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Steel Ball Run by devilkais Steel Ball Run by devilkais
Time for JoJo part 7... which really is not part 7 ( even though that gives it an excuse to be in JoJo ASB. But then again, so does Baoh! Maybe he will face off Gappy later , because  I'd be absolutely for it!) www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUHfpj…


In the late 19th century, Johnny Joestar, a former genius jockey that became a paraplegic, meets Gyro Zepelli. Convinced that Gyro's rotation abilities are the key to regaining the use of his legs, Johnny follows Gyro to compete in the Steel Ball Run race, a race by horse across the entire United States. While it starts as a gigantic, but otherwise normal race, it is soon found out that the actual purpose is much more ambitious !


In All fairness, JJBA really ends with part 6 (therefore sealing itself as a complete series and ending up in my top 3 mangas ! But that's mostly because I tend to favor series that have ended. That's how I roll baybay !).
This is a very different story that started as being unrelated so I read it with that notion in mind. Steel Ball Run does take some concepts and does make some references to JJBA but anyone can read and appreciate it without even knowing of JoJo in the first place. It has NOTHING to do with Jonathan and Dio's fraternal antagonism and its legacy, the name Joestar here is nothing more than just a name. Here, it is more about a bunch of folks of different character alignments and goals pitted against each other with horses. It is a race in the litteral sense since SBR is a horse race (well duh !) through the USA and in the figurative sense since all the protagonists are pursuing something dear to them (ranking from selfish desires to regrets and finally heroic ideals!).

PROS :

+ As I said , you can go read right away! It is its own story, then you can come back here to discuss your impressions on it. It still has JoJo concepts though : Stands, Hamon, nightmarish sights, fabulousness, eccentricity and of course bizarre as fuck elements ! There's bound to be something for you to enjoy !
+ I do not care at all for horse races and this is the second time Araki tricks me in reading one !
+ Gyro Zeppeli... Not only does he put a nice reimagining of the Zeppeli family and the Hamon (which is called the spin in this story!), but he's also our primary hero  and mentor in this story. This guy is what would happen if Gambit , Arizona Goof and Lucky Luke were mixed with a surgeon and pétanque player... with a cowboy hat. Has a liking for teddy bears and teachs the readers how to properly wow da ladies with his balls of steel.That should give a nice expectation of what Gyro is. He also wins the prize for the sexiest chompers ever img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20… !
+ Diego Brando i.imgur.com/jxzo0Zj.jpg ... a completely different person from the Dio Brando of JJBA. Simply put, if Dio has the morals and ethics of Negaduck, Diego shares his moral compass with Daffy Duck (as well as some of the hammy wackiness at times... 25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcz… ). Easily has one of the saddest backstories and, much like villains I DO admire, does not whine about it. Thus, I sympathise with his misanthropy ....
+ A lot of other participants and presidential agents are great, either by motivation or just for being there !
* Hot Pants : A woman who made everyone believe that she was a man in order to participate (sure that such a moniker would fool anyone! But who am I to judge ?). And her motivation was definitely worth the while, I mean that's Berserk-level guilt there, lady!
* Sandman  : The man we meet at the very beginning of SBR... and who deserved a fuckload more of screen time ! I can't be the only who thinks that !
* Wekapipo : A man who shaped his hair after a wall of bricks and has a serious grudge against Gyro's family
* Ringo Roadagain : The merc with the coolest beard ever but with a huge need for socialising more (seriously, all those years in the woods ? That's gotta be boring as hell man ! No wonder why you kill anyone who would pass by this part of the woods !)
* Moutain Tim : Also known as Ropeman !
* Magenta Magenta : A snappy dresser who really needs a tissue ...
* Pocoloco : The racer with the best motivation of all ... the MOOLAH BAYBAY !
Of course , there are others that you'll have to discover for yourself !
+ Scary FUCKING Monsters ! Now that's a stand I'd love to have !
+ The First Lady ... Just www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVN1Ap… !
+ The entire "fight" against Sugar Mountain was brilliant !
+ Axl RO and Civil War !
+ The main antagonist, ladies and gents www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPWBhu… . FUNNY FUCKING VALENTINE! The 23rd president of the USA is the main antagonist of SBR as well as the instigator of the search for the Saint's corpse. The man's backstory is what would happen if the golden watch scene in Pulp Fiction was horrifying rather than funny (just think of a different cavity ...) and as such, he's determined in saving and preserving his country ! He was a disgraced soldier who was discharged from duty after having been tortured. He finds the heart of the Saint and seeks to obtain all the parts, as a prophecy is foretold that the holder of all of the parts of the Saint will rule the world. In obtaining the heart, he develops his stand , Cyborg Bugs Bunny...err... Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (D4C for his friends, Dyonisos for his lovers !), which allows him to travel between alternate dimensions by passing between two objects, and also allowing him to transfer his consciousness with an alternate version of himself to keep himself from dying from his wounds. This guy is what would happen if Captain America was the bad guy and had the perfected device from Sliders ! Not gonna lie, I would not mind having him as the next president for Tunisia (well that'd mean free napkins for everyone for starters ! Also  i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/o… , FUCK YEAH !)
+ The Saint Corpse was one neat treasure ! HALLELUJAH !

