December 8, 2023
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Book Reviews Graphic Novels

A Look at JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Making its debut in 1987, one of the most famous franchises became known, not only in Japan but in much of the world, this being the 7th longest manga in history. With 131 volumes, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is also the second longest manga from the Shūeisha publisher.

Author: Horihiko Araki

Genre: Shonen Manga

Year Published: 1987

Nerdection Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The work of the Japanese Hirohiko Araki tells the story of the Joestar, a family whose members discover that their destiny is to defeat enemies with supernatural abilities and they will do so with the powers that sleep in each one of them. JoJo’s is world renowned for its colorful characters that do not stop looking like muscular eighties males who have unusual poses but give the series a very original touch.

Currently JoJo’s is divided into 8 arcs, the first 6 carry a continuity while parts 7 and 8 take place in alternate timelines. As the first arc we have the Phantom Blood manga.

In Victorian England, it goes without saying that the first few chapters served as a method of building the world where Jojo’s story takes place. Phantom Blood had a start that I wouldn’t describe as overly impressive, and yet… There was something about it that captivated me. Dio’s introduction to the Joestar family was hilariously over-the-top, showing him jumping out of the carriage in dramatic fashion while Jonathan Joestar, the story’s protagonist, looked on with a mixture of curiosity and amusement.

In my opinion, one of the greatest virtues of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is that of offering charismatic characters with whom we will soon become attached with. However, this does not happen with Dio Brando, the main antagonist.

We are introduced to Dio in the first chapter giving Danny, Jonathan’s dog, a near-death blow with every intention of hurting him and creating a direct conflict with Jonathan, since Dio only sees him as a spoiled rich kid. After generating a conflict between them, Jonathan’s father, Lord Joestar, appears to stop the fight; Dio excuses himself by saying that he thought the dog would bite him when he approached him but that he did not want to do any intentional harm, which already shows us that he is a somewhat deceitful and manipulative character.

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Dio Brando is the son of an impoverished alcoholic father whose habits ended his life; As he lay dying, Dio tells Dio that twelve years ago he met with a terrible carriage accident and, thinking that everyone but the baby in the carriage was dead, he tried to steal the scene, only to discover that the husband was still alive.

That man turned out to be the wealthy Lord Joestar (Jonathan’s father), and he mistakenly believed that Dario Brando (Dio’s father) was trying to save him. He promised that if Brando ever needed help, all he had to do was ask. Now Dario Brando wants his son Dio to go to Joestar and get the man to raise him with his own child… which sounds great for twelve-year-old Dio after enduring a life of mistreatment and mistreatment by his dad; in future chapters they show us the resentment and hatred that Dio has for him.

Unfortunately for the Joestar family, Dio’s true mission is to fight his way into Lord Joestar’s goodwill and steal his fortune, making young Jonathan Joestar’s life hell along the way. What starts with two teenagers fighting and learning to tolerate and get along turns into truly sinister situations that propel DIO as the main villain. This is also aided by the presence of a stone mask that harbors a sinister secret, and, once unlocked, changes the course of the character forever and begins the true story of Araki’s creation.

After some years, Dio’s plan to assassinate Lord Joestar is exposed by Jonathan and a series of events causes Dio to discover the secret of the stone mask, Dio renounced his humanity and became a vampire. It was at this time that Dio Brando truly became a malevolent individual and would commit a series of monstrous acts both on and off screen, illustrating just how twisted he was and how far he is going to go to fulfill his goals in this story.

He’s been evil since he took his first breath! Speedwagon told Jonathan through his assessment of Dio. While Speedwagon claimed he was born evil, Dio’s treacherous and insane nature may be partially affected by his abusive upbringing at the hands of an alcoholic father, which is something that Araki reflects upon with future parts, so that is something worth taking into account in that particular regard.

But to stop a vampirized Dio, being a human is not enough; a supernatural power is needed for it and there he is introduced as the first character in the series to use the “Hamon”: Will A. Zeppeli.

Having studied the technique that comes from the breath for years with masters in Tibet, Zeppeli is an expert when it comes to using Hamon. Aside from attacking vampires with his energy, he is able to use it for other things, such as jumping, standing on water, healing wounds, rekindling plants, and even limited clairvoyance.

Jonathan, after meeting Zeppeli, is initially shocked by his strange appearance and powers. After Zeppeli explained his actions and Hamon’s importance, Jonathan fully trusted Zeppeli and considered him a mentor. This is how we got his training, and how he grows stronger and more capable to face Dio in an epic battle.

For most of the series, Dio only had plans to hurt Jonathan. However, towards the end of Part 1, when Jonathan dies, Dio was shocked that he had actually died while holding him in his arms. Dio subsequently took Jonathan’s body for himself, allowing him to awaken his Stand, The World. Dio professed that he respected Jonathan above all else, and even briefly mourned his death afterward.

However, the indisputable fact that every element of this series is future-proof means there’s no need to understand the story, and since Phantom Blood is so short, it doesn’t take much to summarize. Part 1 only serves to know the origin of everything.

About the Author of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure:

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Hirohiko Araki (荒木 飛呂彦, Araki Hirohiko, born June 7, 1960) is a Japanese manga artist. He is best known for his long-running series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which began publication in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1987 and has over 120 million copies in circulation, making it one of the best-selling manga series in history. [1 Wikipedia]

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