In 1868, Victorian England a vagrant Dario Brando comes upon an upturned carriage belonging to the nobleman George Joestar, who believing him to be his saviour feels indebted upon learning that while his wife had perished, his infant son still lives.
Twelve years after this the sons of these two men, Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando grow up in their respective environments, until the latter’s father dies of an illness having arranged for George Joestar to take him in, and so as if to slight him for how he treated his mother Dio swears to become the most powerful man in the world.
Soon after this Jonathan and Dio meet, with the latter wasting little time in striking his dog, Danny and plotting to crush his spirit. His father however having not seen this, fails to see Dio’s true nature and becomes ever more strict with his son. Alongside this Dio attempts to isolate Jonathan socially by crushing him at a local boxing ring and making the others believe that he can’t keep a secret. However there was someone who he hadn’t quite managed to get to, the girl who Jonathan had helped out earlier, Erina Pendleton, and the two quickly become childhood sweethearts.
In an attempt to take even this away from him, Dio closes in and forcefully steals Erina’s first kiss, but in an attempt to clean her mouth of the taste Erina takes to washing her face with mud from a nearby puddle. After this however she’s unable to face Jonathan, and having learned what Dio did to her Jonathan wastes little time in confronting him. This time, realising that he must stand up or remain in his shadow, he manages to beat the crap out of him. Resulting in an interesting reaction from a Mesoamerican mask on the wall before the fight is interrupted. Following this however Danny would be murdered, Dio realising his overconfidence and how Jonathan picks up on things quickly.
A little uneventful and in some cases despicable, but a promising start. To be honest I never really got past the third part of the manga (scan quality taking a dive and the whole transition to Stands) but I still think that the series is off to a good start, the art style is a little flamboyant but what could better suit an adaptation of Araki’s work.
The only downside is that after this episode the show may as well have been called something like Dio’s Dickish Antics. As a villain Dio Brando and his somewhat simple yet effective motives are great. He comes from a crappy sort of background in the slums and an abusive home, and his goal is simply megalomania. But he really went overboard in trying to crush the current protagonist, Jonathan Joestar in this episode generally by being a complete asshole. If it wasn’t enough that he constantly humiliated and ridiculed him, he even killed the guy’s dog. It did a decent job on establishing that he’s a complete megalomaniac, but everything he did was overdone and had a somewhat cheesy feeling to it.
The upside however was that it backfired and we were able to see Jonathan/Jojo beat the crap out of him after all of that, showing that Dio’s attempts to crush him hadn’t been entirely as successful as he wished. Other than that, while a little bland at this point Jonathan isn’t too bad either, he’s kindhearted, earnest, and possesses the potential as the protagonist to balance Dio well in the same regards that Dio excels as the antagonist. He even got a nice love interest as well, the romance between him and Erina was short but as childhood sweethearts it’s still genuine in spite of that. Either way while not exactly great so far, Jonathan has a lot of potential.
Lastly the style that David Production is animating it in is also another part that I liked about this episode, the vibrancy and flamboyancy of the colours used doesn’t exactly fit the Victorian horror atmosphere that the first part has but it certainly fits what you would expect from Araki’s artstyle. With it not being entirely possibly to properly distinguish a character in one single assortments of colours, for example we clearly know that Jonathan is brunette but depending on the atmosphere he can lend to either blue or green. Alongside that the use of sound effects is great as well and makes it feel like reading a comic book.