CONS :

- Sameface syndrome on the covers ! (okay, I admit. This is more of a nitpick than an actual complaint! XD )
- Johnny Joestar. Talk about someone who starts off as compelling but ends up hogging the fucking spotlight the more the story advances ! Something NONE of his predecessors did ! First off, I am glad the JoJo bloodline story ended in Stone Ocean because that would mean including him in the smala (well he officially is ... but then again , title VS substance). And I will admit without spoiling too much... I liked him at the beginning ! Johnny did not need that much of a backstory in fact. He was far better as a deuteragonist and  sidekick and his friendship with Gyro is what made him compelling (When Gyro speaks of course !). Once we get the whole "daddy hated me" stuff, it starts feeling contrived (then reaches the BULLSHIT level at the final volume of SBR...). Also, did I mention that his drive is very small potatoes compared to much more entertaining / tortured / ambitious side characters we meet during the story ? For some reason , he ends up as the main star and overstays his welcome. In fact, he's kind of the anti-Jonathan Joestar for me: Before reaching this story, I've been hearing that Jonathan was the weakest of the JoJos in terms of characters and that Johnny was the best due to his transformation from a petty douche to a better person...
I think I have been bamboozled in that regard because :
  a) Jonathan was a guy whose life was made into living hell by his monster of a brother. He is the ONLY JoJo that had to kill someone he shared his childhood with and saw as a sibling, while it clearly went against his idealism and gentle nature. The odds were against him but he fought till the bitter end !
  b) By contrast, Johnny is a fucking punk who had better characters step down to make him look good and who definitely poked at the hornet's nest of fate to be stung (neat metaphor, no ? XD ). Even Giorno and Jotaro, who fans have described as weak characters (I disagree. They just are not the main protagonists of their own arcs, simple as that !), were far more enjoyable and not as ham-fisted as him. So much for the "Best" JoJo ! Guy is the Shia LaBoeuf of the bunch !
- Add to that the fact that his stand ,"Tusk", goes from silly but pratical to Deus Ex Machina territory. And People complain about Golden Experience Requiem ?
- Diego from another world ? Talk about painful pandering ! And this is coming from a Dio Brando fan ... As for Lucy Steel defeating him ? Pfah !
- Why did the last chapter turn into the ending for Albert Camus's " La Peste " ?


