First story arc of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken series.
Jonathan Joestar, a young wealthy son living in Victorian England, has his life destroyed by a recently orphaned Dio Brando, who was taken in by Jonathan's father. Dio, who plots to drive Jonathan to insanity and inherit the Joestar fortune, becomes an unstoppable vampire that Jonathan must fight.
A 17-volume kanzenban version dubbed as JoJonium was published in Japan from December 4, 2013, to March 4, 2015. This edition covered the first three parts of the Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken series and included new cover art which showed redesigns of the characters by Araki Hirohiko. JoJonium's first three volumes cover the first part.
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 1: Phantom Blood was published in English by VIZ Media as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood from February 24 to August 4, 2015. These were released in a hardback format featuring the JoJonium artwork and contents. It was also published in Italy by Star Comics from from November 1993 to May 1994.
A beat'em up video game based on the series developed by Namco Bandai Games Inc. was released in Japan on October 26, 2006.
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.read more
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. read more
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. read more
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.