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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).
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a great series, and I think what helps is that there's no truly weak part. This is especially the case for Phantom Blood, widely considered one of the weakest parts, yet it still manages to be a gripping story of good versus evil.
Phantom Blood's protagonist Jonathan is a very relatable guy, he's a meek noble doing his best to become what he believes to be a gentleman, but when Dio comes into his life he becomes entangled in events far greater than anyone could have predicted. The two have some of the best villain-hero chemistry in the series, and they both push each other to develop into something far greater, with Jonathan becoming a paragon, and Dio an utter monster.
The overall structure is a Victorian drama turned vampire-slaying battle in Britain, which remains unique to this day. The battles are a bit all over the place, with a good battle there, a lackluster battle there, and occasionally just what is essentially a padded filler battle. Really the biggest highlights are all of the Jonathan versus Dio battles, which all remain great to this day. Otherwise the battles are meh.
The supporting cast has both memorable characters that are fondly remembered such as Speedwagon, Zeppeli or Erina, to just kinda ok characters such as Poco, Dire and Tonpetty. I wouldn't say there's an outright bad character, but it ranges from good to just alright.
Overall Phantom Blood is a fun ride. I'd say it's short length is the biggest flaw, but on the flip side it makes it easier to watch/read. It certainly deserves to be checked out for anyone who wants to get into Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, even if it does have problems. I'd say all in all it's probably my third favorite part despite all it's noticeable problems. I hope everyone else can come to enjoy the beginning to this memorably bizarre adventure.
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