WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the following:
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Remember that one article where I wrote about some of the most kick-ass moments from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders? Well, I’m doing it again, only this time, it’s about the anime’s fourth chapter that finished last month – Diamond Is Unbreakable. So, if you’re unfamiliar with the series’ premise or the concept of Stands, go read the Stardust Crusaders one first because I don’t want to repeat myself here, but I’ll give a quick rundown of DIU‘s plot.
In 1999, in the quiet Japanese town of Morioh, our new protagonist, Josuke Higashikata, is approached by Jotaro Kujo (from the previous series) and learns that he is part of the Joestar legacy and, thus, is in possession of a Stand of his own named Crazy Diamond. Jotaro is on the hunt for a mysterious bow and arrow, which is capable of granting people Stands.
This quest results in Josuke making many friends with other Stand users; including the somewhat meek Koichi Hirose, the thuggish Okuyasu Nijimura and manga author prodigy Rohan Kishibe, as they band together to protect their town from those with evil intent, including an unknown serial killer who’s been operating in Morioh for years.
While I have some personal problems with it (I honestly think Stardust Crusaders is better), I still thoroughly enjoyed DIU overall. And just like before, there were a tonne of awesome moments that let the characters shine, so to celebrate its ending, let’s head into this crazy, noisy, bizarre town and look at six of my personal favourite moments.
1. Rohan Outwits Cheap Trick
Rohan is certainly one of the more… interesting characters I’ve seen in JJBA. When we first meet him, he’s desperately looking for inspiration (something I think most artists can relate to). Unfortunately, his desperation led to him using his newly acquired Stand, Heaven’s Door, to turn young Koichi into a book and rip pages out of him (yes, that’s what he does).
Though thwarted by Josuke, Rohan ended up sticking around and became one of the story’s main protagonists. While not as crazy and actually possessing a great deal of admiration and respect for Koichi, he was still a massive asshole, but unlike some of the other former antagonists in DIU, he was weirdly enjoyable in how much of a prick he was. Plus, he at least displayed some redeemable qualities, which is why I genuinely felt concerned for him when he was forced to deal with Cheap Trick.
Cheap Trick was a special kind of Stand that latched onto Rohan’s back and essentially did nothing but constantly whisper in his ear. That may not sound like much but when Rohan is forced to listen to him constantly, it does slowly drive him mad. And what’s worse, if Rohan shows his back to anyone, he dies and Cheap Trick latches onto another poor victim. Despite being one of the weakest Stands in the series, Cheap Trick did a good job of showing how dangerous he could actually be; hell, he was borderline unstoppable.
And to make matters worse, Rohan was alone. Though he calls Koichi for help, Koichi assumes Rohan’s just messing with him (a bit out-of-character in my opinion but whatever). Seeing Rohan being abandoned by the one person he probably considers a friend is pretty gut-punching.
But what’s great is that Rohan, rather than descend into self-pity, chooses to take the initiative and attempt to find Jotaro, cleverly making sure he never shows his back to anyone. And when he finds himself about to be mauled by a bunch of dogs and cats, Koichi shows up to save him. Not gonna lie, it was pretty sweet seeing Rohan so pleased to see him in a rare moment of genuine gratitude.
Things quickly turn south, however, when Koichi attempts to use his Stand, Echoes Act 3 (which can make things heavier) to pry Cheap Trick off of Rohan’s back. Attempting to do so nearly kills Rohan; it seems there’s just no other way to remove him.
Rohan seems to be at the end of his tether; Cheap Trick has mentally worn him down and he just wants to be rid of him, even if it means him dying and Koichi getting stuck with it. At least until it turns out they’re standing in Reimi’s alleyway AKA the place where ghosts can literally drag you to hell if you look the wrong way, which is just what Cheap Trick does. In the end, Rohan managed to play Cheap Trick like a fiddle.
Seeing the smug bastard being peeled off of Rohan’s back by a seemingly infinite number of ghost hands, begging for mercy all the while, is pretty satisfying on its own, but Rohan goes that extra mile by using Heaven’s Door to write one final instruction into Cheap Trick – “Go to Hell” – which is precisely what he does.
I was always back and forth on whether I liked Rohan or not, but the last half of the anime did a good job at actually making him likable and sympathetic at times, and I consider this moment to be his best, showing off his vulnerability, his intelligence and his own smug-ass demeanor.
