JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Chapter 1 (2017) poster

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Chapter 1 (2017)


(JoJo no Kimyo na Boken: Daiyamondo wa Kudakenai – Dai-Issho)

Japan. 2017.


Director – Takashi Miike, Screenplay – Itaru Era, Based on the Manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Created by Hirohiko Araki, Producers – Tetsuo Gensho & Misako Saka, Photography – Nobuyasu Kita, Music – Koji Endo, Visual Effects – Annex Digital. Production Company – Toho/Tokyo Broadcasting System/TBS Pictures.


Kento Yamazaki (Josuke Higashikata), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Koichi Hirose), Nana Komatsu (Yukako Yamagishi), Yusuke Iseya (Jotaro Kujo), Masaki Okada (Keicho Nijimura), Jun Kunimura (Ryohei Higashikata), Mackenyu Arata (Okuyasu Nijimura), Takayuki Yamada (Anjuro ‘Angelo’ Katagiri), Alisa Mizuki (Tomoko Higashikata)


High school student Koichi Hirose has just moved to the town of Mori-oh, which is regarded as perfect. He becomes concerned about the recent spate of mysterious deaths around the town. Koichi is then witness as two bullies insult the unique hairstyle of fellow student Josuke Higashikata and Josuke uses mysterious powers to defeat them. Josuke is approached by Jotaro Kujo who reveals that he is Josuke’s relative and that they both wield the unique spiritual powers known as Stands. They face another Stand user Keicho Nijimura who is driving another man to kill others by possessing them with his ability to inhabit water.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a long-running manga. It first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1987 and is still being published to this day, having passed through various publishers. The series consists of multiple different stories about the Joestar family in different historical eras and always featuring a character named JoJo who has the mystical martial fighting ability known as Stands and their battles against other users. This is a live-action film adapted from the Diamond is Unbreakable (1992-5) storyline that appeared over a three year period. The manga has made assorted spillovers into other media including assorted light novels and videogames. There was previously an anime tv series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012- ), which has consisted of five seasons, of which the third (airing in 2016) also adapted Diamond is Unbreakable.

There is a trend these days for live-action adaptations of manga and anime as being the final step on the road for any successful Japanese franchise. See also films such as Casshern (2004), Cutie Honey (2004), Devilman (2004), Space Battleship Yamato (2010), Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014), Lupin III (2014), Parasyte Part 1 (2014), Attack on Titan (2015), Fullmetal Alchemist (2017), Gintama (2017), Tokyo Ghoul (2017), Bleach (2018) and Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023).

Takashi Miike emerged as a director to be noticed in the early 2000s with works like Audition (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001) and Visitor Q (2001) that were celebrated by audiences because of the ultra-violent and taboo-defying extremes that he pushed the material. Since then, Miike has become an incredibly prolific talent, putting, putting out around 100 films. On the other hand, Miike seems to have majorly slowed down by the end of the 2010s/2020s – where earlier he was making 3-4 films a year, he is now making one, occasionally two – for instance, since 2017 when JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure came out, Miike has only made five other films. (See below for Takashi Miike’s other genre films).

Takaski Miike had previously adapted a popular manga and anime series with the enjoyably madcap YatterMan (2009), while his epically ultra-violent Ichii the Killer was also adapted from a manga. It is for these reasons that I anticipated watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and thinking he would do amazing things with it. It is for these very same reasons that I found JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure an incredible disappointment when I came around to watching it.

Kento Yamazaki as Josuke Higashikata in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Chapter 1 (2017)
Kento Yamazaki as Josuke Higashikata with unique hairstyle

The problem with the film is that it is two hours long and none of it makes any sense unless you have a grounding in the manga. I spent most of the film trying to get a grasp on what was happening. Like exactly what is happening when characters manifest their Stands – which seems to be a combination between a superpower and some kind of spirit avatar that takes over the user’s body to enter into combat or do assorted things. There is no explanation offered as to how or why people have these powers or why some of them are good and some bad.

It is not even clear who is related to who – Jotaro turns up with no real explanation saying he is related to Josuke, while the ending seems to suggest that Keicho and Okuyasu are related. And then there is mystery girl Nana Komatsu who just turns up at school and helps Ryunosuke Kamiki and we have no clear idea how she fits into things. It is possible that some of the these things would have been explained in a sequel – as evidence by the film subtitling itself ‘Chapter 1’ – but poor box-office returns for the film put paid to any likelihood of that happening.

Even the madman randomness of Takashi Miike’s direction seems to be on autopilot here. He delivers a few uninspired superpower scenes and a big battle in the middle of the film but most of the show drags. The big battle does feature one section where an army of toy soldiers are manifested and sent into battle, although this was done far better in the Battleground episode of Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (2006).

Takashi Miike’s other genre films are:– Full Metal Yakuza (1997), a yakuza/cyborg film; the teen film Andromedia (1998) about a schoolgirl resurrected as a computer program; The Bird People in China (1998) about the discovery of a lost culture; the torture and sadism film Audition (1999); the Yakuza film Dead or Alive (1999), which comes with a gonzo sf ending; the surreal Dead or Alive 2 – Birds (2000); the six-hour tv mini-series MPD Psycho (2000) about a split-personalitied cop tracking body-hopping terrorists; the surreal black comedy The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001); Ichi the Killer (2001), a Yakuza film with some extreme torture scenes; the controversial taboo-defying Visitor Q (2001) about a mysterious visitor; the Cyberpunk future-set Dead or Alive: Final (2002); the surreal Yakuza film Gozu (2003); One Missed Call (2003) about ghostly cellphone calls; the ultra-violent Izo (2004) about a cursed, immortal samurai; an episode of the horror anthology Three … Extremes (2004); the superhero film Zebraman (2004); the fairytale Demon Pond (2005); the supernatural fantasy epic The Great Yokai War (2005); Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006), a prison murder mystery with SF elements; the SF film God’s Puzzle (2008); YatterMan (2009), a gonzo live-action remake of a superpowered anime tv series; Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010); the videogame adaptation Ace Attorney (2012); Lesson of the Evil (2012) about a murderous high school teacher; As the Gods Will (2014) with high school students being slaughtered by a doll; Over Your Dead Body (2014) wherein the roles in a ghost story play come to replay themselves in the lives of the actors; the gonzo horror film Yakuza Apocalypse (2015); Terra Formars (2016) about giant mutated cockroaches on Mars; Blade of the Immortal (2017) about an immortal samurai; Laplace’s Witch (2018); and The Great Yokai War: Guardians (2021).

Trailer here

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