- Episodes : 26
- Genre :Action, Adventure, Suspense
- Airing Date : October 2012 – April 2013
- Producers :David
Jojo no Kimyou no Bouken Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)
Based on the long running manga by Araki Hirohiko, this installment covers the first two stories from the manga, “Phantom Blood” and “Battle Tendency.” The first story arc takes place in the late 1880s while the second story arc takes place 50 years later.
“Phantom Blood’s” main character is Jonathan Joestar, or Jojo for short. The son of the richest man in town, his dream is to be the perfect gentleman. As a baby, he lost his mother in an accident and a dastardly thief named Dario Brando tried to loot the wreckage. However, Jonathan's father George with his remaining strength pleaded with Dario to save his life and Dario does so. Dario still goes onto be a bad man and an epic fail in life. After his passing, to have George repay his debt to Dario, he sends his son Dio to spend the rest of his life with him and Jonathan.
Despite his academic and athletic aptitude, Dio from the get go is a flat out jerk and despite all the bad things he does, he makes it look good. Dio's initial goals are to make Jonathan lose face in hopes of inheriting the Joestar fortune. Despite their years of bonding at the insistence of George, Dio in a desperate attempt tries to assassinate him and is foiled by Jonathan. In hopes of more power, Dio puts on a stone mask in display in the mansion and it turns him into a vampire giving him new powers that compliment his psychosis, and his ambitions turn from mere fortune to world domination.
So how does Jonathan fight a vampire and his army of the undead? Upon his new journey, he meets a man named Baron Will A. Zeppeli, the master of an ancient energy manipulation martial art known as the Hamon where breathing can turn into sunlight energy attacks. Also accompanying our heroes is Robert EO Speedwagon, a reformed hooligan who feels he owes his life to Jonathan. In their brief time together, they encounter and must stop unspeakable horrors.
50 years later in “Battle Tendency,” a new battle wages with Jonathan's grandson, Joseph (also nicknamed Jojo), who is nowhere near being the gentleman that his grandfather aimed to be. He is an apathetic punk with the natural ability to use Hamon, but needs the proper training to learn how to manipulate it. So what leads Joseph to his journey? After the events of “Phantom Blood,” Speedwagon hits the big time in Texas' oil industry and uses his fortune to prevent any more threats like Dio. And in Mexico, his expedition team finds an old temple full of the masks that turned Dio into a world ending menace, and trapped inside the cave walls were the Pillar Men, the creators of the stone mask.
Things go from bad to worse when a man from the expedition masks himself to become a vampire and Nazis take over the dig. The Nazis make things even worse by freeing the pillar men trapped inside and it is up to Joseph and Stroheim, the commanding officer to stop the pillar men named Cars, Wham and ACDC. To defeat this new threat, Joseph receives the assistance of Caesar Zeppeli, the grandson of Will and his teacher, Lisa Lisa to finally get proper training in Hamon.
Who does Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken cater to?
“Jojo” is a long running manga and each story tells a new generation of the Joestar family bloodline. Even though it follows the Joestar family line, don’t expect certain qualities to always run in the family.
The first two story arcs are certainly for people who love the more manly “Shounen Jump” titles such as “Hokuto no Ken” but uses distinct settings. The initial art style feels a lot like that respective anime with the over buff bodies and the energy manipulation.
What's so appealing about this piece of work.
Do not let the length of the manga fool you. It is separated through many story arcs with distinct characters. If you like action, mystery, comedy and adventure (hence in the title), this is 110% for you. It may have a huge cast of character but whatever screen time some characters get, they are all memorable in their own ways. Each story arc has its own distinct ending in which the individuals and their relationships come full circle.
Jojo no Kimyou Na Bouken Main Characters List
Voice Actor :Okitsu, Kazuyuki
The original Jojo himself, Jonathan wishes to be an educated Victorian gentleman but he is weak at fighting and lacks table manners. When Dio comes to live with him in their early teens, he tries to befriend him but Dio just throws it back at him showing from the very start that he wants nothing to do with him. Nobody believes Jonathan but eventually after their initial encounters until the end of their education, Jojo and Dio do have a casual relationship in which they share the glory in their rugby’s championship game.
Jonathan comes to learn the truth about Dio and how he wants to assassinate his father. Their confrontation makes Dio resort to using the stone mask to make him a vampire. Under the guidance of Will A. Zeppeli, a martial arts master, Jonathan learns the Hamon, a means to manipulate breathing into sunlight. Despite his greatest efforts to defeat Dio, his fate ends in great tragedy.
