As the starting point for one of the longest running manga series', JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood, while certainly not very flashy, provides a solid foundation on which Araki builds the rest of the JoJo saga.
The story of Phantom Blood is simple: save the world by killing the false childhood friend turned vampire. To accomplish this feat, Araki introduces "Hamon", a fighting technique based on breathing. Though an interesting concept, Hamon is not the most creative feature to be found even in shonen manga, especially compared with the wonderfully imaginative "Stands" introduced by the third JoJo series "Stardust Crusaders". Nevertheless, along with the
powerful fighting technique comes equally powerful foes derived from English history with the intention of putting an end to Jonathan Joestar's quest for revenge. This of courses makes for plenty of exciting action, but at the end of it all, the story is still highly generic. An emotional ending wraps up the five-volume series quite well, but it is only enough to carry quality of the overall story to a mere "fair" level -- not bad, but nothing to be amazed about.
Like the story, the characters of Phantom blood are also very simple. They are mostly distinctively black-and-white. The good guys are exceedingly noble and just, while the bad guys are overwhelmingly sinister and cruel. There are a lot of exaggerated emotions to be seen from the characters -- tears would be shed at the hero's act of benevolence, while the vile deeds of the villains would always be accompanied by exclamations of sheer horror. But because of how excessive it is, the reader would often passionately cheer for the heroes and boo for the bad guys, adding satisfaction to each of the heroes' victories. The simplistic characters of JoJo, while not outstanding, carry a hint a undeniable charm.
The art style of JoJo is definitely its selling point, though it may not appeal to everyone. The physical build of the characters is Phantom Blood's most obvious distinction: virtually every male character who makes an appearance dons the physique that would be the envy of bodybuilders. Araki loves to draw muscles, and a LOT of them, to point where he would draw muscles that do not exist in actual human anatomy. As a result, the men become hulking giants with clothes so tight that it makes make one wonder how they can manage to breath. However, the burly heroes and villains look great while fighting, and combined with Araki's bold style, the action is both gruesome and vivid. The tone of the panels are dark due to the heavy use of shading, which serves to build the dark atmosphere of most of Phantom Blood's settings. The details on the monsters make them so hideous that instances of their often brutal demise are greatly satisfying.
If you are looking for a simple beat-them-up shonen manga and do not mind the lack of creativity in the story and characters, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood is worth a look. It is not the best the JoJo saga has to offer, but its unique and dynamic art, accessible characters, and even the simple but generic plot still offer up plenty of thrills.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has only recently experienced a big boom over in the English-speaking parts of the world, due to the recent anime adaptation taking off in a big way, and beforehand was merely a cult series with a small but devoted fanbase. However, in Japan, it has been huge for a very long time - it's tremendous influence spans to everything from Hunter X Hunter to Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, and it still stands as the 9th longest manga of all time, and still going. And through all this (well-deserved) attention and acclaim, it's pretty easy to forget that this, where it all began, really just
isn't very good.
The story begins in England, during the 1800s. It opens with a petty thief, Dario Brando, attempting to rob a fallen carriage and the dead nobles inside. However, it turns out that the noble in question survived - and thinks that Dario saved his life. Many years later, after Dario's death, he repays what he thinks he owes Dario by taking in his son, Dio Brando. Dio is incredibly embittered by his life in the slums and his abusive father... and upon meeting Jonathan "JoJo" Joestar, the son of the noble Dario supposedly saved, he begins to take it out on him and attempt to ruin Jonathan's life.
It's obvious that a premise like that couldn't possibly launch 107 volumes (and counting), so to say the least, the plot goes to very, VERY different places as it progresses. The strife between Jonathan and Dio doesn't last that long, relatively speaking, but it does feel pretty long at the time - it takes almost two volumes before the supernatural aspect takes over the plot. Much as I can appreciate that it doesn't baby the viewer by introducing the entire premise as fast as possible (as shonen series are oft to do), the beginning can be a real struggle to get through.
It isn't helped by how generally appalling the art is art first. By the end of this arc, it's passable, but at the very beginning, body proportions are appalling (the 12-year old Dio and Jonathan look like bodybuilders), the anatomy is ridiculous, lines are far too thick and cartoony-looking, and darker pages are very hard to follow due to how unclear and smudged-looking everything becomes. In this day and age Araki Hirohiko is one of the best artists in the business, but looking back on this you'd be hard-pressed to believe it.
While the slow start is definitely the biggest flaw with Phantom Blood, it's far from the only one. The rest of the series is littered with a number of small issues that collectively build up into something very problematic. Perhaps the most obvious is Jonathan Joestar himself. I haven't said much about him thus far in this review, and there's a very simple reason for that - there isn't much to say. The "JoJo" in the title is something of a legacy character, passing onto a new character every arc, and Jonathan is arguably the worst, and definitely the least interesting. He's little more than a generic noble and chivalrous shonen hero, complete with idiotic idealism. To make matters worse, every single fight in the series revolves around him. This is especially irritating, because his comrades, Will Zeppeli and Robert E.O. Speedwagon (I'm not making this up, that's actually his name) are actually interesting characters, and yet fail to be anything more than likeable because of how much Jonathan hogs the spotlight.
And now, I'll stop beating up on Phantom Blood, because for all it's faults there are still plenty of things it does right.
The first, and most obvious, is Dio Motherfucking Brando (expletive sorely needed). Don't get me wrong - he's not a deep character by any means. His utter nefariousness is given little reason, and his Freudian excuse does very little to explain his behaviour. He is completely, atrociously, unspeakably evil, and pretty one-dimensional for it. However, once he gains vampire powers, Dio becomes mind-bogglingly fun to watch. Perhaps the best thing about him is that unlike so many other shonen villains, Dio does not fuck around. Whether he's using his newfound superstrength to chase his Jonathan by digging his feet into the walls, or digging an entire, intact artery out of Jonathan's neck and playing with it just to let him known how easily he could kill him on the spot, Dio is unflinchingly brutal in the most disturbing, almost playful way.