2. Okuyasu VS Red Hot Chili Pepper
While Okuyasu certainly fit the mold of a more typical teenage delinquent, he was not without his own charm. Despite first appearing as an antagonist, he quickly became one of the most likable characters in the show, due to his loyalty, tragic backstory and because, well, he was rather simple-minded.
It’s not an understatement to say that Okuyasu is not the sharpest tool in the shed; his Stand, The Hand, is possibly one of the most powerful Stands in the whole series – capable of removing anything its right hand touches, including space itself – yet Okuyasu is too dumb to really use it to the best of its capabilities, which is why one of his best moments is when he actively tries to outsmart his opponent.
The gang is attempting to find the Stand user that stole the bow and arrow from Okuyasu’s brother, Keicho, and murdered him. All they know is that his Stand, Red Hot Chili Pepper, is electricity-based. Jotaro informs the others that Joseph Joestar (Jotaro’s grandfather and Josuke’s father) will soon arrive and help them find the user, but Red Hot Chili Pepper, having hidden in Okuyasu’s motorbike’s car battery, overhears and takes off with the bike intending to kill him.
Considering Red Hot Chili Pepper murdered Keicho, right in front of him, Okuyasu is naturally pissed and wants revenge. Most shows tend to show how revenge is ultimately a bad thing (“you become what you hate”) but JJBA manages to do the opposite – we want the heroes to get revenge against their enemies as much as they do. And while Okuyasu’s brother was kind of a piece of shit, his final act was to save Okuyasu. So when Okuyasu takes it upon himself to capture Red Hot Chili Pepper, you can’t help but root for him.
While Red Hot Chili Pepper is faster and smarter than Okuyasu, he not only manages to catch up to it by using The Hand to remove the space between him and the bike, he then destroys the bike itself, leaving Red Hot Chili Pepper trapped since they’re in the middle of a field and it needs an electrical line to move. And what’s more, with no electricity to access, Red Hot Chili Pepper quickly becomes weaker.
Whilst the others are catching up with them, Okuyasu, in a surprisingly profound moment, says that he knew how evil his brother was and that he always knew someone would kill him one day. He even says he deserved to die (harsh) and calmly demands Red Hot Chili Pepper give him its user’s name and address, promising he’ll spare his life. What’s pretty unique about this moment is that, despite his maturity, Okuyasu does admit that he wants to kill Red Hot Chili Pepper for murdering his brother. It’s a very human reaction and is more understandable than you might think.
Unfortunately, Red Hot Chili Pepper proceeds to mess with Okuyasu’s head, saying that it might be pretending to be weak so it can ambush the others. Rather than appeal to Okuyasu’s desire for revenge, it instead appeals to his desire to protect, which is some nice and subtle development for Okuyasu.
At the same time, it’s an incredibly tense scene as Okuyasu is desperately trying to use his brain for once, wondering if it’s a bluff or a double-bluff. He doesn’t instantly attack; he genuinely tries to think and it’s painful to watch because he’s trying so damn hard. He knows that if he makes the wrong choice, he or one of his new-found friends will get hurt or worse.
In the end, he gets so frustrated, he attacks, cutting Red Hot Chili Pepper in half and unearthing an electrical cable underground, allowing Red Hot Chili Pepper to not only get its strength back but even cut off Okuyasu’s arm and drag him into the cable, seemingly killing him the same way it killed Keicho. This horrific scene is mitigated though when Josuke uses his Stand’s restoration powers to retrieve Okuyasu and reattach his arm, saving him.
While Okuyasu allowed Red Hot Chili Pepper to escape, it’s hard to really blame him for it because of how he was tricked. Plus, he makes up for it in the next episode when he’s protecting Joseph on the boat he’s travelling in and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s user, Akira Otoishi (following his defeat at Josuke’s hands), disguises himself as one of the crew so he can get closer to them.
Another crew member bursts in to reveal that Akira is on the boat, prompting Akira to claim that the other crew member is really him. Okuyasu, stuck with a constant back-and-forth of “no, he’s the guilty one,” just says “Screw it” and punches one of them at random, smashing Akira’s face in and thwarting him for good. Though he does admit that he intended to punch the actual crew member as well just in case.
While Josuke was the one to actually fight Akira (and win), I felt like Okuyasu ultimately deserved the victory and, in the end, he dealt the final blow that stopped him, even if it was just punching him in the face. And while he may have lost his battle with Red Hot Chili Pepper, it was easily one of the highlights of the show, mostly from a character perspective and it showed that there was far more to Okuyasu than the likes of Akira (and even I) assumed.
