Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Episodes 22 & 23

Episode 22 – Yoshikage Kira Just Wants to Live Quietly Part 2

The 22nd episode of Diamond is Unbreakable is part 2 of last week’s but that story is wrapped up very early and in heartrending fashion. Shigechi’s death is, for me, one of the most memorable scenes in the manga. Seeing it here in animated form, it becomes truly heartbreaking. At the conclusion of the previous episode, it was revealed that Kira is a Stand User, though the powers of his formidable looking Stand (Killer Queen) were not yet revealed. It turns out that Killer Queen has the ability to turn anything into a bomb which is used to devastating effect on Shigechi in the episode’s opening moments.

Using his final strength, and determined to protect his beloved parents from the evil that’s been revealed in Morioh, Shigechi uses Harvest to lure Kira away and then goes searching for Josuke in order to get himself healed. Shigechi’s painful journey through the school looking for his friend is tough to watch. The show has focused a lot on Shigechi’s negative personality traits previously, but here it brings the other side of him to the fore: his courage and determination. It all ends very tragically for Shigechi, killed by Kira only moments away from an oblivious Josuke, but his death hurts us because we see the best of him in his final moments. The image of a single Harvest carrying a button stolen from Kira’s jacket to Josuke before collapsing in on itself is a very powerful one, as is the image of Shigechi’s soul disintegrating in agony as it passes over  Reimi Sugimoto’s head.

Shigechi’s death is a catalyst for a major development in plot. All of the known Stand Users gather together at the entrance of Reimi’s alley in order to discuss what they need to do to combat the serial killer in their town. I loved this scene of them all together discussing the problem, though I was thrown by the appearance of Okuyasu’s Dad as I’d momentarily forgotten who the odd green thing was meant to be. Okuyasu’s reaction to Shigechi’s death in particular is a nice little touch, given that out of their little group, Okuyasu always seemed to be the one most willing to push Shigechi around. That Shigechi’s death upsets him more than anyone else reveals a depth to Okuyasu that so far has remained hidden beneath his rough exterior.

The second part of the episode mostly revolves around Jotaro and Koichi investigating the button retrieved from Kira’s jacket by Harvest. Thankfully we’re spared Jotaro visiting every tailor’s in town (though that could make an entertaining spin off) and with Koichi’s help they manage to find the right one. Of course, Kira just happens to be hanging around the back door at the exact moment the tailor is about to reveal his name. This makes no sense but at this point in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, we’ve all surely learned to just accept things as they are.

It’s a bit of a disjointed episode but still great. The plot seems to have kicked into high gear, leading directly into the next one.

 

Episode 23 – Heart Attack Part 1

At this point, I could probably talk all day about Kira’s Stand. Killer Queen’s abilities seem simple at first but they’re unbelievably powerful, particularly when coupled with Kira’s cunning. Just to make him just a little bit more formidable, Killer Queen also happens to have a little sub-Stand – Sheer Heart Attack. Sheer Heart Attack takes the form of a tiny tank that pursues its prey relentlessly and fires explosive rounds, as is demonstrated by the rather shocking death of the shopkeeper in the previous episode. Sheer Heart Attack is an interesting design, a little reminiscent of Keicho Nijimura’s miniature army Stand but it’s mechanical nature makes it creepier. It’s utterly relentless and will not let up until it destroys it’s target.

This episode is largely confined to the one location, a tailor’s shop, as Koichi and Jotaro engage in a tense battle with Sheer Heart Attack. As with any episode set in a single spot, it’s all about the tension  rather than the action. That’s not to say there’s no action here, far from it, but the confrontation between our heroes and Sheer Heart Attack comes down to a pure battle of wits as Jotaro and Koichi try to find the weakness of this seemingly indestructible Stand.

Through Jotaro, we get a good explanation of the rules surrounding remote controlled Stands. Through the battle we get a real sense of how Jotaro has matured since Stardust Crusaders. He’s always been unflappably cool, but the old Jotaro had a tendency to resolve most problems through sheer brute force. Here he cautions Koichi to tackle the problem sensibly after observing and applying his experience to Sheer Heart Attack’s behaviour. Of course, Koichi, in a rare moment of impulsiveness, disobeys which leads to Jotaro suffering some horrific injuries with no Josuke around to heal him up.

The highlight of this episode is the manifestation of Echoes Act 3, the newest evolution of Koichi’s Stand. It makes an impressive first appearance and things look set for an epic showdown and then we have comedy gold has it proves to be almost completely ineffective (and full of attitude). For such a tense episode, there are still quite a few laughs to be had through this and through the awkward situations Kira finds himself in as things start to go wrong. At the conclusion of the episode, it looks like we’re heading into a more direct confrontation between Kira and the gang with part 2 of Heart Attack coming soon.

Just a very short announcement here – In terms of the JoJo reviews, I’ve been running on very limited time recently due to personal reasons but should be returning to a more regular schedule soon. I’ll be doing one more double episode review next time before (hopefully!) returning to the single episode review format. Thanks for your patience and thanks for reading!

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