|Steel Ball Run|
Cover art of Weekly Sh?nen Jump issue Steel Ball Run debuted in, featuring Gyro Zeppeli.
(Sut?ru B?ru Ran)
|Written by||Hirohiko Araki|
|Magazine||Weekly Sh?nen Jump (January 19 - October 16, 2004)|
Ultra Jump (March 19, 2005 - April 19, 2011)
Steel Ball Run (Japanese: , Hepburn: Sut?ru B?ru Ran) is the reboot and seventh story arc of the Japanese manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. Set in 1890, it stars Gyro Zeppeli, a disgraced former executioner, and Johnny Joestar, a former hot-shot jockey who was shot and lost the use of his legs, as well as his fame and fortune. They, along with others, race across America for $50 million.
Originally the first 23 chapters (4 volumes) were serialized in Weekly Sh?nen Jump in 2004 simply under the title Steel Ball Run. Although the character's names are obviously related to the series, it was unclear if the story was a part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. However, when the series moved to Ultra Jump in 2005, it was officially announced as part 7 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, but in an alternate universe, like the following and current arc, JoJolion.
The 95 chapters were combined into 24 tank?bon volumes (volumes 81-104 of the entire series), following the trend set by the previous part, Stone Ocean, of starting over the volume count. A couple of chapters were adapted into a "Vomic" series, which has voice actors act over the manga pages as they are shown on screen.
The series is set in 1890 in an alternate reality from previous JoJo's Bizarre Adventure parts, where racing jockeys from all over the world flock to the United States to take part in the Steel Ball Run -- a cross-country horse race from San Diego to New York City with a prize of fifty million dollars. Johnny Joestar, a former jockey who fell from glory after a shooting paralyzed him from the waist down, enters the race after meeting the mysterious Gyro Zeppeli to learn the secrets of the man's Spin technique which temporarily restored his mobility. While beginning as rivals, Johnny and Gyro become friends as they travel through the wilderness while fending off violent competitors.
As Gyro begins teaching Johnny the secrets of the Spin, his own background is explored through flashbacks. He is a former executioner from Naples who is competing in the Steel Ball Run not for his own gain, but to win the favor of the Neapolitan royalty and thus prevent the unjust execution of a young boy, Marco, who has been falsely accused of treason. The two continue their progression through the race, all the while being attacked by various assassins, terrorists and outlaws.
Although the Steel Ball Run is organized by the eccentric oil tycoon Stephen Steel, it is revealed that the race is backed by the United States government. Steel is unaware of the actual agenda of US President Funny Valentine: the race is a means for Valentine to collect the scattered pieces of a two-thousand-year-old corpse known as the Saint's Corpse (implied to be the body of Jesus Christ, brought to America by Joseph of Arimathea) so he can use the reassembled body to achieve incredible power. Stephen's wife Lucy discovers this plot and finds out that Valentine already possesses one part of the Corpse, the heart.
After Johnny and Gyro encounter another piece of the Saint's Corpse, it is absorbed into Johnny's body and he develops the Stand Tusk, allowing him to fend off one of Valentine's minions. Later, they meet the mysterious racer Diego Brando (a counterpart to the character Dio Brando, a major antagonist in previous installments of the series), who obtains one of two Corpse eyes, while Gyro gains the other.
Lucy intercepts a message to Valentine about the Corpse parts, making her a target for his men. She is able to escape him and with Johnny and Gyro's help she finds one of the parts. With the information provided by Lucy, Johnny and Gyro decide to search for the next three Corpse parts while sending Lucy, with the advantage of Gyro's Corpse eye, to take the Heart from Valentine himself.
Meanwhile, Diego makes a deal with Valentine to help him deal with the traitor (who Valentine does not know is Lucy). Partnered with another racer, Diego attacks Johnny and Gyro. Gyro teaches Johnny how to use the Golden Ratio found in nature to amplify the power of the Spin, which evolves his Stand and allows him to defeat the other racer with this technique, but Diego escapes and all but one of the Corpse parts are stolen by another racer, Hot Pants.
Johnny and Gyro are next forced to deal with a Stand based on the fable of The Honest Woodman by Aesop, which grants them a considerable fortune alongside another Corpse part but forces them to get rid of both before sunrise or else they will be trapped within an ancient tree forever and become the new users of the Stand, making the same deal with passersby. The duo spend the money hiring a mercenary force to fend off Valentine's henchmen, but Gyro is nearly lost forever until Johnny trades away the Corpse parts to the last survivor of Valentine's forces, saving Gyro's life but leaving them with nothing.
Lucy uses Hot Pants' Stand to disguise herself as Valentine's wife Scarlet, while Hot Pants steals several Corpse parts from Valentine, including the Heart.
Johnny and Gyro are led to a garbage dump by Hot Pants, only for all three to be nearly defeated by one of Valentine's men, who takes all of the parts they have collected. With the help of a vision of the Saint, Johnny's Stand develops new powers in combination with the Spin. Before he can win the battle, however, Valentine arrives and kills his own minion, then leaves along with all the Corpse parts except for the undiscovered head and the eyes possessed by Diego and Lucy. Upon returning to the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Valentine uncovers Lucy's disguise and takes her captive after she fuses with the Corpse and seemingly becomes pregnant with the Corpse's head.
