Manga / JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency

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The one with the Aztec Gods of Fitness! Pictured: Joseph with the Stone Mask behind him

Battle Tendency is the second part of the long-running manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. It is preceded by Phantom Blood and followed by Stardust Crusaders.

Set in 1938 right before World War II, Battle Tendency stars Joseph Joestar, the rough-and-tumble but extremely clever grandson of Jonathan who lives in New York City. When word gets out that Jonathan's best friend and Joseph's adoptive great uncle, Robert E. O. Speedwagon, has been murdered, Joseph sets out to avenge him. However, after defeating Speedwagon's alleged murderer, he learns that Speedwagon is actually being held captive by the Waffen-SS in a research facility in Mexico, led by Commander Rudol von Stroheim. While rescuing Speedwagon, Joseph learns of Stroheim's latest discovery: a race of ancient, superhuman beings known as the Pillar Men, the original creators of the Aztec stone masks. After a heated fight with a Pillar Man in the research facility, Joseph heads to Italy in order to train for his fateful encounter with three more powerful Pillar Men with the help of Caesar Zeppeli (grandson of Jonathan's teacher William Zeppeli) and their mysterious mentor, Lisa Lisa.

Battle Tendency was adapted into episodes 10-26 of the first season of the anime.

Your next trope is:

  • Action Mom: Unbeknownst to Joseph, his master Lisa Lisa is his mother, and indeed Lisa Lisa kicks much ass.
  • Actually a Doombot: When Lisa Lisa fights Kars, she manages to land a fatal strike to the head, but Kars is revealed to be a vampire in disguise, and the real Kars attacks Lisa Lisa from behind.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Joseph mourns Wamuu's death after defeating him. The narrator even refers to their relationship as a "bizarre" friendship.
  • Anachronism Stew: The soundtrack for Battle Tendency (which takes place before World War II) in the 2012 anime, which mixes in Middle Eastern music (despite Battle Tendency never going anywhere near the Middle East), Italian opera, rock, hip-hop, and Dubstep, among other things. Even the original manga is guilty of this, featuring Joseph wielding weaponized clackers roughly 30 years before they became a thing.
  • Anti-Villain: Wamuu is this for the Pillar Men. He has a profound respect for both Joseph and Caesar and in the final battle is more concerned with getting a good fight out of Joseph then getting a victory for Kars.
  • Anyone Can Die: Much like Phantom Blood, Araki doesn't hold back with the bloodshed. Once again, numerous background and minor characters are killed off; Caesar, Esidisi, Wamuu, several soldiers and in the epilogue we find out that Stroheim, Speedwagon, and Erina died a few years after Joseph's battle with Kars. For a while there it looked like Joseph would be killed off too, just like Jonathan, but this was a red herring.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: It's been a month since Joseph Joestar had a final clash against Kars on an erupting volcano and no one's heard from him since, so his friends decide to make a funeral for him. However, it turns out Joseph's alive and Suzie Q forgot to send the letters saying he was fine, which only comes to light when he shows up at said funeral.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Hilariously parodied in Battle Tendency, as the big, muscular Joseph tries to sneak into a Nazi lab by dressing as a woman.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The track "Welcome to the World" opens with the first two bars of "Owner of a Lonely Heart."
  • Award-Bait Song: Season from the Battle Tendency soundtrack definitely qualifies.
  • Bathing Beauty: Lisa Lisa, who is said to love baths, but is only shown doing it once.
  • Bathtub Scene: Lisa Lisa take a bath in a clawfoot bathtub after Joseph defeats AC/DC. The anime version definitely increased the fanservice.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the Pillar Men are defeated and Kars is left drifting in space, Joseph loses good friends, one casualty of which, Caesar, was partially his fault, and the epilogue shows that he'd eventually lose his grandmother Erina, Speedwagon, and Stroheim. But the world is, for now, safe.
  • Bland-Name Product: Coco Cola.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Joseph Joestar is a natural prodigy with the Ripple, but unfortunately is too lazy to train, and relies on his brains instead.
