|JoJo's Bizarre Adventure character|
Dio with his Stand, The World, as he appears in Stardust Crusaders.
|First appearance||JoJo's Bizarre Adventure chapter #1: "Dio the Invader" (1986)|
|Created by||Hirohiko Araki|
|Voiced by||See Voice actors|
|Relatives||Dario Brando (father)
Giorno Giovanna (son)
Donatello Versus (son)
Dio Brando (Japanese: ディオ・ブランドー Hepburn: Dio Burandō) is a fictional character from the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga series created by Hirohiko Araki. He first appears as the primary antagonist of the first story arc Phantom Blood in the debut chapter "Dio the Invader" (侵略者ディオ Shinryakusha Dio), which was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on January 1, 1987. He later returns as the main antagonist in the series' third story arc Stardust Crusaders, where he is now known solely as Dio, and he also appears in flashbacks in the sixth story arc Stone Ocean. In the seventh story arc Steel Ball Run an alternative version of Dio called Diego Brando, who is also called Dio for short, appears as a major character in the setting.
The poor son of an abusive alcoholic who worked his mother to death, Dio Brando holds an inordinate amount of enmity toward others. As the series' most prolific villain, his defining trait is his staunch ambition, which manifests in a peerless desire for power, no matter the cost.
Creation and design
When beginning the series, Dio is the character that Araki looked forward to drawing the most. He said that he was inspired by FBI profiling of serial killers; admitting that in a way he thinks they must be incredibly strong to be able to commit the heinous crimes that they do. How they control their victims through psychological manipulation interested him as well, a trait similar to how Dio has followers to do his bidding. Araki revealed that he had not thought up a weakness for the character and that it was difficult to come up with a way for Dio to be defeated. Dio's first name is a reference to the Italian word for God.
Araki intended to characterize him as unapologetically baleful in his pursuit of ambition, with his literal abandonment of his humanity reflecting his figurative and emotional one.
Throughout all his depictions, Dio Brando maintains short-length blond hair while possessing a towering, muscular build as impressive as that of the series' titular protagonists. His various designs all see clothing that prominently display the color gold. Once he takes over the body of Jonathan Joestar, the first protagonist of JoJo, he abandons his pattern of ornate clothes in favor of simple jackets, tanktops, bracelets, and pants that continue to emphasize the color gold, while simultaneously contrasting this with the rather outlandish wardrobe choices of gold-colored elf shoes and a bright green headband, belt, and knee pads bearing heart symbols. Prior to his full reveal, he appears topless during various interludes in the shadows of his mansion, his face remaining unseen until his reunion with Jean-Pierre Polnareff. After consuming Joseph Joestar's blood, Dio abandons his jacket and accessories, his spiked blonde hair becomes more prominent, his facial expressions become more manic in nature, and his lips are tinted dark green; this appearance is often referred to as "High Dio" (in reference to him describing this state as "the ultimate high") in merchandise.
In Phantom Blood, the child of an abusive drunkard named Dario Brando, Dio Brando becomes the adopted brother of Jonathan Joestar by using the promise that George Joestar made to Dario years ago. Upon entering the Joestar estate after his father died, Dio wasted no time unequivocally making young Jonathan's life a living hell to take everything from him. But Dio underestimated Jonathan's retaliation for kissing his beloved Erina Peddleton, spending the next seven years feigning to be Jonathan's friend before enacting his plan to steal the Joestar fortune by poisoning George with the same poison he used to kill Dario. When Jonathan investigates the matter for proof, Dio plots to use an ancient South American stone mask to murder Jonathan. However, Dio learns the mask transforms the wearer into a vampire when exposed to blood, and uses it on himself when his scheme is exposed. Dio proceeds to start his subjugation of England in the small village of Knight's Lot, amassing sired followers to his cause. Jonathan is sought out by William Zeppeli, a master of an ancient martial art called Hamon which can kill Vampires, and he teaches Jonathan how to use this ability as Dio sends other vampires and zombies after him to kill him so he can take over the world. Jonathan seemingly kills him once more, but Dio's head survives. With the help of his servant Wang Chen, Dio attacks Jonathan on his honeymoon with Erina in an attempt to claim his enemy's body for his own. Despite having his throat fatally punctured by Dio, Jonathan is able to use Hamon one last time to overload the ship's engines with Dio apparently destroyed in the resulting explosion. Erina, escaping unharmed with an orphaned girl, survives Jonathan with their unborn son.
