Finale Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

Episode 37 & 38 – Shining D (Diamond) is Unbreakable
Episode 39 – Goodbye Morioh – The Heart of Gold

*This review contains spoilers*

So we’ve finally reached the end of Diamond is Unbreakable and what a ride it’s been. I’ve reviewed these final episodes all as one block more out of time constraints than anything else, but they all happen to fit together as one long episode. In fact, these last eight or so episodes have more or less been about pulling all the characters together into one continuous narrative. This is the moment it’s all been leading to and we begin Episode 37 exactly where we left off last time (and the time before come to think of it), with Kira confronting Hayato about how hopeless his situation is.  There’s only so long that this could have kept happening for though, so in the opening moments, Hayato reveals his last gambit to get out of the time loop – he’s given Josuke a wake up call to ensure he comes by on time.

The moment that Josuke and Okuyasu turn up is played triumphantly and gave me chills, particular as they happen to arrive at the exact moment Kira announces his true name to the world at large. It’s a major foot in mouth moment for Kira and it’s delightful seeing him cringe in fear from the two high schoolers as they stand over him. At the same time, it’s also very strange seeing Kira reduced to such a display of weakness, even if it is only temporary. This is a character we’ve seen constantly in control over the many episodes since his transformation, only relinquishing it to let forth brutal displays of his power. Seeing him here, sweating and backing away from Josuke doesn’t really ring true for what we’ve seen of him, but that’s the complexity of Kira. Deep down, he’s a coward, albeit one granted enormous power. As he says, he just wants to live a quiet life and he doesn’t like fighting but he’s more than happy to kill when he has complete control of the situation or when his prey is significantly weaker than him. Of course, despite his momentary cowardice, Kira isn’t going to give up without a fight and he does so, now with Killer Queen having somehow absorbed Stray Cat as an extra weapon.

The fight between Josuke and Kira plays out over the course of these three episodes, with Hayato as a bystander, trying to help out where he’s able. It’s an extremely tense game of one-upmanship as Josuke is severely wounded early on and Okuyasu is apparently killed. Josuke’s steadfast refusal to let go of Okuyasu even after he’s killed demonstrates those classic Joestar qualities of both extreme stubbornness and loyalty. With Josuke escaping into an abandoned house, episode 38 turns into a stand off (literally) with one of my favourite scenes: an extremely tense few minutes of a man backing away from a floating bubble that was somehow more compelling than anything else I’ve seen in a lot of anime this year. Things finally come to a head when Josuke, having sustained some even more serious wounds manages to get outside and in range of Kira. This final showdown between Kira and Josuke with Killer Queen and Crazy Diamond exchanging blows is both intimate and epic. Crazy Diamond is the more powerful in close quarters combat and yet as with so many times before, Kira has something up his sleeve to escape it (even if he’s not aware of it). These final few episodes really showcase the constant push/pull formula of Stand battles throughout the entire series: The hero gets the upper hand, only to have it taken away and end up on the backfoot then repeat as many times as the episode will allow. What keeps this formula from getting stale is how difficult it is to predict exactly how or when these moments will happen. It’s a testament to Araki’s imagination that it remains fresh all the way throughout the series.

It all comes down to the final episode though and episode 39, Goodbye Morioh, doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Okuyasu seemingly comes back from the dead and I love the little story he tells about seeing his brother and Josuke’s struggle to hide his emotions at seeing his friend come back to life. How they manage to fit in such an emotional reunion in the middle of a pitched battle is beyond me, but it works. Eventually, Jotaro and Koichi come to the rescue. Weirdly, there’s a scene in back in episode 37 where Koichi hears the sound of distant explosions but Jotaro blatantly ignores it in favour of standing around looking cool. So really, this probably all could have ended a bit sooner. Kira’s final moments are glorious as he prepares to unleash one last attack and then suddenly finds himself standing in the mysterious alleyway with Reimi. What happened to him is played out in the form of a mini mystery as we roll back over the events. Ironically, the man who has always counted on luck and random events keeping him safe is ultimately killed by a seemingly random event. It’s brutal but enormously fitting.

When I read the manga of Diamond is Unbreakable quite a few years ago, I got to the end and felt really sad because I wanted to spend more time with these characters. That it was all ending too soon. I felt like that again here watching the anime but I came away much more satisfied this time. The ending sees all the remaining Stand users in Morioh gathering to say goodbye to Reimi before days pass and we touch on each and every character in their daily lives in order to say goodbye. It’s beautifully paced, funny, heartfelt and generous. Almost everyone has a seemingly happy ending except for Hayato, who’s last scene is quite heartbreaking. His mother sets the table for dinner as she waits for the husband who will never be returning and Hayato is in tears as he can’t tell her what’s happened but is resolved to support her no matter what. It’s a sad scene and you really feel for him as he’s pretty much already been through hell over the course of the last few episodes but you know that his resilience will get him through. Aside from that we have Josuke stealing Joseph’s wallet, Okuyasu dining out in Tonio’s restaurant with his dad (and the newly adopted Stray Cat) and Koichi and Yukako walking off together hand in hand. “This town is very interesting,” says our Alien friend Nshi as he stands on the electrical pylon Stand, Superfly and looks out at Morioh from a distance in the final moments. It’s hard to argue with him. It’s been a crazy ride and it’s hard to say goodbye but this fantastic final episode left me with a big grin on my face.

And with that done, we’ve finally reached the end of Diamond is Unbreakable and my episode reviews. Hopefully there will be announcement about the next season of JoJo soon so we’ll have something to look forward to then. I’ve really enjoyed writing these reviews though it’s been difficult to find the time lately due to some extra commitments I’ve had towards the end of 2016. The blog will be on a short hiatus for most of January and I’ll be returning with a bit more varied content in the new year. Thanks for reading!

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