  • Call-Forward: In the intro to the anime, purple thorny vines make a brief appearance in the background. This references Joseph's future Stand, Hermit Purple, in Part 3.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Who would've imagined that the little orphaned baby Erina rescued at the end of Part 1 would grow up to be Lisa Lisa, Joseph's mother and Hamon teacher in Part 2?
  • Child Prodigy: Joseph was able to effectively use Hamon since he was a child without any formal training. However, he still had to go through Training from Hell in order to defeat the Pillar Men.
  • Climactic Volcano Backdrop: The Final Battle between Joseph and Ultimate Kars takes place on the top of an erupting volcano.
  • Confusion Fu: Joseph's fighting style generally involves him being unpredictable and confusing the opponent while reading what they will do and acting accordingly.
  • Denser and Wackier: This part marks the point where the series starts to become a bit more self-aware and run with the silliness it provides, from the fairly weird and inventive ways Joseph and Caesar both use their Hamon, to the fact that one of Joseph's allies is eventually a Cyborg Nazi.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The Bloody Stream opening is chock-full of this. The anime and the manga also qualify, what with the love of abstract backgrounds, and the creative approach to coloring and costume design.
  • Dirty Cop: Joseph's Establishing Character Moment has him rescue a street thief from a duo of corrupt officers who unjustly beat up Smokey for stealing a wallet, then attempt to keep the wallet to themselves "as proof".
  • Disguised in Drag: Parodied. The enormous, ridiculously muscular Joseph tries to sneak into a Nazi lab by dressing as a woman. It doesn't work.
  • Dubstep: Used in scenes with the Pillar Men in the 2012 anime.
  • Eating the Enemy: This was one of Santana's, the first pillar man Joseph encounters, tactics of choice. He's notable for having the ability to extend his ribs out of his body to attack his enemies. And his chest powers don't stop there; he can actually devour people through his chest. He did this to a a vampire the facility sent in to test him and tried to do this to Joseph. To bad for him, Joseph wanted him to do this so he could fill the demon with Hamon energy. Later, Mark the Nazi gets half of his body eaten by Wammu when the latter walks through him.
  • Eat the Bomb: Esidisi eats a lit dynamite stick whose explosion causes him as much damage as a burp.
  • Elemental Powers: The main trio of Pillar Men have techniques that invoke an element, called Modes. Unlike regular elemental powers, their techniques are simply the manipulation of their powerful bodies. Only Santana is shown to not have any Mode.
    • Blow You Away: Wamuu can invoke Razor Wind by making a slicing motion fast enough. He possesses tube like organs that suck up the air and blow it out of the body at high speed, enabling manipulation of gusts of wind. His strongest technique, Holy Sandstorm, is about twisting his arms fast enough to create a vortex.
    • Playing with Fire: Esidisi can heat up his body temperature up to hundreds of degrees Celsius, so his blood can set wood on fire and burn right through flesh.
    • Light 'em Up: Kars possesses a light Mode, where he sprouts chainsaw-like blades from his arms and legs. The reflection of the light on the moving blades make them glow.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Straizo kicks off the plot of part 2 by embracing vampirism and seemingly killing Speedwagon out of jealousy over Dio's immortality and eternal youth.
  • Family Honor: Caesar first subverted this by renouncing his family pride when his father Mario left him and his siblings. Later when Mario unknowingly saved Caesar from the Pillar Men, he made a complete U-turn and began to take great pride in his lineage.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Happens to a German soldier named Mark. His locket with his fiancée's photo in it even falls significantly to the floor as he dies.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: What can be worse than dying? How about being launched into space after becoming immortal and unable to die while drifting in the endless always-expanding frontier. Isn't that right, Kars?
  • Fist Pump: Joseph lifts a victorious fist toward Kars as a volcano eruption is propelling the latter into space.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Joseph Joestar is a master of this. He exploits Straizo's intelligence to repeatedly trick him, Wamuu's Blood Knight tendencies to convince him to spare Joseph on the grounds that he would make a great adversary given time to train, and uses Kars' obsession with the Red Stone of Aja to protect himself.
