In honor of Halloween, we will explore what we find vile and ugly in pop culture. For this month’s topic, OWLS bloggers will be exploring characters or aspects of the grotesque in a piece of media and how it is a metaphor or allegory for society, human nature, or some other philosophical or humane idea.
* Warning: May contain spoilers to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood
Please be sure to read the previous post of the month from Heyitszel.
Imperfection in real and fantasy
It doesn’t matter where you come from or the type of person you are, you are born with flaws and you will make mistakes in your life. Yes, it’s true that you can learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating your errors, but that does now help lead to a perfect. Going all the way back to the Bible era, God has made the perfect man and woman named Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, thanks to Satan (disguised as the serpent) tempted Eve at the garden of Eden and tricked her of eating the Forbidden Fruit. Thanks to Eve, she gave the fruit to Adam and thus brought out the birth of sin. Thanks to sin, Adam brought death to the world and introduced the great division of good and evil. If Adam never brought sin, we would be perfect with perfect bodies and be able to make Earth a Heaven. Unfortunately, because of the fall of man, we have become very flawed and we are imperfect creatures of Earth. Even if you wanted to have powers like your favorite superhero, they are imperfect and will always stumble. For example, Batman may be a strong superhero in DC, but even isn’t strong to change fate such as failing to save Jason Todd who once got killed by Joker in “Death in the Family” or prevented the “death” of Batgirl in “The Killing Joke”. Spider-Man makes mistakes too believe it or not. Even though he has powers, he did make mistakes such as failing to prevent Uncle Ben’s death and the cause of his first girlfriend’s death Gwen Stacy. However, there is an interesting comic book where Batman does become man with god powers. When Batman becomes some sort of god of justice, he is able to stop crime and go anywhere in the world. However, he is still a man that needs to sleep and eat and he is not invincible.
In the topic I am going to be talking about, I want to talk about the dangers of being perfect and the benefits of being flawed.
JoJo Bizarre Adventures Phantom Blood – The first Joestar blood and first vampire blood
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures is a series created by manga creator Hirohiko Araki in 1987. The series is long going series that has up to eight parts and each one has their own protagonist. It’s a popular series in Weekly Shonen Jump and fans from all over the world enjoy the story and characters. This series was inspired by the series Fist of the North Star. The first part is called Phantom Blood and Phantom Blood takes place in the 1800s in London which stars the first Joestar protagonist named Jonathan Joestar. His life forever changes when his father adopts a young boy named Dio Brando as a payment to his father for saving his life. However, Dio has plans for himself and seeks to better than Jonathan and reach his own goals by using others. Through the story, these two young men will create many plot twists that will shape the future for the Joestar lineage.
Dio Brando – A child raised by a monstrous house
When you learn about Dio’s back story, you will find out that he did not ha e a great childhood compared to Jonathan. Dio’s parents were thieves who tried to rob Jonathan’s dad George Joestar after a carriage accident. Once Dio was born, his life went down hill because of his father. His father Dario Brando became an alcoholic and will literally do anything to earn money for booze even it means selling his wife’s clothes for another bottle. With his father abusing his money and not caring about Dio, Dio had to learn to survive in the streets like street fighting and gambling in a game chess. Enough of his father’s drunkenness, Dio plots to kill his own father by poisoning him. Once he was able to poison him, Dario tells Dio to go live with the Joestar because of a debt George promised. Dio accepts his father’s wishes, but he is only doing this for himself. After losing his family, Dio has one goal and that goal is to be wealthy and live for himself.
Jonathan Joestar – A child raised by a wealthy family
Unlike Dio, Jonathan had the easy life. Even though he did lose his mother from the carriage accident, Jonathan was able to live a normal life with his dad. Jonathan had a home, a dog best friend named Danny and he never had to worry about money. Even though he was a rich kid, he wanted to be the perfect gentleman. Whether he tries to eat properly, save a damsel in distress or study hard, JoJo had a goal to live a life in which he can honor his family and be the best example of a gentlemen.
