs where events are more directly related to each other. The fundamental similarity between the two series is that both of them are essentially about introducing many characters with interesting powers, putting them against each other and tying all those battles together. However, DIU does a better job at this because of a better plot structure. III. Speaking of the powers, the characters use stands, which follows the change that happened in Stardust Crusaders. I actually like hamon/ripple from the first series a lot, because it adds an element of training to the plot, because it's somewhat akin to using qi in Chinese martial arts, and because using your own body & powers in a fight is generally cooler than using a proxy, in my humble opinion. That being said, the concept of stands also has its notable strengths, as it offers a lot more variety than hamon and always keeps the viewer interested with new powers and strategies introduced.Overall, whether you prefer hamon, or stands, or like them equally is a matter of personal taste more than anything. IV. While stands in SC are named after tarot cards and Egyptian gods, DIU returns to the practice of referencing Western rock bands that already existed in the first series: as you probably remember, it has a character named after AC/DC, and two characters named Dire and Straits, which is a reference to Dire Straits. This series, however, goes further than its predecessor and has more of these references. For example:- the name of the main antagonist's stand is Killer Queen, which is a reference to a famous Queen song (and one of that stand's abilities is named after another famous song by Queen);- one of the characters has a stand named Red Hot Chili Pepper, which is a reference to Red Hot Chili Peppers;- another character has a stand named Highway Star, which is a reference to a famous Deep Purple song;- and even the name of the protagonist's stand, Crazy Diamond, is an obvious reference to a Pink Floyd song called Shine on You Crazy Diamond.Besides the rock references, the series occasionally refers to old-school manga and some famous people of that era: for example, they mention the name of some famous wrestler in one of the episodes, which is used as a pun.Overall, this aspect is one of the things that I've always liked about Jojo, because it adds an interesting and unique flavour to the series, and also because I'm a rock/blues/metal guy myself, and I like many of those old-school bands very much. Now, when I mentioned some specifics of the story, let's talk about the controversial aspects it has. 1) Just like other Jojo anime, DIU is very heavy on explanations and expository monologue, which is both good and bad:- on the one hand, while the series constantly introduces new unusual elements to the plot (new stand powers, ghosts, aliens etc.), it also does a great job at setting the rules of how those elements work most of the time. This is something that I've always liked about Jojo and one of the things that makes this series good: no matter what crazy ideas the author comes up with, he usually gives some basic explanation and sets some limitations to the way they work, which makes the whole thing look a little less arbitrary, and also makes the characters use interesting strategies, which are undoubtedly one of the main strengths that all Jojo anime have; - at the same time, the constant talking also leads to some fairly ridiculous situations. For example, one character gets attacked by the antagonist who stands several meters from him, and the attacked character and his friend somehow manage to exchange several phrases in those few seconds before the blow is landed, as if their dialogue exists in a different timeframe. Or, there is a situation when the antagonist talks to an almost defeated character, says that he has twenty seconds (!) before that character's friends arrive... and yet he doesn't hurry to leave the scene at all, keeps talking and gets beaten in the end.Besides, this show is one of the biggest infringements of the "show, don't tell" rule I've ever seen, as the characters often comment on bloody obvious things that need no commentary at all. For example, the characters chase the antagonist, he disappears in the crowd, and one of them screams something like: "PEOPLE ARE GOING FROM WORK! HE DISAPPEARED IN THE CROWDS!". Well, thank you Captain Obvious: you've just ruined a dramatic moment by explaining something I totally couldn't see myself. And this thing happens quite often and, of course, detracts some points from the enjoyment. 2) While most arcs of the show are very short and often limited to one or two episodes, there is a long arc involving a serial killer, who is also the user of a very powerful stand. This arc is more interesting because it has elements of a thriller and many lives at stake, which makes it feel more important than all other arcs. The problem here is that the show that loves to explain virtually everything that happens on screen (including many things that need no explanation at all) somehow drops the ball in this arc and doesn't address a number of important issues that need to be addressed. Those issues are spoilers for the most part, so I'll try to talk about them as vaguely as possible. However, if you absolutely want to avoid getting spoiled, skip the next section of the review:SPOILERS- one of the characters introduced in this arc is an eleven-year-old kid who spies on his parents using hidden cameras installed all around their house and a monitor in his room, and this plays a very important role in the plot. The problem is that the show never explains where this kid got the equipment and how he was able to install, use and maintain it. Even if we assume that he is a young genius who somehow developed rather specific technical skills at his age that even many adults don't have, it still doesn't explain where and how he got all that equipment in the first place;- the antagonist very conveniently reveals himself by loudly pronouncing his name twice in a situation where he absolutely doesn't have to do it;- in the fight that follows, the antagonist fights against two characters, while the other three stand just round the corner. The kid, who is also present at the scene, simply has to call for their help, and yet he doesn't do that even though he knows that those three characters stand there, and nothing prevents him from calling them;- after one of the characters explodes because of touching another character's body with the antagonist's bomb planted in it, Josuke saves that character by restoring his body with Crazy Diamond's ability, even though all parts of that character's body including his head were already torn in little pieces, and thus he was certainly already dead (and Josuke's stand can't resurrect the dead, as was explained in the beginning of the series).SPOILERS ENDOverall, I think the story is still fine as it is, because it's well-paced, entertaining, and