Manga Review: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1—Phantom Blood V 1 by Hirohiko Araki

May Contain Spoilers

I saw this in the library catalog, so I put a hold on it. When I went to pick it up, I was surprised to see that it’s a sturdy, well made hardcover. This series has been around forever, but it never grabbed my attention. I think it finally landed on my radar when I read the word “vampires” in connection with the story, but who knows what finally caught my interest.

This is a classic rivalry between two very different young men. Jojo is the son of privilege, and Dio comes from a background of poverty. Dio’s father was abusive, and Dio blamed him for his mother’s death. Jojo enjoyed a spoiled upbringing. His mother died in a terrible accident when he was an infant, and his father has provided him with every luxury during his childhood.

When Dio’s father is on his deathbed, he tells Dio about an event that happened in his past. He came across a carriage accident, and while he was stealing the belongings of the dead, he realized that at least one person survived the terrible crash. Lord Joestar  lived despite his terrible injures, and he promised to repay Dio’s father for saving him and his infant son. If he only knew…

Dio is told to go to the Joestar estate, where Lord Joestar will provide for him. From the moment he arrives, he strives to make Jojo’s life miserable. Dio seethes with barely contained rage, and he’s jealous that Jojo has been living a life free of poverty. He plots to make Jojo look bad in front of Lord Joestar, and steals all of his friends away. What a nice guy Dio turns out to be!

I’m not sure how I feel about this series. The Danny thing was a huge turnoff, and the art after Jojo and Dio grow up is butt ugly. Their bodies are so out of proportion. Massive, hulking shoulders and little pinheads. The cliffhanger ending did offer a bit of a hook, despite everything else. And I’m burning with curiosity to learn more about the Aztec mask that comes to life when given blood, and the powers it bestows on people. Since Dio is already about as corrupt as a person can be, he seems like a perfect match for an evil mask.

Viz’s hardcover presentation is very, very nice. I borrowed this edition from the library, and despite being checked out multiple times, the binding has stood up well to repeated readings. There are many color pages, and this edition is just a high quality product. The paper is a thicker stock than their normal paperback releases. If you are a fan of this series, you will want to add these hardcovers to your bookshelf.

Grade: 2.75 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!