And while Dio is the patron saint of this (for Phantom Blood at least), this is the key strength of Phantom Blood and one of the key strengths of JJBA as a whole - it does not pull a single punch. Looking at other shonen series after reading JJBA, it's remarkable how much the characters use their powers in utterly pedestrian and obvious ways. Let's face it - if you had anything that extraordinary, one of the first things you'd do is find out how many ways you can use it. And this is something Araki seems to truly understand - what with not only the enourmous variety of vampiric techniques that go above and beyond the generic bloodsucking bat-transforming fodder you'd usually see. Much as the setting owes itself to classic vampire horror, the vampires themselves are wholly original (Battle Tendency would later elaborate on why). Similarly, the Hamon technique (often translated as "Ripple") that the protagonists use is a wonderful slice of applied pseudoscience, effectively using breathing techniques to channel the energies of the sun, and playing around with a wonderful variety of ways to channel and conduct it.
Finally, the cherry on top is of course the naming conventions. By this point you'd have to be blind, dense, or just plain unfamiliar with rock music in it's entirety to have not noticed Araki's love for music. Almost every character is named after some sort of band or musician - JoJo himself is a reference to a certain Beatles song, Dio is named for the small man with the big voice himself, and hilariously, there is actually a character named Robert E.O. Speedwagon (as mentioned before). Then there's a pair of Hamon disciples named Dire and Straights, trained under master Ton Petti, a quartet of vampires named Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham... the list goes on. It's a colourful little addition that makes for a nice finishing touch.
So for all that... Phantom Blood is a heavily flawed manga. However, it has numerous redeeming features in of itself, and more importantly, it's the weakest arc by far - not to mention the shortest. Phantom Blood clocks in at a meagre 5 volumes, far less than most arcs. And as it is immediately followed by what is one of if not THE best of the arcs, any patience you're willing to exercise with Phantom Blood will soon be rewarded.
Final Words: Has plenty of issues but it's one hell of a worthy investment.
If I were to tell you that I though JoJo part 1 was the best in the series you would probably think I was some mediocre pretentious pseudo intellectual reviewer who has no idea what he is talking about , but it was ME! Speak The Weak!!!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 deconstructs the shounen genre through its dynamic story line that bends clichés and tropes in order to craft a unique in a manner that only Hirohiko Araki (JoJo mangaka) could. The story focuses on a rich boy named Jonathan Joestar (JoJo) who lives with his father, George in England. One day Jojo's father
takes in an orphan named Dio Brando because Dio's father who passed away saved George's life! To Jojo's surprise Dio wants to ruin his privileged life and take the Joestar family fortune all for himself! What JoJo does that most shounen don't is portray a rich privileged character as a protagonist and the poor tragic character as a villain. Dio started from the bottom and when he got to the top he abused his newfound power to wreak havoc (not to mention act like a total badass)!
Unlike other shounen works JoJo part 1 also features a wide array of characters each with their own role in the series, no character in the Jojo series, part 1 in particular is forgettable. Who could ever forget famous lines like "Even Speedwagon is afraid!" and "It was me! Dio!!!" and even "WRYYYYY". Though its wit and general badassery Jojo part one offers a one of a kind experience that none of the other installments can even try to imitate. Jojo part 1 also incorporates a unique fighting system called hamon, I don't want to go too in depth about it though because I want to avoid spoilers so read it for yourself to find out.
The art in JoJo is perfect similar to the rest of it, it pays homage to the other classic shounen manga of its time such as Fist of the North Star while also maintain its own unique manly style, unlike the later parts which make use of a much more feminine and ugly style which is inspired by fashion magazines instead of classic works in the medium of manga.
The characters in JoJo are as I mentioned before unforgettable and extremely badass, there are no dense, intensive protagonists, no disgusting fan service, and no boring moe pandering. Only men in their most masculine state.
JoJo Part One is a masterpiece that defined the shounen genre and kick started a series that would go on for many years and attract a wide array of fans, sadly the work does not get as much praise as its deserves despite being one of the best works of literature in the shounen demographic.
In the world of Manga and Anime you're likely to find many unusual stories that are massive and incredibly unique in scope, several of which garner high praise and several more that fall into obscurity. In this case while the aptly named JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has left a massive cultural impact on the Manga industry overall, its first saga "Phantom Blood" only brings a small (but very important) part of the overall appeal of the series.
To put things bluntly Phantom Blood's story isn't anything ground breaking: it is essentially what you'd get if you tried to cross Castlevania with a dark adventure series and feels
more like a Seinin series than a Shonen series (what it actually is). It takes place in the 19th century and begins with the recently orphaned Dio Brando being adopted into the aristocratic Joestar family, where he proceeds to make his adoptive brother Jonathan Joestar's life a living hell by alienating everyone close to him in an attempt to become the favoured son in the Joestar family and presumably to become the biggest bastard that the world has ever seen in the process. Dio eventually becomes a vampire by way of a mysterious stone mask (just go with it) and like most villains sets his sights on world domination. Jonathan and his companions Robert E.O Speedwagon and Ripple master Will A. Zeppeli go on a mission to hunt Dio down and to destroy the accursed stone mask in the process. To summarize despite being weird the narrative is extremely linear and should not be taken too seriously, as it serves little more than a framing device for the fight scenes and gore. Which is all it really needs to do honestly.