Voice Actor :Tomokazu
The 18-year-old main character of “Battle Tendency.” Raised in America, he adopts the old street rat mannerisms of 1930s New Yorkers and is actually a fan of American comics such as “Superman.” He is always getting into trouble and the only person that strikes the fear of God into him is his grandmother, Elena. He has natural abilities in using the Hamon, but will require the necessary training to properly use it and defeat the Pillar Men, the creators of the stone mask that made Dio into a vampire.
In addition, he has a unique ability to predict what a person will say next and that person will say it. Due to his crude personality, he has trouble making friends and listening to others, but is also a thorn to his foes.
Voice Actor :Koyasu, Takehito
Born and raised in an abusive household, Dio grows up to be a man much worse than his own father. Despite his initial under privileged upbringing, Dio demonstrates proper etiquette for a gentleman of Victorian England, obtains a college education, and has training in both the old London Prize Ring rules and Marquees Queensberry rules of boxing. Seeing his adoption into the Joestar family as an opportunity to become better than his father, he does everything to put up a front to please George and to humiliate Jonathan in every way possible to even kissing Jonathan’s girlfriend and burning his dog alive.
As a last resort after his initial plans are foiled, Dio wears the stone mask giving turning him into a vampire and giving him immense powers. The power drives him more insane than ever and rapidly builds an army of the undead.
Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken Review
Upon publication of this review, the manga series presently has eight parts and still in serialization. The first season does a great job of using the first two story arcs in exhibiting the manga’s qualities of establishing that this is a series that expands multiple generations of the Joestar family line.
Jonathan is more standard in terms of the action/Shounen archetype but the conditions of his story make it work in a distinct way. He's a wuss as a kid but his motivation to do the right thing pushes him through. Joseph just wants to mess around but is scared of his own grandmother scolding him, but in his fights he exhibits a unique sense of wit that is still expanded in the “Stardust Crusaders” story arc.
The supporting casts in both story arcs are effectively useful and impacting. Will A. Zeppeli in “Phantom Blood” is charismatic, friendly, and has this Bushido like spirit. Speedwagon is just charismatic and awesome. He makes you love exposition and he does it with style that makes him appropriately reactionary that represents the audience. With their distinctions, the trio has a way in which they balance therelationship to one another.
This quality is also carried over in further stories but with different and fresh dynamics. Like Joseph and Ceasar's initial relationship is rocky for reasons in relation to what happened to their grandfather’s in “Phantom Blood,” but the development of their relationship feels natural and the audience feels like they are a part of that ride. Lisa Lisa is a bad ass but the plot twist with her, even when I read the manga, was conclusively predictable. Stroheim is a nut case Nazi, but his obsessive personality captures the Nazis craziness but with a charming sense of comedy in a way where you can't help but like him. Smokey may not have been the most useful character but I am glad that he had his moments and that his character arc had some a strong closure.
The villains are just epic. Dio is probably one of my favorite villains of all time. He does a lot of cruel and twisted things you have to see. He is smart, strong, and psychotic. But what you see with him in “Phantom Blood” is only the beginning. The way I describe Dio overall as a villain is he is the type of person who knows what he is getting for Christmas. He can't wait to open it, but demonstrates enough patience to wait until Christmas morning and finds ways to stay occupied and keeps himself busy in very bad ways.
The Pillar Men, Wham, ACDC, and Cars in Battle Tendency are also rather archetypical of the manly Shounen genre. With ACDC, he is loyal to his cause but he has these tendencies that make him psychotic and unpredictable but still distinct able from Dio’s sense of insanity. Wham’s character is the old style honorable warrior who has a code, and Cars’ beliefs are that the ends justify the means in achieving his goals no matter what the sacrifice. Despite this trend, the villains in “Battle Tendecy” still bring a certain sense of fulfillment and are a credible threat in relation to the story.
The series is appropriately paced and even with my long experience reading the manga, I still found myself at the edge of my seat and laughing. However, I do think people will have issue with the reliance on exposition to force things but they do find a way to dramatically and/or comically give it you.
