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YMMV / JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It's common to view this Part more as Dio's story of how he began his path to evil rather than Jonathan's hero's journey, especially in the context of the manga as a whole with Dio's presence heavily affecting many future arcs while Jonathan was only important for this Part. This view is supported by Araki where, in the volume afterwords of the this part, he explains that the story he really wanted to tell was of Dio.
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    • Tonpetty doesn't shake Jonathan's hand but rather greets him with a bow. While it could be the cultural differences as Tonpetty claims, perhaps he doesn't want to read Jonathan's own fate as he did when he shook Zeppeli's hand?
  • Better on DVD: The TV broadcast of the anime featured a lot of awkward facial animations that were fixed up in the Blu-ray and DVD release.
  • Base-Breaking Character: George Joestar. While some fans admire him for being a prime example of Too Good for This Sinful Earth and Honor Before Reason in taking in Dio and forgiving both Dio and Dario despite knowing how evil they are, others decry his preferential treatment of Dio over Jonathan as unfair and even abusive towards the latter. Some fans even claim that said treatment and George's Horrible Judge of Character regarding the Brandos in general is what ultimately enables Dio to become the villain he is.
  • Broken Base:
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    • The accents in the English dub. Some found them to be a creative touch that gave the dub its own unique identity and even if they didn't feel authentic added to the campiness of the series. Others believed that the dub would have been better without or would have worked if the dub had hired actual British voice actors.
      • Johnny Yong Bosch voicing Jonathan was polarizing among viewers. Some felt it was a lazy casting choice seeing as how Johnny has already voiced many leads in anime and him as Jonathan felt like a default choice more than anything. He had also received criticism for his accent which was thought to be inconsistent. There's also the fact that many thought Johnny would have been a better fit for Giorno in Vento Aureo and a deeper voice would have worked for Jonathan such as Travis Willingham or Marc Diraison (the latter of whom instead voiced Jonathan's father). Others didn't mind Johnny's performance, with some being relieved to hear him in a leading role in such a long time. They also bring up to the point that despite his muscularity Jonathan is still a young guy. Johnny's performance has also received some praise for the energy that he put into the role.
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    • How well this part holds up compared to the others is often a huge topic of discussion in many communities. Being the first part of the franchise, it's very clear Araki had yet to find a definitive style and most agree that it isn't very indicative of what it would become. For many it is the weakest part in the series, and some have found that Battle Tendency is a much better starting point. Others, while not claiming it as the best part in the series, see merit in it and praise the anime for giving it a much needed face-lift, giving it better art and making it feel more in line with the later parts.
  • Catharsis Factor: Watching sweet-natured and meek Jonathan demolish Dio into a crying mess with his fists is a definitive wish-fulfillment moment for many similar little boys who also had to languish under the abuse of bullies.
  • Complete Monster: After murdering his abusive father, Dio Brando is taken in by the kind-hearted George Joestar and starts to covet his wealth, so Dio goes about ruining his adopted brother Jonathan's life, attempting to gouge out an eye, stealing the first kiss from his girlfriend Erina, and burning his beloved dog alive. Dio later poisons George in an attempt to claim his inheritance, and after being thwarted, stabs him fatally as a blood sacrifice to activate the Stone Mask and become a vampire. Dio then renounces his humanity and sets up a base in a nearby medieval town, draining its inhabitants of life one-by-one. When a mother agrees to let Dio zombify her on the condition that he doesn't lay a hand on her baby, he watches with amusement as the zombified woman eats her own child. After being defeated by Jonathan and reduced to a disembodied head, Dio stalks and murders Jonathan on his honeymoon cruise, taking a boat full of innocent people down with them, before stealing Jonathan's body.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Only in the early chapters that mostly focus on Dio bullying Jonathan, which some feel gets old after a while and feels plain mean-spirited. The Anime adaptation skips over most of it. Alleviates after the Genre Shift which focuses more on over the top shonen action.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Dio Brando in many different ways. Would become more apparent in later parts such as Stardust Crusaders, which turned him into a Fashion-Victim Villain, and Vento Aureo revealing that he has a son and 3 more in Stone Ocean.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Robert E.O. Speedwagon is one of the most popular characters in the franchise ascending to memetic status; his popularity earned him a major role in Battle Tendency and Eyes of Heaven and his Demoted to Extra status in the 2007 movie adaptation was a common criticism among fans.
