JoJo – Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 21 Review

JoJo – Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 21 Review

Yoshikage Kira Just Wants to Live Quietly, Part 1

I’m trying out yet another format for this review, which is more traditional!

Yoshikage Kira is a strange man. He’s a good worker, and women are very interested in him, but he usually wants to keep to himself. Coworkers describe him as boring, but there has to be something more to his personality than desiring to work. After all, he’s appeared in several episodes (albeit briefly,) which should be proof enough that he has some importance in the Diamond is Unbreakable storyline.

The previous episode (which occurs after this one in the manga, if you recall) was gorgeously animated. An ‘off’ frame couldn’t be spotted, and the stained glass inspired spreads were phenomenal. Seeing that last week really pumped me up for this episode, since I knew this one was overall more important/significant to the plot and, well, why would the animation get worse after it was amazing?

If I could answer that question, I would, because the animation did get worse. A lot worse. I feared this, since the Ratt episode was abysmal, but the difference between that episode and this was that the Ratt episode didn’t matter that much. It gave characterization for Jotaro and Josuke, but it wasn’t crucial to the plot. It could have been dropped from the anime to save budget if necessary, honestly.

This episode, however, is very important. It introduces Yoshikage Kira, the primary antagonist for Diamond is Unbreakable. I know I said I’d try to not write spoilers in these reviews, but I need to state that he’s the primary antagonist to prove my point. Honestly, it’s not too surprising that he is, since it’s revealed that he has no qualms with killing women to keep their severed hands, and Koichi/Rohan were informed about a serial killer by Reimi.

Anyway, Kira is the antagonist, and these chapters from the manga really conveyed his personality and tone well. Araki’s art isn’t perfect, but it’s solid, and Kira looked terrifying throughout. This is not so in this episode, as I’ll prove to you in a little bit.

Let me summarize this episode briefly. Kira heads to St. Gentleman’s, a well-known sandwich shop that sells out of their products within a few hours daily. He brushes off invites from women to have lunch with them, and instead informs the severed hand in his jacket that he had already made plans with ‘her,’ and doesn’t want to make her jealous. In the sandwich shop, he picks out a sandwich that wasn’t punctured open after ‘she’ is forced to touch one, poking the cellophane wrap. He takes the purchased sandwich and eats it in private, using his ‘date’ as a plate. After realizing that ‘she’ is getting ripe, he sprays her with cologne/perfume and then thinks that he needs to find a new woman. This is disgusting, but it tells us a lot about our antagonist.

Shigechi shows up with Josuke and Okuyasu, and is begged by the two older boys to give them lunch money. They had just won the lottery, but Josuke states that his mother took the winnings to put away. Shigechi begrudgingly helps out, and writes that they owe him in a book. While all this happens a dog threatens to steal Kira’s lunch, causing him to hide the hand in his lunchbag and scare off the dog. Shigechi, who also purchased a lunch from St. Gentleman’s, has his lunchbag stolen by the same dog while he is distracted. Shigechi, distraught over the loss of his bag, uses Harvest to find the closest bag – Kira’s.

It takes a moment for Kira to realize his bag is gone, and when he does, he thinks that he needs to retrieve it as soon as possible. If Shigechi opens it and sees the hand, he’ll be in trouble, especially since ‘she’ is still wearing the ring he bought her. Yes, Kira bought the hand a ring. I told you he was a strange man!

Kira climbing through the window in the anime vs the manga.
Kira climbing through the window in the anime vs the manga.

Kira follows Shigechi to the school’s gym storage room after he hears him tell the other boys he likes to eat in there. He thinks that it will be weird if others see him hanging around a middle school, but he has to retrieve this bag at all costs, so he presses forward. Shigechi climbs through the window to the room, and Kira soon follows. In the manga, this scene is menacing – he’s wearing a glove, presumably to avoid fingerprints on the glass, but in the anime this is dropped. It’s not the biggest deal, but his face doesn’t have the same expression and the same impact as it did in the manga, taking away from some of the effect this entire exchange was meant to. I personally loved the manga panel, so seeing how lackluster this was in the anime was, well, disappointing.

After a harrowing couple of moments, Kira narrowly avoids being discovered and seemingly successfully retrieves his bag without needing to kill the boys or reveal his identity – or so he thinks. As he attempts to leave the school he finds he has an unwelcome and persistent follower – Shigechi and his Harvest. After a brief struggle the bag is ripped open, and Kira, monster that he is, is revealed to Shigechi. Kira, as calm as can be, states his daily schedule and how he just wants a quiet life. Realizing Shigechi has the same power as him, and that his peaceful life is at risk, Kira realizes he must kill Shigechi.

In the manga, he says ‘erased,’ which I think fits him and his Stand more, but that’s not the biggest issue this episode had with the scene. When Kira calls his Stand, Killer Queen (Deadly Queen in the subs, no surprise,) the viewer is treated to a menacing silhouette of it, which is revealed to be, well, this:

Killer Queen's reveal in the anime vs manga.
Killer Queen’s reveal in the anime vs manga.

Compare it to the manga panel I attached to the image.

Killer Queen isn’t supposed to look like this. It is cat-like, and its ears here are more rounded. Small complaint, yes, but when you’ve been waiting for this anime adaptation for a while, a small thing like that is strange given how faithful everything else was, and more glaring is KQ’s face. In the manga, and in the video games, its mouth is never open. Here, it looks like it is, though a lot of that may be due to the fact that it’s far away. The anime uses nothing but zoomed out shots, both here and throughout the episode. This is a common trick to try and hide poor animation quality and avoid having to faithfully recreate the gorgeous panels of the manga, which really falls apart during this brief scene, especially when you contrast the initial intensity of KQ’s shadowy reveal. Kira and KQ were right there in the manga, full of detail and intended to make you feel a little uneasy. In the anime, they make you feel like laughing. Look at the medallions on KQ, and compare them to the manga panel, and you might find yourself laughing and crying at the same time.

I mean, Kira doesn’t look right here either. He kind of looks like he’s trying to go Super Saiyan with hair gel from the dollar store or something. I couldn’t really believe it when I saw it, and I still can’t.

There were a few things the anime did well; the soundtrack was great. Kira’s theme worked for him, and his voice was appropriate too, but at the end of the day, if the animation isn’t at least decent, that doesn’t matter.

Kira is more menacing in the manga.
Kira is more menacing in the manga.

But hey, it’ll all be fixed for the Blurays. Why get it right the first time when you have the Blurays to fall back on?

Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 21 is available to view on Crunchyroll now if you’re a premium member, and in SD on August 5th if you’re not.

Battle Tendency volume 4 is now available!  Consider purchasing it here or through the link below to support my reviews and site! Thank you! <3

Bonus quality screencap:

Josuke, Okuyasu, and Shigechi looking ... good?
Josuke, Okuyasu, and Shigechi looking … good?