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Manga / JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run

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”This story is about how I got up on my feet. Not in the physical sense, but how I went from adolescence to adulthood.''
Johnny Joestar

Steel Ball Run is the seventh part of the long-running JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series and the first part of the rebooted continuity. It is preceded by Stone Ocean and followed by JoJolion. While still published by Shonen Jump in 2004, the following year it transferred to the magazine's Seinen cousin, Ultra Jump, running there until 2011.

The story returns to 1890, but in a different universe from the previous parts. Philanthropist Stephen Steel, hoping to rekindle the United States' pioneering spirit, will be holding the Steel Ball Run: a cross-country marathon from San Diego to New York, a nearly 3000-mile span. With a prize pot of 50 million dollars, the announcement attracts equestrians and other contenders from all over the world to California for a chance at glory.

Johnny Joestar is a cynical and bitter young paraplegic, an ex-jockey who has been lost since an accident paralyzed him from the waist down. Upon meeting race participant Gyro Zeppeli, a boisterous and charismatic Italian, he discovers that Gyro's mysterious weapons, a pair of steel balls, are able to make him temporarily walk. Johnny, desperate to understand the secret of Gyro's technique, opts to join the race and learn Gyro's tricks firsthand.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more going on in the race than either Johnny or Gyro first imagine. As the race goes on they find themselves in constant conflict with cutthroat competitors, and gradually uncover a huge conspiracy involving an ancient corpse and the President of the United States.

Steel Ball Run is an important transition for the franchise: it marks the series' jump to a new continuity (which the later JoJolion and The JOJOLands would continue), unrelated to previous parts besides the iconic Stands, and several Mythology Gags usually with character names. Moreover, during its run, the franchise shifted from being published in Weekly Shounen Jump to Ultra Jump, a monthly seinen magazine.

'Rella! 'Rella! Pizza Mozzarella! It has a second verse, this time with "tropes"!

  • Abnormal Ammo: Tusk gives Johnny the ability to shoot his fingernails like bullets from a gun. Then Tusk evolves and gains new abilities, from being able to move the bullet holes to bullets that can be shot through multiple dimensions.
  • Adventure Duo: Johnny and Gyro, the main protagonists of Steel Ball Run. Gyro is the hotblooded and extraverted member of the duo while Johnny is more serious and cold.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: In New York, it turns out the sewer is big enough to accommodate Johnny riding on his horse. And there's still a bit of height left for him to aim his arm upward toward the alternate Diego Brando.
  • Actually Four Mooks: An extreme non-video game example in the form of the Eleven Men, a group of henchmen sent by the Big Bad to hunt down our two heroes. Their Stand Tatoo You! enables them to merge into and out of each other via the tattoos on their backs, effectively allowing every mook to exist inside a single member like a living Clown Car.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While part 1's Dario Brando was an abusive Jerkass and alcoholic, this continuity's Dario manages to be even worse by trying to drown Diego as a baby. It doesn't help that in this continuity he survives.
  • Alternate Continuity: Steel Ball Run takes place in a new universe and does not continue the story from the previous parts, albeit there are numerous Mythology Gags and retooling of concepts from previous parts.
  • Alternate History: A minor example, Naples has remained a city state as of 1890, deciding against joining the unified Italy. Sometime after the race, a revolution occurs, the monarchy is ousted, and Naples is absorbed into a republic.
    • Funny Valentine is the 23rd president of the United States instead of Benjamin Harrison.
  • America Saves the Day: Johnny is full blooded American, so much so that he got stars painted on to his hands when he gained Tusk.
    • Inverted with the Big Bad, who is the President of the United States. He claims he wants the corpse parts to protect his country, but his actions and the napkin speech show his true colors.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Also counts as Almost Out of Oxygen. When Magent Magent falls into the Delaware River, he uses his stand 20th Century Boy, which pretty much makes him invincible while in a kneeling position, so that he won't drown and Diego will be able to rescue him. When that doesn't happen, he eventually stops thinking and remains at the bottom of the river indefinitely.
    • Sugar Mountain can turn people into immobile faces in its wood if they fail its test.
  • Anyone Can Die: Taken even further than usual in this Part. Usually in JoJo, no main character is truly safe, but when they do die, it’s usually near the end or at a moment of maximum drama. In SBR, major characters die left and right, and it isn’t always a dramatic death either.