3. Koichi Stands Up to Yukako
Out of all of the characters in DIU, Koichi is the only one to have something of a more “traditional” character arc. He undergoes the most change, starting off as a nervous but goodhearted young boy and gradually becoming a confident, staunch defender of justice. As a result, he got quite a few kick-ass moments of his own, from saving his family from loan shark Tamami Kobayashi to verbally owning main villain Kira.
For this list, however, I have ended up picking his battle with his psychotic stalker Yukako Yamagishi; specifically the point after she kidnapped him and locked him in a beach house with the intent of turning him into her “perfect man.” No joke, she was essentially torturing the poor guy (she even started building an electric chair!). And to make matters worse, her Stand, Love Deluxe (which bonded with her hair) was constantly keeping him in check. She had attached strands of her hair into Koichi’s so if he ever got rowdy, she could just control the hair strands to injure him. Bitch was crazy.
However, Koichi had one ace up his sleeve – his own Stand, Echoes, which could write out onomatopoeia, attach it to an object and essentially create that sound (probably one of my favourite Stand powers). When Yukako attempts to make a phone call with a nearby payphone, Echoes uses its power to create dial tones, causing the phone to contact Josuke, who manages to figure out where Koichi is. Yukako is less than pleased and is now aware that Koichi is a Stand user.
A now invigorated Koichi proceeds to barricade the front door, in an attempt to keep Yukako out for as long as possible. Using Echoes, he also sends the words “I hate you!” reverberating through Yukako’s head. You’d think that’d be the end of it but Yukako is apparently so delusional that she straight up ignores the constant echoing, negating the sounds completely.
With the aforementioned hair strands in Koichi’s hair, she has him slam himself into the barricade, opening the door slightly and allowing her to enter the house. Yukako decides to drop all pretense and skip straight to the point – either Koichi fall in love with her or she kills him. And to make matters worse, Echoes randomly seems to die, turning into what looks like a cocoon. Of course, it turns out that’s not the case. Instead, in a first for the series, a new Stand hatches from it.
Koichi’s Stand has evolved into Echoes Act 2 and its power increases to the point where it can not only create sounds but also sensations that activate when touched. So when it writes down the word “hyooo” (Japanese onomatopeia for wind blowing) on the door, a strong gust of wind sends Yukako flying.
Suddenly, with this new-found power, Koichi now has the advantage and even takes the opportunity to cut Yukako’s hair out of his own, leading to a new, awesome hairstyle (which I actually prefer over the more traditional spiky hairdo he gets later). He’s no longer afraid of her and seeing him fight against what is essentially an abuser is super satisfying, especially since he’s been dealing with her shit over two episodes.
The battle is short but it ends with Koichi and Yukako by a cliff edge where Yukako, now completely off the deep end, makes one last effort to kill Koichi. However, the cliff edge breaks underneath her, sending her to her death… or at least it would’ve if Echoes didn’t use its power to make the jagged rock beneath her bouncy, sending her right back up to safety.
As great as it was to see Koichi defeat Yukako singlehandedly (though Josuke and Okuyasu do turn up at the very end to take him home), what I love about it, in hindsight, is that it shows how good of a person he is. Despite everything she did to him, he still made the conscious effort to save her (even trying to warn her that the ground was unstable). It’s a very noble thing of him to do; choosing to save someone who was actively trying to kill him at that very moment. I also love how he doesn’t forgive her or stay with her afterwards. Once she’s safe, he again calls her out on how she never listens to him and just leaves. Bad. Ass.
While Yukako and Koichi do end up becoming a couple later in the series (in what I’d argue is easily the worst episode; seriously, I almost want to write a whole article on how God damn stupid their relationship is), it was still an ultimately satisfying moment and I still grin like an idiot watching it.
4. Jotaro Survives Sheer Heart Attack
I was a little bit worried that Jotaro would end up overshadowing Josuke in DIU, considering he was not only incredibly popular (hell, he still is) but was also ridiculously powerful, since his Stand, Star Platinum, had gained the ability to stop time at the end of Stardust Crusaders. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and Jotaro managed to serve as a pretty decent mentor character, occasionally assisting the heroes but never stealing the spotlight.
