Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 12 – Chili Pepper Part 2
I’ve taken a bit longer to write the review this week because I feel like this episode packed a lot in. Some episodes of Jojo seem to fly by without a whole lot happening and others somehow get so much into such a short span of time. I wrote last week about how time operates in mysterious ways in the universe of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and sometimes certain episodes feel the same way. I’ll say upfront that I loved this episode. When I think of what makes for a great episode of Jojo’s, this ticks every box.
This being the second part of the Red Hot Chili Pepper story, we start in the wake of last week’s episode with the JoJo gang at the docks, discussing their strategy to bring Joseph in safely from his boat. Jotaro has a pretty specific idea of exactly what Chili Pepper is going to do so at his suggestion, they split into two groups. Josuke and Koichi remain to guard for Chili Pepper at the docks while Jotaro and Okuyasu head out to the boat to make sure Joseph arrives safely. Jotaro’s idea turns out to be spot on and Josuke and Koichi find themselves face to face with Chili Pepper and his user, an 80s hair metal reject named Akira Otoishi.
The Stand battle between Josuke and Akira is one of the best we’ve seen in the series so far. There’s a sense of scale about it as Josuke takes quite a few brutal hits and things explode. Akira’s penchant for wailing on his guitar and breaking out solos is pretty camp, but in all the best ways and I love the way the battle escalates. Stand battles always become a pure battle of wits at some point but I particularly liked the way this fight mixes the physicality with the strategy. It’s conclusion in particular is really well done and a demonstration of how Josuke is learning to think two or three steps ahead.
Finally, we get to see Joseph this episode! As the main character of part 2 and one of the main characters in part 3, seeing him as an old man here brings out a strange mix of emotions. At this point, we all know this character so well and seeing him is both gratifying and, because of his frailty and absent mindedness, sad at the same time. He’s still a great character though and the interplay between him and Okuyasu (Osumatsu!) when they first meet is hilarious.
We get another brief Stand battle before the episode is over, this one involving Okuyasu, and it’s very funny. I particularly like how the episode highlights the contrast in Josuke and Okuyasu’s fighting styles: Josuke will out think his opponents whereas Okuyasu just gets confused and ends up swinging punches, hoping he gets lucky. It seems to work either way.
Throughout the episode, as Joseph’s boat gets closer to the dock, Josuke discusses his feelings about meeting a father he’s never seen before. This is really rare for the show and nicely done in this episode. Everyone in Jojo’s is usually so stoic and cool that emotions are rarely discussed beyond anger, fear or relief at winning a fight. Josuke has no interest in meeting the man who’s never been there for him but feels obligated to in order to keep his mother happy and to fight the threats in his town. He feels awkward and uncertain about it. When the father and son do meet at the end of the episode, there’s a surprisingly touching moment that genuinely brought a tear to my eye. In a show that can be as over the top and crazy as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, its really surprising how well it does these little quieter moments. That David Production manages to pull it off on screen is really impressive and shows what a fantastic job they’re doing with the series.
This was my favourite episode of the series so far, which is odd considering I was a little down on last week’s episode. It was just a blast from start to finish and the main story concluded with a very rewarding emotional beat.
The final seconds of the show switches things to a sinister tone, checking back in with the chilling little scene that opened the very first episode of the series. A sign of darker things to come.