  • Art Evolution: One of the most notable aspects of SBR relative to other parts is the fact that, due to it eventually moving to a monthly magazine, Araki had more time to refine his art. You can even see this happen gradually as Araki experiments with more detailed cross-hatching in certain panels, and changing around the proportions of his characters to be more realistic.
  • Artistic License – Geology: When unveiling the championship trophy inside the "sacred ice", Steven Steel claims that the ice originates from the South Pole and froze over 300 million years ago. Antarctica's ice caps only started coming into being about 34 million years ago, and 300 million years ago was the Carboniferous, a time that as far as we know had no permanent ice formations. Of course, none of these facts were known in 1890, so it could just be Steven hamming things up.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Wekapipo's Wrecking Ball effect is repeatedly named “Left side ataxia"; ataxia actually refers to an impaired ambulatory ability. The effect shown in the series is closer to (a fictionalized version of) Asomatognosia, in which the person is unable to perceive some of their own body parts.
  • Artistic License – Physics: At one point the manga claims that gravity is what's holding the atoms in our bodies together. That would be strong interaction (in nuclei) and electromagnetism (electrons to the nucleus) instead.
    • However, certain interpretations of cosmology and quantum physics postulate that all fundamental forces are tied to gravity.
  • Attempted Rape: First seen in Ringo's backstory where he was almost raped by a vagrant. The second instance is Funny Valentine attempting to rape Lucy, and changing his mind once he sees she's become a vessel for the Corpse Parts.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • After seemingly dying in the second leg of the race in Steel Ball Run, Mountain Tim returns to save Miss Lucy Steel from certain death... only to get killed later in the chapter.
    • A little while after Diego Brando's death, he's replaced by Diego Brando From Another World for the final confrontation... only for his alternate-universe duplicate to die a few chapters later himself.
  • Badass Driver: A lot of the horse riders here, from Diego riding in his dinosaur form, to Pocoloco sliding down a hill on the corpse of a cow, all while on a horse.
  • Balloon Belly: At one point, Gyro and Johnny have to spend millions of dollars in one day and try eating plenty of luxurious food, earning Gyro a momentary Balloon Belly; made all the more hilarious since by then, Araki's switched to a realistic artstyle.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It's implied that Jesus might have been a Stand user.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Big Bad's ambitions are stopped, and Johnny's father has finally come around and apologized to him, but Johnny's lost a dear friend, the child his friend risked his life to save from execution dies soon after, and as of Part 8, he dies to save his family from a disease.
  • Book Ends: Steel Ball Run's second chapter ends with Johnny talking about how he started to walk - not physically but in the child to adult sense. The last chapter has him talking more about how it was a story of revival, in many senses.
  • Carnival of Killers: Johnny and Gyro are being attacked by assassins because they hold the corpse parts, which the Big Bad wants.
  • Chase Fight: During the manga's last few volumes, Johnny battles the alternate incarnation of Diego as both race toward the finish line of the race.
  • Chastity Dagger: Double subverted. When Valentine tries to rape Lucy (disguised as Valentine's wife), she takes one of the knives from a table nearby and tries to stab him, only for Valentine to catch the knife, revealing that he knew he was talking to an impostor. However, when Lucy sheds her fake skin, Valentine is actually stunned to see who's the impersonator, allowing Lucy to actually stab Valentine in the neck. Valentine gets better though.
  • Church Militant: Hot Pants is hinted to be a nun sent by the Vatican to retrieve the parts of the corpse of a holy saint heavily implied to be Jesus Christ, as such a relics will confer supreme authority over the Christian world to whoever has it.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Funny Valentine was captured by enemies and tortured during the Civil War. The scars left on his back resemble that of the American Flag.
  • Coming of Age Story: The story of SBR is just as much about the race and its implications as it is about Johnny's growth. One of his commentaries for this adventure is:
    Johnny Joestar: This story relates how I got up on my feet.
  • Convenient Cranny: Johnny manages to find a rock to hide under while being hunted by Wired.
  • Continuity Reboot: Steel Ball Run is set in an alternate universe and starts back during the time period of Phantom Blood.