    • William A. Zeppeli too, with many considering him the best mentor character in the series.
  • Evil Is Cool: Dio in SPADES!
  • Foe Yay: Jonathan x Dio, especially when you consider that when Jonathan dies he still considers Dio a brother, and Dio would end up using Jonathan's body to support his head.
  • First Installment Wins: Inverted since it is often considered by many fans to be the weakest part in the series.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Dio is responsible for spawning a majority of memes in the entire franchise... or at least this part alone.
    • Speedwagon is no slouch himself in this part, partly because he's just as much of a Large Ham as Dio.
  • Growing the Beard: Phantom Blood really picks up when Dio turns into a vampire and Jonathan begins training under Zeppeli to use the Hamon in order to fight Dio's zombie henchmen.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: On the Toonami broadcast, the episode where Jonathan defeated Tarkus aired on December 3, 2016. A few days later on December 7, Greg Lake, the lead singer of the album where Tarkus got his namesake from, passed away.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • During the climactic showdown between Dio and Jonathan, Dio taunts Jonathan by saying, "Could a monkey fight a man?" In Part 3, he proceeds to hire an orangutan to take out Jotaro and his companions.
    • The ending. Two lovers are boarding a ship to New York? Check. Something (or someone in JoJo's case) wrecks said ship? Check. The man sacrifices himself in the dire situation so that the woman can survive? This played out similarly to the Titanic (1997) film 10 years later, only without the zombies led by a vampire with eye beams.
    • Takehito Koyasu previously played Ryo Kuroyanagi in Yakitate!! Japan, where he judged baking competitions. "How many breads have you eaten in your life" takes on a whole new meaning after that.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Phantom Blood starts off as a seemingly normal Victorian-era period drama with elements of horror. But then.... Dio turns himself into a vampire and Jonathan must train to use a special martial art known as Hamon in order to defeat zombies.
  • Iron Woobie: Jonathan has his entire life turned upside down after Dio comes into his life. From having his first kiss from his love stolen from him, Dio killing his beloved pet dog, and eventually his father and then the Joestar family manor burning down, life is anything but fair to him. Solidified in the finale where he dies on the boat intended for his and Erina's honeymoon and in spite of all that has happened, still forgives Dio and admits to having lived a complete life.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: One of the main reasons why many fans consider it to be the series' weakest part is its short length. It's only 44 chapters long in the manga and 9 episodes long in the anime, and many fans feel that not enough is done with the characters in that short time.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • It's really no spoiler that Dio turns himself into a vampire and Jonathan dies at the end of this part.
    • Considering how memetic he is during part 3, it's a given that Dio survives the events of this part.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Most anime communities will have one person who watched or read this part (thus beginning the series) simply because they were drawn in by all the Dio memes.
  • Love to Hate: Dio already establishes himself as a nasty piece of work in the first episode alone. Yet at the same time, he's beloved by the fans for that very reason. His status as a Fountain of Memes only helped to skyrocket his popularity.
  • Memetic Badass: Speedwagon is an odd variant of this, being treated as the friendliest, most admirable, and loving person in the entire universe and all of fiction. Memetic Nice Guy?
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Even Speedwagon is afraid!"Explanation 
      • It's fun to make variations of his name: Speedbump, Rapidtrolley, Fastkart, Velocityvehicle, Co-Producer Speed Weed... who is nervous, impressed, timid, astounded...
      • "Speedwagon withdraws coolly."
      • Speedwagon also has the Fan Nickname Moewagon, due to his devotion and support of Jonathan.
      • Speedwagon is best girl.
    • "You thought this would be [X], but it was I, Dio!" (alternatively for the one after comma: "Kono Dio da!") Explanation 
      • Dio's Stardust Crusaders dub VA seemed to be aware enough of this to use it as confirmation to who he was voicing.
