Episode 24 – Heart Attack Part 2
I’d be hard pressed to point out a main character in Diamond is Unbreakable who’s suffered as much as Koichi. He’s seen his family tormented by evil stand users, been stalked, kidnapped and used as fodder for a manga artist’s stories. You would think he would get a break by now, yet in part two of Sheer Heart Attack, he’s on the receiving end of possibly the most brutal beating witnessed in Jojo’s so far. It seriously made me wince.
Having seemingly put a temporary stop to Sheer Heart Attack in the last episode, Koichi suddenly finds himself face to face with Kira Yoshikage himself who has come back to the scene of the crime to find out why his Stand hasn’t finished off its targets yet. Kira is having a pretty bad day having been humiliated by his own physical reaction to Heart Attack’s defeat, followed by being tormented by two street thugs who take a dislike to his appearance. When he comes back to find Heart Attack half buried in the asphalt along with a comatose Jotaro and tired Koichi, he’s already in a bad mood. Even with his fancy new Echoes Act 3 Stand, Koichi isn’t able to put up much of a fight against Kira and is soon being brutally pummelled into the ground.
I’ve talked about the strange flexibility of time in the JoJo-verse before and it’s nicely displayed here as Kira gives himself five minutes to finish off Koichi before Josuke and Okuyasu arrives and then spends what feels like fifteen minutes real time talking and beating Koichi senseless. It’s Jotaro who comes to the rescue in the episode’s stand out moment. Despite his wounds, he manages to get up and take down Kira in that inimitable Jotaro way, throwing out some witty comparisons between Kira’s watch and his face that sound cool, but in fact make no sense at all if you really think about it. Seeing him take out Kira is satisfying to say the least.
What happens next in the second part of the episode is an interesting twist. Kira is backed into a corner where it seems there’s no way he can get out. This is an interesting reversal of the usual situation where it’s normally our heroes trapped in a seemingly impossible situation. Of course, there was no way anyone was going to take out a villain like Kira that easily. Kira’s escape is shocking and highlights exactly how formidable he is. Few of the other villains in the series would be quick thinking enough or comfortable with their own powers to pull of what he does and he does it in completely brutal fashion, killing off one of the other Stand Users in town to do so.
We feel Koichi’s frustration in the final moments of the episode. They had Kira in their grasp and he’s slipped through their fingers without leaving a trace. Our heroes are back where they started. They know Kira is out there but they have no idea what he looks like or where he is. All they can do is start again with the few leads they have.
Episode 25 – Heart Father
I will get it out of the way up front and say Heart Father wasn’t my favourite episode this season. There were things I liked quite a bit: Kira’s experience of a new life under a new face in particular was wonderful. But the lead story, with the JoJo gang exploring Kira’s old house for clues as to his current whereabouts didn’t really work for me as well as it did in the manga. I guess there’s only so much threat an enemy can project if the best way to deal with him is to simply tape him up. This isn’t to say I thought it was bad and didn’t enjoy it, just that it wouldn’t rank in my top JoJo episodes of all time.
I really like the way this episode starts, with a woman sitting on a bed lamenting how boring and loveless her marriage to her husband has become. When he returns home from work, she’s surprised by some odd behaviour from him. He suddenly seems more capable and considerate. The way this scene plays out is very interesting. The husband’s face remains hidden but there’s a nice, subtle series of shots of him taking in the house for the first time and we know immediately that this is Kira.
We then cut to the main story of the episode with Koichi, Jotaro, Josuke and Okuyasu all looking through Yoshikage Kira’s old home for clues of who he was and where he could possibly be now. There’s an amusing, if somewhat stomach churning scene, of Josuke discovering Kira’s hobby of collecting his own nail clippings. Then a polaroid camera seems to suddenly operate by itself and takes a photo of them. In the corner of the photo a peculiar looking old man is hunched in a corner. This is one of the things I loved about this episode. The image of the old man in the photo even though he can’t be seen in the room is a genuinely creepy one. It’s a great first impression.
The old man turns out to be the ghost of Kira’s father who also happens to wield a Stand that can trap people within a photograph. This seems extremely formidable at first until Jotaro, the unflappable genius that he is, manages to literally wrap up their opponent in a matter of minutes. Eventually of course, Okuyasu lets the side down with his stupidity and the ghost escapes to fight another day, creepily vowing to support his son no matter how twisted Kira’s desires are.
Even though I found this episode a little unexciting (with the exception of Kira’s segments), there are quite a few big reveals here. The fact that there are multiple Stand creating bows is a big one, tying directly back into Stardust Crusaders. It’s an important episode in the scheme of things, putting everyone in position for whatever is going to happen next in the overall arc. The segments with Kira are great in that we’re never quite sure what Kira is going to do. We know how violent and brutal he can be and though he seems content to keep his head down and try to fit into his new life for the time being, there’s a sense that at any second he might lash out and tear it all down around him. This sense of unease gives the Kira scenes a spark lacking in the main story and I’m really excited about further developments in this storyline.
Next up, Janken Boy is Coming. And a return to the single episode review format.