Story/Art: Hirohiko Araki
Translation: Evan Galloway
What They Say:
Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (the new anime) started in October of 2012 and kind of took the internet over. All of a sudden, everyone loved this franchise that started with a naive kid named Jonathan Joestar meeting the son of a man to whom his father owed a debt, Dio Brando (his namesake from the Dio of Rainbow and solo fame). All its fans have good reason. In its first part, Phantom Blood, Jojo’s is exciting. It’s literally a battle between a representation of good, Jojo, and evil, Dio. Hirohiko Araki conceived of the manga as going through generations and he created a character in the light of the best of shonen heroes to do so.
Its opening pages do not start as so, however. It begins with the Aztecs sacrificing a young woman for the sake of a mysterious mask that gives you tremendous power. It is eye catching, it is risqué and it is exactly in the vein of the 80s Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies Araki wanted so much to emulate. The mask, as it appears, is seemingly the key to everything. It’s very concept is the most simple thing people desire: power. Power to rule, power to instill fear, power to protect perhaps in the hands of another. As of now, it’s only regarded as evil, and it will likely stay as such.
Jojo and Dio, however, are an intermingling of good and evil. It shows how evil can so easily manipulate. Jojo says so easily “if an unfamiliar dog ran up to me, I would be shocked as well. It’s all right.” But it’s not, in Jojo’s heart. Years later, now friends, Jojo still holds a grudge over the dog. Their relationship and trust between each other is merely in sport—the rugby they play together. In life, Jojo is quick to distrust Dio, who poisons his father.
There is no trust between these men, only tolerance.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is best summed up by its own title. It is indeed a very bizarre adventure and definitely worth the read. The artwork and the character designs are straight out of the 80s and I LOVE it. Reading this first book is like watching a really good 80s action movie, the level of Die Hard, Terminator, and Robocop. And, of course, the book is gorgeous. It’s a hardcover that’s on the level of Fantagraphic’s Wandering Son or Kodansha’s Vinland Saga. Merely holding it in my hands brings me joy as a fan of physical books. Jojo’s is a story that will immediately engross and excite you to want to read more. It’s taking everything in my power not to just go to Crunchyroll and marathon the whole anime. But I will abstain to keep my knowledge solely on the book.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: February 24th, 2015