  • Cool Big Bro: Nicholas Joestar was one for Johnny. His tragic death contributed to make Johnny depressive.
  • Cooperation Gambit: Diego Brando briefly associates himself with Valentine in order to get rid of Johnny and Gyro in their chase for the Holy Corpse, then when Valentine gathers its part, he teams up with Wekapipo and later Hot Pants.
  • Continuity Porn: Chapter 42.5 is a recount on what Stands are, and features many of the Stands featured during the previous 3 parts of the series.
  • Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: The large crowd of international participants causes some trouble prior to the start of the race. Europeans making others uncomfortable with their nudity, and Asians slaughtering pet dogs are specific issues that are mentioned.
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: After the first stage, one of the staff members cuts a piece of meat and pours a glass of water for Sandman, telling him it's free for racers. Sandman immediately takes all the meat and water except for what was prepared for him.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Johnny has to do this in order to learn more about the Spin and overcome any adversity on his adventure, which is made more difficult since Johnny is a paraplegic.
  • Darker and Edgier: The franchise had gradually been getting more risque and ambitious in its storytelling and characterization for years, and part 7 officially transitioned to a franchise aimed at adults. It shows. Johnny is by far the most flawed, byronic Jojo, and the part in general takes itself more seriously than the previous parts, with a greater focus on the central narrative and the Character Development of the cast. The greater freedom afforded to the seinen demographic also allowed Araki to go further than he did in the previous parts, with even a few cases of on-screen Attempted Rape.
  • Death Course: The Steel Ball Run, which is a horse race that spans the entire length of the US. Now that doesn't sound too bad but you have to remember that Part 7 takes place in the late 1800s and our protagonists are constantly being hunted down by assassins and rogue Stand users.
  • Deus ex Machina: Invoked in name by the spin. It is a reference to the logic of a 13th century priest, who stated that if a sphere spins, it can do so to infinity. He called this a "Deus ex Machina".
  • Didn't Think This Through: The first chapter mentions that a German baron is planning on participating in the race using an automobile rather than a horse, which Stephen Steel allows in the name of innovation. In chapter 6, it's shown that this was a terrible idea, as the baron didn't consider how much fuel would be needed to drive across the entire country.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Funny Valentine has the ability to travel between dimensions, but he is still only interested in his own dimension which contains the Holy Corpse, able to bless the United States for all eternity.
  • Dismantled Macguffin: The Corpse Parts, being ten separate pieces of the corpse of Jesus Christ.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Johnny cuts a man waiting in line at a movie theater. Dickish? Yeah, but that doesn't warrant the guy he cut whipping out a gun and shooting him in the back.
  • Distinguishing Mark: The first few Corpse Parts give their bearers unique scars on the parts of their body on the skin covering the part in question. Valentine has "considerae"note  over his heart, while Johnny has "move crus"note  on his left arm.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Diego infiltrates the Independence Hall dressed as one of the guards.
  • Eagleland: The United States of America constitute the entire setting of the part as the character cross the continent on horseback, starting at San Diego beach and finishing in New York while crossing The Wild West and Flyover Country. The manga doesn't linger on the United States themselves, but still offers a diverse cast of Americans, from the optismistic Stephen Steel bent on pioneering spirit, the noble cowboy Mountain Tim, but also President Funny Valentine, a Noble Demon full of Patriotic Fervor, while Sandman, who is Native American, criticizes how the Americans have stolen his tribe's land.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: One of the points of character growth for Gyro is that he does not have the constitution to kill, pointed out by Ringo Roadagain during their confrontation and expanded on during a flashback to Gyro’s life as an executioner in Italy (in the case with Ringo Roadagain, Ringo outright refuses to fight him several times and offers to free him from the orchard because he knows Gyro doesn’t have what it takes to kill him outright. In the flashbacks, he shows immense sympathy toward the people he’s supposed to be executing, demanding consent to kill them and finding it all distasteful, which leads to a confrontation between him and his father about his own sentimentality.) He makes a man shoot himself in the face for pickpocketing him in the first chapter, and this is never mentioned again nor does he do anything like this again.
  • Eldritch Location: Devils Palms, locations which were blessed by the Holy Corpse, and house one. They all have strange properties and people passing through them are the granted a Stand Ability.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "JoJo" is this to Johnny Joestar, hence why he goes by "Johnny" and not "Jonathan" anymore.
