JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Cover Art

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As I have mentioned in several different articles, one of the defining traits of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is its capacity for change. Author Hirohiko Araki has made a habit of constantly starting all over again with soft reboots in every part, thus keeping things fresh and interesting for both the audience and himself as a creator.

However, by the time Araki reached the fourth part of JoJo’s and the part I’m going to review, Diamond is Unbreakable, he was between a rock and a hard place: he had found a lot of commercial and artistic success with the previous part, Stardust Crusaders, establishing JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure as one of the best manga series at the time. It was more than understandable that there was pressure to keep the formula that made the third part such a success.

Araki’s answer? To completely change the status quo once again and push the envelope once more. A lot of authors, after years of struggling, would have kept the winning formula, but Araki chose to experiment. And while there are some things that need work, Diamond is Unbreakable is definitely one of the series’ biggest success stories.

What is Diamond is Unbreakable?

Characters from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamon is Unbreakable.

Diamond is Unbreakable takes place in the small Japanese town of Morioh in the summer of 1999. The protagonist of the previous part, Jotaro Kujo, now a 28-year-old, arrives to investigate a series of murders that were apparently caused by a Stand user and he also wants to tell this part’s protagonist, teenager Josuke Higashikata, that he is a Joestar as his father is Joseph Joestar as a result of a romantic affair with his mother, Tomoko Higashikata.

Josuke, along with local student Koichi Hirose, team up with Jotaro to find the killer named Angel, who takes the life of Josuke’s father in the process. After a lot of shenanigans, they discover that there is an arrow that can grant people Stand abilities, and this, along with the threat of a serial killer that has been murdering women in Morioh for years, becomes the main quest of the story as Josuke and others have to deal with several Stand users along the way.

General Review

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Diamond is Unbreakable was, in a way, the biggest shift that Araki did until that point in his career. In terms of the story’s structure, character designs, the style of the battles, and characterization, this part of JoJo’s is a huge paradigm shift and would impact how the series would evolve in future installments.

It was very difficult to do a follow-up to Stardust Crusaders: the ending of that part hits you like a ton of bricks and it feels like such a compelling way to end the ongoing Joestar-Brando rivalry. Araki, in a way, now had to start from scratch and develop an aftermath of DIO’s demise at the hands of Jotaro and the rest of the Crusaders.

Therefore, it is interesting how Diamond is Unbreakable is strongly divided into two parts: the quest for the golden arrow that grants Stand abilities and the Yoshikage Kira arc. We go from a constant change of antagonists that end up becoming a part of the main cast to an overarching villain whose presence looms across the town of Morioh. It’s an approach that differs from what Araki was doing before that.

Another element that is a massive improvement is the setting. The town of Morioh feels alive, with a cast of characters that make up most of the community, and by the time the part ends, you feel that you were in a place that could be real, JoJo’s weirdness notwithstanding. As an avid Stephen King reader, this reminded me of how the famous horror author would build up the community in the small towns of his stories, only for the darkness of his monsters to strike right there and then.

This is why the first part is so crucial to understanding the Kira portion of the story. While I would argue that Diamond is Unbreakable is the most universally loved part of the series, a lot of people have mentioned that the first half feels a bit like filler and I vehemently disagree: the whole point of the first half is to establish the characters, the town of Morioh, how the community works, and then having Kira show up to mess with that status quo.

The second half is a bit more of a cat-and-mouse game, trying to find Kira, understand his motives a lot more, and put an end to it. I also enjoy how small this entire part is: after three parts that were centered around world-ending threats, this time we are dealing with a villain that is focused on just finding peace, which is something we are going to explore when we get to his character.

I would also like to highlight the Stand battles in Diamond is Unbreakable. Stands were a big game-changer for Araki in Stardust Crusaders and it is easy to understand why: it basically gives him the possibility to do anything he wants with any type of character, thus giving us here an extrapolation of that same principle that was explored in Stardust Crusaders. This is why Jotaro can defeat a vampire with a time-stop ability in the previous part and lose against a rat in this one–it’s more about the context and the ability than sheer raw strength.

