Manga / JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood

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The one that started it all! From left to right: Dio (holding the Stone Mask), Jonathan, and Danny
Phantom Blood is the first part of the manga saga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, originally serialized throughout most of 1987. It is followed by Battle Tendency.

In the late 1800s, rich kid Jonathan Joestar (a.k.a. JoJo) is introduced to a newly orphaned youth named Dio Brando. Jonathan's wealthy father George takes the boy in and raises him as his own to return the favor for Dio's late father, who accidentally saved George & Jonathan after a buggy crash that killed George's wife & Jonathan's mother, Mary. However, Dio is secretly scheming to take Jonathan's place as the favored son and heir to the Joestar family fortune. He torments Jonathan throughout their childhood in an attempt to break him, from kneeing Jonathan's dog in the jaw for no reason to stealing his girlfriend's first kiss. When Jonathan's resolve seems insurmountable, however, Dio takes a new approach: building up a bond between them over many years while poisoning George. Things become complicated when Jonathan learns of these plans and confronts Dio, only for Dio to become a vampire using an ancient stone mask that Jonathan had been researching. After a fiery battle, Jonathan is informed by a man named William A. Zeppeli that Dio is still alive and plans to take over the world. He sets out on an adventure to train in the ways of Hamon and destroy his undying foe for good.

This arc was adapted into a beat-'em-up PlayStation 2 game and a film, both titled JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, in 2007 (as part of the franchise's 20th anniversary). The latter is notable for being lost - it was pulled from theaters at the request of Araki himself, and has not seen a home video release. It was also adapted into the first 9 episodes of the 2012 anime.

How many tropes have you added in your life?

