What They Say:
Eleven years have passed since Jotaro Kujo defeated Dio, the Joestar family’s archnemesis. In the year 1999, Jotaro travels to a Japanese town called Morioh to seek out Josuke Higashikata, the secret love child of his grandfather, Joseph Joestar. Upon finding him, Jotaro discovers that Josuke also possesses a Stand. As if drawn by an unknown force, new Stand users begin to appear all across town, threatening the lives of the innocent—including Josuke’s loved ones. Swearing to protect the people living in his hometown, Josuke must now stand against the evil that lurks within Morioh.
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language in stereo along with the English dub, both of which are encoded with the lossless DTS-HD MA codec. The show is an action-heavy one with some creative use of sounds through the motions within the show and that gives a lot of scenes a pretty good design to it. The forward soundstage design is solid with the way the Stands move across it with various powers or just the characters moving to and fro, giving it a good wide sense as it unfolds. There’s some solid impact to it, though not as much as a 5.1 mix designed with that intent, and overall it connects well. The music side of it is strong, especially that closing sequence song for me, and there’s a good warmth to the sequences while the background material is good. Dialogue itself is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty episodes of this set are spread across three discs in a seven/seven/six format. Animated by David Production, the show has a great look to it with some really strong design work both in character designs and backgrounds while also employing a fantastic sense of color design. There are some really striking sequences right from the start with the sky and clouds with the look and color and it just ramps up more as the cast moves into the series and the action gets underway. The visual design is definitely distinctive in all the right ways and it captures the style of the manga really well while adapting for the medium. Colors are solid throughout and the high-motion sequences look great with no breakup or noise to be had throughout.
The limited edition release for this set is pretty great for fans we get the heavy chipboard box that opens from the side. The look of it mirrors a lot of what the manga volumes look like and getting an illustration style front cover of Josuke is pretty good with its color design here and the black background and I continue to like that the series as a whole are getting the same design for their releases. The back of the box goes for more color with his Stand taking center stage and throwing more purple color into it all. Within the box we get a thick Blu-ray case that holds all the discs for the show and provides a cover that works more off the Japanese covers with Josuke and Jotaro front and center set against a purple and black background. The back cover is pretty traditional with a thick summary of the premise, several shots from the show, and a good breakdown of the format and extras for the set. Also within the box we get a really nice pair of postcards in an oversized form as well fantastic squarebound booklet that breaks down each episode with a couple of pages. It’s in black and white inside but it conveys a lot of good material.
The menu design for this release keeps things simple with a diamond checkerboard pattern as the background with a lot of it hidden under darkness. The center is dominated with the logo that includes the Diamond is Unbreakable name while below it we get the navigation. This is fairly simple for each set with the usual breakdown and episode selection submenus while the last disc gets an extras submenu. Getting around the menus is quick and easy and there’s not much to do here beyond setting up the show and getting into it. The navigation works well both as the main menu and the pop-up menu during regular playback.
The extras for this release are fun as we get some interesting and amusing interviews with the English cast as they talk about their characters with Billy Kametz, Zach Aguilar, and Jalen Cassell. These have a good running time to them so you really get to connect with the actor and I really enjoyed Cassell’s background with the show. We also get a look at an art gallery for the release and the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, my experiences with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure continues to be pretty bad. Originally, I had seen the out of order OVAs that were released in the early 2000s and that was it. With Viz Media grabbing the license, I got to see the first of the sets that they released and now I’ve got this fourth set in. So, I’ve seen the first half of the first season, missed the next season entirely, and then got to jump into the first twenty episodes of this season. This one has the advantage of being somewhat disconnected from the rest with a largely new cast but at the same time I have so little footing in the series that this doesn’t have any resonance or connection for me to build on. Which is unfortunate because I love the visual style and creativity of it, which is heightened from that first set, and you really don’t see productions getting to work something like this in a big way that often.
This season takes place eleven years after the Stardust Crusaders series and it gives us Jotaro at the start and with a few appearances throughout the episodes for this set. Jotaro has been on a mission to find Josuke Higashikata, a son that Joseph had some time ago and kept a secret. It’s a source of tension for Jotaro to have to deal with this and his existence and less so because it means he’s owed a third of Joseph’s estate with how things went down there. Going to Morioh and finding him there after first running into a kid named Koichi, we get our full introduction to Josuke. There are similarities to be sure with Jotaro but the main thing we get is that Josuke is very precise about his appearance and how the hair looks so that when someone gives him grief for it, it leads to a pretty amusing fight. It leads into the meeting with Jotaro easily enough though he’s not particularly interested in what it is that he has to say.
But such begins the more formal life of Josuke with his own Stand as Jotaro is setting him on that path just being connecting with him here. The general premise of the season is that once a couple of episodes are dealt with and Jotaro’s away for a lot of it, the big picture is how Jotaro needs him to find a magical bow and arrow that can imbue someone with Stand powers. But that’s not where this set is going to focus as it’s mostly all about events in the city of Morioh as we connect with those that are in his life. Koichi is the short and timid kid who has a Stand that surprises people while he also ends up with a semi-friend in Okuyasu, a street tough with a big laugh that can be both frustrating and really good to have around. The core trio make up a standard kind of grouping, especially in a male-dominated series, and we get some fun other characters along the way – especially the occasional appearances of Yukako and her Love Deluxe Stand.
But beyond that, most of what we get with this first half of the series is a lot of smaller in-town stories that play out. It’s all designed to get us familiar with this new cast of characters and their abilities and it does it fairly well. But it lacks any sort of real forward momentum or, honestly, a reason to really care about it. While the big picture idea is there and the connection to the Joestar familiar overall, my only frame of reference is how the first season operated. And that one had a simple mission that was straightforward and on the move. With this one keeping to Morioh itself, there are some really creative aspects to it, such as the Stand that peels people back like books so that he can read all their secrets, but so much of what we get just isn’t all that interesting. We do get the group expanding a bit and setting up those that will align more with Josuke when things get more serious in the next set, but here it’s pretty mundane for a lot of it and even the fights aren’t all that memorable. We do get something that feels a little more violent toward the end, such as when a rate gets turned into a Stand and then a lot more, but that almost felt a bit like whiplash after the more mundane aspects.
Fans of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure will love this set as it’s another high-quality release across the board in line with what the previous sets have been like. The encoding is solid, especially with the bright and vibrant color palette they use here, and the distinctive designs look great. The dub captures the enthusiasm of the characters really well and we get a solid selection of extras, notably in the interviews, that is some real value-added material. I love the packaging for these sets and can imagine them looking great next to a collection of the manga that fans have. With the awkward way I’ve been exposed to this series, this season just didn’t do anything for me and I kept waiting for it to feel like it was actually going to do something but just kept losing interest.
Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening and Ending, English Cast Interviews, Jojo’s Bizarre Fandom, Art Gallery
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: July 2nd, 2019
Running Time: 480 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.