Having narrowly managed to defeat Dio, Jonathan finds himself being nursed back to health by none other than Erina Pendalton. However at the same time Dio is quickly regaining strength and has employed Jack the Ripper.
As if in response to this though, Jonathan and Erina run into the Italian Will A. Zeppeli who uses a mysterious ability known as the Ripple to completely heal his injuries and explaining how by controlling one’s own breathing, the properties of this ability to make it possible to fight vampires created by the stone mask.
Seeing that Jonathan possesses innate potential in this ability, Zeppeli also takes it upon himself to train Jonathan in the Ripple and confides of how his father falling victim to a Stone Mask had led to him learning it himself and seeking to destroy the masks. Explaining that sunlight destroys vampires by hitting them with more energy than they can handle and that the Ripple emulates this. Following this Zeppeli goes on to explain some other properties of this ability, until Speedwagon arrives with news regarding Dio’s location.
Revealing that Dio has been sighted in a seaside town known as White Knight’s Road and that there has also been a string of disappearances in the area. As such they’re forced to put Jonathan’s training on hold and have him learn by putting his skills to use, however as they make their way through a tunnel they find themselves ambushed by Jack the Ripper, whom while Zeppeli could dispatch with ease he decides to make it a test for Jonathan. Giving him a glass of wine and telling him that unless he can defeat him without spilling a single drop he will leave, lecturing him on the meaning of fear and courage, as well as how one must stay a step ahead of their enemy. A test that Jonathan passes by conquering his fear and using the wine to detect Jack the Ripper.
In the next episode, Jonathan, Zeppeli, and Speedwagon arrive in White Knight’s Road but have their belongings snatched by a bag snatcher who they pursue by using the Ripple to walk on water. However while they recover them, they find that the bag snatcher, Poco had been bewitched by Dio to delay them until the sun had set and he could make his move. Furthermore, when Zeppeli confronts Dio, who now regards himself as a god above humans, he appears to have picked up a countermeasure against the Ripple.
Showing that it becomes useless when the blood flow is frozen, but before he can deal a finishing blow, Jonathan leaps to his rescue only to find himself too left powerless. From this Dio calls forth two near legendary knights of the past to face Jonathan, Bruthord the Black and Tarkus who had served Mary, Queen of the Scots and her claim to the English throne but found themselves betrayed by Elizabeth of England. In his current state, Zeppeli also laments his inability to aid him but Speedwagon reveals an ability he had picked up in the arctic to heal him.
At this point though, Bruford decides to face Jonathan one on one upon witnessing him counter him, drawing his sword with his hair and catching Jonathan off-guard, sending him flying into the river. Tarkus then standing in Zeppeli and Speedwagon’s way of rescuing him. With his victory seeming assured, Dio decides to return to his lair, however beneath the water Jonathan remembering his father’s words finds air beneath the water that allows him to blast Bruford with the Ripple.
Now things are really starting to move forward, with the introduction of the Ripple, Jonathan now has a viable way of actually fighting Dio and in itself it’s a fairly cool ability as well. Alongside that the introductions of awesome characters doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet as we see Zeppeli enter the series.
Who too happens to be a character that I really liked, he came into the show just as things were picking up and in a great flamboyant fashion. Showing up just after Jonathan’s climactic battle with Dio to guide him in the direction he needs to go, and while his motives relating to the Stone Mask consuming his father are simple, the conviction they give him is strong. It’s just a shame that the Zeppelis seem to have some pretty poor luck in the series and that Phantom Blood in itself is also kind of short.
The villains that were thrown forward, Bruford and Tarkus, also weren’t that bad. It’s almost as if Araki was checking off a list of things that he wanted in his story and naming them after bands in the 80s (not that, that’s a bad thing) by going for a Victorian setting, vampires, Mesoamerican artifacts, Jack the Ripper, and now a pair of bitter Stuart-loyalist knights from the Tudor period. Yet they’re still kind of interesting, they have that big and small dynamic between them, and from what we saw Bruford’s ability to wield a sword with his hair is pretty unique.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that the Ripple was something that I really liked, it’s simple but there’s something strangely attractive about taking on vampires with sunlight infused punches. Furthermore there’s a lot more to it than that, such as its healing properties or its general versatility, and the mechanics to it have been explained rather well. Changing one’s way of breathing seems simple but when it comes down to it, would be something a lot more difficult to unknowingly do and at the same time, the counters to it, such as Bruford diffusing it, have been brought in too.
Lastly it’s also good to see that Dio too has already got a fairly intimidating counter measure of his own, meaning that even with Jonathan’s makeshift training with Zeppeli it won’t exactly be smooth sailing to defeat him. Things may have evened out a little between them but it doesn’t mean that his victory is assured and he can’t exactly rely on Speedwagon to continually shield him against it, either way in order to win Jonathan will have to come up with something on the spot capable of getting through and beating Dio. And seeing just what that will be should be pretty interesting.