has a satisfying and conclusive ending.That being said, it could have been even better if the show didn't constantly talk about obvious things and instead addressed some aspects that needed an actual explanation. ANIMATIONFirst thing you will notice when watching this series is that it has some crazy colour schemes that change all the time. For example, you may see an orange sky which suddenly turns pink, or a character with grey hair which may turn blond or blue depending on the scene. This is probably a matter of a personal taste more than anything, but I like this feature: it is artistic, unusual and fits the general bizarrity of the series. Besides, it reminds me a lot of pop-art and those portraits by Andy Warhol where he depicted famous people like Che Guevara and Marilyn Monroe using different colours. In other words, this aspect of Jojo's animation may be considered another interesting tribute to Western culture and something that makes this show stand out of the crowd.Besides, the series is marked with an important change in character designs. While most characters in previous Jojo series are huge ripped men akin to those in Fist of the North Star, the proportions of characters in this series are basically those of normal people. That being said, the character designs still look very stylish, as they usually have interesting haircuts and fashion accessories, which makes them different from designs in many other anime.The fighting scenes are also well-animated, and the battles often feature good shots and close-ups that add a lot to the dramatic effect.In general, the art and animation are quite impressive in their own way, being some of the most memorable aspects this series has. SOUNDDIU continues the tradition established in previous series by choosing a famous song in English for the ending credits. This time, it's a very good and very catchy song called "I Want You" by Australian duo Savage Garden. It's interesting to note that all ending songs in English which have been used so far in Jojo TV series appear in chronological progression:- the first series has Roundabout - a 70s song by Yes;- SC has Walk Like an Egyptian - an 80s hit by The Bangles;- and this series has a 90s song by Savage Garden.So, not only it is a great music choice and another tribute to Western culture, but that time progression is also an interesting feature which I haven't seen in any other anime franchise to this day. As for the opening songs and BGM, they are all very nice, energetic and fitting for the series, but not quite as catchy and memorable as the ending song. In fact, I can't even remember any background melody that particularly stood out for me, but on the other hand, they all do a great job at supporting the mood of the show.Speaking of voice-acting, it's generally very good, with characters pronouncing various funny catchphrases, like Josuke's "Greato!", Jotaro's "Yare Yare Daze" and, of course, Joseph's "OH MY GOD!!!". That being said, I really wish the characters didn't YELL all the time. I understand that YELLING is an integral part of Jojo that shows the passion and spirit of the characters, but sometimes it just sounds overly dramatic and really unnecessary, like in that scene with the antagonist disappearing in the crowds I mentioned earlier. Not saying it's a huge problem - just something the series could have improved on, in my opinion. CHARACTERSJust like the character designs, the cast also went through certain changes. While the protagonists in previous series were all ripped, GAR men, the protagonist of this series, Josuke Higashikata, is an illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar and seemingly normal high schooler. However, while Josuke looks like a normal guy of his age, he is by no means a generic character - rather, he is a smart, very reliable and kind guy (except when someone bad-mouths his haircut, that is), and I personally like him quite a lot.His two best friends are Okuyasu, who is strong, not very clever and somewhat of a delinquent, and Koichi - a short and seemingly timid guy who often overcomes his fear and becomes very brave in dangerous situations. They both are ok characters, but perhaps less charismatic than the companions of Jojos in previous series.The anime also features the comeback of now older Jotaro Kujo, who is easily one of the best, if not the best character in the series. He always talks sense and does reasonable things, and often acts like Josuke's older brother and mentor despite being technically his nephew.The other comeback character is Joseph Joestar himself, who is now an almost eighty-year-old man. He comes to Morioh in order to use his stand ability for finding other stand users. Sadly (and strangely), he never actually does that, and generally performs few memorable actions aside from some interesting father-son interactions with Josuke and one truly heroic moment I won't spoil here.The other memorable stand users are serial killer Kira Yoshikage and mangaka Kishibe Rohan. Rohan is one of my favourite characters in the show, as he eventually appears to be a much better guy than he seems at first: he actually cares about other people despite being a selfish bastard on the surface; his words may sound cynical, but they always make sense; and his fanatic, almost maniacal dedication to his work is actually admirable in its own way. As for Kira, he turns out to be a very good opponent for the main characters because of how ruthless and calculative he is.The other stand users are far less likeable and interesting, in my opinion, like that yandere girl (whose only memorable trait is that she is a yandere), that greedy little guy Shigekiyo (who is fairly annoying and looks as if he belongs to Dragonball or some fantasy anime), Kira's father (who is fairly annoying and serves more as a plot device to create new stand users) and Toshikazu (who is frankly pathetic and has no interesting and respectable traits whatsoever). Perhaps, the only other stand user whom I genuinely like is Tonio the chef, but he plays a very small role in the series. Besides the stand users, there are regular humans (like the stand users' family members, for example) and two characters who are neither stand users nor regular humans. I won't spoil who they are, but let's just say that both of them are quite likeable, and each plays an important part in the plot.Overall, the cast may be somewhat of a mixed bag, but it's still good, and I like a number of characters in this series. OVERALLLike most, this anime has its visible drawbacks and could be surely improved in some areas. That being said, it's still a good, enjoyable and memorable series which is far better than most other shounens and most recent stuff in general. So, if you have already watched the previous Jojo series, I highly recommend to watch this one too. And if you haven't, go watch those first and enjoy the ride!
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