  • Free-Fall Fight: In Switzerland, Joseph and Kars are chasing after the Red Stone of Aja which is sliding toward a cliff. Both jump and a struggle ensues between the two as they fall down the cliff. Joseph thankfully manages to grab the Stone and stop his fall.
  • Genocide from the Inside: Kars did this when his race refused to join in attempting to become Ultimate Lifeform level powers. Only three survivors were left; his loyal follower and two infants he raised to be his servants.
  • Guile Hero: Joseph is one par excellence, and by far the best example among the JoJos. He is so good at reading and predicting his enemies' moves that he can predict what they're going to say.
  • Happily Married:
    • Lisa Lisa was once this with George Joestar II, until George was killed by one of Dio's zombies.
    • Joseph and Suzie Q get married at the end of this part.
  • Heel–Face Turn: S.S. Commander Rudol von Stroheim and his entire platoon of German soldiers pulls one once Joseph squares off with Santana, as Joseph and the Nazis both share the common enemy of the Pillar Men.
  • Henohenomoheji: Joseph draws one of those on a decoy dummy for Kars.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kars' own Adaptive Ability renders it impossible for him to ever make it back to Earth.
  • Hyper Awareness: Joseph is uncannily sharp about noticing things right away about his enemies.
  • Immunity Disability: Kars ends up gaining immortality and an auto-evolution ability after combining the Stone Mask and Red Stone of Asia. Joseph uses this ability against him by throwing him into an active volcano where he hardens in defense as it's about to erupt. He gets launched into space and is stuck floating around forever; eventually his mind shuts down completely.
  • Indy Ploy: Pretty much everything Joseph does is one, thanks to his quick thinking and ability to read his opponents. He even defeats Kars this way!
  • Interim Villain: With Dio being saved for Stardust Crusaders, Kars takes the spotlight as the Big Bad in this part as the creator of the Stone Mask.
  • Just as Planned: At the end of the final fight, Joseph creates a volcanic eruption which propels Kars into outer space due to sheer luck and instinct. That didn't stop Joseph from saying he planned it all along, just to tick Kars off.
  • Killer Rabbit: After Kars achieves his goal of godhood, the first thing he does is turn his hand into a squirrel, much to the confusion of everyone present. Said squirrel plows a hole through Stronheim's stomach and rips off another soldier's face.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Right from the get-go readers for this part are told that Jonathan died during his honeymoon and Dio used the Stone Mask to turn into a vampire.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: "Sono Chi No Sadame," the theme music from Phantom Blood, kicks in at the end of the final battle when Joseph uses the Red Stone of Aja to blast Ultimate Kars into space.
  • Life Will Kill You: Erina is revealed to have died of old age a few years after Joseph defeated the Pillar Men in the epilogue. Also implied to have happened to Tonpetty between parts.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Lisa Lisa is Joseph's long-lost mother, who went into hiding after she killed her husband's murderer, who was his commanding officer and one of Dio's zombies.
  • Mayincatec: The Pillar Men have this vibe to them, as they originate from South America and wear tribal costumes.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Joseph's Hamon mentor Loggins is killed by Esidisi not long after the audience is introduced to him. This is averted with Caesar's Hamon mentor Messina (though barely) and Lisa Lisa herself, as she survives to the end of the series and even gets a mention in Stardust Crusaders.
  • Missing Reflection: Exploited by Joseph Joestar in his fight against the vampire Straizo, who thinks he managed to score a fatal hit with his Eye Beams, only to realize that Joseph was behind him the whole time and he actually attacked his reflection in the mirror.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Joseph uses one against Wamuu in their second fight.
  • Multinational Team: The main cast is composed of a British man (Joseph), an Italian (Caesar), an British-Italian-Tibetan Monk (Lisa Lisa} and a German Nazi (Stroheim).
  • Musical Theme Naming: Once again continued with many characters having names that are music references. Like Phantom Blood many of the references are to rock bands who were prominent in the 70's and early 80's but a few pop music references were thrown into the mix to change things up.
