Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1—Phantom Blood, Vol. 2 by Hirohiko Araki

May Contain Spoilers

One thing I can say about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – it has a ton of action. If JoJo isn’t battling his lifelong nemesis, Dio, he’s training under his new mentor, Zeppeli. JoJo fights against vampires, zombies, and giants in this volume, and ho-boy, if that isn’t exhausting, I don’t know what is.

The first half of this volume is all JoJo and Dio duking it out over the body of JoJo’s dad, who made the terrible call of inviting a murderous monster into his home. During a touching moment, Lord Joestar apologizes to his son for always being so hard on him, while giving Dio pretty much a free pass. Poor JoJo. All he ever wanted was the love and respect of his father, and when he finally gets it, his dad is only moments away from death.

Soon the mansion is consumed by flames, and still Dio and JoJo trade wilder and wilder blows as the house collapses around them. Somehow JoJo survives and is nursed back to help by – you guessed it! – his childhood sweetheart Erina. She never stopped having feelings for JoJo, so for a few blissful days, JoJo and Erina enjoy rediscovering each other. Then Will Zeppeli arrives to shatter JoJo’s idyll, and it’s back to training!

Zeppeli has mastered the Sendo method of ripple energy (Harmon). By mastering breathing techniques and increasing the oxygen in the blood stream, one can increase strength, healing, and defense. Or something like that. All I know is that Zeppeli jabbed his finger into JoJo’s stomach and miraculously healed all of his broken bones. Uh. Moving right along.

I’m not totally won over by this series, which is utterly ridiculous, but it’s engaging enough that I want to know what happens next. Character designs are big and bulky, and the fight scenes are cluttered and chaotic, making it hard to follow the action. Still, there’s a certain charm to JoJo and his quest for justice against the evil, not-so-human anymore, Dio, and I find myself looking forward to finding out what happens next. Viz has done a bang-up job on these hardcover editions, and it’s almost a shame to not keep checking them out of the library and completing the series.  So I guess I will.

Grade: 3.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

As if Dio wasn’t diabolical enough, now he’s an immortal vampire with incredible strength! But Jonathan Joestar’s not one to back down, even when it seems like victory is impossible! It’s a classic battle! Good versus evil! Grit and determination against power and arrogance! Who will win?!