As far as the characters are concerned the truth is that there isn't a whole lot to most of them; Jonathan is your typical naïve, idealistic hero on a mission to save the world and is easily the least interesting JoJo in the entire franchise, Speedwagon is Jonathan's sidekick and while he's not useless he mainly plays a supportive role in fights and frequently has the job of exclaiming about just how awful their current situation is and Zeppeli is the mentor figure with a sordid past involving the stone mask. Supporting characters while occasionally superficially interesting generally lack characterisation and are at worst are relegated into being two dimensional cannon-fodder. The character who really deserves special mention is Dio, who despite being a deplorable evil monster of a man is both extremely entertaining in a twisted sense and more fleshed out as a character than anybody else. Dio simply steals the show away from Jonathan whenever he's on the scene, the show and whatever he fancies taking away from his adoptive brother.
By far the strongest thing that Phantom Blood has going for it are the fight scenes, which are both highly entertaining and well thought out. Battles in this series are almost always about outsmarting the other person as opposed to the more common "overpowering the other guy" and this is something that continues on through the other parts. To combat Dio and his vampiric minions the series introduces a fighting style that utilises an energy source referred to as the Ripple (think chi combined with UV rays from the sun), which is used in conjunction with physical attacks. It's explained that only select few individuals can harness the power of the Ripple as it requires constant focus on the rhythm of ones own breathing (which of course Jonathan is capable of doing). While the concept of Ripple energy is interesting in itself, it is hardly anything unique and lacks anything to make it really stand out over similar concepts in other series. It's not until the next part in the series, “Battle Tendency” that it becomes something more unique and even then the concept is abandoned in the third series for something much more creative.
As for the art style of the series, it is quite reminiscent of "Fist of the North Star". Araki takes joy in drawing extremely muscle-bound main characters, wearing well designed and unique clothing and will almost always have a handsome face to top things off (Jonathan and Dio are prime Examples of this). Minor villains aren't quite as privileged in this regard as quite a few of them can be described as looking like hulking trolls, which can be distracting at times when its focusing just the two extremes without a sense of middle ground. Scenery is often inventive with a few locations later on that distinctly look like something out of a horror film, which again is very appropriate given Dio's vampiric nature. Overall despite some minor gripes, the art remains pleasantly consistent throughout the series' run.
In conclusion if you're just interested in an over the top action series or are just interested in the premise then this may be worth a look, if you want to get into JJBA however then it is a must read as it will give you a greater appreciation for the later parts in the series. In any case while Phantom Blood may have its flaws it is a truly unique journey that you're not likely to forget.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood may not be as engaging as what follows it, but with interesting art and a well-defined rivalry at its core, it still serves as a sufficiently strong opening chapter.
The story of Phantom Blood follows Jonathan Joestar and his sinister adopted brother Dio, and their rivalry. The story initially portrays Jonathan as being inferior to Dio, who actively works to undermine him, but gradually Jonathan not only catches up with Dio, but surpasses him. However, a wicked plan is brewing, which may impact far more than the Joestar family. One of the strongest points of the story is that little of
it, with the exception of a supernatural catalyst and the occasional henchman, is not a direct result of an action carried out by a main character. There are few coincidences, and the story progresses at a steady rate, providing sufficient build-up and pay-off. On the down side, this does in a sense feel like a prologue to the superior follow up, Battle Tendency, as you are left with many questions regarding the vampires and superhuman powers, and neither the aforementioned build-up or payoff are significantly large. However, this is good in some ways, because it leaves the viewer enough to get a general idea of the world without overloading them or biting off more than it can chew. The story, viewed alone, isn’t quite as fulfilling as it is alongside its contemporaries, but is still moderately entertaining.
The characters are what drive the story forward, and they do it effectively and with an abundance of style. Jonathan, our main protagonist, is a fairly straight-thinking, simple man, but one with heart and determination. Dio, his adopted brother, on the other hand is much more sinister, manipulative and insincere, and these two characters mirror each other excellently, each illustrating qualities that the other lacks. The portrayal of these characters from their adolescent years helps to establish their individual characteristics and dynamic, which only becomes more intense and consequential as the story continues. The supporting characters are also quite interesting, particularly Speedwagon and Zeppeli, and the villains are sufficiently challenging and visually appealing to serve their purpose.
Jonathan’s father, however, is not depicted in a way that makes him seem wise or endearing, which is problematic given that the manga seems to be asking the audience to become emotionally invested in him outside of his role as a father. Also, though Jonathan’s honourable attitude juxtaposes Dio quite well, it does lead to him being a slightly dry and predictable character, outside of battle scenes. Dio is the most enthralling character, stealing the audience’s attention whenever he appears, and is perhaps Phantom Blood’s greatest achievement. He’s not Johan (Monster) or Griffith (Berserk), but he oozes malice and charm.
The art for Phantom Blood is distinct, high quality and memorable, with every male character being built like a house. The visual highlights are Jack the Ripper, Zeppeli and the two resurrected soldiers, all of whom are simply radiant with style and character. The facial expressions are also notable, as they blend in with the style while simultaneously feeling authentic and believable. The style does improve over time, but even though this isn’t quite as bombastic in design as Stardust Crusaders, its humble, down-played visual look helps to ground the art with the narrative.
All in all, Phantom blood is not quite as outstanding as the other entries in the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise, but is nonetheless a triumph in both artistic and character-building integrity.
If you're looking for a shonen horror filled with MANLY characters then continue reading. This is part 1 of the entire JoJo's Bizarre Adventure working best as a trilogy with Battle Tendency & Stardust Crusaders.