Stands here a more eclectic, slowly moving towards the more complex concepts Araki would design later on in his career. You begin to see Stands with very peculiar abilities that require a specific setting, thus leading us to even more interesting battles where wits and creativity are essential for victory.

I also happen to enjoy that this part, unlike the previous ones, gives room for more lighthearted experiences and moments. This is great because it gives the characters a space to show other sides of their personalities (such as Josuke and Okuyasu trying to make easy money with the former’s Stand abilities or Josuke trying to cheat Rohan Kishibe in a game where they are betting) and it also shows a wider range of emotions.

One of my personal favorite moments is when they go to an Italian Restaurant where Tonio Trussardi, the chef, is a Stand user, and Josuke thinks there’s something wrong with him and that he could be a threat. Turns out he isn’t; he is just a simple man that wants people to enjoy the food that is healthy for them.

I love that because it shows that not everybody with a Stand is going to use it for evil or to fight evil; some people are just going to use them for their daily activities, which is a very nice touch by Araki because it shows a larger scope of what Stands can do in the world of JoJo’s. Some may argue that is “filler”, but I find it a very important detail when it comes to the worldbuilding side of things.

The Cast

If Stardust Crusaders expanded the cast with a wider amount of characters, then Diamond is Unbreakable developed that even further. The cast in the town of Morioh is wide and they all by and large play a role in how things unfold. I’m not going to focus too much on Josuke, the main character, because I already wrote an entire article for him, so let’s talk a bit about the rest of the cast.

Koichi Hirose

Koichi is actually the narrator of the story and the first person of Morioh we get to meet. Much like Jean Pierre Polnareff in Stardust Crusaders, there is a running joke that Koichi is the protagonist of Diamond is Unbreakable and not Josuke because of the amount of screen time that the former gets.

I wouldn’t go that far, but Koichi is certainly important, both for the plot and outside of it. He is one of the first JoJo characters where Araki managed to create a whole development arc, which was clearly displayed through the different acts of his Stand, Echoes. Koichi goes from a passive, frightened teenager to someone that stands up for himself and is a valuable asset for the team to stop Yoshikage Kira.

I know that Koichi has his detractors, but I think he is a good character that adds a bit of coherence to the team and he is the level-headed one among the teenagers of Morioh.

Okuyasu Nijimura

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We first get to see Okuyasu as an antagonist for Josuke to face. He, along with his brother Keicho, had a very rough childhood due to his father’s life being ruined by DIO and they were trying to find a way to get him back to normal at first. After Keicho is murdered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers Stand, Okuyasu tags along with Josuke and they end up becoming good friends and allies.

Okuyasu is one of my favorite characters in this installment and there is a very good reason for that: he is an idiot. I’m not insulting him; he is canonically an idiot. His brother Keicho had to make decisions for him and even the simplest things are complicated for Okuyasu.

I love that because a running issue in JoJo’s (and one that we are going to see in future parts as well) is that almost every single Stand user is incredibly smart and creative with their abilities, even resorting to some creative tactics and solutions on the fly during the heat of the battle. This is very fun and is great, but having a character that has such a powerful ability as erasing space with his right hand and not using it to its full potential due to his intellectual shortcomings is a great piece of writing.

Other than that, Okuyasu works very well as comic relief, he is a very noble and innocent guy (in a good way) and I think it says a lot about his character that he never considered taking his father’s life with The Hand, despite how much he was suffering. It shows his compassion. I also like the ending that the anime had for them, with both characters eating in Tonio’s restaurant and having a good time.

Jotaro Kujo

Jotaro comes back to the fold after his exploits in Stardust Crusaders and, now at 28 years of age, he is a different man: while he is still serious and stoic, he is a lot less prone to anger and much more willing to communicate with others, which is shown in the battle with the rats alongside Josuke or through his appreciation and acknowledgment of Koichi. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is my favorite version of Jotaro.