  • Epic Race: The eponymous competition, in which thousands of competitors are racing across the United States in order to win 50 million dollars.
  • Eye Scream: Johnny's eyes are set on fire twice. He also gets stabbed in the eye by cactus spines in an earlier chapter. Really, it's a miracle that the man doesn't go blind.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Gyro uses steel balls influenced by Spin energy to dispose of the Big Bad's assassins.
    • Wekapipo also uses steel balls, but his have miniature steel balls in them that fly out when thrown. When hit, the opponent is afflicted with Left-Side Ataxia, which causes the opponent to not see anything to their left.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: For once, averted. Since this is a Spaghetti Western, both allies and villains regularly carry firearms, usually revolvers and the odd double-barrel shotgun; due to a suspicious deficiency this part has of traditional humanoid Stands that can deflect bullets, this means guns are actually quite effective here. That being said, once Johnny acquires the ability to shoot his nails with Tusk, he stops carrying around a pistol, despite the number of fights where one would be very useful.
  • Final Battle:
    • The final battle takes place by the sea as the land around our hero and the villain draws closer to Lucy and Funny Valentine is surrounding the area with Love Train. Now add stands and a ball crushingly sad death to mix and you got one hell of a final battle.
    • After this climactic battle, the denouement concludes with Lucy and the alternate Dio confronting each other in Valentine's vault just before he can succeed in stealing the Corpse, where Lucy has brought the one weapon that can defeat him: the decapitated head of the original Dio. Though not as epic in scale it is perhaps the most tense, claustrophobic, and triumphant fight in the Part.
  • Forceful Kiss: Diego does this to Hot Pants, although he was actually trying to suffocate her after she tried to suffocate him. It gets the same sound effect as the Dio/Erina kiss from Phantom Blood as a shoutout.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The story begins with a retrospective quote from Johnny, indicating that he will survive the whole ordeal in a high note.
  • Foreshadowing: In the earlier chapters, Valentine is always surrounded by people who look very similar to him, possibly hinting at his stand D4C's ability which is only revealed much later.
  • Garlic Is Abhorrent: Sugar Mountain repeats several pieces of advice given to her by her parents, among them a vehement 'Never eat garlic!'
  • A Handful for an Eye: During their second horse racing duel, Diego sends small dinosaur-fleas on Gyro's horse, perturbating it because they begin to attack its eye.
  • Handicapped Badass: Our protagonist, Johnny, is a paraplegic, and lost any feeling from the waist down. Amazingly, this doesn't stop him from participating in a horse race that spans the entire continental United States.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: A mild case, but Dio Brando (not exactly that Dio Brando, though) ends up being the final enemy in Steel Ball Run.
  • Honest Axe: Sugar Mountain, the guardian of The Saint's ears. If you throw something in the spring, she'll ask what it is that you lost among a selection of choices. Answer honestly and you get it all. At first Gyro and Johnny seem to exploit this to get what they want, but they find out very quickly that there's a catch even to that. You have to "use up" whatever you got before sundown of that day, or else you'll be assimilated by a "tree". Only so many people can be assimilated at any point in time, and Sugar Mountain deliberately strung Gyro and Johnny along simply because she'll get her parents back if they get assimilated.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Johnny initially only had very little exposure to what Stands actually are, so when he actually gets one, it's up to him to learn its ability. The same thing happens to Gyro as well.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Valentine has Lucy in his power and tries to rape her. He quickly backs down once he sees that she's the host for the entire Corpse. Alternate Universe Diego does the same, but he's killed before acting on it.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Steel Ball Run officials all look the same; stout, short men with beady black eyes and a paintbrush-like head of hair contained by a visor. There are at least five of them, going by the final chapter.
  • Injured Self-Drag: Johnny's paraplegia has him doing this in several situations. During the fight against Pork Pie, he had to drag himself to an alcove just to avoid getting caught by the scattered hooks.
  • Jesus Taboo: Averted—though he's not named, the Holy Corpse is almost certainly Jesus.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Gyro's "Italian Coffee" is brewed until it has a tar-like consistency, then mixed with an equal amount of sugar. Johnny says that two shots of it revitalizes him and clears all his fatigue, making it a godsend in the brutal race they're participating in.
