Jonathan Joestar (ジョナサン・ジョースター,Jonasan Jōsutā) is the protagonist of the first part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series, Phantom Blood, and the first JoJo of the series. His legacy extends throughout almost the entirety of the first six parts of the series, with major characters such as Joseph Joestar and Jotaro Kujo being his descendants.
Born the unique son of the wealthy businessman George Joestar I, Jonathan is an honest, kind, and positive man whose life is fraught with tragedy after meeting his adopted older brother - and series antagonist - Dio Brando. In his battle against Dio, Jonathan becomes a Ripple user under the tutelage of the master Will Anthonio Zeppeli.
Adhering to the norms of the Victorian era, Jonathan's childhood attire consisted of a collared shirt, breeches, and a pair of long socks with dress shoes. This was either accompanied by a blazer, vest, and tie, or a pair of suspenders. As a nobleman, he'd sometimes replace the tie with a ribbon-like his father's.
When boxing, he wears a casual boxing outfit consisting of a tank top, shorts, and boxing gloves.
During his time with Erina, Jonathan also dons a Newsboy cap and a pair of knee-high boots.
When treading in the river, he wears a striped two-piece swimsuit.
As an adult, Jonathan is a tall (195 cm/6'5"), extremely muscular individual with a gentlemen's poise. His typical attire tends to reflect his noble background, characterized by stylized tunics over long-sleeve shirts. Reoccurring articles of clothing include a cravat, bowtie, thick boots and a vest.
At home, Jonathan wears semi-formal attire consisting of a collared shirt, tie, and jacket with rolled-up sleeves.
During University Rugby matches, he wears a standard striped rugby shirt and pants with long socks.
When he sets out to Ogre Street to find a cure for his father's illness, Jonathan dons an entirely new outfit made up of a padded jacket and pants, complete with a deerstalker cap and a long cloak.
During his training with Zeppeli, he strips down to a stylized tank top with wristbands, and at some point a circlet.
During his childhood, Jonathan was proud and mischievous, yet gentle. Despite already aspiring to be a "true gentleman", Jonathan lacked manners and mostly behaved like a normal child. His mother having died before he could remember her, and his fellow boys ostracizing him because of his status left Jonathan somewhat lonely. While at first, Jonathan didn't have his future strength of will, Dio unwittingly became the catalyst of his growth by pushing him to the edge and humiliating his girlfriend Erina Pendleton. However, he did have the kindness and courage to immediately jump to Erina's rescue against two bullies bigger than him despite not knowing her.
First and foremost, Jonathan strives to become a "true gentleman." He carries his Joestar name with pride, never betraying the code of conduct he has set for himself and will treat any fellow human with respect unless they prove evil.
JoJo is determined to rid the world of Dio's evil
Jonathan also possesses a fierce inner strength and the drive to face and overcome conflict, which Dio calls an "explosive power". That drive, fueled by his affection to his friends and loved ones, enabled him to overcome the direst situations, notably managing to save his wife Erina when their boat was overcome with zombies and he was fatally hit in the throat. Jonathan fights for what he believes in, and once he is committed to something, he won't back down until the deed is done. During his journey to find a cure for his father's illness, he was ambushed by a band of misfit hoodlums. He did not so much as flinch as he grasped an assailant's knife within his hand, saying he had much more riding on the fight than merely four fingers.
Explaining his reason for going easy on Speedwagon
As a gentleman, Jonathan is also kind and positive. Jonathan has a mindset where he tries to imagine the consequences his actions would have on other people, even if they appear to be enemies. He is gentle and sympathetic, feeling pain even as he vanquishes a zombified copper. Despite his skill in fighting, he will never seriously harm a person without a valid reason. Even after everything Dio has done, Jonathan still considers him his brother, and sheds tears for him. His courteous nature as well as his mental fortitude and ability to withstand fear and pain, is the main reason Speedwagon decides to aid him on his journey. During his life, Jonathan has always had an impulse to save others, beginning with Erina, and ending with his thought of a nearby baby just as he was agonizing from Dio's attack.
Yet Jonathan can feel righteous fury at the evilness of his foes, and will conduct justice by vanquishing them. He admitted that his reason for fighting Dio wasn't out of duty for saving the world, but to avenge his loved ones that Dio had killed. Moreover, he has no pity for truly despicable individuals he is not familiar with such as Doobie.
With his courage and spirit, Jonathan sets a legacy as the first JoJo of the series.
Fascinated with the Stone Mask, Jonathan tried to study it and even took on the path of archeology. However, not having thought of putting in on anyone, Jonathan didn't discover its true purpose himself.