      • The English dub even uses that specific phrasing when the original line was closer to "Your first [kiss] wasn't JoJo. It was I, Dio!"
        Dub!Dio: You thought your first kiss would be JoJo, but it was I, Dio!
    • "Bastard... How many lives have you sucked to heal those wounds?"
    • "NANI WO SURUNDA!? YURUSAN!!!" Explanation 
    • "Dio did nothing wrong!" Explanation 
    • Goodbye, JoJo! Explanation 
    • You Fell for It Fool! Thunder Cross Split Attack! Explanation 
  • Moe: Yes, despite being a classic 80s fighting manga:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Dio pretty much crosses it by tying up Jonathan's beloved pet dog Danny in steel wire, putting him in a wooden box, and putting the box in the Joestar estate's incinerator, so that when the butler lights it up... all because Jonathan beat him in a fight.
    • Tarkus crushing the remains of his friend Bruford after his death and mocking his weakness, revealing that he'd given himself over to Dio's control entirely (whereas Bruford at least remained a Noble Demon) surely counts. Goes into an in-universe edition when he killed Zeppeli, so as far as Jonathan is concerned, all bets are off.
    • Dario was no good right from the beginning, but working his wife to death just so he could have more money for booze tops everything he's done.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some fans were anticipating Dio's victory over Jonathan in this arc, mostly due to his charisma. Well, he kills the hero, so, there you go.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Despite being the first part, Phantom Blood is often considered the weakest in the entire franchise. While no one finds it to be bad, a lot of the criticism comes from the fact that Araki still had yet to find a style for the series and the story and characters for each part would only get better from there. Though a lot of readers do agree that the artwork for the manga hasn't aged very well.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Dio killing Danny by putting him in the Joestar family furnace.
    • Dio stealing Erina's first kiss from Jonathan.
    • Dio's first defeat at Jonathan's hands when they were both teenagers.
    • Dio being shot down by the cops after killing Jonathan's father after putting on the mask.
    • "Even Speedwagon is afraid!"
    • "How many breads have you eaten in your life?"
    • The death of William Zeppeli.
    • Jonathan dying with Dio's head in his arms.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The opening of the part (and therefore, the series as a whole) is rather slow and mundane at first. It's generally agreed to pick up once Dio becomes a vampire and the more "bizarre" elements enter the story.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Vampires, Victorian Era London, lineage; this is the closest we'll ever get to a Castlevania manga or anime. (or so we thought.) In addition, the two vampire Big Bads Dio and Dracula share a voice actor, Patrick Seitz.
  • Stoic Woobie: Erina has lost her first kiss, her newlywed husband, her son (indirectly) and daughter-in-law (though she did find her again eventually) to Dio by the time in Battle Tendency where she's in her 70s, yet keeps a stoic, but kind personality that normally wouldn't be seen from women born in her time.
  • Too Cool to Live: William Zeppeli and Jonathan Joestar being the first examples of many in this long running franchise.
  • Uncanny Valley: The anime often falls into this thanks to the very still and inexpressive characters that resulted from its low animation budget. Jonathan is the most common victim of this, though the Blu-ray/DVD releases fixed most of the faces.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: George may come off as this to some viewers. He knew full-well that Dario Brando was an awful human being, and yet still enabled him and should have known that he couldn't have raised Dio right. Then there was his tendency to condescend Jonathan while praising Dio.
  • Vindicated by History: While among long-time fans this part is an example of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, it got a new appreciation among fans who were introduced to the series by the 2012 anime. In fact, there are some anime fans who prefer Phantom Blood to Stardust Crusaders. It also helps that the anime improved upon the outdated art of the manga.
  • Woolseyism: The dub changes one of Dio's lines from "Can a monkey fight a man?" to "A mere monkey can never defeat a lion!" This not only alleviates the Fridge Logic of monkeys generally being much stronger than humans, but Dio comparing himself to a lion fits well with his arrogance and goal to take over the world. (It also eliminates the fridge hypocrisy of Dio hiring an orangutan in part 3.)

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