Dio Brando does not appear in Battle Tendency, but the aftermath of his apparent death at the hands of Jonathan Joestar affect the plot. It is ultimately revealed that Jonathan and Erina's son George Joestar II, a famed pilot of the Royal Air Force in World War I, was murdered by one of Dio's zombie henchmen who survived the battle of Knight's Lot and had infiltrated the RAF. George II's wife, the orphaned girl Elizabeth, hunted down this zombie and killed him with her Hamon. But as no one in the RAF knew that her victim was not human as she became a wanted murderer, Elizabeth was forced to go into hiding as Lisa Lisa. Lisa Lisa would later encounter her son Joseph Joestar, teaching him Hamon so he can defeat the Pillar Man Kars whose creation of the Stone masks made him indirectly responsible for Dio's transformation.
It is revealed in Stardust Crusaders that Dio survived the ship's explosion and attached his head to Jonathan's body as the ship sank, confining himself in a casket at the bottom of the ocean for a century until a shipwreck salvage operation retrieved him in 1983. Dio soon meets the mystic Enya Geil who awakens his Stand, The World (ザ・ワールド Za Wārudo), allowing the newly dubbed "Dio" to stop the passage of time around him. As his head is attached to Jonathan Joestar's body, it awakens Stand abilities in all of Jonathan's living descendants. While Joseph Joestar and his grandson Jotaro Kujo have the resolve to control their Stands, Joseph's daughter and Jotaro's mother Holly has her very life sapped away because of her kind disposition. This spurs Jotaro and Joseph to track down Dio along with friends Mohammed Avdol, Noriaki Kakyoin, Jean-Pierre Polnareff, and Iggy the Boston Terrier to kill him once and for all, freeing Holly from the curse the Stand has trapped her under. Dio responds by preemptively trying to assassinate the Joestars before they can find him in his lair in Cairo, sending other evil Stand users, some of whom he controlled mentally before they joined the Joestars on their journey. Along the way, Avdol & Iggy are killed by Dio's right hand Vanilla Ice, who in turn is killed by Polnareff. Dio kills Jotaro's friend Kakyoin in combat and nearly kills Joseph after draining him of his blood, but Jotaro's own Stand Star Platinum proves to be The World's equally powered counterpart, and Jotaro's own rage at Dio being the cause of his friends' deaths and his mother's dwindling health leads him to be victorious over Dio, who is killed by Jotaro and Star Platinum. After Joseph's blood is restored, he and Jotaro take Dio's body out into the desert and expose it to sunlight, killing the evil vampire once and for all.
Diamond Is Unbreakable and Vento Aureo
Dio is not present in either Diamond Is Unbreakable or Vento Aureo, but his influence on the story is still present. In Diamond Is Unbreakable, it is revealed that Dio acquired his Stand by means of an ancient artifact known as the "Bow and Arrow", and this has reappeared in the fictional Japanese town of Morioh because the children of one of his former lackeys are seeking out someone who can possibly free their father from the strange mutation he has suffered as a result of Dio's death. In Vento Aureo, the protagonist Giorno Giovanna is DIO's son, but because Dio was in possession of Jonathan's body at the time of Giorno's conception, Giorno is a member of the Joestar family, and his own virtuous soul prevents him from becoming evil as his father was.