Even though Araki-sensei's style has massively evolved through the years like a good number of active manga artists throughout other long running manga such as “Hajime no Ippo” and “Berserk,” this series does a great job in accurately adapting the manga from its initial style and pays respects to Araki’s art style as a whole. If you want to see how much Araki-sensei's style has evolved, look at Dio's design in “Steel Ball Run“ and compare it to his design in this series. So appropriately, it sticks with its “Hokuto no Ken” original influences with the design with big muscles (which was kind of a norm between the mid-80s to the early-90s) while his present style is more on a leaner approach since the 4th story arc and has a more distinct and accurate anatomical approach with the lips and the eye sockets.
The use of colors in some of the psychedelic scenes is a good homage to the manga covers that relies on a lot of use of blue, yellow and pink. Araki-sensei uses those colors because he feels it brings out more power. And the freeze-frames that are infamous in anime are a somewhat must for this series for its unique symmetrical poses that makes “Jojo” famous in Japan.
A percentage of the casual clothing in context to design is appropriate to the times they respectively take place in and some characters are appropriately more colorful than others. The Zeppeli family got suits that all pimps wish they had.
The action is explosive but also strategic and violent. It can be fast paced, or it can be power based. Ultimately, it is a battle of wits. The action will have you at the edge of your seat and it has what I call the three B's: brains, brawn, and BALLS!!! It is naturally unpredictable if you are going to watch this without any familiarity to the manga but still exciting to see even with prior exposure since you get to see it all in motion. For “Phantom Blood,” the defining fight is Jonathan and Zeppeli against the two Knights while with” Battle Tendency,” it was Joseph's fight with Wham. I also love the lighting and resolution and it gave me a new perspective on what I imagined from the original manga.
Next, I want to address something that is both a yes and no issue with me and that was the selection of Koyasu Takehito as Dio. Maybe I should address this in “Stardust Crusaders” but I feel I should get a certain percentage of it out of the way. Like a certain number of fans, my first exposure to the franchise was through the Capcom fighter from the late 90s and I still own my Dreamcast copy. It is still popular in Japanese arcades to this day. I loved Dio's voice actor in that game, Chiba Isshin. I loved how he captured his battle cries and how he screeches his voice with his trademark WWWWWRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY even though it has some modulation. And how he screams to freeze time and to unfreeze time was chilling. And how he screams “The World,” or “Za Warudo” in the Japanese phonetic system brought that appropriate feeling of powerfulness.
No anime fan can deny that Koyasu Takehito has an excellent resume. One of my favorite roles of his such as Ryosuke from “Initial D” shows he is patient and calculating which factors into Dio’s persona. And he has also done some great villains like Zechs Merquise in “Gundam Wing”, Tekkaman Evil in “Tekkaman Blade,” and Neo Roanoake in “Gundam Seed Destiny.” I felt his voice was too smooth as Dio. Like how he screams “Muda Muda Muda” does not have that chilling affect as Chiba Isshin’s. And I already heard him scream “Za Warudo” in “All Star Battle” for PS3 and it does not fully resonate with me. I understand that other viewers with no prior exposure to the Capcom“Jojo” fighter will probably take no issue but I do acknowledge he has a feel for the character especially when he needs to be formal around George, but going crazy, his voice isn’t there for me in this season.
As for the rest of the cast, this is my first exposure to Okitsu Kazuyuki, the voice of Jonathan. He captures that he is passionate and ambitious. For Baron Zeppeli, we have a legend taking the role, Shioya Tsubasa, the voices of Jinpei from “Gatchaman,” Cosmo from “Space Runaway Ideon,” Siren Sorento from “Saint Seiya,”and Miyagi from “Slam Dunk.” In those roles, he had a much softer voice. As Miyagi, his voice was appropriately more scratchy and nasal. As Zeppeli, he captures being this world weary and obsessive master and brings the charisma necessary to the character. I think it surpasses all of his other performances showing a great versatility in his voice acting that is sometimes rarely exploited in the profession as a whole from time to time.
For part 1, Ueda Yoji as Speedwagon steals the show. I am not familiar with his previous roles, but I love how reactionary he was and whenever things went bad, he was always comically pessimistic. I felt his emotions despite how over the top they were very fitting for the bizarre world of “Jojo.”
