JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (film)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 ファントム ブラッド, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Fantomu Buraddo) is an animated film produced by Studio A.P.P.P., which was given a limited theatrical release in Japan starting on February 17, 2007. It adapts the first part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series, Phantom Blood.
The film was made to commemorate the 20th anniversary of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and the 25th anniversary of Hirohiko Araki's career as a manga artist. It was produced alongside the PS2 game and features a few recurring voice actors.
The story opens in the Tibetan mountains with monks chanting inside a temple. On the edge of a cliff near the temple, a young Zeppeli asks Tonpetty to read his destiny by holding his hand. As soon as their hands connect, a giant burst of yellow light appears and encompasses the mountains, causing the skies to clear and turn blue. Tonpetty then sternly reveals to Zeppeli his fate, which is that if he continues down the path he has chosen, he will be met with a gruesome death. In England, Dario Brando walks at night accompanied by a young woman in the pouring rain. The woman expresses concern that his son must worried by his drinking habits, and as the two continue down a muddy road, Dario spots the wreckage of a carriage that had crashed. Dario smerks and decides to loot the carriage for valuables, only to find a strange Stone Mask. Dario then goes to rob the corpse of a well-dressed gentleman, only him to wake up. The man mistakes Dario for having saved his life and asks him if his wife and son are still alive. Upon learning that his son was the only one to survive the crash, he closes his eyes again in relief.
Dio the Invader
Years later, in 1880, Dio Brando is seen standing in front of the grave of his late father, Dario Brando, spitting on it before leaving. Dio then travels by carriage to the house of George Joestar, the gentleman whose life his father saved. To repay the debt to his father, George offered to adopt Dio and accept him into his home. As the carriage draws closer, George's son Jonathan can be seen playing with his dog, Danny. Once the carriage stops, Dio bursts out and locks eyes with Jonathan as the two stare back at each other. The two promptly introduce themselves, however, Dio loses his temper as Jonathan tries to help him carry his bags. Dio then proceeds to walk away, right before kicking Danny in the face much to Jonathan's dismay.
In the entrance of the mansion, Dio is lovingly welcomed into the family by his adopted father, George, alongside his servants. In the reading room, Jonathan meets with Dio again and tries to make amends with him by shaking his hand. Just as he reaches his arm out, Dio grabs it and angrily tells Jonathan never to look down upon him, before elbowing him in the stomach. Somewhere outside the mansion, Jonathan goes to talk to his friends, however, they suspiciously ignore him and walk away. Jonathan confronts them, but is pushed away. Returning home, he finds that his room as been ransacked and that the pocket watch he kept in his drawer is missing. He also finds a memento of his late mother, Mary Joestar, smashed on the floor by Dio. A sudden knock on the door reveals Dio, who is smugly holding the pocket watch in his hand, saying that he'll be borrowing it. Jonathan then follows Dio outside, angry at him for going into his drawer without permission. Dio responds by dropping the pocket watch on the floor and crushing it with his foot. That following night, Jonathan is pricked by a needle that Dio had hid under the pillow in his bed. Inside the mansion, Dio spots the Stone Mask and takes it off the wall. George approaches Dio and tells him that the mask was excavated from Mexico. The mask is said to have originally belonged to an Aztec tribe that worshipped the sun.
As Jonathan sits outside with Danny thinking about all the terrible things Dio has done to him, Erina appears to cheer him up. The two then romantically carve their names into the tree. However, after Jonathan leaves, Erina is suddenly ambushed by Dio, who teases Erina and asks if she’s done it with Jonathan yet before forcibly kissing her. The camera circles around during the kiss, and Erina's cute demeanor suddenly shifts to pride. A tearful Erina begins to wash her mouth out with muddy water as Dio looks on in disgust. Some time later, Jonathan meets up with Erina again. However, ashamed of what had happened, Erina bids him a final farewell before running off never to be seen again. Upon learning of Dio's heinous act, Jonathan rushes back to the mansion in a blind fit of rage and demands an explanation from Dio for what he did to Erina. But before Jonathan can strike, Dio elbows him directly in the face, knocking him down. Returning to his feet, Jonathan and Dio both enter combat stances. Dio, believes he has the upperhand, but is surprised when Jonathan is able to overwhelm him. Several days later, it's discovered that Danny had burned alive in the incinerator. Jonathan's father delivers the devastating news to him, and they both sorrowfully stand alongside other servants at Danny's burial. Jonathan feels ashamed for suspecting Dio.
The Immortal Monster
Seven years pass, with Jonathan and Dio's relationship remaining unchanged as they mature into young adults. During this time, Jonathan's father is also revealed to have fallen ill and become bedridden. On the day of their university graduation, Jonathan learns of Dio's scheme to seize the Joestar family fortune by killing their father and becomes enraged. Determined to protect his father, Jonathan sets out to find the oriental man who sold Dio the poison and prove his guilt once and for all. In Jonathan's absence, Dio is shown grinning as he pries open his drawer, revealing the Stone Mask which was the subject of Jonathan's archaeological study. While wondering the streets at night, Dio encounters a drunk vagrant who appears homeless and decides to use him to test the Stone Mask. As Dio stabs the man in the neck and places the mask on him, protruding spikes appear and dramatically pierce his skull as a flashing green light is emanated. Dio then walks away, thinking that there's no way he could've survived the spikes piercing his brain. However, Dio is caught off guard as the man suddenly rises from the dead with inhuman strength. The man attacks Dio but misses, shattering all the bones in his own hand. Despite his injuries, the man manages to grab Dio by the throat and begins draining his blood. As the man drains Dio's blood, his appearance becomes more youthful. Before Dio is killed, the sun rises and turns the vampire into dust, allowing him to survive knowledge of the mask's true power.