Dio's influence on the JoJo story returns in Stone Ocean, where it is revealed that he met the story arc's main antagonist Father Enrico Pucci during the events of Stardust Crusaders. He told Father Pucci of his desire to use his Stand The World in order to reach "Heaven", and saw in the young priest a friendship that would help him achieve his goals. Father Pucci's reverence for Dio drives him to carry out his plans decades later, manipulating events to frame Jotaro Kujo's daughter Jolyne Cujoh for murder in order to trap her in the prison where he serves as a chaplain, using the final physical remains of Dio to evolve his Stand to reset reality in what he believes is Dio's vision of Heaven, a world where everyone knows their own destiny, and more importantly a world free of the Joestar bloodline. However, his hubris leads to his defeat at the hands of Jolyne's last surviving friend Emporio, who manages to reset reality back to what it once was, but not quite exactly the way it was before.
Steel Ball Run
Dio Brando himself does not appear in Steel Ball Run, set in an alternate universe in 1890, but an alternate version of himself known as Diego Brando does. Diego Brando is again the child of an abusive household, and one who reveres his mother. She instilled in him a sense of pride that he took with him as he became a masterful jockey in his adulthood, when he decides to take part in the Steel Ball Run horse race across the United States. Along the way, he is put under the thrall of the Stand Scary Monster, transforming him into a dromaeosaurid dinosaur, but as a result of this encounter he gains his own Stand Scary Monsters, which grants him the same abilities that he now has under his control. He is hired by United States President Funny Valentine in his quest to seek out the pieces of the Saint's Corpse scattered along the race course, but after some time fighting against the heroes Johnny Joestar and Gyro Zeppeli, he realizes that President Valentine's plans are more dangerous to the world as a whole and joins the heroes in an attempt to stop him, only to die during his attempt to kill the evil President. Valentine then uses his Stand's powers to summon a Diego Brando from an alternate universe. This Diego Brando's possesses the same powers as Dio, along with his Stand THE WORLD. He manages to defeat Johnny Joestar in battle, and wins the Steel Ball Run race, in addition to obtaining all of the Saint's Corpse and hiding it in a secure location, even though President Valentine has already been killed by Johnny in a fight. However, this alternate universe Diego meets his demise at the hands of Lucy Steel, who uses the skull of this universe's Diego Brando to erase him from reality as a result of the effects of Valentine's Stand.
In other media
Dio Brando has appeared in many video games related to the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure franchise, usually as a player character or a boss. Some games include multiple versions of the character; in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven for example, both Dio Brando from Part 1 and Dio from Part 3 are playable characters, along with Diego Brando and Parallel World Diego from Part 7. Furthermore, he has appeared as a playable character in several video games not related to the franchise, such as Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars.
Dio is the main antagonist in the story mode of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven. Although the video game begins with the final scenes of Stardust Crusaders, the antagonist is a version of Dio from another universe who managed to beat the Joestar family. He seeks to control all universes by means of the Saint's Corpse, and uses his more advanced powers over time to bring all of the fallen heroes and villains back to life to serve him in preventing Jotaro Kujo and the other Joestars from obtaining all of the Saint's Corpse, or at least using them to gather the parts so he can steal them from them and achieve his ultimate power. This version of Dio is called "Dio, Gone to Heaven" (天国に到達したDIO Tengoku ni Tōtatsu-shita Dio) and his Stand is called "The World Over Heaven" (ザ・ワールド・オーバーヘブン Za Wārudo Ōbā Hebun).
In miscellaneous media
Above all else, Dio Brando is known for his cunning and careful consideration. It is when Jonathan Joestar defies his expectations, defeating him in battle and thwarting his deliberate machinations, that Dio dons the stone mask that grants him the power of a vampire. He attains superhuman speed, regeneration, and strength insofar as he can lift a steamroller with ease - a frequent source of references to Dio in popular culture.
As a vampire, he most frequently uses an exaggerated evaporated cooling form of freezing known simply as the Vaporative Freezing Technique (気化冷凍法 Kikareitōhō) that allows him to freeze his opponents while rendering direct attacks with Hamon useless. He can also graft body parts of different beings together, an ability he used to take Jonathan's body as his own.
Once he returns 100 years later with the body of Jonathan Joestar, Dio lost many of the abilities he had in his original body. However, Dio's new zombified body enabled him to develop his signature Stand, The World (世界(ザ・ワールド) Za Wārudo). As a psychic manifestation of Dio, it has all of his aforementioned superhuman abilities and facilitates melee attacks, though its signature ability is to stop time. This time-stopping ability only lasts for a limited amount of time, though this limit can be extended through practice or through other means of increasing the user's strength (such as when Dio was able to increase his limit by several seconds after drinking Joseph Joestar's blood).