For part 2, Sugita Tomokazu is how I imagined the young Joseph to sound like. He has his playful personality and his seriousness and street smarts all down. Stroheim is a bit more over the top than I imagined, but the performance of Imaruoka Atsushi reminds me that of a prime Furukawa Toshio, the voice of Piccolo from “Dragon Ball”, Shin from “Hokuto no Ken,” Kai Shiden from “Gundam,” Moroboshi Ataru from “Urusei Yatsura,” and Thanatos from The Hades OVA from “Saint Seiya.” Stroheim's actor has the essence of Furukawa’s pitch down and I felt it was a good representation of his character.
Also in this series are two “Ghost in the Shell” veterans, Tanaka Atsuko the voice of Makoto or the Major, and Ohtsuka Akio the voice of Bateau. Tanaka plays Lisa Lisa who can still play a badass woman but with a distinct kind of elegance and has an appropriate maternal feel to her performance. Ohtsuka Akio plays Wham, and he captures his honorable warrior spirit, patience, and wisdom. It is also interesting to, note that his father, Chikao, voiced Grandpa Joseph in the old OVAs of “Stardust Crusaders.” ACDC is voiced by Fujiwara Keiji, the voice of Kimura from “Hajime no Ippo,” Shingo from “Initial D,” and Ali Al Saachez from “Gundam 00.” His experiences as shady villains perfectly transitions to this role. And last, we have Inoue Takehiko, most famous as the voice of Kakashi in “Naruto” with his best villain role as Jerrid Mesa from “Zeta Gundam” playing Cars. His performance is something you have to see for yourself.
I know this review has been going on long and there is something about the voice acting I do wish to share but would be more appropriate for a review of” Stardust Crusaders” so I will move onto the music.
The ending song, “Yes” by Roundabout, was apparently one of Araki-sensei's favorite songs he listened to while he started “Jojo” and this song takes him back to those roots This is a good reminder that a good number of characters were all influenced by songs and musicians. So being heavily music influenced, music takes a big part in this series. The first series appropriately uses Victorian era percussionist from time to time while “Battle Tendency” is more acoustic and jazzy. Both story arcs use hard beat techno and rock in intensify the action sequences. Despite my rant on who should play Dio, I still dig it.
1. Dio’s puts on the stone mask
After Jonathan exposes Dio’s treachery and defeating him in a fist fight, as a last resort, Dio puts on the stone mask and he becomes far more evil than before. The stone mask always maintains an eerie presence throughout the first story arc and Dio using it on himself created the ultimate horror. It made him practically immortal and granted him powers he uses for twisted pleasures (for starters, putting human heads on the bodies of dogs). However, his new strength gave him new weaknesses and later to new powers.
2. Jonathan’s Death
The moment that really sets the foundation of the third story arc and second anime series, “Stardust Crusaders.” The audience and our heroes thought that Jojo stopped Dio and could finally live in peace, but apparently the rules of killing immortals in the “Highlander” series does not apply in the world of “Jojo” as Dio and Wang Chung raid Jonathan’s honey moon cruise. Mortally wounded, Jonathan saves his pregnant wife while he stays behind to make sure Dio will never live on…or so he thinks…..
3. Joseph Vs The Pillar Men
Joseph’s battle with the Pillar Men not only has the fate of the world at stake but their pride as men. The Pillar Men poisoned Joseph and even though he did have opportunities to use his cures, as a man-to-man promise to Ceasar, he does refrain from using them. Joseph’s fight with Wham is a traditional chariot battle like in “Gladiator” and “Ben-Hur” but taken to the upmost of extremes that only the “Shounen” genre can provide.
Contrasting with Wham’s Bushido inspired principles, Cars was all about obtaining ultimate God hood at any cost. He used dirty tricks and when he achieved his goal, he became more powerful but not necessarily invisible. In this final fight, Joseph pulled out all the stops to win. The battle was intense and is a quality preview of what “Stardust Crusaders” has in store.
To me, this is the anime I have wanted for 15 years and this gave me a fraction of that. The opening sequence from “Phantom Blood” shows pictures of from “Diamond are Unbreakable” and Jolyne from “Stone Ocean” so this is hopefully a good indicator that loyal manga readers or people new to “Jojo” get to see these other story arcs animated. If not, fans should sue for false advertising. The characters from those stories have decent seiyuus in the PS3 game and I think they can also work in the anime. Still, I am glad you put up with my review since this was an anime I wanted to watch and review for half of my life up to this point. And this isn't over yet, look forward to my upcoming review of the next installment, Stardust Crusaders.