Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood 02 and 03

Seven years from the events in the previous episode, a time when Jack the Ripper roamed the streets of London, Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando attend university together studying archaeology and law respectfully. Despite appearing to have grown closer over the years Jonathan can’t consider them to be friends however.

Opening Theme:

“JoJo: Sono Chi no Sadame” by Hiroaki TOMMY Tominaga.

Alongside this his father George Joestar has become ill and now regards Dio as his own son. Around this time Jonathan also investigates the strange Meso-American mask and observes its strange reactions to blood, during which he finds a letter from Dio’s father and suspects that Dio poisoned him, now intending to do the same to his own father.

Because of this he confronts Dio on the similar symptoms that plagued Dario and now his father, as well as Dio’s choice to deliver his medicine personally, and confirms his suspicions by taking advantage of his pride. Dio despite having been outed, refusing to back down after coming so close to the inheritance by using the mask to kill Jonathan. Unaware of these plans, Jonathan heads into the slums of London in search of an antidote for his father, running into a group of vagrants which he faces with an unyielding will in the middle of such.

A will that their apparent leader, Robert E. O. Speedwagon appears to admire after being taken down by Jonathan as he stops the mob from lynching him, going on to learn of his motives and deciding to help him by finding the oriental apothecary who sold Dio the poison. At this point however Dio has headed into the slums himself, hoping that Jonathan has died, and finds himself disgusted to be growing similar to his alcoholic father. And just like Jonathan he too runs into some vagrants but decides to use it as a chance to test out the mask, and finds that it bestows vampiric qualities to those who wear it, only narrowly being saved by the sunrise.

In the next episode Jonathan returns to confront Dio with the evidence, the Oriental Apothecary, he had found in London and while Dio appeals to his sense of compassion, Speedwagon convinces him otherwise and that he can not be trusted. Yet while Dio seemingly surrenders on the condition that Jonathan place the handcuffs on him personally, he lunges at him with a knife and fatally wounds George Joestar in the process of activating the Meso-American mask. The police officers opening fire and their leader confessing that he had once arrested Dario Brando but George had naively forgiven him, believing that he would turn his life around.

As he grows weaker and weaker, George Joestar maintains this naivety in believing that it’s his fault for not being able to raise Dio properly and takes comfort in being able to die in his son’s arms. However soon after this Dio’s corpse is nowhere to be seen, being revealed to have been turned into a vampire by the mask as he moves on them, shaking off bullets as he sucks the life out of the policemen. In the middle of this Speedwagon is struck down but Jonathan gathers his resolve to fight Dio by taking a lance from a nearby suit of armour, fighting off the vampires that Dio had just created.

Even so however, Jonathan finds himself outmatched by Dio’s accelerated regenerative abilities and is forced to set his family manor ablaze in an attempt to stop him, but even this is not enough and he is forced to fight him head on in an attempt to lure him away from Speedwagon. Calling upon his father’s dying will to fan the flames higher as he resolves to defeat Dio even at the cost of his own life, the very last thing there is to the Joestar name, and through some ingenuity on his part and an unyielding will he’s seemingly able to do just that by impaling him upon a statue in the manor. In the end Jonathan manages to survive but at the same time a weakened Dio is found by the Oriental Apothecary.

Thoughts:

Things must seem pretty confusing to new viewers but it’s great to see things finally starting to move forward. With Dio now firmly established as the antagonist we saw Jonathan step up in opposition to him as the protagonist and further proceed to take him down a notch. In contrast to that however I do think that while it worked well in the manga, the way that the narrative is maintained doesn’t feel right.

To put it simply it really just messes up the balance between show and tell when animated, it wouldn’t be the same and in some sense it would even be going against Araki’s work and style, but it could be cut down a bit. A good example of this being the climactic battle between Jonathan and Dio in his new vampire form, it had all the makings of a simply awesome fight as Jonathan went about taking him down with medieval weaponry, his father’s dying will, and last of all just deciding to burn his family mansion down to do it. However what momentum it had gathered would be interrupted by pieces of dialogue out of amazement for what was going on.

The most guilty of this being Speedwagon’s character, given all the stuff he’s done and is going to do in the following parts of the story he’s probably one of the biggest bros in the story, but delegated to the sidelines there really wasn’t much else he could do. He generally spent most of the second episode huddling his shattered arm and serving as a way of highlighting either the significance or how extraordinary Jonathan’s actions were and broke any feeling of immersion there was. Overall I really like his character, or rather who and what his character will become, but other than curbing Dio’s attempts to worm his way out he wasn’t exactly used well.

Other than that the style that the series has taken must seem kind of strange to new viewers, in the course of two episodes the series has gone from a flamboyant sort of series revolving around two rivals to one with ancient Meso-American vampires and a protagonist who fights them by just punching them. Quite a stretch by any means as while the manga hinted at this by revealing just what the mask can do in the opening chapter, it was really only briefly touched upon in these past episodes.The entire ending theme suggests such but not exactly enough. Anyway my point with this is that in these two episodes the story has undergone a major change, and while I personally this was the point that the manga really hooked me it was also a little overwhelming.

Lastly it was also interesting to see the development that the characters went through, Jonathan was able to come into his own as the protagonist and Dio step up as the antagonist beyond sociopathic bullying. We see him conflicted by the fact that he bears some similarities to his father who he absolutely despises in any moments of weakness, as well as taking his motivation of becoming the most powerful man in the world by transcending humanity all together. For Jonathan I don’t think that the same can be said, but we see him step forward and out of Dio’s shadow, taking a direct role in pursuing a cure for his father and confronting Dio. More development would have been great but compared to the last episode it was good to see.

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