JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 19 of
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable ?
Poor Shigekiyo can't help but fly too close to the sun. No matter what situation he finds himself in with Josuke and Okuyasu, no matter what kind of promises he's made, the second a large enough sum of money is in question, the greed comes rolling right back. After a certain point, it really feels like something he honestly can't control. Is JoJo's Bizarre Adventure presenting us with simply a goofy character quirk, or is it making some kind of statement about humanity and our impulses? "Both" isn't out of the question, honestly.
The episode opens with the trio having their winning five million yen lottery ticket appraised by the local bank. The bank employee is suspicious, however, not wanting to believe that a few students could possibly be the earnest winners and starts to poke holes in their story. Obviously, they can't fess up about their Stands and how they actually got the ticket, but it becomes clear early on that they hadn't thought their explanation through very well. There are no lottery vendors in Morioh, and the actual purchaser's name and phone number are written on the back of the ticket! Although, Josuke does have the convenience of Crazy Diamond's restoration power to remove pieces of the name and number so that they read differently. Since the "real" purchaser can't be reached, the ticket defaults to our heroes.
From here, the episode becomes a fight over the check. Shigekiyo had promised to split it fifty-fifty once again, but with the actual ticket in hand, he's thinking that was more of a suggestion than a promise. After all, his Harvest did all the work. Greed-mode Shigekiyo is a real sleazeball and feels like a completely different person than the friendly kid we initially met. Clearly, a diplomatic solution is not in the cards as he starts to use Harvest combatively, even threatening to kill the other two if they keep trying to get any more money out of him. His grand escape involves laying on his back and letting Harvest carry him at incredible speed, which is a scene that got a big belly laugh out of me. He just looks so silly as he lays there with that dumb smile and gets carried effortlessly up a 90-degree wall.
The battle escalates as you'd expect from this show, taking our heroes to a fight on the roof where they have to deal with Shigekiyo's surprisingly intuitive use of his Stand. From pretty early on, I was able to guess that Josuke would use Crazy Diamond's restoration powers to regain leverage at some point. He tears the check into dozens of pieces and lets them loose in the wind so that Harvest would be too preoccupied retrieving them throughout town to protect Shigekiyo. Since his Stand is the only one capable of bringing the check back to a usable state, Josuke is able to strike another deal to divide the five million into thirds. It's a predictable solution in my opinion, but still a fun one. I always enjoy seeing all the different ways that Crazy Diamond can be used strategically. There's a lot for your brain to chew on.
Throughout this two-parter, the most interesting aspect has been Shigekiyo and his relationship with the boys. Diamond is Unbreakable seems fairly light on full-blown villains, with most of the antagonists falling into support positions once they're "defeated." Shigekiyo, like many other characters in this show, is not evil. He just has a high capacity to be a selfish jerk. Again, the story treats it almost like a condition that unlocks the second he's dealing with a certain amount of money. When you take the money away, he returns to his good-natured self as if nothing ever happened. He's got both good and bad in him, and we're lucky Josuke and friends are able to deal with his darker side when it crops up.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure continues to be the stylish monster-of-the-week show that we already know and love, but Diamond is Unbreakable specifically seems to have a mission statement when it comes to who these monsters actually are. Most of them are just jerks who need to be taken down a peg, and the fact that most of them stick around as background characters makes me feel like the show is building to something interesting.
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