  • My Blood Runs Hot: Esidisi, a Pillar Man, has a special Mode that allows him to boil his Blood up to 500 degrees and inject said blood into anything.
  • Not Quite Dead : Esidisi fakes being killed by Joseph to infiltrate Air Supplena Island undisturbed and manages to snatch the Red Stone of Aja from the Ripple users.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Pillar Men sleep in stone pillars, fusing with the rock to protect themselves from sunlight.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: While they're never actually called vampires, the Pillar Men display a lot of the same abilities as vampires in Jojo, such as regeneration, life draining, and body manipulation. However, Pillar Men can take those abilities far further, altering their bodies as will and devouring people by absorbing them with a single touch. Justified, since the Piller Men created vampires in the first place. It is implied that Kars' Stone Masks actually awakened these abilities in him and his allies, as he and Esidisi used their abilities to kill off the rest of their tribe.
  • Olive Garden: The middle of the story takes place in Rome and Venice. The former is where the three Pillar Men hibernate and awaken, while the latter is where Joseph and Caesar undergo their Hamon training under Lisa Lisa. Caesar, however, is revealed to be from Naples.
  • Palm-on-Cheek Pose: When he's flustered, Joseph often does this.
  • The Peeping Tom: Joseph peeks in on Lisa Lisa at one point while she bathes. Much fun has been had juxtaposing this scene with his reaction when he finds out that Lisa Lisa is his mother.
  • Pet the Dog: Kars, who is to vampires what vampires are to humans, slaughters a bunch of people driving past who were going to run over a puppy, making this both a dog-petting and a dog-kicking.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Machine gun ran out of ammo, but the bad guy isn't dead yet? Joseph Joestar provides a simple solution.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: When Joseph promises that he would make a great opponent if he was given time to train, resident Blood Knight Wamuu cannot resist the temptation after millennia of being unchallenged. He isn't completely fooled and administers a poison to Joseph, while keeping the only antidote in his lip ring so Joseph has to seek him out.
  • The Power of the Sun: Hamon is still in use by the protagonists. This would be the last part it would be the focus of the main characters, before it was largely replaced with Stands.
  • Prelude to War: Battle Tendency happens in 1937 as Nazi Germany militarizes itself. However, the Nazis are not the bad guys this time.
  • Rags to Riches:
    • Speedwagon went from being a London street thug to an incredibly wealthy oil tycoon who funds studies and research.
    • Joseph starts off as a delinquent who picks fights with people in the streets. After defeating the Pillar Men, he becomes a wealthy realtor.
  • Razor Wind: Whammu can twist his arms so violently they create a small tornado, able to grind a stone pillar to bits.
  • Roller Coaster Mine: Joseph makes good use of one in Part 2 in an attempt to escape from the Pillar Men.
  • Say My Name: Joseph famously shouts Caesar Zeppeli's name after finding out about his death.
  • Sequel Hook: The final scene of this part is Joseph at John F. Kennedy Airport preparing to leave for Japan talking about his grandson who lives over there. The next part follows up on this with Joseph in Japan visiting his grandson in jail... who is the protagonist of the next part.
  • Sexy Mentor: Lisa Lisa, who teaches Joseph the use of the Ripple, and also a Ms. Fanservice for Joseph. The fact that she is Joseph's mother makes it rather squicky.
  • She-Fu: Lisa Lisa's fighting style is incredibly gracious, involving somersaulting over her enemies with the help of her scarf, which can harden and serve as a pole and rope.
  • Sherlock Scan: Joseph does this to his enemies, along with predicting exactly what his foe is going to say next, catching them completely off guard.
  • Sparing the Aces: In Battle Tendency, Joseph convinces Wamuu via Scheherezade Gambit that it would be a waste for a Proud Warrior Race Guy to kill the one creature who has a chance of becoming the Worthy Opponent that he seeks.