Jonathan had lived a rough past as the son of an aristocrat, and was known in his childhood to have been at least a competent boxer. In his college life, he played Rugby alongside Dio Brando, and was revered as one of the two stars of Hugh Hudson Academy.
Even prior to learning the Ripple, Jonathan was able to hold his own against three thugs, Speedwagon among them, with sheer might and willpower. He was capable of wielding various weaponry held by the suits of armor in the Joestar Mansion. He had also performed incredible feats of strength, such as jumping from the hilt of a sword and hoisting himself up to the second floor while doing a flip over the guardrails, despite his arm being inhibited by a spear pierced into his pectorals. Perhaps his greatest display of strength was after being revitalized and empowered by Zeppeli's Ultimate Deep Pass Overdrive, where he ripped through 3 steel bars clutching his neck, a feat that even the mighty zombie Tarkus outright admitted he was incapable of.
Jonathan is shown to be an intelligent person and a very competent thinker during battles, constantly coming up with new strategies mid-combat to defeat foes such as Bruford and Dio.
Academically, Jonathan graduated from university after having written a celebrated thesis in archaeology. He has meticulously studied the Stone Mask, going as far as identifying the spots in the brain it would pierce, but didn't discover its true purpose himself.
In a fight, Jonathan is adept at thinking of moves on the spot and using the environment to his advantage. On several occasions, Jonathan was quick to formulate plans even in a moment of crisis. Still agonizing over the death of his father, Jonathan had to fight a vampirized Dio, and quickly thought about burning down the Joestar Mansion in order to cancel out Dio's regenerative abilities. Likewise, agonizing from a wound in the throat which also led to a lack of oxygen going to his brain, Jonathan managed to use his last Ripple on Wang Chan to dispose of a horde of zombies and Dio at the same time by controlling Wang Chan's body to make the boat explode. Jonathan even notably used his belt as a supplementary whip before ever acquiring the Ripple, as well exploited the fact that Windknight's Lot was a coal mining town to deduce that a lake would have air pockets at its bottom to surprise Bruford with an unexpected production of Ripple.
Jonathan has an arsenal of ancient martial art techniques, most inherited from Will A. Zeppeli and involving Ripple, at his disposal. Some are his original creation, each ending with "Overdrive".
Zoom Punch (ズームパンチ,Zūmu Panchi): Jonathan launches his fist forward and strikes his opponent. First used by Zeppeli, the attack involves a Ripple breathing technique that dislocates and stretches the joints to extend the arm and give it greater reach while also using the same Ripple to dull the pain caused by the move. Due to the increased length, the strike immediately reaches the opponent's face first, which from that perspective seems "zoomed in."
Sendo Ripple Overdrive (仙道波紋疾走,Sendō Hamon Ōbādoraibu): Jonathan charges a Ripple wave through his arm and releases it into a solid object, such as a wall or partition. The Ripple can travel through and reach anything on the other side, and anything hit by the Ripple is sent flying in a spiral. If the enemy is an Undead, the Ripple will enter their bloodstream and destroy them from the inside.
Scarlet Overdrive (緋色の波紋疾走,Sukāretto Ōbādoraibu): Charging the Ripple into one hand, Jonathan can create a Ripple of flame. He is able to transfer over this flame to another part of his body, and anything that touches that body part has a chance of catching fire.
Underwater Turquoise Blue Overdrive (水中のための青縁波紋疾走,Suichū no Tame no Tākoizu Burū Ōbādoraibu): Appropriately the strongest place to use the Ripple, Jonathan can release high powered tempests while underwater with enough force to blast enemies away. In most cases, a good portion of the water is propelled outward as well, draining something like a lake to waist-high depth.
Overdrive Barrage (波紋疾走連打,Ōbādoraibu Renda): When Jonathan jabs fast enough consecutively, he can release multiple Overdrives at once.
Metal Silver Overdrive (銀色の波紋疾走,Metaru Shirubā Ōbādoraibu): Essentially the same as a Sendo Ripple Overdrive, but with the ability of transferring through metal.
Life Magnetism Overdrive (生命磁気への波紋疾走,Seimei jiki e no Ōbādoraibu): With the aid of Zeppeli, Jonathan can draw all the leaves in the immediate area and magnetize them together to form one giant leaf, which was used as an impromptu-hang glider. This move can be applied to most plants, and has the ability to revive them passively as well - as when Jonathan touched a dead tree branch with his newly Ripple-healed arm and restored its wilted flowers.
