Anime can be a challenge to adapt to live-action and one of the many anime that would be the most difficult to adapt would have to be Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, with all its insane action and characters that really stand out in a crowd. As hard as it is to believe though, a movie adapting Diamond is Unbreakable was actually made.
While reviews were mixed, it can’t be denied that there is some merit to this movie and what it tried to do. Sure, it’s not perfect and overall the anime is the superior adaptation between the two, but there are just as many things it got right as there are things the anime did better.
10 DID RIGHT: YOSHIKAGE KIRA IS FORESHADOWED MUCH EARLIER
As the big bad of Diamond is Unbreakable, the serial killer Yoshikage Kira is the kind of villain that invokes unease and terror with his twisted behavior and his horrible urges to kill. Yet it takes a good chunk of the season’s story before Josuke and the others ever run into him, something the movie decides to rectify.
Yoshikage is built-up much earlier, though he’s never seen onscreen. His Stand is even the one to kill Keicho Nijimura instead of Chili Pepper. Foreshadowing Yoshikage earlier is a better way to keep the main villain central to the plot, especially in a more condensed version of this story.
9 ANIME DID BETTER: HAVING CHILI PEPPER KILL KEICHO, NOT KIRA
Though hinting at Yoshikage Kira was a good idea, omitting Chili Pepper (and his user, Akira Otoishi) seems like a mistake. In the movie, there’s not a clearly defined reason why Yoshikage Kira would want to kill the Nijimura brothers, so it seemingly comes out of nowhere just for the sake of killing off Keicho.
Chili Pepper, on the other hand, had ties to the Nijimuras since Keicho gave Akira his Stand and he wanted to steal the bow and arrow from Keicho too. While Yoshikage killing Keicho is a good show of force, it’s unclear why he did it.
8 DID RIGHT: ABSENCE OF FILLER
Regardless of which part of the series it is, Jojo doesn’t shy away from having some filler. While it does pad out the episode count, it also helps to establish certain characters and elements that become more important later (Shigechi is a good example), but it can also make things a bit slow.
Thankfully the movie decides to not adapt any of those and tries to get into the nitty-gritty of the story. As such, the most essential elements and story arcs (as much as they can fit anyway) are at the forefront (which could explain why Echoes hatches from its egg earlier in the movie).
7 ANIME DID BETTER: INTRODUCING CHARACTERS ORGANICALLY
Every season of Jojo boasts a large cast of characters, and Diamond is Unbreakable is no exception. Much like the manga, the anime introduces each one over time in the most organic way they can. As for the movie, it seemed to be introducing characters as quickly and as early as it could.
Characters like Yukako, Angelo, and the Nijimuras appear much earlier in this version of Part 4 than they did in the anime or manga. While for some, it does foreshadow events that would come later, for others, it just looked like the movie was trying to see how many it could introduce before the credits rolled.
6 DID RIGHT: NOT TRYING TO FIT IT ALL IN ONE MOVIE
No matter how you slice it, Diamond is Unbreakable is a long story and near impossible to adapt into a single movie. Fortunately, it seems the screenwriters knew that too, which is why the movie only covers up to when Josuke fights Okuyasu and Keicho.
This allows for the possibility of doing the rest of the story in later installments while also not condensing everything in one short burst, something that would most likely not go over too well as an adaptation and probably not make for a very good movie either. Definitely a pitfall avoided.
5 ANIME DID BETTER: PACING
Part of what makes all of Jojo’s stories work is its pacing. While it can be slow in places, it does help the reader/viewer become more acclimated to the setting, these characters, and builds up tension and suspense. The movie version’s pacing is more like a race than a slow burn.
The pacing in the movie is quick, which is understandable since it packs in three different story arcs, but at the same time the condensing of those arcs to fit them into a nearly two-hour movie. Given the amount of time the anime had to flesh things out, the rewards of pacing were on their side.
4 DID RIGHT: RYOHEI WAS INVESTIGATING REIMI’S MURDER
Josuke’s grandpa, Ryohei Higashikata was an unfortunate casualty of Josuke’s battle with the Stand Aqua Necklace. The anime leaves it as just that, a sad death that motivates Josuke to rid his town of evil Stand Users. In the movie, however, Ryohei leaves a bit more behind.
It’s revealed after his death that Ryohei was investigating the murder of Reimi Sugimoto, one of Yoshikage’s many victims, and not solving it was one of his biggest regrets. This not only motivates Josuke as it did before, but also ties the fates Josuke and Yoshikage together, giving him even more reason to go after him in the future.
3 ANIME DID BETTER: HAVING DIO LINKED TO THE NIJIMURA’S FATHER
What happened to the father of the Nijumura brothers is unfortunate, but the reasoning behind his mutation changes between the anime and the movie.
In the anime, the father was a follower of Dio (the villain from previous seasons) who had implanted him with a “Flesh Bud” which mutated him after Dio’s death. In the movie, there’s seemingly no reason at all for his grotesque appearance, since Dio is never mentioned. Having Dio be the cause helps to tie into stories prior to this while showing the cost of serving the mad vampire.
2 DID RIGHT: REALISTIC REIMAGININGS
Most anime are rather stylized, to the point where accurately recreating the exact look of it in live-action isn’t easy. As such, reimaginings to the way some characters look tends to happen to fit into a live-action setting. The Diamond is Unbreakable movie managed to do this rather well for some characters.
While Josuke, Jotaro, and others retain looks that are close to the source material, other characters like Koichi and Angelo look more realistic and it helps ground this adaptation as not only its own thing but also helps make the world of Jojo a little more real.
1 ANIME DID BETTER: STYLIZATION
There are just some things that animation can achieve that live-action never can. In animation, certain features can be exaggerated to fit its own style, and this is something Jojo has always succeeded in. If nothing else, Jojo is one of the most stylized anime of recent memory. Sadly this is something that just couldn’t fully be pulled off in the movie.
While some characters look like real people, Josuke and a few others look more like their anime counterparts, which sadly does not mesh well together. The same can be said for the Stands, which look the same as they do in the anime, but this also clashes with the more realistic looking aspects of the movie. The movie is constantly fighting between realism and the anime/manga’s stylistic aesthetic and neither feels like they fit.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure might not seem like a great live-action choice, but Diamond Is Unbreakable did some things right.