Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most colorful and fun manga of all time, and the mangaka Hirohiko Araki has nearly perfected the craft of writing quirky and memorable characters. None stand out to me personally as much as Yoshikage Kira from Diamond is Unbreakable. Now, before we go into this, I’d like to note that I am an anime-only watcher and have not read ahead in the manga, so go into this article with that in mind.
The very first time we’re are introduced to Kira he’s sitting at home enjoying a nice meal. The next scene we see is him putting a ring on a finger that’s ostensibly his girlfriend’s only for it to be revealed that he’s actually putting the ring on a bloody severed hand. This is a good set-up for his character as it demonstrates his “nicest person you’ll ever meet” side as well as his “twisted fucking psychopath” side. Kira is a man of appearances; he presents himself as boring and uninteresting in order to fulfill his dream of a quiet life. This obviously contrasts with the fact that he is a serial killer a la Patrick Bateman. Now, at this point he isn’t entirely rootable yet, but you can sympathize with the fact that this is a man who longs for a simple life that he will never be able to realize due to his inner nature.
This comes to a head when another character named Shigechi, a rather portly and dumb child, accidentally mixes up his sandwich bag with Kira’s bag which contains the severed hand of one of his victims. If this would ever come to light then Kira’s dream of a quiet life would never happen, so naturally he gets desperate: He NEEDS to get this hand back no matter what. This leads to a rather intense comedy scene in which he tries to get the hand back while hiding under some gym equipment. He eventually gets the hand back, but Shigechi notices him.
And this is where Kira’s story really begins.
He uses his stand Killer Queen to kill Shigechi and remove all evidence of his existence.
This is where you see the desperation of Kira start to truly come out. The rest of the main cast find a button from his shirt and link it to a clothing store that he frequents. Jotaro (The protagonist from part 3) and Koichi (A cowardly and small stand user) are the ones who check it out. That’s when Kira reveals his other power, Sheer Heart Attack: a heat seeking stand that’s unstoppable force combined with immovable object. At this point in the story it ties well into Kira’s personality, as he’s willing to go to any length to hide himself. This doesn’t go as planned, however, and he has to reveal himself. When he shows himself to Koichi for the first time there’s this air of “oh shit it’s gonna happen” because of how powerful he’s been shown to be in previous episodes. There’s a really brutal scene in which he corners Koichi and starts beating him with his own hands, screaming out “BE MORE LIKE KIRA”. This is the moment where he sheds his outer shell and reveals the pure darkness hidden behind his cheery facade. The other members of the main cast catch up to him at this point, and he is forced to flee and shed his life of Yoshikage Kira forever. He uses another Stand User’s power to change his face to that of Kousaku Kawajiri, and this is where the character takes another turn. Just as he shifted lives, he also shifts the audience’s perception of him.
Kousaku Kawajiri is family man. The former Kawajiri is implied to not be the greatest husband and father, but when Kira takes over his life he needs to adapt – and fast. He starts acting like a normal family man, which is much more than the previous Kawajiri did. This causes his wife to fall madly in love with him all over again while his son, Hayato, becomes very suspicious of his new father. Over the next 15 or so episodes you see Kira settling into his home life with his family and doing everything he can to fully become Kawajiri. It’s at this point I wanted him to get away unscathed and live peacefully with his family for the rest of his life… this obviously doesn’t happen, though, as his son eventually finds out the truth about him. This forces him to regress back into the old Kira and he ends up killing Hayato in a fit of rage. And all this time, Kira’s father has been following him around, trying to protect him from harm by creating new stand users. After Kira kills Hayato, he flies into despair and his father is there with the arrow that allows him to create new stand users. It plunges into his arm and gives him a new power. The power to make sure anyone who asks his son about his identity will die, and then it also resets time by an hour. This means that he’s basically untraceable.
This whole fight doesn’t really progress Kira’s character any further other than making him EXTREMELY intimidating. The big final moment of Kira’s character arc is when he’s cornered after the fight and about to die. This is where he tells the Mona Lisa story, about how he got a boner the first time he saw it. One final humanizing moment for Kira before his death at the hands of an ambulance running over his face. The perfect irony comes from his death – after spending the entire series trying to avoid conflict, his death arrives by pure happenstance.
Kira is a character of many faces, *cue laughter*. He’s the ruthless serial killer, the quiet recluse and the family man. All of these faces make Kira who he is – a villain that you want to see quietly get away and succeed. At least until the end, then you want to see him get the shit kicked out of him. Either way, he’s still an extremely nuanced and interesting character who meets a fitting demise.