  • Abusive Parents: Dio's father was an abusive alcoholic who treated his wife and son like crap.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The anime removes the scene in the beginning of the manga where an Aztec man is offering a woman as a sacrifice for the Stone Mask to effectively Retcon the Pillar Men into being the mask's creators.
    • Most infamously the film adaptation cut out Speedwagon's role from the story entirely minus a few brief appearances. Poco, Dire, and Straizo also don't show up at all.
  • All There in the Stinger: In the third episode of the anime adaptation, Jonathan impales Dio on the statue at the front of the manor, and the fire appears to disintegrate him completely. While not exactly crucial, if you miss the The Stinger that shows Wang Chan recover the stone mask from the ruins of the Joestar manor before being grabbed from under the rubble, it can be quite baffling to see an undead Wang Chan carrying around Dio in the next episode.
  • Anyone Can Die: As the first part in the series, Araki makes it very clear that he will kill any character that he can if given the opportunity. From the beginning we see the brutal deaths of many background characters, animals, minor villains, and Jonathan's father but he tops this all by killing Zeppeli after the halfway point and ending this part with the death of Jonathan.
  • Artifact of Doom: The mysterious Stone Mask in the Joestars' possession. Jonathan studied archaeology in order to investigate its purpose, though it is ultimately Dio who discovers what it really is.
  • Artistic Age: Neither Jonathan nor Dio look particularly different between the ages of 12-13 and 20. In the anime, they sound no different as well.
  • Attack Hello: Baron Zeppeli introduces himself to Jonathan with a gut punch which has the effect of healing Jonathan's broken arm, likewise Dire introduces himself to Jonathan by testing him with a weakened version of "ultimate attack".
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The battle between Jonathan vs the newly-vampirised Dio happens as the Joestar Mansion burns around them. Jonathan used the flames of the great fire to kill Dio, but it didn't work.
  • Beard of Evil: Dario Brando sports one.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: During Dio's attack on a town, a mother pleads with him to take her and not harm her infant child. He promises and turns her into a Vampire... only for the newly turned mother to bite into her child right after he does it. Dio didn't take her child after all.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Jonathan Joestar attempts this with Dio Brando, very, very hard, but Dio is the ultimate Ungrateful Bastard; being nice to him results in him either thinking you're an idiot to be taken advantage of or getting really angry and resentful.
  • Big Man on Campus: Jonathan and Dio are the most admired students of their university, being star rugby players, acing their respective specialty and being generally charismatic and nice. It's an act for the latter to (try to) earn the former's trust, though.
  • Bittersweet Ending: This part ends on a doozy with Jonathan actually dying by Dio's hands especially since, despite Jonathan's best efforts, Dio would eventually return to begin his reign all over again. However, Jonathan's sacrifices prevented Dio from being able to conquer the world for another hundred years and in the end he was able to save Erina and a child who would grow up to become Lisa Lisa thus allowing his bloodline to continue and future generations to continually save the world.
  • Brave Scot: Sharp-eyed viewers will realize that the Joestar family descended from a line of Proud Highlander Warriors, judging from the painting of George Joestar in a Kilt in the dining room scenes of Phantom Blood.
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted. The Joestar mansion is hinted to be in Liverpool, then the latter half of the part is staged in the small coastal village of Windknight's Lot.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: This trope is in full effect in one of Phantom Blood's most famous quotes:
    Will A. Zeppeli: You bastard, how many lives have you sucked to heal those wounds!?
    Dio: Do you remember how many pieces of bread you have eaten in your life?
  • Cain and Abel: Jonathan and Dio are adopted brothers but their feud kickstarts the whole series.
  • Can't Refuse the Call Anymore: Jonathan and Dio's first confrontation after the latter becomes a vampire signals the end of Easing into the Adventure and leads to the "bizarre" adventures of the rest of the series.
  • Curtain Camouflage: After Dio's transformation into a vampire, he chases a wounded Jonathan and a trail of blood leads him to a curtain, where he assumes Jonathan is hiding behind. However it is a trap and when Dio tries to tear the curtain away, Jonathan throws the curtain on Dio and lights it on fire to kill him.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Jonathan Joestar, the original JoJo, is seemingly set up to be the hero of the entire storyline, as indicated by the title of the manga being possessive of his name and Phantom Blood originally being called Jonathan Joestar: His Youth. However, he dies in the epilogue of this part, and is succeeded by a number of characters that inherit his nickname.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: A young girl slaps Dio, then a Vampire, and for her courage, is thrown to a Zombie as dinner.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Inverted, Jonathan dies holding the living head of his archenemy Dio, who is the one (kinda) sad and shocked about Jonathan's death. Played straight with George.
  • Dub Name Change: Many official translations change around some of the character names to accurately represent the kanji form. Particular examples include Straits into Straizo, Bruford into Blueford, and Tarkus into Tarukus.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: In the very first chapters of this manga, Jonathan is introduced as getting into a fight over a bullied little girl, while shouting, "I don't know who she is, but I'll fight for her!"