  • Leg Cling: The fourth volume cover of Steel Ball Run has Johnny doing this to Gyro.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Due to manipulating Axl R.O., Funny Valentine was able to arrange for all but two of the Corpse parts to come together and are now in his possession.
  • MacGuffin Super-Person: Lucy Steel becomes the Holy Corpse, and can bless anyone with the power of Karma Houdini. Thus much of the penultimate fight revolves around her.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Valentine tries to rape Lucy in the Independence Hall, wondering if the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in the very room they are in.
  • Mental Shutdown: Magenta Magenta has a stand that makes him completely invincible while holding a certain pose. He gets trapped in that pose at the bottom of a river while covered in electric cables, so he just stays there. In reference to what happened to Kars in Part 2, he "stopped thinking."
  • The Multiverse: This part introduces the concept of infinite universes by not only setting this story in a different one from the other parts, but also through Funny Valentine's Stand "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", which can travel from one universe to another.
  • Murphy's Law: Johnny and Gyro's attempt to spend all their money as per the results of Sugar Mountain results in them earning more money instead of losing it.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Lucy Steel become pregnant with the Corpse of the Saint, to add to the weirdness she's even expected to deliver the very same day she's become pregnant.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: If two versions of the same person from alternate dimensions touch, they will both be annihilated. This is one key use of Valentine's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. D4C also insulates Valentine himself from this effect and actually allows him to mentally sync with his alternative selves. The annihilation effect turns out to be the only thing allowing for a final victory for the heroes when Lucy uses the severed head of the home dimension's Diego against the alternative Diego.
  • Not as You Know Them: Stands get somewhat downgraded in importance for this part. For the past four parts, Stands are the go-to offensive tool for the heroes, with the vast majority of the combat between Stand users being done by their actual Stands. In Steel Ball Run, Stands are more like "objects" or "tools" for the characters to use rather than "punch-ghosts" exemplified by the likes of Star Platinum, The World, and more. For example, Johnny's stand Tusk allows him to fire his nails like bullets, but he still has to aim and shoot them himself, and it manifests itself as a small elephant creature. Diego's Stand Scary Monsters lets him turn people into dinosaurs under his will, but otherwise has no physical manifestation. Characters like Ringo Roadagain and Blackmore physically use their Stands as wearable objects, and D-I-S-C-O takes this to another level by having his Stand only be a keyboard system and "playing field", with no other properties to it. Instead, most of the importance is placed on the actual Users of each Stand and how they use their abilities in an effective way, which is likely done to give Gyro a fighting chance in battle with his Steel Balls. Notably, there are only five traditional humanoid Stands in this part, those being Boku no Rhythm wo Kiitekure, D4C, Ball Breaker, Tusk Act 4, and THE WORLD, and the only Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs beatdown in the whole part is delivered right at the end.
  • Not Just a Tournament: To Valentine, the Steel Ball Run is part of his plan to gather all of the Corpse Parts for himself and for America.
  • Not Quite Dead : Magenta Magenta seems like he was unceremoniously killed by Gyro when a bullet went through his head, but the brain left untouched and Magenta Magenta managed to drag himself back to civilization where he was treated and continues to hinder the heroes.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Gyro takes a penalty for apparently attempting to disrupt Sandman with a thrown steel ballnote .
  • Not Worth Killing: Blood Knight Ringo Roadagain spares the life of Gyro Zeppeli because it disgusts him to kill someone with no real killing intent. Cue Gyro acquiring said killing intent.
  • Odd Name Out: Introduced in this part are three enemies; Magent Magent, Wekapipo, and D-I-S-C-O. The former two are named after songs by the Japanese band SOUL'd OUT, while the lattermost's Stand is named after Chocolate Disco, a song by Perfume, marking the first appearances of musical naming that aren't of Western origin.
  • Pet Positive Identification: During the Wired fight, Porkpie Hat Kid frees Johnny's horse, Slow Dancer, to expose his hiding spot, as a horse will instinctively seek out his master.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Stephen Steel and his wife Lucy have this dynamic, although everyone mistakes it as a Dirty Old Man having a Trophy Wife. When Lucy was sold to the mafia because of her family's debt, Stephen saved her by pretending he'd already had her virginity and married her. He then privately shut of the possibility of any Relationship Upgrade with her, wishing her to life her life and be happy. Nonetheless, the two are very close and risk their lives trying to save the other. The narration itself recognizes that their relationship cannot be classified as either romance or friendship.