Dio – The perfect monster wears the mask of the innocent
The story of Phantom Blood begins when JoJo’s father adopts Dio after the death of his dad Dario Brando. At first, JoJo wants to be friends with Dio and get acquainted but that is immediately thrown out the window when Dio kicks JoJo’s dog Danny and refuses him to carry his luggage. Does Dio ever forgive JoJo? Heck no! Dio said he wanted to be better than JoJo and he hopes to take everything away from him including everyone he cherishes. First episode shows his evil schemes when he humiliates JoJo in a boxing match in front of his friends and spreads rumors that JoJo can’t be trusted with any secrets. He even steals the JoJo’s girlfriend Erina’s first kiss. To add more salt to wounds, he killed Danny in hopes to making sure JoJo was alone and never have anyone in his life. You might be wondering, where is the dad and how is he not involved? We don’t get much information on him or his involvment, but we do see him admire Dio’s mannerism more than his own son. There are moments where he praises Dio’s knowledge in education and his table manners and harshly criticizes his son for his bad habits.
The story gets darker when JoJo and Dio get older and about to graduate school. At first, Dio pretends to be friends with Jonathan and say they are make a great team, but deep down he doesn’t care about him and only loves himself. We get information that George gets seriously ill and the cause is not from a little cold, but George is getting poisoned by Dio. Dio uses the same poison he used to kill his father and he plans to kill George and take the inheritance for himself. Jonathan finds out the truth after discovering a letter from Dario about the same conditions George currently has. Skipping ahead, Dio’s plans for inheriting the Joestar money falls flat thanks to Jonathan’s loyal devotion to his family and having a good hearted friend like Speedwagon by his side. The only thing Dio could do and avoid getting arrested is to give up his humanity become the monster he was in the beginning of the story: he uses the blood from stabbing his adopted father George and wears the stone mask to become an immortal vampire.
A Perfected Body is not worth it!
Is being perfect a bad thing? In essence in this post, it can be if you are hoping to be better than someone or something. At first, being perfect on something sounds cool because you can perform without making mistakes and guarantee that nothing goes wrong. In today’s society, most people seek perfection on anything. It can be something small like having a perfect body or it can be something great like perfect in a job in some sort. For the perfect body example, you will be surprised to see how far people will go to obtain the perfect body. The perfect body can be anything like being skinny or having giant muscle mass. People will starve themselves to have the skinny waste believing themselves as beautiful, but in reality it is damaging their bodies and organs. People who are obsessed with beauty will spend thousands of dollars and get surgery and face lifts in order to look like they are in their twenties. There’s nothing wrong with getting strong and adding muscles for the body, but working out too much can also be dangerous. If you are not drinking enough fluids like water or sport drinks, your body will get painful cramps and without water, your body will develop kidney stones (I never got them, but according to what I hear, it’s painful for men who has to pee them out!). These are just the common rules you hear at the local gym or at PE, but what I want to talk about is the dangers of using steroids. You probably heard about them, but steroids can be very dangerous when using them especially for athletes. To be honest, I am not an expert in sports medicine but from the words I have I heard in school, they can lead to serious side effects for men and women. Not only steroids give athletes a boost of energy and increase in stamina, but it may cause aggressive behavior or even affect reproductive organs. If you remember watching the episode in Family Guy where Stewie takes steroids, you will see that he does get incredibly strong, but then when the episode is about to end, he loses his mighty muscles and get excessive skin on his arms.
What about perfect knowledge? Perfect knowledge could also be bad too if you only focus on logic more than emotion. In exchange of getting all the knowledge on anything you wish to know, if seeking information is the only concern in life, you will forget your emotions like knowing what is like to have fun, cry or smile. In society, we see people trying to promote education for kids and parents believe that if kids study hard and get into well-known universities, they will succeed and get a happy life. It’s one thing to encourage kids to learn, but forcing them to focus on studying rather than having fun will give them a boring life. You pretty much see this in the media like movies, cartoons or TV shows like sitcoms where you see a typical family versus another family who has prestige children and living in a home where laws overrules family love.
Overall, what I am trying to say is that it is okay to improve yourself mentally and physically, but don’t get too obsessed with being perfect. Sometimes it is okay to be flawed. Don’t try to be better than others and accept who you are. Being imperfect helps identify who you are and depending on the qualities you have, you might have something no one else has. If everyone was perfect, we might as well be like robots who can do may things, but in exchange we lose something that makes us humans. As humans, we are going to make mistakes and we are going to change through time. The only thing that should be perfect for humans is to be perfect at being yourself. Be happy of yourself and if you enjoy something you like doing, there’s no need to fix yourself. Likewise, if you have friends that like you for who you are, you don’t need to impress anyone.
I hope my lesson of the dangers of perfection taught you something new. Please be sure to check out the other member’s choice for this month. Next person to talk about Grotesque is Aria from The Animanga Spellbook.