The beginning of JoJo seems a bit rough at first but manages to give the outline for its primary themes of the series. Taking place in the late 1880's in England, we are introduced to a prologue of an Aztec civilization having a ritual with a Stone Mask which would later embark as the symbolic plot device for this arc. The next few pages reveal the Joestar family & the
Brando Family. The story starts to move when Dio Brando is adopted into the Joestar family as Dio is an ambitious jerk who wishes to rob the family of its fortune & would resort to murder.
Jonathan Joestar is our JoJo for the series whose life changes once Dio discovers the stone mask using it to make himself a vampire. The rest of the series involves Jonathan learning the Ripple martial art to battle against Dio & his vampire army & going on an adventure involving zombies, Jack The Ripper, martial artists, bizarre super powers, over the top dialogue & manly tears.
Being inspired by Fist Of The North Star & possibly Bram Stroker's Dracula, Phantom Blood is a blend of manly characters & horror elements making it a unique short tale. The flaws are part 1 are its rough artwork as Araki at the time was still pretty new to the business. To some people, Jonathan comes off a rather too "good hearted", however having experiencing Fist Of The North Star (specifically The Shin Arc chapters 1-10/episodes 1-22) the "corny moments" come off as very tragic to me.
While the concepts of Stands & its much later "Bizarre" quality weren't developed yet, this story almost works as a stand alone with its tragic finale giving much highlight to fans of Manly series such as Sakigake Otokojuku, Riki-Oh, Cyber Blue, Kongo Bancho & Fist Of The North Star respectively.
Phantom Blood may not be the best part of JoJo but serves as a teaser of what the series can become (at least in parts 1-4 when the tone slightly shifts in parts 5-8). Overall Phantom Blood expresses the original themes Hirohiko Araki thought of: The struggle of humanity, the temptation of evil, the strive for perfection & the importance of family.
Every great franchise has a beginning, whether humble or loud. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, the notoriously flamboyant and massive manga series falls under the first category. It's first story arc, The Phantom Blood is relatively normal and short compared to its future successors. Thus, it's unfair to compare it to the other Parts. The Phantom Blood is a fighting shounen tragedy with Victorian and Gothic horror elements. It follows an aristocrat's son named Jonathan Joestar in 1800's Britain. When he discovers his adopted brother, Dio Brando, seeks to destroy the Joestar family and manages to do so, Jonathan, also known as Jojo, must go through hell
and back to take his vengeance on Dio.
The Phantom Blood's story is short but sweet for the most part. It suffers from an overlonged exposition featuring Jonathan and Dio's childhood. It adds some character, but it could be easily abridged, and has been in the latest anime adaptation. The Phantom Blood also partially suffers from being a Hokuto no Ken clone at times. However, there is separation, and the tow can't be called carbon copies. For starters, Phantom Blood's weird mix of action and horror works very well not only at delivering a good style but also heightening the tension behind the actions committed by the characters. Add that to the fantastic and tragic conclusion and you have a brief prelude to an epic series to come.
Jojo has one of the most unique and distinct artstyles in manga history, and here is no exception. Rather than the androgynous fatuousness later on in the series, Phantom Blood's art style is very testosterone filled and is a love letter to being a man. Characters are impossibly buff and mangaka Hirohiko Araki doesn't do proportions well at all. The section of Phantom Blood where Jojo and Do are children thoug,h yeah that art is grody. But everything after is pretty damn good, and the use of shading is excellent, even though it lacks the distinctive style Araki develops later on in favor of a Hokuto no Ken lookalike.
It has a fraction of protagonists that future Parts have, but I loved everyone pretty near equally. Jojo's best friend, Robert E.O. Speedwagon, is hilarious and lovable. He ends up becoming arguably the most significant protagonist in the entire series later on and is one of the most selfless and kind characters ever conceived. Jojo's mentor, Will A. Zeppeli, is fun and easy to root for, even though his time spent with the reader is short. Dio is a fantastic villain and is certainty one of the most easily hateable ever made.
However, the real star here is Jonathan himself. He is one of the single greatest actions protagonists of all time, period. Jonathan is also one of the most perfect characters ever made in terms of temperament and beliefs. Jonathan is a truly selfless and righteous hero. He is the epitome of humanity, a perfect gentleMAN. He's manly in all sense of the word. He is ripped as all Hell and is a fearless and fierce fighter. However, he is also a noble and kind man at heart who believes in and fights for absolute good. This is a man who despite living a life of true suffering holds to the true ideals of the knight stories he grew up on. He never falls into "white knight" territory though because he only gets involved in matters that concern him. Rather than fight other people's battles, he seeks to better that person so they can fight for themselves. Jonathan's angelic and divine demeanor makes him impossible to not root for. He lost his family, fortune, love (For a bit at least), and dignity, and thus has nothing to lose. But as time goes on and he matures and begins to have a family of his own, he has everything to gain through vanquishing all evil that comes into his life, all coming from Dio. The ending is a testament to this. Because of Jonathan's struggle, his family is able to survive through generations and events he couldn't possibly conceive.
The fights are excellent and there is true raw emotion behind them. This is a fight to the death by two brothers that eventually encompasses much more than a family feud. Jonathan, unlike most action heroes at the time, is neither unstoppable or stone cold, and without going into spoilers he faces true tragedy and reacts realistically to it. And just as Jonathan sheds manly tears, I can say I'm feeling the chills up my spine recalling Phantom Blood's climax.