And so end my impressions on Steel Ball Run, without giving away too much so that you go read it (right now preferably !). It was better than Watchmen (though in both cases, the very last chapters will make you scream in frustration...) but weaker than The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (which I do not even consider as the best Don Rosa story . Hell, there are far better Disney comics out there from Rosa or more polyvalent writers...), So I guess Araki's stand-alone JoJoesque western worked !
Now... To hell with it, I'll go take a peak at Jojolion ( who knew that I'd be back at reading unfinished series after such a long time !). In the meantime, VOTE !  www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoPFEF…
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:iconlilbear32:
lilbear32 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014
johnny was the hero...tho
it was like simon and kamina
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:iconpapasugar:
Papasugar Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  New member Hobbyist Photographer
SBR was a masterpiece,did you just compare it to some western trash?Fuck outta here,SON.
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:icondevilkais:
devilkais Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014
First off kid, mind your language. Second, READ the text before commenting, it usually helps ... and as a matter of fact it HAS a Western style of setting and tropes , so IF I compared it to that genre, I am hardly wrong .
Reply
:iconpapasugar:
Papasugar Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  New member Hobbyist Photographer
First,I won't mind anything,why?Because I can.Second,I read the text and sorry for saying but it was bullshit,at least most of it.Lastly what I meant by western trash hardly has anything to do with style setting and tropes,I just meant that those things you mentioned are trash.
Reply
:icondevilkais:
devilkais Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
Of course you can... rudeness is indeed among anyone's ability ...
YES, I maintain that it was far better than Watchmen BUT it was also flawed , ESPECIALLY the ending, like it or not , I am being honest . And yes, L&T$ is still one of the best books I've ever read, intro and conclusion included. And That IS That !
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:iconpapasugar:
Papasugar Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  New member Hobbyist Photographer
You can like your Disney shit all you want for all I care. :D

Now I'm gonna stop being toxic for a few lines and ask something on a serious note.Out of all those flaws you could find,you picked the ending as the major one.Come on bro...Like what kind of ending did you expect?Johnny dying like the punk that he was,Gyro surviving,getting down with either Hot pants or Lucy,going back to his country to save the little boy which would lead a long prosperous life and everybody would live happily ever after?
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:icondevilkais:
devilkais Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
... tsssk, tsssk , tsssk . Such flabbergasting wit ! How edgy...

Maybe I expected a more coherent ending rather than cheapening The World , perhaps ?  Or ending it WITH Funny Valentine's defeat ? that would have been a perfect closure !
Also, Gyro surviving ? That would have been a nice change of pace rather than having the Zeppeli name just being a death sentence.
Getting it down with Hot Pants ? Yeah , because  I hinted at that a lot. No , I do not have that kind of reductive thinking...  And WITH Lucy ? I am gonna pretend I didn't read that in your post.
Johnny dying like the punk that he was ? Nice of you to suggest that ! :)
So for you, it's either all bad or all good ? There's no middle ground ? A depressing ending (the one we got for instance) can be just as easy , botched and cheap as the sugary one you think that I'll necessarily approve of .
Reply
:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Phew, finally read this one!

So, onwards to "Araki mixes up Hidalgo and every single bad novel about aliens and antique relics that always end up in the US" :lmao:

-Is it just me, or this story could have been better if Gyro Zeppelli had been the protagonist instead of Johnny?
-Hell, Hot Pants/Mountain Tim/(the crazy Aborigin who ran the whole SBR BAREFOOT!
-Diego Brando is best "notvillain/nothero" in the series. (Anasui was more like "Jolyne´s personal stalker" so he does not qualify XD)
-The concept of the Spin was very nicely done. I didn´t feel it was a cheap ripoff of Hamon.
-The Stands were...interesting. Specially Pocoloco´s, Scary Monsters(VELOCIRAPTORS!)But not D4C. and not "The World" I mean, what?
The art got better...somewhat, even if the covers depicted Gyro and Johnny WITH THE SAME FACE!

Cons:

-The Pendletons are kinda meh.
-As said above, the concept of D4C. Aaaaaaand now that feels like a crazy comicbook story.
-The World, I mean, seriously?
-I get it that these days people don´t like happy endings and all that, but that sloppy epilogue where it´s revealed that the kid Gyro was trying to save just...died because of an illness?So Gyro died because of nothing? And that was explained in one measly panel? I...what.
-Not enough screentime on the secondary charas. I mean, Pocoloco, for starters, was awesome...ditto for his Stand!
-Aforementioned Awesome Aborigin Who Does Not Get Enough Screentime,Suddenly Evil and Dies.
-Valentine´s design.  He is an awesome character, but his wardrobe is kinda uh,not much to my liking IMO
-Tusk nominated Lamest Stand Ever, Nay, Lamest Power in The Franchise Ever, yes?