  • Dynamic Entry: Jack the Ripper meets Jonathan's party by decapitating their carriage's driver, and their horses, hiding inside one of the horses' still-standing corpse, then jumping out the corpse in bloody fashion when Jonathan and the others investigate.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This part and the next don't have the Stands famous to the series, instead using a sun-based martial art called the Ripple.
    • The first few chapters painted Dio as more of a Jerkass Woobie, as he was victim to an abusive father, and he seemed to legitimately love his mother. After Dio became a vampire, it seems Araki stopped trying to make him sympathetic.
  • Elemental Punch: As a vampire, Dio counters the Ripple by evaporating the water on and around his limbs at high speed, causing a drop of temperature great enough to freeze people when he punches or kicks them.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: Jonathan Joestar, who practically incarnates the ideal of a British gentleman.
  • Evil Mask: The Stone Mask, which turns the wearer into a vampire if blood is spilled on it.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: While Dio builds his power, he resides in an abandoned castle on top of a mountain in Windknight's Lot.
  • Face Heel Door Slam: In college, it seems as if Dio and Jonathan have finally made up and have formed a lifelong friendship. Of course Dio hasn't changed his ways at all and officially shows his true colors after he kills George Joestar to activate the Stone Mask.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Straizo breaks a chandelier in order to tie up four vampires who were under it during the climatic clash between Jonathan and Dio.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The Joestars kindly adopt a certain Dio Brando who recently lost his father. Considering who the father was, George Joestar should have known better.
  • First Kiss: Dio steals the one from Erina that would rightfully be Jonathan's.
  • Flash Back Echo: Will A. Zeppeli's examining the room he enters in, is reminded of a prophecy saying that he will die releasing a lion from a similar room, alluding to his sacrifice to free Jonathan.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time Wang Chen and Dio met, he tells the story of a man who had the same kind of ears as Dio. He had a tough life, but managed to live to be 183 years old. After Dio became a vampire, he became inmortal,and managed to live at least to be 120 years old.
    • At one point, one of the Joestar butlers is seen feeding Danny, right next to the furnace that he'd eventually get killed in.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Dio was nothing more than a lower-class commoner frequently abused by his father and even after moving into the Joestar manor is nothing more than a bully. Than he awakens to the powers of the Stone Mask and becomes a threat capable of taking over the entire world. This isn't even getting into Stardust Crusaders.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: One of Phantom Blood's iconic panels is the silhouette of Dio standing before the moon.
  • Genius Bruiser: Jonathan and Dio are both this: both played rugby in college, with Jonathan majoring in archaeology and Dio graduating as valedictorian.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Jonathan, despite an excruciatingly drawn out and painful death, ultimately goes out with a serene smile on his face.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The whole plot of this part is said to have fallen into oblivion as everyone involved kept it secret.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Will A. Zeppeli is cut in half by a chain.
  • Harmful to Minors: At one point in the story, Dio orders a newly vampirized mother to eat her own child.
  • The Hero Dies: Has become pretty infamous for this trope seeing as how this part is mostly remembered for the fact that it ends with Jonathan's death.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Speedwagon has this, as he comes to respect Jonathan after trying to rob him but Jonathan spares him. The thugs of Ogre Street also relent in their attack against Jonathan when Speedwagon insists they leave him alone.
  • Hope Spot: Quite a few times during the battles with Dio.
    • Initially it looks as if Dio will be arrested thanks to the evidence gathered by Jonathan and Speedwagon of Dio poisoning George. Unfortunately for our protagonists Dio has already discovered how the Stone Mask works at this point and after fatally stabbing George uses said mask to turn himself into a vampire.
    • During their battler at Windnights Lot Jonathan finally manages to hit Dio with a blast of Hamon directly, sending the vampire lord flying, and seemingly disintegrating his body. Unfortunately Dio was able to cut of his head in the last moment preventing him from being completely destroyed.
    • During Jonathan and Dio's Final Battle Jonathan manages to hold Dio down despite being mortally wounded and seemingly manages to take Dio down with the burning ship. However as we would later learn this wasn't the case.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: George Joestar thought of Dario as a savior, until he found out the truth, at least and truly loved Dio as a son. Sadly, this bites him in the end.
  • Human Sacrifice: A Mayincatec tribe is seen sacrificing a woman in the first chapter so their leader can transform into a Vampire.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Jonathan also does this to counteract Dio's snap-freezing powers.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted, thanks to Dio.