Despite being considered the worst Part of the entire series, The Phantom Blood is nonetheless a fantastic action epic and a damn good Gothic horror story to boot. It sets the stage perfectly for the entire series and never overstays its welcome. Jonathan and Dio are both icons and inspirations to the medium as a whole and it's easy to see why. Araki's writing is strong and is only brought down by his young and inexperienced style, that only gets refined as the series goes on for the most part.
before i get started i just want to say this is a review for the entire series that include parts 1-7 i will later wxplain why 8 isnt there
just to make you know the series better here is the name of the parts:
part 1 - phantom blood
part 2- Battle Tendency
part 3- stardust crusaders
part 4- diamond is unbrakable
part 5- Vento Aureo (golden wind)
part 6- stone ocean
part 7- steel ball run
part 8- jojolion
each part have a different stroy. part 1-6 exist in the first universe and part 7 and 8 exist in SBR universe (SBR=steel ball run AKA part 7) the first part was a
little annoying at first but at the middle it begun to develop and it left me in awe/ the second part was as amazing as the first one but for me it was more interesting because all the traveling and the powers of the pillar men. part 3 had an interseting story and it developed in such an amazing way that i fell inlove with this part the first time i read it. part 4 didnt have a straight story line like the previous part but it was like a sitcom and i loved it because it was hillariously funny. part 5 was weird at first but at the end it became so interesting and there was alot of action and plot twist there that i LOVED. part 6 started strong and remained strong for the whole time this part had some romantic interst in it that i absolutely loved. part 7 started very weak but in the middle it became intense and unique like no part have been before. the reason i didnt wrote the shortened version of each part stories it that it contains ALOT of spoilers and i dont want to ruin you the franchise. part 8 is still going but its just at the beggining so i cant judge it.
the art, oh what can i say about the art?
well: at parts 1&2 the art was completely disproportionational and the battles were so hard to inderstand
part 3 made a HUGE difference in the art with the coming of stands (you gonna read the series to find out what it is) and everything was fixed
since part 4 and until now the art have been changed dreasticly. there were no more muscular character but now they were "bi-shounen" characters as the mangaka says.
now for the characters. they are pretty standart in every part there is:
the hero AKA Jojo
a kind of old awesome man
and a woman that appear useless but in some cases she is stronger than most characters
but there is one thing i loved in jojo is that every character have flaws. one of my favourite characters is cripple and he is a protagonist in part 7 and the face that the mangaka made a cripple protagonist made me fall inlove AGAIN in the series. the fact that not every character is perfect and the realisem of everything that involve emotions made it truly amazing.
the enjoyment i had while reading this series was outstanding. not a thing that the major shounens of today can do. i truly got addicted and obssesd and i never had this thing with a series before i read jojo. one of the things that made me enjoy this series sooooooooo much is that there are alot of cultural references and it made me laugh alot of times
overall this manga was amazing for me. i fell inlove with every single detail and it quickly became my favourite all times. basically this manga is perfect (except the art in parts 1&2).
I love Jojo. I seriously do. Honestly though, I think Phantom blood is my least favorite story. Not because I hate it, but because Jojo just gets better and better over time. This part did set up a strong foundation for the rest of the series though. It is a story of a wealthy boy, Johnathan Joestar, suddenly having his life turned to hell by his adoptive brother Dio Brando. As they grow into young adulthood, Dio suddenly becomes a vampire and only Jojo can stop him. This part isn't as flashy as the other parts of Jojo, but it does maintain the solid jojo
characteristics of "good-of-heart" and honor. Part 1 also does a good job at establishing Araki's credibility as a writer. Araki is able to maintain a unique story atmosphere, while keeping things detailed and appealing. Araki had a similar approach to his first published work, Baoh, but it was not nearly executed as well as in Jojo.
The best thing part 1 does is introduce Dio. Dio is a really amazing character, and VERY IMPORTANT to Jojo. Part 1 is the only time we get to see real character development in Dio, and it gives us the context we need to understand his influence.
This part might be a bit a bit on the bland side, but it is still enjoyable. Seeing characters like Dio do there thing is exciting,and will have you on the edge of your seat sometimes. With this though, the big thing with part 1 is context. Is Phantom Blood a strong start? Not necessarily, but it is a required start. Every part (even later alternate universe parts) are built around the key points of Phantom Blood.It is needed to better understand the rest of the series. It is because of this that it holds a special place in fans' hearts, even if it isn't the best part of the epic manga series.
Let me first start off by saying that I have never read or watched JoJo before reading Part 1 Phantom Blood. This is my first entry to the series and thus this review is from the perspective of a JoJo virgin.
Story: The story starts off by giving you a flashback about a cursed mask and then moving to modern day. This is a foreshadowing to future events and a central element of the plot. Ultimately, the story is about the duality struggle of good and evil, justice and wickedness. The author himself states that this extreme form of duality was purposefully used as a
platform for the beginning of the series. This may put off some modern viewers who expect extreme depth in their characters; however, for a 1980s series JoJo does a solid job of making you care about the characters and the story.
Art: The art in Part 1 is nothing short of outstanding. I cannot for the life of me understand how this was published in weekly Shonen Jump because the quality of the art is just that good. Also, to the point about it being published in Shonen jump, this series is NOT a Shonen. There is blood, gore, grotesque imagery, cursing, and elements that make this series closer to a Seinen. The art isn't always perfect, minor and background characters could use work, though that would be nitpicking. I know some people aren't fans of the 80s muscle style and this series certainly embodies it like a stereotype. I'm personally a big fan of the art, maybe a bit less muscle would've been nice. They just don't make art like this anymore.
Character: The story revolves around 2 central characters and the struggle of good and evil. They each embody their respective elements of good and evil, with little signs of deviation. It may be a little too black and white for modern tastes. I personally enjoyed the characters and I knew going into it that this was an older series. Context is always important.
Enjoyment: It was a thrilling read throughout and very fast paced. The characters were built up and this only enhanced the latter parts of the series where things got quite intense.