A very interesting detail is how Jotaro is most likely the strongest character in this part, but Araki doesn’t allow him to punch his way to victory. There are a lot of different challenges and Jotaro’s support is notorious, particularly during the first encounter with Kira, but he is never the easy answer to fix that and that is great. Araki found a way to give others time to shine while giving respect to Jotaro and displaying in a way that is both powerful and fitting of his character.

His first encounter with Kira is one of my favorite moments of the entire series and my favorite Jotaro moment as it shows his entire character in a couple of minutes. He has a very good role as a mentor in Diamond is Unbreakable and it is nice to see that growth of his while staying true to himself in the key aspects.

Rohan Kishibe

Image Credit: But Why Tho?

This is a character that starts out as an antagonist and later on becomes a very important ally in the quest for Kira. Rohan Kishibe is a notorious manga artist from Morioh whom Koichi becomes acquainted with and the former starts to display a lot of weird traits until he uses his Stand, Heaven’s Door, to read people’s entire lives and control them in order to get more ideas for his manga. He starts to change once Josuke beats the living hell out of him after insulting his hair.

Rohan is a jerk for most of the part, but that is the charm of his character. He is entitled, self-centered, and thinks very highly of himself, but when push comes to shove in the Kira arc, he is willing to go the extra line to help our heroes stop the serial killer.

A lot of people have argued that he is Araki’s self-insert due to Rohan being a mangaka, but I disagree–I haven’t seen Rohan hurting dogs in his manga.

Yoshikage Kira

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Yoshikage Kira is the main antagonist of Diamond is Unbreakable and a very interesting character to analyze. He is a serial killer that focuses on murdering women and taking their hands because of a sexual fetish of his, but he maintains a very low profile by not standing out from the crowd in any way. He doesn’t party, he doesn’t do anything that could get him the spotlight, and even his grades as a child were meant to be average in order to not gain any type of attention.

Kira is widely regarded as one of the best JoJo antagonists and some even go as far as saying that he is the best one. And you know what? I fully understand that reasoning. Kira doesn’t want world domination or a lot of power; he just wants to do his thing and be left alone. This would be understandable if his thing wasn’t killing innocent women, but it adds an interesting angle as this is a villain whose motivation is very reactionary–he just wants to keep things as they are.

It is no secret that Araki did his homework when it comes to researching serial killers and Kira has a lot of those compulsive traits, as it is shown when he fixes Koichi’s sock after brutally wounding him. There is also a very obvious contrast between his quiet, low-profile persona and his Stand, Killer Queen, which focuses on blowing up anything that it touches.

This is also an antagonist that is not overpowered and has to rely a lot on being cunning and malicious in order to get what he wants. He is not above our heroes during most of the story like DIO or Kars, and one would think that would make the confrontation boring or predictable, but Araki finds a way to make it work as Kira levels the playing field through his own strategies and planning, thus making the confrontation all the more interesting.

When Kira adopts the appearance and life of Kosaku Kawajiri, an interesting situation happens. Not only because Kosaku’s son, Hayato, starts suspecting his own father because of the weird way he is behaving (which, in a way, is a criticism of the story as no kid would be as smart and cunning as Hayato proved to be in Kira’s downfall), but also because, at this point in the story, Kira got what he wanted… and still lost because of his own shortcomings.

Kira wants a quiet life and he had that in the Kawajiri household, but his urgency to kill, the one non-average trait of his, led him to create clues that our heroes would ultimately use to discover his new identity. It’s fascinating because he had a quiet life and still managed to screw it up because of his own morbid obsessions.

The Bites the Dust arc is a very nice conclusion to his arc and the final battle with Josuke is gripping, tense, and filled with a lot of interesting dynamics. Both characters are nice contrasts to one another and it shows the difference in their mentalities when you see them face to face.


Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the best and most important parts of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It gave Araki a more defined identity as a creator and it pushed the envelope once again of what the series could be. It gave us one of the best protagonists of the series in Josuke and one of the best antagonists in Kira. And it had one of the best-developed settings in the entire series in the town of Morioh.

It’s one of those weird cases where a story does live up to the hype and is also one that is a celebration of change and creative freedom.

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