  • I Owe You My Life: The entire reason Dio was adopted by the Joestars is because Dario Brando helped save George Joestar's life after a carriage accident. Except that in reality, Dario was there to loot the corpses and George assumed he was a good Samaritan. Dario played along and ended up with a rich noble indebted to him. Ultimately subverted as George eventually found out but decided to keep his promise to Dario and helped him out.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: When the police and Jonathan surround Dio after discovering his murder attempt, Dio seemingly surrenders and asks Jonathan to cuff him. However Dio only planned to stab Jonathan with a hidden dagger.
  • Jack the Ripper: VAMPIRE JACK THE RIPPER!!!!
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: At first, Dio was just a simple ambitious asshole, but Jonathan's discovery of his multiple patricides (one successful, one attempted) made him drop any pretense of good.
  • Kick the Dog: Dio does this several times throughout the part. For starters:
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Speedwagon knows that when Jonathan and Erina meet for the first time in years, it is time to withdraw cooly/serenely skedaddle.
  • Let the Past Burn: Jonathan's house burning down marks the end of the first arc of this part, and the Genre Shift from Glamorous Manly Elizabethan Melodrama to Glamorous Manly Supernatural Horror-Adventure.
  • Meaningful Name: Vampires, ghouls, and blood itself are a key factor in this part.
  • Medication Tampering: Dio Brando elects to take his adoptive father's medicine up to him since the servant is old and prefers not to use the stairs. Dio uses this opportunity to switch out George Joestar's medicine for a similar-looking and hard-to-detect poison he purchased from a Chinese merchant. It fails when Jonathan Joestar realizes that Dio's father died with the same symptoms, implying Dio had used the same trick on his own father, although he ends up killing him in another fashion anyway.
  • Minor Kidroduction: Phantom Blood focuses heavily on Jonathan and Dio's childhood for several chapters before doing a time skip to when both are grown men.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Dio's favorite pets.
  • Multinational Team: The members of Team Joestar have very diverse backgrounds and ethnicity. A British Aristocrat (Jonathan), a Street Urchin (Speedwagon), an Italian (Zeppeli), and three Tibetan monks that don't look Tibetan (Dire, Straizo, and Tonpetty).
  • Murder by Cremation: Dio responds to Jonathan beating him in a fight by tricking a butler into throwing Jonathan's dog into the trash incinerator.
  • Musical Theme Naming: One of many recurring tropes this part would establish. Almost every character that isn't a Joestar is named after a band, artist, album, or song in some way shape or form. This part in particular references various rocks bands who peaked in popularity during the 70's and early 80's.
  • Named Weapons: Bruford's sword "Luck" is rebaptized "Luck and Pluck" when he gives it to Jonathan.
  • Odd Name Out: Almost every character in this part has a music reference for a name. Jonathan himself however is instead named after a family restaurant chain based in Japan.
  • Off-Model: The 2012 anime often had animation errors, such as shading being wrong or a characters face not matching their established facial structure. These were largely fixed in DVD releases.
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit: Used with Jonathan and Erina when they are on a date and playing around at a local river.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As a vampire, Dio has freezing abilities, Eye Beams, the ability to create and control zombie servants from both corpses and living humans, and the ability to combine parts of zombies into hybrid monsters. Oh, and he drinks blood from his fingers.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After Jonathan and Dio's climactic fight, Jonathan collapses from exhaustion after fighting several zombies and vampires in one night.
  • The Power of Love: During the first part of the story, Jonathan is a meek, honorable, and good-natured child who is unable to get an upper hand on his ruthless adoptive brother. After Dio steals Erina's first kiss, Jonathan finally finds the strength to give him a well-deserved beatdown by fighting for her honor.
  • The Power of the Sun: The art of Hamon harnesses the user's inner energy and converts it into a form that is similar to sunlight.
  • Prehensile Hair: Bruford can control his hair via a move he calls "Danse Macabre."
  • Put on a Bus: After the finale, fans had to wait two years for Dio to make his return in Stardust Crusaders.
  • Retcon: The anime removes the prologue sequence with the reveal that the Pillar Men were the true creators of the Stone Mask.
  • Sequel Hook: The 2012 anime adds a lingering shot of a man inside of a pillar, hinting at the then-soon adaptation of the next part.
  • The Shangri-La: We briefly see the Tibetan temple in which monks train in the art of the Ripple in the heart of the Himalaya.
  • Slouch of Villainy: In Phantom Blood, Dio will occasionally sit like this.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Dio kills Jonathan, but not before Jonathan can father a son with his newly wedded wife, Erina.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Zig-Zagged. Dio spends much of the first half justifying his horrible actions with his troubled childhood, but once Speedwagon says that he's been evil since he was born, Dio stops trying to justify himself, and embraces the concept of evil entirely.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: One of Phantom Blood's most iconic lines. When Dio kicks Danny in the jaw, Jonathan is furious and says that he won't forgive him for this.
  • We Need a Distraction: Speedwagon realizes early on that he can't fight vampires and zombies directly, so he serves as a distraction for others, even nicknaming himself "The Interfering Speedwagon".
  • When It All Began: George Joestar meets Dario Brando trying to steal from him but believes that he saved him from a terrible carriage accident. Out of gratitude, George gives Dario a favor, who later uses it to have him adopt Dio Brando.



Alternative Title(s): Phantom Blood

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