Overall: I feel this series is certainly a worthy manga. I'm sure the lower score comes from the fact that the other parts are better. I can't comment on that how it compares to the anime. On its own, coming from a new fan, I'm very excited for the rest of the series. Fighting, horror, and seinen fans need to check this series out!
Viz Release: Let me just say that the hardcover Viz releases are the best I've ever owned. The translation is great, the quality of the pages are fantastic, and all this allows the art to shine at its highest levels. The interviews with the author at the end help you understand and appreciate the series even more. Worth every penny.
PB Isn't a bad manga, it's just the worst part of JoJo.
The story is basically Hokuto no Ken but with a strange power. Hamon is basically a ripoff of Hokuto Shinken, killing the enemies with just the touch. It was good on Hokuto no Ken, but not in JoJo. The power of sun/ripple/breath? WTF?
The art is good, but some characters are unproportional, with a big body and a small head. And the first JoJo is just a small kid in a big body.
Of course there's some good things, like SpeedWagon and Dio, but, in general, Phantom Blood isn't good, just fine to read.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a series I've shunned time and time again. Because I judged it by it's cover and thought it was just a series with muscular dudes on a bizarre adventure (crappy pun) while spouting memes. I ignored it, however after fidning out how critically acclaimed the series is, and after finding out that each part has a different setting, theme and protagonist. I decided to buy the 3 JoJonium's of Part 1: Phantom Blood. And I've slowly read through it and finished it, and I felt like sharing my thoughts. This is also my first review so pls have mercy.
I'm pleasantly surprised
how hooked I got into it honestly, even though many people refer to Phantom Blood as the worst Jojo part, so I have higher expectations for the later parts.
Phantom Blood is set in England, between 1880-1889, following Jonathan "JoJo" Joestar the symbol of everything that is good as he is trying to stop his adoptive brother Dio, who is the symbol of everything evil from taking over the world with his vampire powers granted by a stone mask.
The story is overall very simple, yet entertaining to read through and it's very fast paced. The series starts out with 5 introduction chapters, that quickly show you Jojo's and Dio's relationship while they are still 12, and then 8 years later in chapter 6 they are 20. No less then on chapter 11, you already have a death match between them. So the story is pretty fast paced without feeling rushed, and I was entertained throughout the whole story, as Dio in my opinion is what made the chapters so much fun to read through.
I liked the super power Hamon or Ripple, which is the power that Jojo uses against Dio. It uses a lot of thought and it isn't just a power about destruction, as you can do a lot of cool stuff with it like walk on water. Also Dio's powers which are stuff like super strength, regeneration, freezing people soild with his arms, shooting lasers out of his eyes and turning people into zombies by stabbing them with his fingers... Honestly since Dio became a vampire I didn't think he'd have these types of powers. Super strength and regeneration are one thing, but a guy who becomes a vampire you wouldn't expect them to freeze people solid just by using his arms where he evaporated the moisture out of, but hey it works.
I would say that the Blueford and Tarukus part was the weakest part of the story. While I liked what the result of the whole part, I had the least amount of enjoyment while reading through it.
Overall I thought the story is simple yet fun to read through, a lot of stuff happened in just 44 chapters. It is important to know that Phantom Blood is the opening to a much bigger journey, as there are over a hundred volumes of Jojo after Phantom Blood. This is also a shounen that goes out of it's way to kill characters and I thought the ending was sad, yet it also teases you by telling you that the Joestar family's story is far from over. So I would rate the story an 8 out of 10.
I'm not very critical of art in manga, as long as the art is appealing to me and if it's better than anything I can draw then I'm happy with it. However I was really impressed by the art, especially the double spreads, environments and the detail on the faces. The art style is unique and distinctive and I really like it. Each chapter had a great amount of work put into it, the characters which are very buff but the artist Araki has a great understanding of the human figure, those poses are great too.
The series is also surprisingly violent, it's not super gory but has some very graphic scenes such as a mother eating her baby, people getting impaled along with gory zombie designs. It kind of surprised me mainly because this was published in Weekly Shounen Jump.
The only real flaw I have with the art is that some scenes are drawn in a supposed stylized way. Like the first few pages of chapter 5, however it just looks awkward overall, and and it doesn't look proportionally normal. So I would rate the art a 9 out of 10.
Phantom Blood doesn't have a very large cast of characters, which is good since this part is so short having less characters is better for the remaining characters' development.
As I've stated the main character Jonathan "JoJo" Joestar, is the symbol of everything good. Literally the guy is like Jesus but has the physique of a tank. Many people give the complaint that Jonathan is lackluster, and I'd have to agree with that, however I still liked the guy and I respected him. Jonathan unfortunately suffers from the length of the Phantom Blood, being only 44 chapters while other Jojos have 100+ chapters of their respective parts.
Dio who is the symbol of everything evil and who becomes a vampire. His characterization is so stereotypically evil it's ridiculous, the guy doesn't have a problem with having women get raped by zombies, burning dogs alive in furnaces, casually crushing a young woman's skull, forcing mothers to devour their children etc. However for some reason he works, and his design and charisma made him a likable villain. The chemistry between him and Jojo works very well within the story, later on he gains respect for Jojo where as in the beginning he saw him as nothing more than trash.
As for the other characters you have Will A. Zeppeli who is the person who teaches Jojo Hamon and helps him with stopping Dio, Robert E. O. Speedwagon who is the sort of sidekick that tags along. And a few other characters like Erina Pendleton who is Jojo's love interest and Jack the Ripper. Overall the minor cast of characters were also likable and served their purpose in the story. Zeppeli was my favorite out the minor cast, and his design was cool.