When Dio returns to the mansion, he's met by Jonathan and George, as well as several police officers who have come for his arrest. However, Dio seems unfazed. When Dio is questioned by Jonathan about his actions, he finally reveals his true nature and pulls out the Stone Mask, declaring his intent to "transcend humanity." Dio attempts to stab Jonathan, but George steps in and is stabbed instead. In a last-ditch effort, Dio uses George's blood to activate the Stone Mask, causing a bright green light to emanate from it. However, the police officers open fire on Dio, causing his lifeless corpse to come crashing through the window into the pouring rain. As George lies bloody on the ground, Jonathan goes to comfort him. George tells his son that he continued to trust Dio's father, even after learning he was a thief. With his hand on Jonathan's tearful face, George tells him that dying in his son's arms isn't so bad before passing away.
Without time to grieve, Dio is revived as a vampire and uses his new vampiric powers to reek bloody havoc in the mansion, gruesomely crushing the skulls of one of the police officers and rendering their bodies asunder. Dio's mutters "WRYYY" under his breathe with his voice taking on a much soother yet threatening demeanor compared to before his transformation. Overwhelmed with the guilt of causing his father's dead and Dio's use of the Stone Mask, Jonathan musters the strength to confront Dio.
After his dual against Dio, Jonathan rests easy believing that the monster had been defeated once and for all. However, a stranger of the name Baron Zeppeli comes bearing news that Dio was still alive, and also of his pursuit of the Stone Mask. Zeppeli teaches Jonathan the Ripple, a technique designed to put an end the Stone Mask's curse. This technique involves generating ripples within the body through a special breathing technique, producing energy similar to that of the sun. Jonathan undergoes arduous training to defeat Dio and ultimately masters he masters it. This section requires expansion.
Fire and Ice, Jonathan and Dio
The Phantom Blood film was first teased in 2004 at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, with a test pilot being shown. The animation style and designs used in the pilot differ from the final product, and includes some scenes and characters, such as the appearance of Robert E. O. Speedwagon, who is notably missing from the actual film. The pilot was thought to be lost until September 14, 2019, when it was posted on YouTube after being discovered on an old DVD-RW. Junichi Hayama, who worked on the OVA series, was also made the character designer and animation director for the film. When the original director for the film left midway through production, Hayama was forced to take over as the main director. The film was initially planned to be 70 minutes long, but was later extended to 90 minutes.
On September 13, 2006, an event was held to promote the upcoming Phantom Blood PS2 game, which was set to release on October 26, 2006. During the event, it was revealed that Dio Brando's voice actor in the PS2 game, Hikaru Midorikawa, would be reprising his role in the movie, and that the comedy duo "Speedwagon" would be voicing Wang Chan and Dario Brando respectively. Those present at the event were given a sneak peek of a 47-second trailer of the film, which was later included as a bonus for those who pre-ordered the game. Two unused/rare posters were also displayed in the hallways of this event, which weren't used for the final movie except in promotional material.
The film premiered in Japanese theaters on February 17, 2007, and was set for a DVD release. However, due to unknown circumstances, the film never received a home video release and is currently considered lost media. In 2023, Junichi Hayama claimed that, for reasons he cannot disclose, Shueisha had seized all the assets related to the film and prevented him from further working on it. On May 19, 2012, an unfinished 16-minute workprint version of film was uploaded to YouTube. The workprint was put together from random clips and is missing voiceovers. A few scenes are also absent and some shots use storyboards in lieu of animation. According to the user who uploaded it, the footage was given to them as part of a sound design project at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. During the project, students were tasked with adding their own sound effects to the footage. However, the project didn't last long, as Marco d'Ambrosio dropped out from the class, so it didn't progress any further. Aside from trailer and promotional material, this remains as the only existing footage of the film.
Film to Manga Differences
- The music in the Teaser Trailer is a remix of two tracks from the 1993 OVA: Dio's Dervish and Going Home. The theatrical trailer also remixes two 2000 OVA tracks: Polnareff's Feelings and Polnareff's Anger.
- Kenta Miyake, voice actor of one of the vagrants, will later be known as the voice actor of Muhammad Avdol. Katsuyuki Konishi, the voice actor of Jonathan Joestar in this movie, will later be known as the voice actor of Diavolo in the Golden Wind anime adaptation.
- There have been various unfounded rumors surrounding Araki's opinion on the film since its release; such as Araki "hating" the movie, or him wanting it "burnt." There are currently no sources to prove these claims.
- On the movie's poster, Jonathan is modeled after Joseph Joestar from the cover of Volume 8. His jewelry is also from the Cover of Volume 3.