Sunlight Yellow Overdrive
Sunlight Yellow Overdrive (山吹き色の波紋疾走！！,Sanraito Ierō Ōbādoraibu, Lit. "Bright Yellow Ripple Sprint"): His final and most memorable attack, first marked by Jonathan's words: "My heart resonates! The heat's enough to burn! The beat of my blood is razor-sharp!!" (ふるえるぞハート！燃えつきるほどヒート！！刻むぞ血液のビート！,Furueru zo hāto! Moetsukiru hodo hīto!! Kizamu zo, ketsueki no bīto!). It is a devastating and extremely rapid flurry of Ripple-infused punches with power comparable to the sun itself and has the ability to completely obliterate the Undead.
Alongside the attacks, the Ripple has various other uses in combat. A skilled Ripple user such as Jonathan has the ability to walk on water, strengthen objects and increase their potency, increase jumping height, and much more.
One of the main conveniences of the Ripple is the ability to heal the body to an extent. During his battle with Doobie, Jonathan was able to eject poison out of his bloodstream via Ripple transfusion. During his battle with Tarkus, he was also able to heal his broken neck after receiving the Supreme Pass Overdrive from Zeppeli.
Jonathan infuses Bruford's sword, "Luck & Pluck," with Ripple.
Luck and Pluck (幸運と勇気,Rakku to Purakku): After his defeat, Bruford gave Jonathan his sword, which played a major role in the final battle against Dio, where Jonathan was able to counter Dio's freezing ability by infusing the sword with Ripple, in order to avoid direct contact with Dio's body.
Manga Debut: Chapter 122, The Thing on the Plane
Along with the The World, it was stated that DIO's semi-precognitive abilities that seemed to have resulted from a Hermit Purple-like Stand were due to a Stand power that awoke in Jonathan's body. Similar to Hermit Purple, it can produce a psychic photograph by smashing a camera, which DIO used to track the Joestars and their friends's current location to send Stand Users after them.
George Joestar I: In his youth, Jonathan's father was very strict on him, correcting his lack of table manners and berating his studies, while ignoring the harm that Dio was bringing on his son. This was perhaps made worse by the fact that Jonathan's mother had died some years ago, hardening George and causing him to be harsher on his son. Regardless, Jonathan still loves his father greatly, angrily beating up Dio, whom he had been friends with for the past seven years, for poisoning his father. When Dio throws a knife at Jonathan, George sacrifices himself to block the knife and comments that "it's not so bad to die in your son's arms".
Mary Joestar: Though Jonathan's interactions with his mother are never seen as she is killed while he was still an infant, he is shown to love her greatly, looking at her picture wistfully and crying right after Dio ruins his life with his arrival.
Danny: Jonathan and Danny have forged a strong bond since Danny saved Jonathan from drowning in the river. Jonathan is shown to be very angry when Danny was kicked by Dio and had sobbed uncontrollably when the household had buried Danny. Danny still shows up in his master's memories, when Jonathan remembers having fought with Danny over a bone.
Erina Pendleton: Jonathan's love interest and eventually his wife first hands him a handkerchief shortly after he is beaten down by bullies. Jonathan professes his love for her afterwards, which she is shown to accept at least in part, until Dio enters and steals her first kiss in order to upset the two. Erina does return after the Joestar mansion burns down, however, and nurses Jonathan back to health, igniting the relationship between the two once more. The two are married after Jonathan manages to defeat Dio with his Ripple, and their relationship continues well into Erina's old age, where her memories of Jonathan prevent her from entering into a relationship with Robert Speedwagon.
Giorno Giovanna: Many years after Jonathan's death, DIO uses Jonathan's body to get around in the world now, during which he sires 4 children, one of which is Giorno. Of all the children, Giorno is born first and carries the birthmark thanks to Jonathan's DNA present in his body. While a slightly darker side of Giorno exists, resembling DIO's ruthlessness (albeit towards evil people), he retains a noble heart and desire to help innocents, closer to Jonathan's ideals.
Robert E. O. Speedwagon: Jonathan's most loyal friend. An enemy at first, he later joined Jonathan on his quest after seeing the protagonist's dedication and courteous nature. In his later years, he founded The Speedwagon Foundation, which has become the Joestar Family's most useful asset in battling Stand users and supernatural research.
Will Anthonio Zeppeli: Jonathan, upon meeting Zeppeli, was initially perplexed by his appearance and strange abilities. After Zeppeli explains his actions and the significance of the Ripple, Jonathan grows to trust Zeppeli completely and looks up to him as a mentor. Zeppeli eventually sacrifices himself to save Jonathan and transfers his energy and life force to him, moments before dying. Jonathan tearfully avenges Zeppeli by killing Tarkus.
