Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable
Director: Takashi Miike
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Adventure / Fantasy / Supernatural
Released: August 27th 2018
Running Time: 119 mins
A teen gifted with supernatural power discovers the truth behind his cursed and bizarre bloodline, and the evil that lurks within his town.
So, full disclosure time: I have never seen any of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime, nor have I read any of the source material. So, I’m coming into this completely fresh and potentially way out of my depth. In a way, that’s good though as it should give a good sign as to whether this film is accessible to those without prior knowledge of the franchise.
Aesthetically speaking, this is a marvelous piece of work. The music in particular does a really great job of adding to the events on screen, with fitting pieces picked for each moment. Looking at a high octane battle? There are some wonderfully fantasy styled pieces on show. Watching a more serious scene? The music tones itself back and picks a feel that matches the tone the scene is trying to convey.
Meanwhile, the visuals are really quite eye-catching. The costumes are vibrantly coloured, even in the cases of those wearing darker clothes, and each character is given a distinctive look. The haircuts are actually brilliant, too. Seriously, this may actually put the New Romantic pop era to shame. The more violent scenes are pretty much what you’d expect from Takashi Miike, with the blood flowing freely when appropriate too. The only thing that gets a little mixed here in terms of quality is the CG. Some of the effects are a little on the ropey side, with the major exception being Josuke Higashikata and Jotaro Kujo’s Stand’s which look suitably video game styled in both appearance and movement. To be fair though, even the lower quality CG isn’t horrendous here, and it’s certainly forgivable given the enjoyment factor of the film itself.
An boy is the enjoyment high at times. The film is full of great and silly moments that’ll keep you smiling. For example, Josuke’s “If my sweet ass do gets dissed, I get mighty pissed” line was a hoot. Then there’s the bonkers plans like cutting up a rubber glove, swallowing it, and using your powers to fix it inside your body in order to capture a body-snatching water entity. Yes, this is Takashi Miike at his barmy best.
From a character standpoint, there wasn’t anyone that I really disliked. Josuke does the mysterious bad boy stick well, and I liked Jotaro too, as well as the antagonist trio of Angelo, Keicho and Okuyasu. The oddball among the cast though undoubtedly female student Yukako Yamagishi. She was interesting for sure; in particular I liked her odd little quirk of giving the new student that she’d been asked to look after additional homework to keep him on track. The problem was that she wasn’t given too much screen time. While not integral to the plot at this point, I did think it was a shame that she wasn’t more fleshed out. But then, this is only part one, and it only covers the first seventeen chapters of the manga, so who knows? Maybe she’ll have a bigger role going forward. The main thing is that the acting, while not exactly Oscar worthy, did a fine job of balancing out the serious and hammy moments, and no one came across as being out of their depth with the script, so I can’t really complain too much.
Now, in terms of differences between this and the original manga, like I said, I’m not familiar with the source material. So, I did some research. The JoJo Wikia has a good summary of the changes if you want to see the full list, but they vary in impact. Some of it is simple switching of events (I’m assuming for pacing), some events are missed – such as scenes of animal cruelty, which is no bad thing to cut – and some characters are cut entirely. How much that will affect your viewing pleasure if you’re an existing fan, I don’t know.
So, how do I score this in summary? Well, it was pretty clear that I would have gotten a little mreo out fo it had I already been familiar with the source material, but the film does a decent job of explaining waht you need to know to follow the plot. In that respect, it does a good job of putting itself forward as jumping on point if you’re not in the mood for manga or anime. It’s visually fun, it doesn’t feel over-long, and it rises above its flaws sufficiently enough to be enjoyable. My advice is this: check out the changes list, and if that’s going to cut your enjoyment, give it a try but don’t expect it to be perfect. If you’re coming in fresh like me, come in with an open mind and enjoy the madness. 4 out of 5.
If JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable sounds like it might be something you’d enjoy, then why not click on the affiliate link below? You can grab the DVD or a figure, and I’ll get a small commission.