Hey all, I’m back! I went on vacation and took a bit of time getting back into the swing and we’re here and ready to deliver on my promises. To rap up our discussion of Jojo’s part three, we’re talking about the final arc, the climax of the entire season! The arc named ‘Dio’s World’. There are several points I will be discussing in these next articles that will help show the greatness of this fight/arc. Characterization, hype, mystery, action, parallels and culture. Before we can fully discuss the arcs greatness, we have to come to understand one of the biggest factor, the antagonist.
Dio. An iconic name in the anime community (and not just because of the performer). Many people know the character even if they’ve never seen Jojo’s, and his reputation proceeds him. He is one of the evilest, cruelest, pettiest and most arrogant characters in all of anime, almost to the point of being comical. Introduced in part one he immediately stands out (heh) and makes an impact on the audience and Jonathan Joestar, the first of the titular JoJo’s. Between killing Jonathan’s dog by throwing him into an active furnace, stealing his girlfriend’s first kiss, physically and psychologically abusing Jonathan to attempt to make him go insane, and trying to kill Jonathan’s father in a bid to steal his inheritance it’s abundantly clear from minute one he was made to be an enemy not only to Jonathan but to the JoJo bloodline as a whole. His cruelty doesn’t stop at the Joestars. After activating a stone mask and becoming a super-powerful vampire he began to freely show his true colors. Turning people into chimeric monstrosities, trying to rule the world as a vampire with his undead army, making a woman eat her own baby, the list just goes on and on.
Yet there is a certain undeniable charisma to him that naturally draws people in, that makes people want to earn his respect and favor. Some even worship him as a god, and without a single command they instinctively do all they can to ensure his goals succeed. Women quite literally throw themselves at him even knowing how dangerous he is, willingly letting him drain their blood to death. One of Dio’s minions, Hol Horse, was initially only loyal to Dio on the surface level. Dio’s presence terrified him and he followed because he was the strongest, but after failing to beat the SC’s (Stardust Crusaders) twice Hol began to have doubts. After a chat with Hol Horse, Dio openly left his guard down, showing his back to Hol and casually reading a book. Hol resolved that it would be easier for him to kill Dio alone with his back to him than the entire SC gang, so he draws his weapon and points it at the back of his head. However Dio instantly appears behind Hol Horse and expresses joy at his newfound courage and spares him. This act completely communicates how hopelessly outclassed Hol is and breaks him, causing him to swear allegiance to Dio from the bottom of his heart from here on out and even causes him to understand why the women let Dio kill him. Because to serve Dio is greater than continuing one’s own existence.
This charisma is not unique to just the enemies of the JoJos, for his charm is even mentioned by all of the Stardust Crusaders that encountered him alone before they joined the group. Kakyoin and Polnareff were overwhelmed by his charisma and are paralyzed in fear. This allowed them to be helpless as they are brain washed by Dio into becoming subservient. Avdol had the good fortune of being warned beforehand about who Dio was by Joseph, and thanks to that knowledge he is able to escape before he is completely overwhelmed by Dio’s presence. His thoughts during this encounter do a great job communicating the sheer charm of Dio best, “It was then that I found him truly terrifying. His words brought such peace to my soul. They had a dangerous sweetness. That’s exactly why he was terrifying.”
Dio is also extremely over the top, especially if you watch it in the original sub. His voice actor is ridiculously talented and does a perfect and amazing job portraying both the subtle aspects as well as his absolute insanity at times. Many times he’s calm and seductive, speaking sensuously and philosophically as he sways people’s hearts and minds. Other times he cuts loose and partakes in over the top antics as he revels in his seemingly invincible power and superiority over everyone he meets. For an example of just how over the top he is, click the next image and receive a wonderful gift. Do be careful though as it spoils arguably the most important point in the entire fight a bit, that being the mystery of Dio’s stand that the gang must uncover over the course of the fight. If you haven’t seen part three and wish to truly experience the greatness of this fight I suggest you stop reading and don’t watch the video. For some context, he likes to scream “Za Warudo” (engrish for ‘The World’, the name of his stand) when activating his stand. He doesn’t have to, and has several scenes where he doesn’t yell it and activates its power still, it’s purely something he does for kicks.