  • Politically Correct History: Despite being set in the 19th century, an era that wasn't very kind to non-white people, Pocoloco, Sandman, and Norisuke are treated very respectfully by most of the cast. The former two still have race issues as part of their backstories, but nothing of particular note during the race itself.
  • Prime Timeline: The story takes place in the "root world", which is made distinct from parallel universes due to being the only one containing the Holy Corpse. When Valentine travels to other worlds, these universes lack the Corpse Parts and have a different MacGuffin replacing them (such as diamonds).
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The part is made distinct by a lack of this; many characters have Stands that just aren't physical attackers, so they tend to carry other weapons instead. The only two that do attack physically are Tusk ACT4 and D4C, and the latter prefers attacking with singular blows a-la King Crimson. Not even THE WORLD attacks this way, despite being a clear analogue to a Stand that did.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The first time D4C's power is disclosed, Johnny is shot by someone and we follow not less than four times the point of views of different characters (Johnny, Wekapipo, Diego and Valentine) in order to explain everything. It turns out that all of their perspectives are accurate; Johnny was shot by one person, but Wekapipo, Diego, and Valentine all shot Johnny. D4C's power allows multiple alternate universes to exist in the same place, thus explaining the superposition of the three assailants (kind of).
  • Rescue Arc: The penultimate fight of Steel Ball Run consists of Johnny and Gyro trying to rescue Lucy from Valentine.
  • Retool: The nature of Stands here is very different from the previous parts. In the new iteration of reality of Steel Ball Run, people develop Stands from being in contact with some form of the Saint's Corpse, either obtaining a part of the corpse for themselves of having survived an ordeal in one of the Devil's Palms where the pieces were first located as the land tore apart when Jesus of Nazareth died there and carried the pieces of his fractured corpse across the Arizona desert. And many of the Stands in Steel Ball Run are more ability- and object-oriented than the humanoid forms they've had since Stardust Crusaders; Scan is one of Gyro's Steel Balls, Cream Starter is a spray can, Oh! Lonesome Me is a lasso, and Tusk starts out just as a small sprite that appears alongside Johnny when he shoots off his fingernails. The follow-up part JoJolion, which takes place in the same timeline as SBR, returns to the series roots in a fashion by having more humanoid Stands, but they first appear as inanimate abilities of the users.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Steel Ball Run has multiple parallels to the Phantom Blood part of the series, most notably the return of the Zeppeli family and their mastery of a hereditary martial technique.
  • Rival Final Boss: The last major opponent Johnny faces is Diego Brando, one of the frontrunners of the Steel Ball Run, or at least, an alternate universe version of him, armed with THE WORLD.
  • Send in the Clones: Funny Valentine's Stand power makes him practically immortal, since when he dies, a parallel version of himself is brought in to take his place, and gets all his memories too. The only real way to kill him is to do it quickly, before he can step between universes (Hot Pants and Diego attempt this), or to hit him with an attack whose effect persists between universes (this is Johnny and Gyro's plan). Presumably, destroying the Stand would also work, but that's harder than it sounds.
  • Shout-Out: The flashback showing Valentine receiving his father's handkerchief borrows heavily from the infamous watch scene from Pulp Fiction.
  • Spaghetti Western: Araki's love for Italian Culture (fashion, brands, culture, food, films) is finally brought to the forefront in his love letter to the gritty, violent, cynical Wild West from the Dollars Trilogy made by Sergio Leone... with much more fabulous clothes of course. The plot of Steel Ball Run, essentially about the friendship between two violent amoral and cynical cowboys, is a tongue in cheek yet affectionate nod to the friendship between Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef's characters from For a Few Dollars More. It should be noted that the original inspiration for Jotaro's portrayal drew directly from the performance of Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Gyro Zeppeli's ability with his metal spheres involves causing them to spin, then endowing this spin to other objects, enabling him to cut through stone, alter someone's muscular system, and even harden skin enough that bullets bounce off (not that it hurts any less, though). Wekapipo uses a variant for his Wrecking Ball.
