Almost all anime has something that makes it stand out just a little bit from the torrent of releases out there, but there is nothing else like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Once you meet a Jojo’s fan and get them to start talking about it in-depth you will realize what you might be getting yourself into.
I first watched Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (That would be the first season) about 4 years ago. My brother had been getting into it and kept trying to get me to watch it. As fate would have it, my brother broke his leg one night (he was just stepping off the porch and landed wrong, it sucked and looked very painful) and I took him to the hospital. He was going to undergo surgery the following morning, so I decided to stay the night in the hospital with him, armed with only my laptop. I hate hospitals, they are the most boring places to me, so I was trying to decide what to watch and he brought up Jojo’s again, I finally relented, and then proceeded to watch all of Phantom Blood over the long night. I enjoyed it. A lot, actually. But I didn’t go any further in the series. Fast forward to about 5 months ago, I decided to check it out again and re-watched Phantom Blood before moving on through seasons 2 and 3. So this review is pretty long overdue, but let’s get on with it.
There is just nothing like it. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure follows the Joestar family and their bloody generation spanning fight with the evil Dio. I won’t go into much of the over arching story here, I just wanna talk about Phantom Blood, but do know that each season features a new Joestar as the main character as the battle rages throughout time.
[Spoilers Below for Phantom Blood]
Phantom Blood is where the story begins, taking place in 1800’s England, where Jonathon Joestar is raised with his foster brother Dio. Now Dio is a straight up asshole, who wants nothing more than to destroy everything Jonathon loves, and then steal his father’s fortune. From there it goes off the rails. Dio becomes a vampire like undead being using a mask that Jonathon’s father discovered many years before, so Jonathon, being the absolute man and gentleman he is, goes to stop him. Along the way, he meets a powerful allies like Speedwagon, Tonpetty, and Baron Zeppeli. Yeah, most characters in the show derive their names from classic rock bands and that is just so damn cool. Jonathon learns to utilize the power of breathing, called Hamon, and becomes a competent fighter in his quest to destroy Dio once and for all.
[End Spoiler Section]
It’s crazy right? And until you watch it, it might not all click in your head but once you see it you’ll probably love it. It’s probably not one of my all time favorite shows, but it is so unique that I still have a place for it in my heart.
The art is much different from most anime, featuring a more western style character portrayal, but it still has the anime feel to it. Characters are often huge, ripped, and slightly metro sexual sometimes. It both takes itself seriously and is ridiculously Tarantino like over the top. The fight scenes are out of this world, with just absolutely ridiculous stuff happening all the time, but you grow used to it and it is the norm. Blood flies, heads explode, Dio is a total asshole, it’s all great fun.
Phantom Blood itself plays out almost like a drama between Jonathon and Dio, before contorting itself into some kind of vampire horror and kung fu crossover. Jonathon is already a tough dude, but once he learns to use Hamon the action ramps up another level. I guess the over the top stuff might not be for everyone, you do kind of have to warm up to it, but then you will probably become a Jojo’s fan and you will spout of nonsense about Hamon and Stands and no one except other Jojo’s fans will know what you are talking about.
Overall, Phantom Blood is a very solid season. It’s not my favorite season that I’ve seen so far, but I really did enjoy it. Less action than later Jojo’s seasons, more of a horror feel, but still loaded with badass fights and over the top action. Jonathon is an awesome protagonist and Dio is… well he’s just an asshole, that’s all there is to it.
Phantom Blood is only 9 episodes, so you can easily watch it in a night. Be careful if you decide to look it up, many streaming sites have now combined Phantom Blood and Season 2 Battle Tendencies into a 26 Episode Season just called Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1. Just in case you find that, you don’t have to be confused.
I would say to check it out if you have been hearing about Jojo’s and it sounds up your alley. If you’re not into all the outrageous antics, it still has a decent story and memorable characters. I can’t recommend it for everyone, so you’ll just have to watch and decide for yourself if you dig it.
Oh, and when the episodes go off it plays “Roundabout” by YES and that is just one of the coolest things ever.
Let me know in the comments what you think about Phantom Blood and Jojo’s in general. Coming next week I’ll put up my review of Battle Tendencies, which is actually my favorite season so far.