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02/08/2021 06:24:05 •••

A solid, if underrated, beginning

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is such a large series that changes so drastically over time that it's generally most effective to review each part separately. The first part, Phantom Blood, is regarded as one of the weaker parts, but I think it makes for a solid introduction to the series.

The series starts off with a young English nobleman named Jonathan "Jojo" Joestar meeting his new adopted brother, Dio Brando, the son of the man who saved Jojo's father George's life, only for Dio to make Jojo's life miserable in any way he can. After Jonathan thwarts Dio's attempt to poison George and steal the family fortune, Dio becomes a vampire, causing the scale and stakes of their rivalry to vastly escalate.

One commonly cited complaint about this part is the pacing, although as someone who watched the anime, the story starts getting interesting by the end of the third episode. Even the relatively slow first episode does an effective job of establishing the hero and villain's characters, which is rather important for the story.

As far as characters go, the main protagonist and antagonist are some of the strongest parts of the story. The hero, Jonathan, is a true gentleman, who contrasts effectively with his more flawed and anti-heroic descendants. Dio, the main antagonist, is a surprisingly complex character with a very personal tie to the hero, making him one of the better villains I've seen in the franchise thus far.

Some of the secondary characters can be fairly well-done. Jojo's Love Interest Erina is kept out of the fight, but she's stronger-willed than many characters of her type, while Jojo's friend Speedwagon has good chemistry with him. Zeppeli also makes a good mentor figure to Jojo. Unfortunately, the three companions who join just before the climactic battle with Dio don't get enough screentime or development to be interesting.

Some say that this part's brevity- nine episodes in total- is a weakness, but I've found that it helps keep it paced well, since few events or characters are extraneous to the story. This part also has a rather memorable ending, in large part because it's one of the more tragic endings to a part.

Phantom Blood may not be one of the more popular Jojo parts, but I enjoyed it more than Battle Tendency(which, admittedly, is an opinion that might change as I rewatch the latter).

02/08/2021 00:00:00

At least for my part, it was my favorite up until Diamond is Unbreakable. I like that it works very well as a self-contained vampire story in a way most of the others donít stand on their own, and I think it is very telling the third part everyone else loves flat out stole this partís major antagonist. Plus, it managed to give Jojo a ton of charisma without making him a dick. At least in the other parts Iíve read, that is also something that they donít get right again until part four, with Joseph not really winning me over until heís an old man and Jotaro being an emotionless brick.

Also, well I appreciate the martial arts is a pretty straight rip off of some stuff that was popular at the time (Fist of the North Star is the obvious culprit), I also appreciate how they manage to tie it into the vampire theme, via the sunlight metaphor.

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