JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood
Japanese Title: JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険)
Animated by David Production – Licensed by Warner Bros. Japan
English Release Date: May 30th, 2014 (Crunchyroll)
You may recall the large summary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Parts 1 & 2, where I rushed through the plots, characters and presentation for each part. I didn’t expect there to be new re-edited versions of each season, but I guess it could help get as many people interested in the anime series as possible. Considering how most people are usually put off by the difference in tone and style between Stardust Crusaders and the previous seasons, I can assume that the intention was to streamline both seasons for new viewers. However, does the original story still work despite the editing, and is it worth JoJo veterans going through Phantom Blood again?
If you want to read my description and analysis of Phantom Blood as a complete anime series, click here. Otherwise, just know that Jonathan Joestar’s story is something akin to a classic horror story, reminiscent of Dracula or the Portrait of Dorian Gray. This makes Phantom Blood a genuinely classic Gothic tale, Where humanity faces off against a demonic threat that surpasses them on every way. Then, we are introduced to Baron Zeppeli, who teaches Jonathan about the powers of Hamon, which is very typical of shonen manga. Soon, our heroes are ready to take on the ungoldy force, with Jonathan being the last hope of humanity.
I’ve made my thoughts on the anime clear, but how does the re-edited film hold up? I’d say Phantom Blood benefits from the shorted length, as several scenes that are either not important or not particularly great are either skipped through or removed. Remember the infamous baby-eating scene, where a woman pleads to be turned into a zombie so that her baby may be spared? Remember how in the manga/anime that ended up backfiring in the worst way possible? That’s gone, as are other potentially iffy scenes. I’m thankful that a lot of the opening scenes were shortened, as were several fight scenes. It all means the main story can be told better, as Phantom Blood is very simple compared to other parts of the franchise.
If brevity is the soul of wit, then this new re-edit understands that Phantom Blood works best as a simple good VS. evil tale. Anyone looking to catch-up on the history of the franchise will probably enjoy watching this film instead of going through all the episodes, and it serves as a great introduction to the world of JoJo. I wouldn’t say it’s the best that the franchise has to offer, but this film is probably the definitive interpretation of Phantom Blood, and I’d recommend anyone on the fence about the franchise to check this out, as well as the two films dedicated to Part Two: Battle Tendency.