Episode 27 – Highway Go Go Part 1
Highway Star (Or Highway Go Go as it is on Crunchyroll) is one of my favourite storylines from the Diamond is Unbreakable manga. It’s the one that always comes to mind when I think of this series and the one I’ve been looking forward to most seeing animated. It starts a little awkwardly here, sandwiched as it is in the aftermath of last week’s story, but I’m really happy to see it nonetheless.
The first half of the episode is dedicated to wrapping up last week’s story. Josuke and Rohan continue to play Cee Lo. Rohan knows Josuke is cheating and is determined to work out how. He calls Tamami in to adjudicate. Josuke now has the added pressure of another set of eyes on him top of Rohan’s intense scrutiny. Not only that, but Nshi is starting to get sick from being rolled around as a set of dice and is throwing up in a cheerfully grotesque way. This is pretty much the only show in existence that will give you the sight of a pair of dice vomiting. It all somehow ends with Rohan’s house getting burned down and Josuke, already one of Rohan’s least favourite people, becoming enemy number one for our favourite fictional mangaka.
The second half of the episode takes place a few days later. Josuke and Rohan run into each other on a bus where they work on completely ignoring one another. As the bus travels through a tunnel, Rohan catches sight of a seemingly hidden room and inside, what appears to be a corpse. He tries to convince Josuke of this but Josuke is convinced it’s some sort of trick and refuses to believe him. All on his own, Rohan travels back on his motorcycle to investigate, only to find himself faced with their most formidable enemy Stand yet.
Diamond is Unbreakable is a little bit different from previous seasons of JoJo in that it feels like an ensemble show. Previously, we’d focus entirely on one main member of the Joestar family and his immediate companions. Here on the other hand, the storyline casually switches between a large number of characters to the point where it feels more like the story of the entire cast rather than just the Joestar family. It works really well for the show, giving a sense of constant movement and ensuring that the audience is never really bored. Oddly, at this point in the series, it seems like we really haven’t spent all that much time with Josuke. He’s definitely the show’s main character and has inarguably been the focal point for a large number of episodes but as we’re constantly switching through the cast he sometimes just seems like a small part of the larger picture. For a good stretch of episodes, this series could very much have been called Koichi’s Bizarre Adventure or any number of the other great characters. Josuke is a great character but the show knows not to overuse him, allowing him to fade into the background for extended periods before letting him re-emerge, usually to remind us what a badass he can be as happens in this episode.
Aside from their initial fight, we’ve also seen very little interaction between Josuke and Rohan Kishibe. While having two seemingly separate plots joined together, this episode actually works really well in that it’s a story about the dynamic between the two of them. They clearly hate each other but they’re similar in quite a few ways. Josuke is generally far more selfless than Rohan, but both of them are stubborn and determined not to do whatever anyone else tells them to. This is illustrated wonderfully in the scene where Josuke goes back for Rohan and then refuses to do what he’s told, despite the obvious danger. The two halves of the episode may seem disjointed at first glance but they tie together thematically quite nicely.
Highway Star is an interesting Stand. It remains almost invisible (aside from its feet) until it catches you and then begins to drain your energy. There are some very creepy moments involved in its introduction and a good use of horror elements in the moments before it’s introduced. The scene as Rohan flees from it on his motorcycle only to hear it coming up behind him in the darkness of the tunnel especially is a great bit of tension building. It’s quickly established that Highway Star’s maximum speed is 60kms an hour so you need to stay above that to stay ahead of it. Immediately, the episode conjures flashes of the movie Speed but mixed in with the usual JoJo craziness, it takes on a form wholly its own. This is a great episode, despite its slight disjointedness and with part two coming up, we all know it’s going to get even crazier.