that’s it that’s the episode

Ordinary student Koichi Hirose is off to his first day of high school in the sleepy town of Morioh when he runs into a strange man, Jotaro Kujo. Koichi and Jotaro witness another first year, Josuke Higashikata, being harassed by bullies. When they make fun of his hair and call him ‘Jojo’, Josuke fights back against the bullies, displaying a power called “Stand”.

Jotaro introduces himself to Josuke and explains that they are related – his grandfather, Joseph Joestar, is Josuke’s father. He also insults Josuke’s hair again, provoking him into a Stand battle so he can explain how Stands work. He tries to talk to Josuke about a villainous Stand user he believes to be hiding out in Morioh, but Josuke realizes that he is late for school and runs off.

We then get some exposition about the villainous Stand user, Angelo, a rapist and murderer who used his Stand to escape execution. On their way home, Josuke and Koichi encounter a man holding up a convenience store; Josuke attacks him after further comments about his hair. He uses his Stand, Crazy Diamond (which can re-shape and re-form things) to seal the man’s knife inside his body. However, the man vomits up a liquid Stand, which escapes after revealing itself as Angelo’s Stand, capable of possessing people. Josuke agrees to meet with Jotaro to discuss the situation further as Angelo selects Josuke’s mother Tomoko as his next target.

I like Tomoko, but she does NOT look old enough to be Josuke’s mom

As you may know, I’m a pretty big fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – series villain Dio serves as the image I use for scoring shows. However, the question I went into this episode asking was “how well would this work as a starting point to the series for people who aren’t existing Jojo fans?” Having watched it, I would say “you probably COULD start here, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“Diamond is Unbreakable” is part 4 (out of a current 8) of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series. The previous part, “Stardust Crusaders,” which stars Jotaro Kujo, served as the anime’s second season – a bit of a misnomer, as the “season” was about 50 episodes long – while parts 1 and 2 were combined as the first season. While the creators made a decent effort to establish the first episode of “Stardust Crusaders” as a viable starting point, they do not seem to have done the same with “Diamond”. Part 3’s Jotaro is introduced right off the bat in a way that assumes the viewer knows who he is, and Part 2 protagonist Joseph Joestar, though not yet physically present, also plays a major role. Stands, the series’ unique and somewhat complex fighting powers, also appear with only minimal explanation (as Josuke literally runs off to school in the midst of Jotaro trying to tell him about them).

So as a first episode of a new part, “Diamond is Unbreakable” doesn’t do a great job of welcoming new viewers. Other than that, though? It’s awesome. You can feel from the first seconds of the show that it’s pure Jojo – the loud colors, the crazy clothes and hair, the ridiculous poses and facial expressions of the characters, and the prominent sound effects. The fact that it switches up Jotaro’s globe-spanning adventure for the smaller-scale setting of Morioh and Josuke and Koichi’s high school in particular doesn’t take away from its wacky Jojo feel in the slightest.

The episode’s only real weak point is Angelo, the Stand-using criminal who serves as the villain. It’s not just that he suffers from the same issue as many Jojo villains – that is to say, “not being Dio” – but that the writers’ plan to make him less of a one-dimensional character seems to involve him targeting Josuke’s mother, Tomoko. One of Jojo’s biggest overall flaws is its few female characters, and we’ve already had an entire season of a woman being little more than a plot device to fuel the man’s quest (Jotaro’s ill mother Holly). Let’s hope Tomoko does not follow this pattern and Angelo is either replaced or gets a little less bland. Yes, it’s hard to follow in the footsteps of a larger-than-life memetic legend, but I feel like Jojo is capable of producing something more interesting than “a murderer with zero backstory who is hiding out in this town”.

Loses a Dio for how unfriendly it is to new viewers, but other than that receives an overall high score. And can I say how great it is to use Dio to rank something actually related to Dio?

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You heard the man. Don’t insult the hair.

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