Remember how the previous volume ended with Koichi at the mercy of Stand-wielding manga artist Rohan Kishibe? That battle is wrapped up soon into vol. 4 through a so-dumb-it’s-amazing quirk of Josuke’s personality. Not only does this allow Josuke to go on a hunt with Jotaro for a literal rat who can also wield a Stand, but it allows Rohan to make one of the quickest heel-to-face turns I’ve seen in recent memory too. Good thing for Koichi as the two of them stuck in a back alley with a girl who wants to tell them the story of who died in the house she’s standing by. What looks like a setup for a storyline that will carry us through this part of the Jojo Saga is quickly placed on the back burner as Josuke and Okayasu find another Stand user in Morioh. Shigechi’s a spiky-headed weirdo who can use his Stand to find all sorts of little things, like spare change, and he’s about to learn a lesson from our protagonist and his buddy… IN FRIENDSHIP!
If all this sounds like mangaka Hirohiko Araki is still casting about for a direction that “Diamond is Unbreakable” can take after the Stand-creating bow was recovered in the previous volume, then let me assure you that it reads like that too. The series has a real lack of direction at this point in its run that’s holding it back from being as good as it has been. While the serial killer business might be the hook that’s needed right now, vol. 4 still reads pretty well. That’s mainly because even when he’s casting about for direction, Araki is still a hell of a storyteller, each of the storylines in this volume has plenty of weirdness and energy to sustain them, with the rat hunt being a classic example of the kind of tactical suspense that this series does so well. That makes this volume of “Diamond is Unbreakable” still a solid read. It’s just missing the forward momentum needed to take it to the next level.