|JoJo's Bizarre Adventure character|
|First appearance||Phantom Blood #1, "Dio the Invader" (January 1, 1987)|
|Created by||Hirohiko Araki|
Norio Wakamoto (1992 Drama CD)
Nobuo Tanaka (OVA)
Isshin Chiba (1998 arcade game)
Takehito Koyasu (2012-present)
Kid Beyond (OVA)
Patrick Seitz (anime)
|Species||Vampire (formerly Human)|
|Family||Dario Brando (father)|
George Joestar (adoptive father)
Jonathan Joestar (adoptive brother)
Joseph Joestar (adoptive great nephew)
Dio Brando (Japanese: ディオ・ブランドー, Hepburn: Dio Burandō) is a fictional character appearing in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. He is the main antagonist of the series' first part, Phantom Blood, appearing in the debut chapter "Dio the Invader" (侵略者ディオ, Shinryakusha Dio), published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1987. He later returns (known simply as DIO) as the main antagonist of the series' third part, Stardust Crusaders - now a powerful vampire and user of the time-stopping supernatural ability named The World.
The poor son of an abusive alcoholic who worked Dio's mother to death, Dio 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. In the alternate universe of the series' seventh part, Steel Ball Run, a character named Diego Brando (ディエゴ・ブランドー, Diego Burandō) bears resemblance to Dio and appears as a minor antagonist.
Creation and design
When beginning the series, Dio was the character that Araki looked forward to drawing the most. He also 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. In regard to Dio's characterization, Araki 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 serial killers control their victims through psychological manipulation interested Araki as well, a trait similar to how Dio uses his charisma to ensure his followers to do his bidding. Araki intended to characterize Dio as unapologetically baleful in his pursuit of power, with his literal abandonment of his humanity reflecting his figurative and emotional one. Araki wanted his name to sound cool next to JoJo's, so he chose Dio, the Italian word for God.
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 including abusing and later killing Jonathan's dog, Danny. Dio underestimated Jonathan's retaliation for forcefully kissing his beloved Erina Pendleton, 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 Aztec 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. Although seemingly killed when Jonathan impales him on a stone statue and leaves him in the burning Joestar mansion, Dio survives, and proceeds to start his subjugation of England in the small village of Windknight's Lot, amassing sired followers to his cause. Jonathan is sought out by Will A. Zeppeli, a master of an ancient martial art called Hamon, which can kill Vampires. He teaches Jonathan how to use this ability as Dio sends other vampires and zombies in his pursuit 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 Chan, Dio attacks Jonathan on a cruise ship during 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 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 affects 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 Windknight'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, she became a wanted murderer, Elizabeth was forced to go into hiding as Lisa Lisa with the help of the Speedwagon Foundation that was founded by Robert E. O. Speedwagon. 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 headless body as the ship sank, confining himself in a casket at the bottom of the ocean for a century until a shipwreck salvage operation unintentionally retrieved him in 1983. Now known mononymously as "DIO", he soon meets the mystic Enya Geil who awakens his Stand, The World (世界, Za Wārudo), allowing him to stop the passage of time around him. As his head is attached to Jonathan Joestar's body, Dio's acquisition of The World also 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 from her own Stand because of her kind disposition. This spurs Jotaro and Joseph to track down Dio along with their 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 and Iggy are killed by Dio's right-hand man Vanilla Ice, who in turn is killed by Polnareff. Dio kills Jotaro's friend Kakyoin in combat and temporarily 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 kill Dio with Star Platinum. After the Speedwagon Foundation revives Joseph via blood transfusion from Jonathan's corpse, he and Jotaro take their ancestor's corpse out into the desert and expose it to sunlight, vanquishing Dio once and for all.
Diamond Is Unbreakable and Golden Wind
Dio is not present in either Diamond Is Unbreakable or Golden Wind, 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", which has reappeared in the fictional Japanese town of Morioh because the children of one of Dio's former lackeys, Mr. Nijimura, are seeking out someone who can possibly kill their father and put him out his misery due to the strange mutation he has suffered as a result of Dio's death. In Golden Wind, 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 biologically Jonathan's son and thus a member of the Joestar family, and his own virtuous soul prevents him from becoming evil as Dio was, thanks to his encounter with a heroic gangster in his childhood life.
DIO's influence on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure returns in Stone Ocean, where it is revealed that he met the story arc's main antagonist, Father Enrico Pucci, shortly before 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, as, in this new version of the world, Pucci is missing instead of the Joestars.
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, like his original counterpart, 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, he winds up under the thrall of the Stand Scary Monsters (Sukearī Monsutāzu) (スケアリーモンスターズ), transforming him into a dromaeosaurid dinosaur. As a result of this encounter, however, he gains his own Stand Scary Monsters, which grants him the same abilities that he now has under his control.
Diego is hired by United States President Funny Valentine in his quest to seek out the pieces of the Saint's Corpse scattered along the racecourse, 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 stand powers as Dio, thanks to having his own version of The World as a Stand. He manages to defeat Johnny Joestar in battle and wins the Steel Ball Run, 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, in this alternate universe Diego meets his demise at the hands of Lucy Steel, who uses the skull of this universe's Diego Brando to obliterate his own head as a result of the effects of Valentine's Stand.
Dio makes a brief Cameo during the events of the "The Wonder of You (The Miracle of Your Love)" arc, along with the Stone Mask.
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 crossover video games, such as Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars, and Jump Force.
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).
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 road roller 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. While powerful, it does not kill people instantly (seen at the end of Phantom Blood, a victim of the attack survives the attack- although he died shortly after.) Another vampiric technique available to Dio is Space Ripper Stingy Eyes (空裂眼刺驚, Supēsu Ripā Sutingī Aizu) that allows him to shoot two pressurized fluid jets from his eyes. He can also graft body parts of different beings together, an ability he used to take Jonathan Joestar's headless body as his own.
Once he returns 100 years later with Jonathan's body, Dio lost many of the abilities he had in his original body. Despite this, Dio's new zombified body enabled him to develop his signature Stand, The World, once it was pierced by the Bow and Arrow. 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 (which in the anime adaptation of Stardust Crusaders is heavily exaggerated), 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).
Steel Ball Run
Dio's Part 7 counterpart, Diego Brando, first encounters Scary Monsters when he comes into conflict with its original user Dr. Ferdinand, Ferdinand "infects" Diego, as well as an entire village, transforming them into dinosaurs. After gaining the Left Eye Corpse Part, Diego gains his own version of Scary Monsters that allows him to transform into a dinosaur, partially or entirely. Scary Monsters grants Diego increased strength, speed, and "dynamic vision", and retains the infection ability.
After Diego's death by the hands of Funny Valentine, Valentine summons a Diego from an alternate universe. This Diego possesses The World like Part 3's Dio, and can also stop time. The design of Diego's The World is very similar to that of Part 3, apart from its skinnier profile and the replacement of the hearts on The World's knees for capital Ds.
Dio has had many different voice actors in different types of media. He was first voiced by Norio Wakamoto in the 1992 drama CDs, followed by Nobuo Tanaka in the OVAs and Isshin Chiba in the 1998 video game. He is voiced by both Kenji Nojima and Hikaru Midorikawa in the Phantom Blood video game and 2007 animated film as the younger and older incarnations, respectively. In the 2012 television anime and in all subsequent media, he 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 hateable 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 Jacob 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. Jun Yamamoto for Billboard said he "could almost feel the passion and ambition that Jonathan Joestar had in his fight against Dio" when listening to the first opening of the TV series.
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".
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- "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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