That’s not to say he didn’t do anything, however. Every once in a while, we got to see him be cool again, like during the Sheer Heart Attack two-parter. While those episodes were more focused on Koichi and his confrontation with the serial killer Kira, Jotaro got the chance to show off just why people love him so much.
He and Koichi are facing off against Sheer Heart Attack, Kira’s second Stand (yes, the asshole has two of them), an automated bomb that’s chasing them around a shoe shop. Whilst Koichi wants to go after Kira, Jotaro orders him not too as he recognises that Kira has no intention of letting them leave alive.
What follows is essentially Star Platinum repeatedly trying to destroy Sheer Heart Attack, constantly delivering his usual beat-down, but the bomb keeps getting back up. Usually, Star Platinum’s “Ora ora ora” marks the end of fights; it’s the final rush that puts the enemy down. But here, we’re seeing an opponent that is able to tank the hits (there’s even a funny bit where Jotaro’s theme is sped-up during his third attempt).
But what I like about this scene isn’t so much the constant punching (as fun as that is). It’s when he theorises that Sheer Heart Attack targets the greatest source of heat and when it lunges at a defenseless and stressed out Koichi, Jotaro uses his time-stop power to give him some time to create a miniature fire. Once time resumes, Sheer Heart Attack heads straight for the fire, saving Koichi and confirming Jotaro’s theory.
In doing so, however, it leaves Jotaro defenseless and the explosion badly injures him. Like, seriously. It messes him up something fierce. It’s probably the worst injury he’s ever sustained; even though I already knew he was going to live, I still genuinely thought he was dead. I mean, he has a tonne of open wounds all over his body. Nobody could survive that.
He then spends the majority of the two-parter out of commission, leaving Koichi to deal with Sheer Heart Attack and eventually Kira and his de facto Stand, Killer Queen. And while it’s an awesome moment for Koichi, in the end, he loses and gets a fist through the chest for his troubles. But it’s at that moment where, out of nowhere, Jotaro is back up, still badly wounding but, somehow, still standing.
I’ve always been a fan of characters that are still able to stand after being severely injured; it’s just cool to see, especially if they’re clearly struggling because it shows how determined they are. But what’s particularly great about this scene is that Kira allows himself to get cocky. He thinks Jotaro doesn’t stand a chance; having just blocked a hit from Star Platinum, he believes his Stand is much weaker and, after a quick bit of monologuing, prepares to blow both Jotaro and Koichi up… and gets punched in the face.
Up until this point, Kira has been able to get away with so much; the murders of Reimi, Shigechi, his burtal assault on Koichi and all the young women he has killed over the last fifteen years. So seeing him get pummelled by Star Platinum, complete with Jotaro dropping his “cool” one-liners, is a treat to watch, especially since Kira looks so surprised as well.
While Josuke may have taken over as the protagonist (and rightly so; it’s his series), it was still nice to see Jotaro hadn’t lost his touch and, when even bleeding out of every orifice, he can still give the bad guys the beating they deserve.
5. Killer Queen Bites the Dust
How do you top a villain as magnificent, glorious and popular as Dio (or should I say DIO)? The answer: you don’t. Instead, you create a different kind of villain. Yoshikage Kira is that villain; a much more subtle character who is completely opposed to the idea of fighting.
Whereas Dio had grand schemes and lofty goals, all Kira wants is to live a peaceful life; one where he doesn’t have to worry or stress over anything. It’s a far more relatable goal and makes Kira a pretty human character. It’s just a shame that his idea of a peaceful life means being allowed to murder pretty, young women whenever he feels like.
Whereas Dio was enjoyable with how hammy and over-the-top he was, every time Kira was on screen made my skin crawl. Kira is aware that what he does is considered wrong by a lot of people, but he does it anyway because it’s his life and that’s what he wants to do. Every time he appears, you can bank on being left unsettled by his presence; especially when he effectively steals another man’s identity and starts living with that man’s wife and son.
However, there was one moment throughout the whole series that I consider to be the crowning moment in Kira’s long list of douchebaggery; a moment where I actually found myself enjoying watching him and that’s when his Stand acquires a new ability – Bites the Dust. While it’s somewhat confusing to explain, it’s possibly one of the most dangerous Stand abilities I’ve ever seen, and the way the show reveals it is delightfully horrifying.
It starts off with Hayato (the son of the man whose identity Kira stole), waking up in the morning, trying to work out what to do now that he knows who Kira really is. This is already weird since, at the beginning of the episode, Kira had accidentally killed him in a panic. What’s even weirder is that when we next see Kira, he’s far more relaxed and confident (even humming to himself).
