|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)
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 of JoJo, Phantom Blood in the first chapter "Dio the Invader" (侵略者ディオ Shinryakusha Dio?), which was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on December 2, 1986. He later returns as the main antagonist in JoJo's 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.
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
Following the trend of villains in the series being named after references to Western media (typically music), Dio Brando's last name is a reference to famous actor Marlon Brando, but his first name is a reference to the Italian word for God, which alludes to his developing megalomania. 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 red eyes and shoulder-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, and pants that continue to emphasize the color gold.
In Phantom Blood, Dio Brando becomes the adopted brother of Jonathan Joestar by using a promise of help from the latter's father to his own. He wastes no time antagonizing Jonathan's life, unequivocally setting out to turn his world into the despair Dio came from. Once Jonathan defeats him in a battle, Dio feigns a friendship with him for 7 years before Jonathan uncovers his plot to poison their father. Dio responds by wearing a mystical Stone Mask and becoming a vampire, planning to start his subjugation of England in a small village. Jonathan is sought out by William Zeppeli, a master of an ancient martial art called the Ripple 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 a lackey, he attacks Jonathan on his honeymoon, seeking to gain his body as the only man in the world he respects. The two apparently die together as the ship they are on explodes, while Jonathan's wife Erina, holding an orphaned girl and already pregnant with Jonathan's child, escape unharmed.
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 had infiltrated the RAF. George II's wife, the orphaned girl Elizabeth, hunted down this zombie and killed him with the Ripple, but had to go into hiding as Lisa Lisa after she was wanted for murder. She leaves her and George II's son Joseph Joestar with Erina, leading to Joseph learning how to master the Ripple from her to stop an evil race of ancient vampires from achieving true immortality.
It is revealed in Stardust Crusaders that Dio succeeded in attaching his head to Jonathan's body, surviving in a casket at the bottom of the ocean for 100 years. His casket is retrieved by a shipwreck salvage operation and he awakens in the modern era in 1988. He 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 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 who are mentally controlled by DIO and join the Joestars on their journey, to thwart them. Jotaro and his associates soon make it to Cairo and find DIO, who kills many of Jotaro's friends, 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, 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 apparently created as a result of the events of Stone Ocean, 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 Stand THE WORLD, and possesses the same powers as DIO and 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. 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 Who Has Reached 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?). With it, he turns several protagonists to ice, rendering their breathing and blood-based Ripple energy useless.
Once he returns 100 years later with the body of Jonathan Joestar, he loses his freezing technique and gains 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. It is with this Stand he frequently cries "Muda" (Japanese for 'useless') and invokes it by exclaiming "The World!", yielding several memes and other popular culture references to Dio's mannerisms: both for his pronunciation "Za Warudo" and tendency to cry "WRYYY" in excitement.
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. 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, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven, Dio Brando is voiced by Takehito Koyasu.
Dio has generally received praise from various reviewers of manga, anime, and other media. 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 (2 December 1986), Japan: Shueisha
- Araki, Hirohiko (1994). JoJonium 3. Japan: Shueisha. p. 27. ISBN 978-4087828344.
- Araki, Hirohiko (1995). JoJonium 6. Japan: Shueisha. p. 31. ISBN 978-4087828375.
- 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.
- Baseel, Casey (12 June 2014). "Jojo's bizarre coffee – Anime characters to grace cans of java in Japan". RocketNews24. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
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- ZUN (2006). Perfect Memento in Strict Sense. Japan: Ichijinsha. p. 122. ISBN 978-4758010634.
- Clegg, Cara (9 April 2015). "Spotted in Japan: seriously stylish Japannequins". RocketNews24. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- "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.