Now that we understand the greatness of Dio, I’d like to discuss one of the fights greatest strengths, that being the puzzle the audience and SC have to uncover the power of Dio’s stand. In Jojo’s the key to victory always comes from uncovering the abilities and capabilities of the enemy stand, and the mystery of Dio and his power is set up masterfully here. The SC know he has some sort of ridiculously strong power but have no clue of knowing precisely what. We have a few clues, but our first major one actually comes in an aforementioned scene. In his scenario with Hol Horse pointing the gun at the back of his head Dio instantly appears behind him in the blink of an eye without disturbing any of the cobwebs. However our first clue in the arc is his interaction with Polnareff, who encounters Dio alone. Dio is at the top of a set of stairs and tells him, “Go down two steps and I’ll let you join my side again. If you’d rather die, then climb those stairs.” Polnareff is WAY past the point of even considering backing down and steps up, but then he’s suddenly down two steps from when he started to ascend and Dio seems quite happy. He suggests to Polnareff that it’s his heart reacting in fear, telling him he must not climb those steps. However we know Polnareff is resolved and trying to climb, so it leaves us wondering what the hell is happening, and just what Dio’s power is. Is it the ability to manipulate space? Reverse time? Mind control? Bad Ping? We begin desperately searching for an answer to what his power is with the same ferventness as the SCs.
Our next clue is when the gang beats up one of Dio’s goons and has him lead them to Dio’s coffin. They keep their distance and have the goon open the coffin, but as he does the strangest thing happens. As the coffin lid opens, they see his goon is bleeding out inside of it. The entire gang was watching and none of them saw anything happen, nor did they have any clue. This scares them shitless and they jump out of a window to retreat to safety and try to figure out what the hell just happened, as it becomes clear if they don’t figure out Dio’s stand that they are all dead.
At the end, Kakyoin is the one who resolves himself to find out the power of Dio’s stand. Having repeatedly shown himself to be the smartest of the SCs he creates a snare that’s impossible for Dio to escape from, for ANY stand user to escape from that he’s seen up until this point. What Kakyoin calls his ’20 meter emerald splash’, which is the culmination of his growth and mastery over his stand. He surrounds Dio entirely in strands of his stand that act as trip wires that will fire off projectiles if any of them are disturbed. These aren’t pathetic projectiles either, as they are strong enough to break/destroy a large metal billboard. Kakyoin essentially creates a massive web and traps Dio at the center of it, where any movement will cause him to be assaulted on all sides. It’s an epic moment that makes us hyped and proud of Kakyoin with epic music swelling to a crescendo! Then.. it is immediately snuffed out with no explanation by Dio, and Kakyoin is sent flying through the air with a massive hole in his stomach. Dio managed to sever all the webs around him and attack Kakyoin with no time passing between any of those events. Both Joseph and us the audience are left confused and horrified at this development, and with Kakyoin’s dying moments he manages to figure out the true power of Dio’s stand. However he’s fading fast and too far away to tell Joseph before he’d die, so he uses his projectiles to destroy the hands of a large clock tower to leave a final message.
The next part of the mystery is Joseph trying to deduce the hidden message Kakyoin left whilst keeping his distance from Dio. Why did Kakyoin throw his dieing attack at a clock tower and completely miss Dio? What’s the message behind him destroying the clock? Luckily Joseph is a crafty fellow and eventually manages to deduce Kakyoin’s last will. When he finally gets it the show finally tells the audience what has been going on. Dio’s stand has the ability to stop time. A truly terrifying and invincible stand power. Finding out his stand’s true power also gives us amazing and sometimes hilarious context for some previous scenes. Immediately after, we find out how truly terrifying Dio is as we see the scene where Kakyoin is defeated but from Dio’s perspective. He effortlessly slices the web in stopped time, approaches Kakyoin and punches a hole in his chest, remarking how Kakyoin isn’t even aware he’s dead yet, and that he’ll never know what happened. It’s also great because we then understand precisely what was happening during his encounter with Polnareff on the stairs. Dio was quite literally stopping time, running downstairs, bringing Polnareff two steps down, running back up the stairs and then posing again before time resumes. It’s shit like that that makes him a truly amazing villain, it’s so unbelievably extra just to fuck with Polnareff and make him doubt his own resolve, but also as a way to stroke his ego and show off his overwhelming superiority here. He could have killed Polnareff in an instant with zero chance of failure, but he instead chooses this, and I absolutely love it.
And.. that’s a wrap… For now. I have way more I wanna talk about with this fight, and this has already taken up a lot of space. Now that I’m back and in the swing of things again we’ll be back again shortly! Tune in next time where we discuss more of what makes this fight and arc truly spectacular and how it differentiates itself from fights from other series! Until then, thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoy the article, are living an enjoyable life, and hope you stay healthy!