Overall the characters of Phantom Blood are the weakest part. Dio being the only notable character that I really liked, and Jonathan was decent and the minor characters while likable weren't anything amazing. So I would rate the characters a 7 out of 10.
I really enjoyed reading through Phantom Blood. The story was fun and had lots of action while also having a unique art style that I liked a lot. The fights had a lot of true emotion behind them, the power Hamon was awesome. Jonathan and Dio's chemistry being a fight between good and evil was also well done, the climax was really unexpected as well. Overall I'd give enjoyment an 8 out of 10.
So I'm going to give Phantom Blood an 8 out of 10, if there wasn't anymore after this I would've given it a 7, however since this is the first part to a much bigger series I'm gonna give it an 8 instead. I thought the story was good, the art is great, the characters could've been more flesehd out however. Also the JoJonium's hardcover Viz releases, are amazing. The quality of the translation is superb and overall they're great to own.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a marvel. A true epic spanning over 30 years in publication, however the series is only starting to get popular in places that aren't Japan. And for anyone coming into the series, most likely watching another part in the series, they might wonder if this part is worth going back to. I'd say yes, however, prepare for a bizarre manga that, while it may not live up to other parts in the series, is a wonderful read.
The story follows Jonathan Joestar, son of the rich Jorge Joestar, embarking on a quest to stop his evil adopted brother Dio from taking
over the world using an old mask Jonathan's father dug up when he was a baby. And.... That's pretty much it. Yes, the story evolves as more characters and fighting styles are added into the mix, but... It's a very simple story. If you're coming in from a later part( most likely Part 3), you might think this isn't up to snuff to the newer parts, and that's totally wrong. Part 1 may be simple, but it's full enjoyment doesn't come from the story alone. (9/10)
Hirohiko Araki is now known for his very interesting artstyle that isn't contemporary with other manga, but the same can't be said for part 1, especially early on. The art is very reminiscent of other manga that were running at the same time, namely Fist of the North Star. It isn't bad, but don't expect the crazier designs seen in other parts. Near the end of the part, the artwork does become more interesting, and you start to see glimpses of what's to come. (9/10)
If I had one major gripe with this part as a whole, it would be it's main character. Jonathan suffers from what I call 'Superman syndrome'. He's a paragon of everything good, a gentlemen, but.... That's pretty much it. Even Araki has expressed displeasure with how he handled Jonathan's character, saying he wish he gave him a weakness. Side characters, and our main antagonist, make up for this in spades. Many staples, including Araki's favorite Speedwagon and one of the best villains of all time, Dio, make their first appearances in this part, and they're as wonderful as you would expect.(8/10)
Part 1 is a part I often reread a lot. It's that enjoyable. It's simple enough that I don't get tired of it, but engaging enough to keep me invested. A great read. (9/10)
Part 1 isn't perfect. I would say it's my least favorite part in Jojo. But it's still an amazing read. Hype until the bittersweet ending, I would say this is a great part that, whether you are a new fan or a fan coming back from another part, is worth a read.(9/10)
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1: Phantom Blood is available in the US from Viz Media in both Physical and Digital formats.
I believe that although it is shorter than the other parts of Jojo, it is a great introduction toward the Joestar family and also to Dio. This review is short, but I wouldn't have Jojo start any other way differently except this part being longer. However, this did start the Jojo series and we cannot forget its place in history. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and looks even beter if you can get your hands on the colorized versions. I believe this sets the tone of the series. People such as Dio set the tone for later antigonist which means that although the first part
may feel like it has flaws, it fits perfectly into the Jojo universe.
Part 0: Whole Lotta Love
I loved JoJo since the first time I’ve read it years ago and I still love it now, it’s one of the few manga series that personally resonated with me like none other. While I hope to be as fair in this review as possible when it comes to pointing out the highs and lows of Phantom Blood, keep in mind that all this is coming from someone who’s a fan of series despite all the flaws than be found within.
Part 1: Brothers in Arms
Phantom Blood is the first part of the gigantic franchise JoJo has become and I think many
consider it to be least distinct one. There’s a very good reason for it. While the later parts delve deep into high concept super powers and weird plots that on the surface shouldn’t make as much sense as they do, Phantom Blood is a far more conventional narrative.
After his carriage crashes off a cliff, George Joestar is knocked unconscious, the driver is impaled on a broken wheel and his wife sacrificed her life trying to protect baby Jonathan. Dario Brando, Dio’s father sees this as an opportunity to get some valuable loot but George comes to consciousness. He mistakingly thinks that Dario was trying to save him and promises him a handsome reward and gratitude. Some years later Dario is on his deathbed and uses kindness of George to send Dio to his house where he would live as an adopted son of Joestar family.
What follows after is an ever-escalating clash between Dio and Joseph. From their design to their personality the two are entirely different. Jonathan is an embodiment of justice and virtue, he’s a man who will do everything in his power to protect others. On the other side Dio is an incredibly evil and calculating bastard who will do everything he can to gain more wealth and power.
This central conflict is why I believe the overall goal of the manga was to tell a story about virtue and honor triumphing over depravity and corruption and Dio represents. In a I feel it’s similar to Hokuto no Ken which beyond being an action packed martial arts manga followed a strong character with a bleeding heart who without fail would save others from overwhelming evil.
Part 2: Strange Highway
So far Phantom Blood sounds fairly mediocre, right? Well it would be if not for Araki’s creativity and passion for crafting exciting stories that can be traced all the way from his debut works. Phantom Blood has a lot to offer when it comes to eccentric characters and imaginative action scenes. While Jonathan is fairly standard for a story like this but his companions include a street thug with overwhelming respect for strong willed and natured people and has a tendency to narrate his own feelings, more so than anyone else at least. Next in line you have Zeppeli, an italian sailor who resigned his life to training in Sendo, finding the stone mask and destroying what is and should never be while looking fabulous in the process. While this will very much depend on the reader I found their dynamic to be amusing throughout, from Speedwagon’s nearly comedic overreactions to Zeppeli’s unusual training methods that include trying to destroy a vampire without spilling a drop of wine.