  • Spoiler Cover: Merely seeing THE WORLD on volume 24's spine art spoils the previous volume's Wham Line.
  • Sports Hero Backstory:
    • Johnny Joestar was a star-jockey hailed as a genius before receiving his Career-Ending Injury.
    • Being Johnny's Foil, so was Diego.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In the Sugar Mountain arc, Gyro and Johnny have to race against time to give away everything they received in an Honest Axe deal, including all the wealth and inventory they got in return for those things, to escape the horrifying effects of a Stand. It turns out to be quite the struggle, as for everything they trade away, they receive even more.
  • Translation Convention: Most characters speak English, despite the original publishing language being Japanese. This also extends to units (displayed in metric) and currency, meaning the Steel Ball Run prize is actually in the ballpark of 2.5 million dollars.note 
  • Troubled Production: invoked The Steel Ball Run race almost gets canceled before it starts because of insufficient accommodations for the participants and audience, which was seven times greater than what was expected.
  • Twilight of the Old West: Steel Ball Run is set in 1890, during which the train and the car are beginning to replace horses as the main means of transportation. The "western" setting in the west fades little by little as the racers go East toward the civilized areas of the United States.
  • The Unfavorite: Johnny had this unfortunate problem in Steel Ball Run with his brother Nicholas. The fact that Johnny indirectly killed Nicholas by not killing a pet rat that would go on to startle his horse makes it all the more heart-wrenching.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: Gyro, Johnny, and Hot Pants repeatedly ride through parts of the same forest. Ringo Roadagain, a Death Seeker, refuses to let them escape unless one of them fights and kills him. Subverted in that the forest itself is not actually looping. Ringo can rewind time with his Stand and he's using his power to disorient them.
  • The Virus: Dr. Ferdinand's Scary Monsters Stand, which turns its victims into dinosaurs.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The power of the Spin as taught by the Zeppeli family is to imitate the golden ratio as closely as possible. This forces Gyro and Johnny to observe the natural world as a reference if they want to attack with golden spiral spin, since the golden ratio appears regularly in natural life; if they have no such nature in their presence, their spin-related techniques become drastically weaker.
  • Weird West: "Steel Ball Run". Cowboys? Check. Gunfights? Check. Weird stuff? Boatloads, like Stands, the mummified bodyparts of Jesus being powerful MacGuffins, and a hereditary execution technique centered around making things spin.
  • Wham Line: From the alternate Dio, cementing that this is not the Dio we know:
    THE WORLD! This time is only mine!
  • Wham Shot: In Part 90, Dio lunging out at Johnny... wielding not Scary Monsters, but The World.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gyro is outraged that Johnny is planning to kill Diego in cold blood and chews him out for thinking this as he doesn't consider himself a murderer.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Part 7 is founded on this. While people like Gyro and Lucy are good people (Johnny eventually comes around as well, though he's much grayer than most heroes), none of the main villains are really evil, per say. Diego wants to win because it's his job, and to fulfill his dream of being wealthy to avenge his mother. Funny Valentine, on the other hand wants the parts because he feels that they are too dangerous for anyone else, and he wants to use them to further the gain of his country and make his citizens' lives better. When the main villain is a guy that Jesus Christ himself approves of, you know this trope is in full effect.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    You got a broken heart / He's double dealin' with your best friend / That's when the teardrops start, fella
  • Within Arm's Reach: Big Bad Funny Valentine is in the middle of trying to unknowingly rape Lucy Steel, currently disguised as his wife, on a dinner table. Lucy manages grab a knife from the table and tries to stab Valentine with it... only for him to immediately notice and grab her hand before it lands. Valentine then realizes Lucy isn't actually her wife, and starts raping her for real. Double Subverted when he accidentally transfers her flesh mask onto himself, which distracts Valentine long enough for Lucy to actually stab him in the neck for real. Doesn't matter in the long run though...
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Johnny was always The Un-Favourite to his father compared to his late brother Nicholas, and himself had a lot of guilt over his belief that he was indirectly responsible for Nicholas' horse accident. However, when his father tells him to his face that "God took the wrong son", Johnny becomes fully depressive.

Alternative Title(s): Steel Ball Run