Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Anime Reviews: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 2012 - Part I - Phantom Blood

Part I - Phantom Blood - Episodes 3–9

The Story
When Dio returns back to the mansion after his encounter with a creature he unknowingly created, Jonathan is there waiting for him. After Jonathan’s investigations all point out Dio as the one responsible for making George Joestar ill, Dio turns to his final resort by doing what he did earlier to himself: using the stone mask and George Joestar’s blood to become a creature of the night: a vampire.

No longer human, Dio proceeds to wipe out nearly everyone in the Joestar mansion as Jonathan fights Dio in what is to quite the battle of wits and there is more to come in later episodes. Jonathan defeats Dio at the expense of losing the mansion and the dead body of his father.

Shortly after his defeat, Dio comes alive and retreats to heal his wounds. While recovering in the hospital, Jonathan meets Erina Pendleton and the two get reacquainted. Later they meet William A. Zeppeli who tells Jonathan that he came to Great Britain in order to find the stone mask and destroy it. He tells Jonathan about the Ripple, a source of power that is the key to defeating those who don the stone mask. He teaches Jonathan how to harness the Ripple and soon he, Jonathan, and Speedwagon leave to find and finish off Dio.

Along the way, they fight powerful adversaries like Jack the Ripper, Bruford, and Tarkus, all under the service of Dio. Along the way, Zeppeli meets his end as Jonathan, Speedwagon, and their new allies press onward to defeat Dio.

Jonathan and Dio finally have their duel as utilizing all of his Ripple energy, Jonathan defeats Dio indefinitely and peace returns. During that brief peace, the stone mask was destroyed and Jonathan married Erina as the two set off on a ship bound for the United States on their honeymoon.

Soon the ship they were on is taken over by vampires led by the surviving Dio who has come to take Jonathan’s body for his own but mortally wounds him. With his last dying Ripple, Jonathan manages to stop Dio from succeeding with his plans by blowing up the ship. Erina and a baby she saved were the only survivors that day.

The Review
What else can I say but that this was certainly about as bizarre as Alice in Wonderland—only with manly men fighting vampires. I am going to repeat that because that is what this series is really all about: Manly men fighting vampires.

The more the Ripple was touched on ever since it was introduced, the more believable it felt. Even if it was all fictional, it made me wish I could learn something like that but then I would be forced to tangle with vampires that would tear me limb from limb. Then again, the vampires would tear anyone, Ripple user or not limb from limb if they could. Not a fun thought.

Aside from the Ripple, what I really loved about this series was that none of the battles were the same throughout. The characters all learned to fight one another while outsmarting the other in just ridiculous but believable ways. Like forming a hang glider out of dead leaves to fly across a gorge or throwing a Ripple-infused rose at the eye of their enemy. Okay that last one was not believable since the character who did that was only a head by then but he made it work.

I was never fond of a character I liked dying and this series makes no exceptions because it literally is out there to beat you down if you get too attached to a character. Here’s a rule I go by: I do not get attached to a character too soon after they are introduced for three episodes unless I am sure they will make it through the battles alive. Zeppeli and Jonathan pretty much break that rule later on. What JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure does is make you love a character so much that when they die, they die in some really bad ways and when it happens, it hurts—it hurts a lot.

For a series that faithfully adapts to its original content with a couple changes to it, the most solid job that stood out is the narration. Another series that relies heavily on narration is Medaka Box, a series I have put on hold for nearly a year and a half now. With JJBA 2012, the narration really draws me into the plot and the characters. I just want to say that the narrating is the best I’ve seen since anything of late. Thinking about it now, it was done to avoid going over the page limit when JJBA was being published in WSJ at the time. It’s done so effectively that it would be sacrilege to not have the narration in later parts.

The Grade


I know what you're going to say next. You're going to say, "There's a Part 2?" Yes, there is more than just Part 1, in fact, out of the two Parts I have seen, Part 2 is undoubtedly my favorite.


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