Here´s to hoping Araki manges to tie up Jojolion with the Alter! Stone Free characters neatly!
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:icondevilkais:
devilkais Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
Thank you a lot for taking some of your time to comment ! It means a lot to me !

Indeed. SBR could have been far better if it did not end up focusing on Johnny. In fact, Gyro could have had several sidekicks throughout the entire story and the ending could have been far more weird and stronger (instead of the whole "daddy didn't love me but actually he did"... damn was that part grating ! Best JoJo my foot ! Jotaro had a far better change in demeanor and he was not even a main lead ! Johnny is simply , at best, a decent sidekick , at worst, a douche that never deserved his protagonistical position or being a Joestar). The spin is a nice spin on the Hamon concept , I wish it got used more (the ball breaker stand felt kind of a last minute addition...)
Diego is fantastic and a great anti-hero and damn was his demise sad !
Well Araki's artwork is kind of a double edged sword. On one hand, it perfectly works for SBR and JoJolion even though I am not the biggest fan of the Sameface Syndrome , on the other hand it just does not gel with his older characters (hence why I love Hayama's rendition of JoJo characters... I don't know why but I always felt it magnified them
3.bp.blogspot.com/-dN9tQGGNI7g…
  38.media.tumblr.com/e137029bda… )

True, as much as I love Erina, Lucy did not do much for me (also was I the only one freaked out when they decapitated Diego's corpse ? Jeesh Girl ! ).
Actually I love D4C . Its cyborg rabbit design was pretty neat andit's nice to have an Arakian antagonist that control dimensions rather than another type of chronokinesis ! That and... I would not mind using it  to meet other mes (and find a more good looking one or making things faster for me smg.photobucket.com/user/CelL1… ), even though Scary Monsters is my favorite SBR stand (big dino fan here !). I agree that the President's wardrobe is odd, but he made up for it by removing his coat , showcasing his fabulousness !
I agree that Sandman was completely wasted ! I'd kill to have him be Gyro's sidekick (or part of the rotating cast of Gyro's sidekicks)
The World was just pandering and another argument as to why SBR would have had more benefits at being its own thing rather a JJBA "continuation" (I maintain to this day that it is not ! Araki wanted to start with something fresh and new and that's the core impression it gave me ! Shoehorning stuff like Johnny having to fight Diego 2 just does not work because a) Diego is NOT Dio b) there's none of the layered and personal antagonism that Jonathan had with Dio, thus it is just "another fight" ... and a rather meh since the President and Gyro were gone ...)
I like Tusk at its early stage (it was great in the Axl Ro fight)... the ACT 4 made me hurl ! And I did not mind GER because at least , Vento Aureo had a sense of urgency and desperation but here ? It was just infuriating ! that power seemed gift-wrapped for him to use !

But despite those inconveniences, it is still a great story ! Easily in my Top 10 Mangas !

Well I don't if he'll do. It seemed that Emporio ended up in a different plane... plus I prefer that as a closure to the glory that is JoJo !
JoJolion is going strong indeed ! Gappy and Yasuho are simply adorable . Though I do hope Joushu dies , painfully and gorily ...
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:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
No problem! It was a pleasure to read!

Yes, I can agree on the whole Scrappiness of Johnny.
Apparently, Araki got time to expand and develop more the ideas behind the Spin, compared to the Ripple,which was a good thing.
Damn, those sketches are awesome!
True, it would have been a lot better if the series had ended with the final fight against the President, without all the anticlimaticness that that the last leg of the manga!

Oh well, not that I´m complaining about how Stone Ocean ended!

Don´t forget the other Higashikatas being creepy as hell.(Specially Daiya *shudder*)
But yes Gapsuke/Yasuho are all kinds of adorablen-HNNNNNNGGGGG
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