  • The Stinger: In the anime. After the credits for Phantom Blood, the expedition that lead to Santana's rise can be seen. After the credits for Battle Tendency, Dio's coffin is shown being raised in 1983 and Jotaro Kujo is sitting in his jail cell, setting up the beginning of Stardust Crusaders.
  • Stupid Jet Pack Hitler: In Battle Tendency, the Nazis can create cyborgs but their technology is still inferior to the Pillar Men's prowess.
  • Stripperiffic: All four of the Pillar Men are dressed in little more than a thong with some Aztec-looking accessories, though this is primarily meant to show how ancient they are. Joseph himself, while not nearly as much as the Pillar Men, is also prone to wearing revealing clothing, and his most iconic outfit has him wearing a midriff-baring crop top that also shows his muscled arms. One piece of artwork for the anime adaptation has him wear ripped jeans belonging to Jolyne.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Straizo, transformed into a Vampire but defeated by Joseph, kills himself by breathing the Ripple.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Lisa Lisa in Battle Tendency, who looks no older than 30, even though she's 50. She is a ripple master, which has the side effect of making you age slower.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: The Nazis are apparently aware of everything that goes on with Joseph through their spy network. However, this also happens to be to the benefit of the protagonists, as they are able to stop the Red Stone of Aja from being delivered to Kars when Suzi Q, possessed by Esidisi's disembodied brain, sends it to him.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: An injured Joseph promises that he would make a great opponent for resident Blood Knight Wamuu if the latter spared him and gave him a month to train, since Joseph already injured him without training. It only works since Wamuu decides to play along and double down with a Poison-and-Cure Gambit, making the fight obligatory.
  • Symbolic Blood: When Joseph takes a bad hit during his fight with Esidisi, Lisa Lisa's glass of red wine cracks and leaks all over her tablecloth on another part of the island.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In the climax of the final battle between Joseph and Kars. Notable in that the theme music in question is "Sono Chi no Sadame" - the theme music from the Phantom Blood arc.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: After hearing about Straizo's vampirism and the Pillar Men, they become minor antagonists as they wish to use them to enhance their armies. In an ironic twist, they later become allies to Joseph and his friends, as they do not wish for the Pillar Men to destroy all of humanity either.
  • Time Skip: Takes place 50 years after the events of Phantom Blood.
  • Training from Hell: Lisa Lisa's Hamon training begins with throwing her students in a pit with a large central tower that constantly gushes oil (more like vegetable oil than crude oil), meaning they have to master their Hamon in order to climb out or else die of starvation. On top of that, since Joseph never learned Hamon breathing, Lisa Lisa fits him with a special mask that forces him to breathe properly or else suffocate. In the end it takes him four days to climb out of the pit.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: After George is killed and Lisa Lisa is sent on the run for taking down his killer, Erina decides that it would be best to tell Joseph that both of his parents are dead, lest he follows in their footsteps.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Part 2 does this, even though the series would continue on for another twenty years.
    • Lisa Lisa eventually revealed that she was Joseph's mother, then went on to marry a Hollywood screenwriter.
    • Erina Joestar, Joseph's grandmother, worked as a teacher before quietly passing away at the age of 81 surrounded by her loved ones.
    • Robert E.O. Speedwagon continued his several capital ventures, which paved the way for new advances in science and medicine. He died at the age of 89.
    • Rudol von Stroheim continued to fight in the German army. He was killed in action in the Battle of Stalingrad.
    • Smokey Brown went on to graduate college with a major in political science, eventually becoming the first black mayor in his home state of Georgia.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: In the manga, a flashback shows Joseph reading a Superman comic. In the anime, presumably due to some licensing issues, he's instead reading Baoh, one of Araki's pre-Jojo's Bizarre Adventure works.
  • Wrongly Accused: Well, technically Lisa Lisa did kill that high-ranking British officer she's accused of murdering - it's just that she was the only one who knew he was secretly a bloodsucking undead monster.
  • Years Too Early: While preparing a coup de grace against Kars, Joseph tells him that he may be thousands of years old, but he's still 10 years too early to beat Joseph's wits.


Alternative Title(s): Battle Tendency

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