JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 4– Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol.4 comes from the mind of renowned mangaka, Hirohiko Araki. Published by Viz Media in English, this is the first time American readers can enjoy Diamond is Unbreakable in its full glory. As a fan, you can tell Viz Media wants to deliver the best experience possible to JJBA fans. The hardcover features a colored picture of the main characters Josuke, Okuyasu, and Koichi. Rohan and Jotaro are also displayed. The entire hardcover is embossed and glossed over, making it visually stunning. The spine of the book features a multitude of diamonds to accent the Diamond is Unbreakable arc. The small attention to detail makes someone like me, a die-hard JoJo fan, squeal with joy.
Volume 4 picks up with Koichi being trapped in the house of enemy stand-user Rohan Kishibe. Rohan is a famed manga writer and resides in Moiroh with Josuke and the gang. It is revealed that Rohan’s stand, Heaven’s Door, can turn people into books and he can read their entire history through their memories. This sets up an interesting fight between Josuke and Rohan. As this fight ensues, it’s clear that Araki does not want to write a stereotypical shonen showdown (think of fights in Dragon Ball Z or Naruto). Instead, Araki uses this fight to characterize them all. Araki’s script for this confrontation gives us insight into Rohan’s innate selfishness and nosiness. Heaven’s Door lets Rohan intrude on anyone’s secrets and he uses that information as fodder for his manga. Josuke is further characterized to be a man of honor and care, a foil to Rohan. Araki provides a nuanced backstory that provides information about Josuke’s hero and inspiration. It explains why Josuke’s stand, Crazy Diamond, can care for and heal people.
The rest of the story follows Josuke, Okuyasu, Koichi, and (a now turned good) Rohan on a slew of adventures that keep leading them to the main antagonist of the entire Diamond is Unbreakable arc. Halfway through this volume, Araki tunes us into why nothing is as it seems in the small and quiet Japanese town of Morioh. It is revealed that a serial killer is on the loose in this town. Araki begins to incorporate the standard elements of any small town murder mystery story. One key character introduces the presence of this murderer and the dangerous underbelly of the town. Elements of the supernatural like ghosts and poltergeists appear. Araki begins to draw the town as a little more grimier and unkempt. The characters discuss the absence of evidence because the killer has been on the loose for 20 years with no one noticing them. My favorite troupe utilized is the “Hidden in plain sight” for the serial killer. Araki gives us a morsel of who they are, what their motive is, and what they look like.
Diamond is Unbreakable is not the first murder-mystery story, nor will it be the last. However, volume four does set the tone for the rest of the series in a fun and different way. With its focus on the strength of the bonds of friendship between Josuke, Koichi, and Okuyasu, Araki maintains a very steady pulse on his atmosphere and tone. One moment it can feel chilling and spooky but with the characterization established through the Rohan fight from earlier, the switch into normal school boys trying to hang out works seamlessly. Araki masterfully creates a script that is characterization-heavy, where it still moves the plot forward without skipping out on any exciting action.
Like most manga, Araki does all of his artwork and lettering himself. His grasp on fighting sequences is superb. Characters’ actions, alongside their stands, move fluidly within panels. Even without color, the linework is clean and crisp. Through all of the punching and blood, every shape is still clear and prominent. Araki’s character designs are too die for. Each person has a unique outfit that holds symbolism to who they are as a character. Using Josuke as an example, he wears a peace sign pin on the right side of his school jacket to display how he is the peace bringer to most situations. The left side of his jacket features a heart pin, showcasing his innate nature as a caretaker and kind person. His strong care and will develops his stand, Crazy Diamond, that can physically heal anyone (except for himself). His well-maintained pompadour is a nod to his hero and how Josuke feels inspired to be as kind as him. Araki’s grasp on artistic symbolism is unmatched from any other property I know.
Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol. 4 has a lot of memorable character art. I may not personally love Rohan, but Araki’s usage of high fashion for his character is worth noting. Like any male character, Araki indulges them in their fashion choices. Using his script, he often writes dialogue that focuses on how these males want to present themselves to the world. They care about how they look. They comment on what brands they like to wear. Men’s clothing choices are not standard to see or comment on in most typical manga. This is another way that JJBA (in general) and with Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol.4 sticks out within the world of Shonen.
The English translation from Viz is very easy and quick to read. They chose to keep all of Araki’s original lettering from sound effects. Being as iconic as ever, his particular style of lettering is bold and chunky. Choosing to always revolve his robust sound effects around certain characters to either emphasize importance or symbolism, it is difficult to pry your eyes away. Viz honors Araki’s style choices by making all the words fairly larger and bolder than most manga. Viz Media wanted to maintain as much authenticity from the original Japanese printing for the western audience. It is both noted and appreciated.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 4– Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol.4 is a testament to the talent that Araki displays in his art, writing, and lettering. A multi-faceted mystery story with the theme of powerful friendships at its core, Vol.4 provides well-paced humor and suspense making it a quick and enjoyable read. Here is a free preview of JoJo’s Diamond is Unbreakable Vol.4. If you want to learn more about Diamond is Unbreakable, check out the limited edition Part 5 anime set here.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 4- Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol.4
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 4– Diamond is Unbreakable, Vol.4 is a testament to the talent that Araki displays in his art, writing, and lettering. A multi-faceted mystery story with the theme of powerful friendships at its core, Vol.4 provides well-paced humor and suspense making it a quick and enjoyable read.