Dio Brando has had many different voice actors in different types of media. He was first voiced by Norio Wakamoto in drama CDs, followed by Nobuo Tanaka in the OVAs and Isshin Chiba in the Capcom fighting game. He has been voiced by Kenji Nojima and Hikaru Midorikawa in both the Phantom Blood animated film and video game as the younger and older incarnations, respectively. In the television anime and the All Star Battle and Eyes of Heaven video games, Dio Brando is voiced by Takehito Koyasu.
Dio has generally received praise from various reviewers of manga, anime, and other media; most praised his frightening and enjoyably hatable personality making an appealing antagonist, as well as his influence on the rest of the series. Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network notes that his far-reaching influence throughout the entire series works especially well as a stark contrast to his humble origins. Her colleague Hope Chapman called him "one of the greatest supervillains ever invented in any medium." Can Hoang Tran of The News Hub cites the anticipation of Dio's appearance in the 2014 reanimation of Stardust Crusaders to be a driving force of the series' success, later calling him the most rewarding character to play as in the series' video games. Joel Loynds of The Linc wrote "Dio's actions so powerfully and immediately establish his evil... that you will be invested in seeing his evolution even more than you [will be for JoJo]". Dallas Marshall of Green Tea Graffiti writes that Araki's straightforward intention of making the reader hate Dio worked simply and flawlessly, citing Dio's defining character moment as burning the protagonist's dog alive. Readers of Anime News Network voted Dio number one in a poll of which anime villains would make the best friends in real life for his "cool composure" and "awesome lines".
- Araki, Hirohiko (w, a). "Dio the Invader" Weekly Shōnen Jump 1/2: 3 (1 January 1987), Japan: Shueisha
- Araki, Hirohiko (February 3, 2015). JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 Phantom Blood. 3. Viz Media. p. 343. ISBN 978-1-4215-7881-1.
- Araki, Hirohiko (2014). JoJonium. 6. Japan: Shueisha. p. 31. ISBN 978-4087828375.
- "The Mike Toole Show - Jojo's Mojo". Anime News Network. 1 June 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- Clegg, Cara (9 April 2015). "Spotted in Japan: seriously stylish Japannequins". RocketNews24. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- Lamb, Lynzee (11 February 2013). "Life-Size Dio and Jotaro Kujo Statues Displayed at Wonder Fest". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- "Oshirase: Sankaryō no Nyūkin Shimekiri wa Shigatsu Hatsuka (Getsu) Genshu Desu!" お知らせ: 参加料の入金締切は4/20 (月)厳守です! [Announcement: Final day for paying participation fee is Monday, 20 April]. kaiyodo.net (in Japanese). ワンダーフェスティバル [Wonder Festival]. 13 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
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- ZUN (2006). Perfect Memento in Strict Sense. Japan: Ichijinsha. p. 122. ISBN 978-4758010634.
- "Crunchyroll to Stream JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc TV Anime". Anime News Network. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Anime Expo to Premiere English JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Dub With Director Naokatsu Tsuda". Anime News Network. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Silverman, Rebecca (27 January 2015). "Review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- "The Best Anime of 2015: Hope Chapman & Lauren Orsini". Anime News Network. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- Can, Hoang Tran (14 March 2015). "Review of 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders' EP 34 - D'arby the Gambler, Part 1". The News Hub. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- Can, Tran (25 December 2014). "Video: 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure — Eyes of Heaven' 1st trailer". digitaljournal.com. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- Loynds, Joel (7 February 2015). "Getting lost in a Bizarre Adventure". The Linc. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- Marshall, Dallas (22 November 2014). "3 Hateworthy Anime Characters". Green Tea Graffiti. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- Stimson, Eric (4 April 2015). "Poll Ranks Which Anime/Manga Villain Would Make the Best Friend". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 April 2015.