Hello all, welcome back to another article about the climax of part three, the ‘Dio’s World Arc’. Continuing where we left off, I’ve decided to focus this article more on Dio as a character rather than how he relates to the fight. We talked about him a lot last time, so make sure you read up on it you haven’t already, but we’re still not near where I want us to be in terms of understanding and appreciating Dio. He’s a character I’ve wanted to discuss for a while now, and getting to truly know and understand him will improve our appreciation of the fight, so today we’re gonna focus on finishing off the dissection of the character. After all fights are much more enjoyable when you know the participants.
So what makes Dio so special/enjoyable? Well for one he has an extremely entertaining set of character traits that feed into each other to really contextualize all of his actions throughout the series. I mentioned last time how charismatic and over the top he is, but that’s only a small piece of the pie. In many ways he has a lot of praiseworthy traits, and whilst we hate him and the wickedness he commits we also can’t help but feel a sense of admiration. As a child Dio grew up in poverty, often abused, looked down on and ran through the mud by the people around him, most of all his abusive father. His mother, the only person who cared for him, was driven to death by Dio’s alcoholic father at an early age. A clear tragic origin story, and one we often see our heroes have.
Yet in spite of all of this he rises above his poverty and the people around him, believing himself to be better than the scum who mistreat him, and in many ways he is. He’s unyielding in the face of conflict, cool and composed even against adversity, extremely clever, unquestionably charismatic, endlessly driven and ambitious, and rises above the circumstances of his birth in order to forge a better life for himself. It’s the fact that he has all these great traits that makes him almost tragic. With this setup and these character traits we could easily start making a hero, and indeed Dio has the capacity for good and has done good acts before. He even at times shows some acts of honor and kindness like his genuine respect for Jonathan, when he heals Pucci’s crippled leg with no explanation or expectations of reward, and how even though he was responsible he mourns for Jonathan’s death (albeit briefly). However those acts are few and extremely far between, and his evil acts so vastly outweigh them that it’s not possible to label him as anything but a monster and a villain. Ironically many of his positive traits end up fueling his negative ones and make him worse in many ways than the people who mistreated him. There is seemingly no level he won’t stoop to in order to achieve his goals, and he utilizes all of his positive traits to the fullest. When he realizes it isn’t enough to achieve his goals he’ll willfully and gleefully discards the last shreds of his humanity in order to win by using the stone mask to become a vampire (even after seeing first hand what it does to people).
Another thing that makes Dio so interesting is just how much his presence warps the story of JoJo’s throughout the series. Villains feel bigger and better when you can tangibly feel their influence on the world, characters and/or plot. Dio was the main antagonist for two parts, inspired the main antagonist to action in another, and his influence extends across the entire story and leaves ripples everywhere. Even when Dio isn’t around his minions continue to hound the JoJo’s out of loyalty, and the actions he took and the minions he inspired continue to be relevant well past his death. Jotaro, the 3rd JoJo, ends up having a daughter. However because Dio’s minions are constantly attacking him to try to avenge his death, he ends up making the sad sacrifice of distancing himself from his family in order for them to be safe. This decision is also responsible for much of part six, where his daughter is the JoJo, and the strained relationship turned wholesome is a big part of that story.
Dio is also a character that evolves over the course of the series in believable and interesting ways. After being locked away for 100 years in a chest floating beneath the waves, Dio has an endless amount of time to ponder existence. With that much time spent thinking about what he did wrong, the source of Jonathan’s resolve, the meaning of existence and how to best fulfill his plans going forward, the way Dio of part three and six conducts himself is much more composed and calculated. He still remains Dio, but he has evolved and transcended the arrogance of his part one self, and seeing how his plans differ going forward helps solidify this growth of his character.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of his character is that he’s quite the philosopher, with his own unique and interesting ideas on people, the world and even what he views heaven as. He believes that the main thing everyone is after, no matter their situation in life, is peace of mind. Whether people act selfishly or selflessly everything we do is to attain this peace of mind. Gathering wealth or fame, finding love and caring for others, taking advantage of and manipulating people. Whether we claim to be acting for love or justice the true motivation behind our actions is peace of mind. People often uphold justice or extend a hand knowing it won’t doing anything simply to appease their own minds and feel better about themselves. Whilst this is just a theory he has, he uses that belief of his to know exactly how to win people over to his side. He offers them peace of mind in exchange for doing his bidding, and few are able to resist his charisma and his promise to fulfill their deepest desires, leading him to have gathered a lot of ‘proof’ to support his belief.
“Polnareff, have you ever considered why humans wish to live? Humans live hoping to conquer their anxieties and fear, and attain peace of mind. Seeking fame, controlling others, and acquiring wealth are all done to achieve peace of mind. Marriage and friendship are also pursued as means of attaining peace of mind. When humans say they wish to help others, or that a thing is done for love or justice…it’s all merely to give themselves peace of mind. To achieve peace of mind is the goal of all mankind. Now, given that, what anxiety could you possibly feel towards serving me? Any other peace of mind would come easily if you do. Doesn’t challenging me, even knowing that it may spell your death, bring you anxiety? You are a very capable Stand user. It’s a waste to kill you. Why not cut ties with Joestar and the others, and serve me for eternity? I can promise you peace of mind for eternity.”-Dio Brando to Polnareff, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Part three)
In Jojo’s there is also an incredibly well thought out and interesting take on fate, how each of the characters approach it, and how their approach to it shapes their reality. It is central to every single part of JoJo’s, however that is a topic that would require its own article. That said, Dio’s views on Fate are expressed elegantly, and are quite interesting. He believes Fate and Gravity are directly connected, that much like how things have a gravitational pull that attracts objects to one another, that people have gravitational pulls that bring those fated to meet together. From this idea, he also extrapolates that the ability to control gravity is the key to gaining the ability to control one’s fate. Not only that, but his views on gravity and fate tie back in to his earlier discussion/philosophy on peace of mind. His ultimate goal was to create a world where everyone was aware of their fate, and that by accepting it true peace of mind would be obtained for all of humanity. Of course it’s Dio, so he wasn’t aiming for this goal with the express purpose of helping humanity out (and it’s quite easy to argue that this version of ‘Heaven’ would not help humanity), his main desire of making this world came from the peace of mind it would afford him. With everyone but his futures predetermined, he would essentially be removed from the laws of fate and reign as a god over the world, and no one would be capable of stopping him because their destinies were already ordained without Dio in mind.
And.. that’s a wrap! I realized as I was writing it that a ton of the things that make him great were covered in my last article, so really this was more of two articles dedicated to appreciating Dio, with the third going over the fight in greater detail. I think that’s totally fair and deserved for a character such as Dio. I love how on the surface level he seems like a pretty one dimensional character but as you understand the story more he evolves, just like Dio evolved. With Halloween right around the corner I hope you guys have some awesome stuff planned, I myself have a costume party this weekend. I’ll try and post pics of the costume since I’m making it from scrap. Until next time, thank you guys for reading, I hope you enjoyed, and stay healthy!