Only a few minutes ago, we saw him freaking out over Hayato discovering who he was to the point of biting his own fingernails off. Here, he’s so calm that it’s borderline creepy. In fact, he later tells Hayato his real name; he’s so convinced that he’ll never be caught that he’s willing to brag about his actual identity. And we soon see why.
Hayato later runs into Rohan who, with Heaven’s Door, learns who Kira is… and is then attacked by Killer Queen, who emerges from Hayato’s eye and jumps into Rohan’s and proceeds to blow him up. And just as it ends, Hayato wakes up back in bed. The day has been reset and events occur exactly as they did before.
Kira has placed Killer Queen inside of Hayato and turned him into a trigger that will kill anybody who discover’s Kira’s identity, followed by time being reset. And poor Hayato is forced to remember it. But, hey, that means he has the advantage. After all, if he never runs into Rohan, then Rohan won’t die.
Except Rohan blows up anyway. Yeah, Bites the Dust not only resets time but anything that happens before the reset is now destined to happen regardless. Um, overpowered much? Terrifying is the only word to really describe such an ability and Kira’s smugness is well-justified.
It’s a very harrowing set of episodes as Hayato finds himself falling into despair, desperate to foil Kira by any means to the point of trying to kill himself just so nobody else will die. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work either and we’re soon treated to seeing Josuke, Koichi, Okuyasu and Jotaro all die at the hands of Killer Queen. Seeing the main cast that have been driving the entire series die in one fell swoop made my jaw drop; we all know that the heroes will win in the end but I just couldn’t actually fathom HOW they could after this.
Kira was eventually defeated and all our heroes survived but for those two episodes, Kira was on top and it was both horrific and delightful to watch. I always wondered why people thought Kira was actually a better villain; with Bites the Dust, it all made sense.
6. Josuke Defeats Yuya Fungami
As the star of DIU, Josuke naturally took up most of the limelight, which I certainly did not have a problem with. From the very first episode, he quickly became one of my favourite characters – in fact, I consider him to be the best main protagonist I’ve seen in JJBA. He’s like an amalgamation of all of the best traits from the previous three protagonists – Jonathan’s kind heart, Joseph’s scheming nature and Jotaro’s intense fury.
And, of course, this led to some truly awesome moments throughout the series; avenging his grandfather by sealing his murderer in a rock for eternity, overcoming the power of Heaven’s Door to smash Rohan’s face in and, of course, his final battle with Kira. For the list, I decided to pick what might actually be a favourite of many others – his encounter with Highway Star.
All I really knew about the Highway Star arc was that people loved it; I had no idea why. So I had some rather high expectations for it, despite not knowing what to expect. And boy, was I not disappointed.
Highway Star, which drains you of your nutrients, has just captured Rohan. In order to save him, Josuke must track down the user. What follows is one crazy motorcycle chase, with Josuke trying to outmaneuver the incredibly speedy Highway Star. If it latches onto him, Josuke is done for.
Words honestly do not do the scene any justice; it’s just fun to watch since it’s not just a standard vehicle chase; Josuke is constantly running into problems, like trying to find a way to contact Koichi without stopping the bike or keeping the bike from running out of gas. But the best part comes right at the end, after Josuke (with Koichi’s help) tracks down the user, Yuya Fungami, a biker who was injured and is recuperating in hospital – he has been using Highway Star to drain other peoples’ nutrients to heal himself.
Josuke, despite having his own energy be drained by Highway Star, is able to make it to Yuya’s room and recuperate himself by drinking from Yuya’s IV bag. With Yuya cornered and Crazy Diamond being much faster, he threatens Yuya to release Rohan. Yuya’s only defense is that he’s still incapacitated thanks to his accident and that beating up an already injured man is a cowardly act. Josuke agrees, admitting that even he doesn’t like the idea of beating up a crippled man.
This was the moment where it clicked in my head. I knew exactly what was about to happen, and I started cackling like a maniac as I watched it happen. Josuke uses his Stand to fully heal Yuya. Now that he’s completely fine, Josuke has no qualms smashing him through the window.
The build-up, Josuke’s attitude and seeing Yuya’s face as he realises what’s about to happen just make this scene. Again, words don’t do it justice and only further cemented Josuke’s status of being the best protagonist in all of JJBA.