Poco: As with the rest of his party, Jonathan felt it necessary to look after Poco during his battle against Dio and his undead army. He takes it upon himself to save Poco's sister during their infiltration of Dio's castle.
Tonpetty: Given the short time-sharing, their relationship was nothing more than a cordial respect and empathy with them over the death of Zeppeli.
Dire: Dire died too fast to exchange more than a few words with him. However, it is Jonathan who takes revenge on his hands against Dio.
Straizo: Given the short time-sharing, their relationship was nothing more than a cordial respect and empathy with them over the death of Zeppeli. However after Jonathan's death, it is Straizo who adopts the child that Jonathan's saves and gives to Erina and eventually teaches the child in the ways of the Ripple. Since Straizo's adoptive daughter married his son that would essentially make them brothers-in-law.
Dio Brando: In their childhood, Dio and Jonathan do not get along well due to Dio's antagonism towards Jonathan and his ability to both outshine him and ruin his relationships greatly. Years later at Hugh Hudson Academy, Jonathan is shown to have become friendly with Dio, though Jonathan still suspects that something is suspicious about Dio's behavior, while Dio had been plotting to take over the Joestar household. Their antagonism reaches a peak when Dio poisons, and later kills, Jonathan's father and transforms into a vampire. Regardless, both maintain some degree of respect towards one another, as shown when Jonathan suicidally attempts to pin Dio on a pointed statue as the Joestar mansion burned down & destroyed his body in their final battle, and Dio acknowledges Jonathan shortly before attempting to take over Jonathan's body. In the end, Jonathan failed to stop Dio and his body is possessed by him. Their relationship sparks a legacy that continues well into the future parts of the series.
Wang Chan: As the man who gave Dio the poison that was used to try and kill his father, Jonathan despised Wang Chan. Unlike Dio, Wang Chan had no respect for Jonathan and constantly insulted him. During his final battle with Dio, Jonathan used the last of his Ripple to kill Wang Chan and use his body to blow up the ship and Dio with it.
Tarkus: Jonathan was originally awestruck at Tarkus having learned of him in history books, but after he destroyed the remains of his comrade Bruford, Jonathan lost all respect for him. The two would later battle in a castle chained together and said battle would lead to Zeppeli's death, in anger and sadness Jonathan destroyed Tarkus.
Bruford: Like Tarkus, Jonathan highly respected Bruford due to his reputation as a great fighter and knight. After their battle, Bruford also grew to respect Jonathan and gave him his sword before his death.
Jack the Ripper: Because he was one of Dio's minions and an infamous serial killer, Jonathan knew Jack was a threat and had to be stopped. In the end, Jonathan destroyed Jack with his Ripple.
So... that Stone Mask... it has given birth to a monster! Frankly, I'm scared! But I can't let you remain in this world, Dio! I never expected the Stone Mask that I was inquisitively researching to be a tool for creating demons... It's my fault... I have to fight!
In Jump Comics Volume 1, there is a typographical error where Jonathan uses the line 何をするだァーッ (Nani o suru da) instead of 何をするんだァーッ (Nani o surun da). This error was not fixed for 15 years until the 66th printing and has since then been replicated in other works such as Phantom Blood (PS2 Game) and All Star Battle.
According to an interview with Araki, Jonathan's name was inspired by a family restaurant, "Jonathan's," at which he and his editor would frequently meet late at night to discuss ideas.
According to JOJO A-GO!GO!, the ability DIO uses during Stardust Crusaders, to create a vision on a crystal ball, is actually a Stand power which awoke in Jonathan's body.
Jonathan has a similar appearance and physique to Hokuto no Ken's Kenshiro.
Araki stated in JoJonium Vol. 1 that Jonathan was difficult for him to design. He wanted to create a "first Joestar" that could function as a symbol of purity and dignity rather than a unique, fresh character. However, there were limitations on how he could write the character due to being a "symbol of justice", so Araki found himself unsure where to take the character.
Jonathan is the only character to appear in every chapter of the respective part they were introduced in, as he is in every chapter of Phantom Blood.
Due to the concept of the Joestar Birthmark not being introduced until Stardust Crusaders, Jonathan is not shown to have it in the manga. Later adaptations do show Jonathan's birthmark, such as the 2000 OVA during the flashback showing Jonathan's death, or the 2012 anime when he defeats Tarkus.