Hamon or Ripple is another part of what makes Phantom Blood so entertaining. While the concept of versatile superpowers is as old as dirt in shonen the applications for Ripple remain fresh and sometimes surprising throughout the 44 chapters. From standing on water and sending out wine shurikens to making a leaf glider or spraying out your own blood or other liquids through wounds to avoid poisoning or other unwanted effects. While it might seem convenient I think it accomplishes a lot to make the adventure feel exciting in unpredictable ways. On top of that when used it combat it makes for some pretty gruesome attacks as sunlight energy melts whoever tries to oppose a ripple user.
It’s interesting to me how much effort Araki puts into establishing the superpower itself. Instead of going the usual route and saying “well it’s just a special thing some people can do let’s get back to the story” he actually made up its own backstory and the method behind it which feeds into thematic core of the manga. It also serves as an example of another thing I like about Araki, which is his enthusiasm in fleshing out his settings or just plain sharing some information with the viewer that he finds interesting like the occasional tidbits he throws in about 19th century England. This is much less prominent in Part 1 than it is in future manga but I find it charming nonetheless.
Part 3: Damn the Torpedoes
Obviously however, not everything is good. There are some noticeable flaws in Phantom Blood that need to be acknowledge.
One of the most prevalent I think is Araki’s reliance on narration to add nuance to either characters or their surroundings that doesn’t always need to be there. While yes the nuance is there there are many moments where a reader could’ve been informed about them in a way that’s much more subtle. Does Speedwagon really need to comment on how hard Erina was overworking herself to take care of Jonathan when it already would’ve worked without text? There’s an example of something like this in every other chapters and while it’s not especially egregious in my opinion it does sour the taste.
Next comes the Ripple. Yes, while the scenes it was used for are universally entertaining, it occasionally feels like new powers and techniques just sort of come out of nowhere only to get a brief explanation shortly after they’re used as if to justify their existence. Araki has gotten a lot better at introducing powers as it went on and I doubt he’d leave Ripple as is, seeing how The Spin’s execution in Part 7 was much more consistent.
The art is also often cited as one of the weaker aspects of Phantom Blood and it’s understandable. When it comes to inanimate objects Araki’s grasp of fundamentals is strong throughout but when it comes to people I feel like he valued dramatic exaggerations a lot more than accurate anatomy. While I do agree that it’s not always a pleasure to look at the dramatic aspect does come true. It’s hard not to feel the sheer energy, impact and threat emanating from certain attacks when they are drawn as if jumping out of a page or dominate entire panels where the target feels like a bug compared to the magnitude of force that’s about to crash on them. So, while on technical aspect it’s far, far from perfect the art still serves a tangible purpose. Some people might not agree with this but I feel like this sort of flawed art is still a lot more entertaining than something that feels like it was drawn my a machine cause there’s a very human charm to imperfections.
Lastly I’d like to sandbag the series a little and offer my two cents on something that people always bring up when talking about why Part 1 is the worst or the weakest in the series.
“Jonathan is a boring, bland protagonist and a bad character”. This is something I can’t agree with. Yes he’s a simple character without complex goals or struggles but that doesn't make him bad. If you’re willing to pay attention there are many beats in first two volume that work towards building up Jonathan’s personality. From how he came to form a relationship with his dog to his mentality when it comes to fighting which can be traced from his very first fight and is kept consistent throughout with exceptions only serving to prove the rule. At the same time Jonathan’s naivety is often conveyed to be a flaw since a character that’s much less restricted by moral code would have an easier time (see Joseph). It drives him to take risks which ultimately drove the story forward.
Another complaint I saw being thrown around is that he’s a reactionary character which seems to stem from people thinking that there’s never a case where such a character is acceptable. All it means is that Jonathan more often than not reacts to ploys caused by Dio instead of being in control of events and serving as their catalyst. When the main antagonist is nigh on a mysterious force of nature what else is expected of the main character but to react while trying to figure out a way to fight back? This is nothing new in fiction and I find it hard to take this complaint seriously.
Part 4: Pieces of Eight
To sum it up. Phantom Blood is a unique and unforgettable adventure that succeeds despite any flaws thanks to the charm and sheer creativity behind it and while future parts do overshadow it by turning down the flaws and cranking up pros to 11, it wouldn't be fair to judge Part 1 based on what it’s not. It set out a goal and achieved with flying colors. It’s a manga that deserves to be read.
I haven't watched the Jojo anime adaptation or know much about the series but I do know Phantom Blood is considered one of the weakest parts of the franchise and I can understand why. The main antagonist is... not the most complex guy around and beyond his rivalry with Jojo I didn't understand why he wanted to do anything, there was no motivation for his actions. He was funny though, iconic character in his own way, commits some of the most vile acts I've seen in a manga actually if you like dogs or babies be warned.
The bigger problems come in with Jojo himself,
he is worse than the Dio and I often found myself rooting for the villain just because of how boring Jojo is. His love interest is the worst of all, she lacks any personality whatsoever beyond being in love with the hero. Otherwise I enjoyed the character designed and the art in general has a good aesthetic. It's a fun manga in that campy horror sort of way and I'm interested in seeing where the series will go on from here and the series isn't totally predictable, the series isn't afraid of killing characters off unlike many modern shounen and a few of the story events took me by surprise.
tl;dr it's Fist of the North Star meets Bram Stoker's Dracula.