After being almost caught by the police in the apartment of a family he held hostage, serial-killer Anjuro Katagiri (Takayuki Yamada) is bow-arrowed in the throat by a young fellow who looks like he sprang out of a Duran Duran video. Pulling out the arrow from Katagiri’s flesh, the youth says something about the gravity bringing them together, about love and comradeship, before informing him he has been chosen. The killer is not only alive, but also rewarded with the ability to turn into a water demon after his blood has drenched the nearby pond. The angelic face with a strawberry blond mullet who made this possible is the actual supervillain of the story, a high-school student Keicho Nijimura (Masaki Okada), one of the superpower-bearers, who is choosing the army of foes for reasons revealed only in the film’s final five minutes.
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A couple of days later, the fictive Japanese town of Morio-Cho is stricken by a number of mysterious deaths, with victims’ organs inexplicably exploding from the inside. This sets the town “voted as the place people most want to live in” in panic, and the Head Patrol Officer Ryohei (played by the legendary Jun Kunimura) who dedicated his life to law & order in the otherwise idyllic small town, is the first one to observe weird occurrences in its inhabitants’ behaviour. Ryohei also turns out to be our main hero’s beloved grandfather with a slight drinking problem.
It took no less than 15 rotoscope artists to make Miike Takashi’s other-worldly film adaptation of Hiroko Araki’s 4th part of the popular manga comic “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” to come to life. The mysterious giant entities in armoured bodies that come out of their “hosts” (and not only them!) are created with great precision and skills, worthy a big-budget production the artists were assigned for. It’s the food for the eyes of all JoJo manga-series lovers. With its cult following, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” has an eager fanbase that offers the most obscure information on the internet surrounding its content. It turns out, one can even buy the soundtrack of the tunes played on Morio-Cho’s main radio station in the animated TV series (2012-2016), among other trinkets.
The manga’s storyline centres around the Joestar family whose numerous members have supernatural powers in form of unique “stands” – the inner super-power entities. Split into 8 chapters, each of the parts concentrates on one particular Joestar hero – “JoJo” (abbreviation of the first and second name) and his surroundings. “Diamond” that quite literally seems to be unbreakable is the name of “JoJo” Josuke Higashikata’s (Kento Yamazaki) “stand” that is capable of repairing anything that went broken, or to heal sick and wounded. But before our superhero starts using his abilities in the right way, he is more worried about what people have to say about his hair.
Josuke’s look is crowned with the offbeat pompadour hairdo, and any negative comment about it sets his stand in rage. Through the first of such incidents, he will run into an unlikely friend and future ally, a new, shy student in his school Hirose Koichi (Kamiki Ryūnosuke), who gives a voice-over to the parts of the film. Through Koichi’s first impression of Morio-Cho, we find out that the town is “blessed with lush mountains a bountiful sea and lined with many historical buildings”. Morio-Cho indeed looks more like a Mediterranean coastal town than Japanese, which is logical, considering that this lavish Warner Bros production was filmed in Sitges (Spain).
JoJo is initially unaware of his background, having grown up without his father whose identity was kept away from him. He is informed to be the illegitimate son of Joseph Joester by a newcomer who claims to be JoJo’s nephew Jotaro Kujo (Yûsuke Iseya), although he is quite obviously at least 20 years his senior. Jotaro has a stand of his own which can stop the time, and this comes quite handy in the clash between his uncle and the evil brotherhood.
If there is an indication to who’s got superpowers in the movie, it’s the styling. Anyone that looks like a member of an English new wave band from the 1980’s is your man. The look of all Stand-bearers makes you want to kneel down in front of the whole make-up and hair department, declaring them your new deities. The same feeling doesn’t apply to editing, which is one of the most frequent problems with Miike Takashi’s films. Towards the second half of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: The Diamond is Unbreakable” most of the scenes drag in a snail-like pace building up on long dialogues, staring and over-staring. The exception is the final clash between the good and the bad that involves “the building of the bad company” – an army composed of toy soldiers, tanks and military helicopters coming to life through Keicho Nijimura’s super-abilities.
Regardless its uneven pace, “JoJo’S Bizarre Adventure: The Diamond is Unbreakable” is a fine piece of gem. And there are hopes to see more of JoJo coming soon with the indicative “Chapter I” build in the movie’s title, suggesting that we might be blessed with the sequel in the nearest future.