“Anytime I need to see your face I just close my eyes
And I am taken to a place
Where your crystal minds and magenta feelings
Take up shelter in the base of my spine
Sweet like a chica cherry cola”
–I Want You, Savage Garden
This song takes me back. I just close my eyes and I am taken to place where I’m standing against the gymnasium wall at a middle school dance while one friend is crying in the bathroom and the other is trying to hook me up with my science lab partner, “because we both have glasses.”
I began watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in 2012 with the David Production-led reboot of the series from the beginning — Stardust Crusaders had already been animated as an OVA in 1993. From the theatrics of the first episode and Jonathan Joestar’s cries of “Dio!” I was hooked. However, I stopped watching the series after Battle Tendency and never picked up Stardust Crusaders. I decided that I would catch up with the manga re-release, and began collecting volumes of that instead.
Naturally, I returned to the animated JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure for the most embarrassing of reasons — I heard that Savage Garden’s “I Want You” was used as the new ending theme, and the colors in the ending captivated me. I wanted to see the JoJo’s take on my junior high school nostalgia. Taking to Twitter, I asked friends who were spamming screenshots of the new JoJo’s, Diamond is Unbreakable, who informed me that as long as I knew what stands were, I would have no issue jumping into Part 4 without having seen Part 3, Stardust Crusaders.
Diamond is Unbreakable appealed to me in a different way than Phantom Blood. Where Phantom Blood had hooked me with ridiculousness — Diamond is Unbreakable also has ridiculousness to spare — Diamond is Unbreakable offered the intimate setting of Morioh — a 1990’s-era horror movie small town with a muted palette and threats lurking around every corner. The milkman is a serial killer with stands. The crazed otaku kid in school takes out his pettiness on others with stands. The girl who becomes enamored with one of the main characters is an obsessive maniac with stands. Nearly every person in town is gifted a rare stand ability and hilarity ensues.
This isn’t to say that the series can’t pull off genuine emotion as well. The Nijimura Brothers’ narrative arc is surprisingly poignant, and the moment Josuka Higashikata meets his father for the first time is genuinely sweet — after Josuke and company have staved off a stand attack from both land and sea, of course. Diamond is Unbreakable plays with its pastoral setting, subverting horror tropes while adding dashes of affecting drama all while keeping up the craziness for which every iteration of JoJo’s is known.
I unfortunately haven’t been able to keep up with Diamond is Unbreakable on a regular basis. However, when I’m having a really rough day I know I can always load up the next episode of JoJo’s and delight in Joseph Joestar and Josuke chasing an invisible baby around Morioh.