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Anime Review: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is UnbreakableBy Adam Riley At 05.08.2018 19:53

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Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (UK Rating: 18)

One of the great things about Jojo is you can just jump in with any part. Heck, most of the Western world was introduced with part three after all… and, so, this film requires no prior experience of the fabulous franchise, although any anime fans would be wise to make themselves well acquainted with Hirohiko Araki's masterpiece. The film adapts the fourth part, a real fan-favourite, set in a small town where the residents are gaining superpowers. While Part 3 was an '80s around-the-world-action movie, this is Araki's take on Twin Peaks. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this movie is available to take home from 27th August.

The little town of Mioh is becoming a hard place to live in. Bad enough there's a serial killer on the loose, but now some psycho is going around shooting the populous with a bow and arrow. It's not a second serial killer, they aren't looking to kill, they are looking to empower. The arrow has the ability to awaken Stand power within them. For those who haven't seen Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3 - Stardust Crusaders, a Stand is a supernatural entity attached to its user, fully controlled by the user, with special powers unique to each Stand. The huge range of these abilities is what makes the battles of Jojo so good. Star Platinum can stop time, for example, Bad Company summons an army of toy soldiers, Killer Queen can turn any item into a remote bomb, and Red Hot Chilli Pepper can manipulate electricity. These are the nice basic and simplistic abilities; there are some stupidly complex ones that all build into the complex cat and mouse battles. Stands were the core element of Stardust Crusaders, and this volume reveals where series' antagonist, Dio, originally got his powers; it's a nice little addition.

Also in Mioh is the latest in the generational heroes, the star of this iteration, once again nicknamed Jojo, Josuke Higashikata. Jojo still in school, and living at home with his mother and police officer grandfather, is a pretty popular kid, with the girls at his school constantly fawning all over him. He's spending his days whopping bullies and helping out the people in the town with the power of his Stand, "Crazy Diamond." This Stand has a weird set of powers, able to restore things - kind of. Bike got all smashed up? Crazy Diamond can punch it repeatedly and it will get repaired… but it also seems able to merge items together; for example, at one point a woman is stabbed. Crazy Diamond punches through the hole, pushing the knife back out of the victim and into the body of the attacker, but it also restores and heals the attacker. Meaning that in the blink of an eye the knife becomes part of the attacker's body, with no wound!


 
Jojo finds himself embroiled in madness when the serial killer his grandfather has been tracking gets given his own Stand powers and suddenly Jotaro Joestar (protagonist of Part 3 - Stardust Crusaders) struts into town. The older Jojo explains the younger's lineage and the wider world of Stands. The pair then teams up with weedy kid, Koichi, from the start of the movie, to try to track down and take on the serial killer. There's a bigger danger lurking, though, as the archer and his brother - both powerful Stand users - set aim on the Jojos. This whole story is adapted from just the first five episodes of the anime and, while there are some fantastic moments, Diamond is Unbreakable has so much more to offer. It's clear there were two or three more films planned. Sadly, they will probably never come to fruition. Fans got to see live-action versions of both Jojos, got to see Crazy Diamond and Star Platinum (even with all their flaws) but will sadly never see a live action "OH MY GOD!" from an ageing Joseph, nor see the Junji Ito style horror of Rohan Kishibe's Heaven's Door, and, most importantly, not see the absolutely wonderful monster that is Yoshikage Kira - at least, not outside of a little Easter egg.

Directed by legendary director, Takashi Miike, it was almost a given this would at least be good, if not great. He has been working hard putting out quality adaptations of games and manga for a while now, and while this can't quite live up to his earlier work and his recent Blade of the Immortal, it's clear he is actually making an effort with this one. He does a fantastic job in really bringing the source material to life. It's crazy, over the top, and absolutely fabulous, and filled with bizarre beauty. That being said, anime-based films have always struggled with their special effects and Diamond is Unbreakable is no different. The Stands are all CGI and, when in motion, they look like some poor AR.

Despite originally being titled "Chapter 1," it's unlikely Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable is going to get a follow-up. The movie didn't even do well in Japan, but it's hard to see why. All the elements were here for a hit. Araki's creation is well loved; a legendary director at the helm; loyal to the source material… yet somehow the audience didn't come, which is a shame. So few anime live action adaptations actually work, but this really does. It's not a great film, but it's a great adaptation and one that fans will enjoy, at least.

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