Lucy escapes from captivity, only to be lured into Valentine's clutches once again. Diego and Hot Pants ally against Valentine, chasing him and Lucy to a trainyard while being followed themselves by Johnny and Gyro. Diego and Hot Pants fight Valentine on the moving train but his Stand "D4C" (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap) proves too powerful and he kills them both, utilizing its dimensional alteration capabilities. Meanwhile, Lucy begins to metamorphose into a being resembling the Saint's Corpse. This grants Valentine even further powers in the form of an ability for D4C called Love Train, a dimensional wall of light that redirects all harm away from Valentine and randomly redistributes it as misfortune across the world.
Johnny and Gyro arrive and attempt to battle the seemingly invulnerable Valentine. Johnny is momentarily incapacitated as Gyro and Valentine take their fight towards the Atlantic Ocean, with Gyro unlocking his stand "Ball Breaker" utilizing the Super Spin and the Steel Balls. Gyro is able to pass Johnny a cryptic hint regarding The Super Spin, a form of spin utilizing gravity. Valentine unexpectedly survives Ball Breakers second attack however, and is able to mortally wound Gyro. Gyro eventually succumbs to his various wounds received by D4C and expires. At the last possible second, Johnny understands Gyros hint and is able to utilize the Super Spin with Tusk, unlocking ACT 4. Valentine is horrified as Tusk ACT 4's attack is able to breach his dimensional wall and mark D4C with infinite rotation. Pursued by infinite rotation regardless of which dimension he travels to, Valentine is forced to surrender and attempts to make a deal with Johnny, offering to resurrect Gyro by finding a version of him in another universe in exchange for the Corpse. Johnny nearly agrees but realizes that this is a trick after he notices Valentine holding a gun taken from another universe, which he intended to kill Johnny with if he let his guard down. Johnny kills Valentine in a fierce standoff, but realizes somebody else has taken the Corpse, now separate from Lucy.
Pursuing this unknown enemy into the final stage of the Steel Ball Run, Johnny is shocked to find that it is an alternate version Diego Brando, taken from a different universe by Valentine and entrusted with the Corpse. Unlike the previous Diego, this one possesses the time-stopping Stand of Dio Brando, THE WORLD. A flashback reveals that Valentine has educated the alternate Diego on the dangers of Tusk ACT 4 and a battle on the streets of New York begins. The new Diego is able to stop time for Johnny utilizing THE WORLD, however, Tusk ACT 4 is shown to be able to slightly mitigate the time stop by the use of gravity. Diego eventually outsmarts Johnny by utilizing Tusk ACT 4's own infinite rotation against it, leaving Johnny for dead. Diego then goes on to win the race in first place. He brings the Corpse to Trinity Church, where Valentine intended to lock it in a vault so that its powers would protect America forever. At the last moment, Lucy arrives with the severed head of the previous Diego. The new Diego, ironically unable to escape due to an injury Johnny gave him, fuses with his parallel self's head and disintegrates, because parallel instances of the same person cannot come into contact without destroying each other.
With Diego missing, first place is awarded to the carefree Pocoloco, who had slept through the start of the race and only caught up by sheer luck. Valentine's death is covered up as a retirement from public life, with concerns over the race placated by the donation of the prize money to charitable causes. Johnny, having regained his ability to walk through the power of his Stand and the Spin, leaves America to return Gyro's body to his family. On the boat he meets the Japanese racer Norisuke Higashikata, whose daughter Rina he later marries, leading to the events of Part 8, JoJolion.
Steel Ball Run was written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki, and was originally serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Sh?nen Jump magazine from January 19 to October 16, 2004. It was later moved to Shueisha's monthly seinen magazine Ultra Jump on March 19, 2005, and ran until April 19, 2011. Araki found that the new, monthly schedule with longer chapters suited him better, as he was not as restricted in what he could draw and no longer had to write stories with momentum building up excitement for the next week's chapter, and had more flexibility to draw at his own pace. Araki described the manga's theme as "seeking for satisfaction". Like with other parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Araki also used "an affirmation that humanity is wonderful" as a theme, which he explained as a description for humanity's ability to grow and overcome hardships through one's strength and spirit, portrayed through people succeeding in fights through their own actions, without relying on machines or gods.
Because the series follows a race across America, Araki had to split his research into three trips: one from the West Coast to the deserts, one from the Great Plains to the Mississippi River and Chicago, and one to New York. He said that it would have been impossible to get an understanding for the vast scale without having gone there personally, describing the scenery of the midwest as endless and unchanging. The feeling of distance made him think that if an enemy had approached, the open landscape would have meant that he could not have escaped due to a lack of places to hide, an experience he found useful when drawing the manga.
Like other protagonists in the series, Johnny was designed to symbolize the part's story and setting, and to stand out among the previous protagonists in terms of appearance, clothing, and silhouette. He was not specifically planned to have a disability at the start of the production; rather, his disability was the result of the series' focus on protagonists growing through overcoming hardships, and Araki wanting to create a character who was forced to rely on people and horses during the race and had room to grow both mentally and physically. Valentine was created as part of Araki noticing more and more that good and evil is not always easily distinguishable and taking a greater interest in the motivations for people who do bad things. He noted that Valentine's patriotism and goals seemed just and might line up with leaders in the real world, and that it is his sacrifice of powerless people to reach his goals that make him evil and completely unsuitable as a protagonist. The concept of having the president of the United States fighting the main characters came from when Araki saw the film Independence Day, and liked the idea of a president who fights.
|No.||Title||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN|
|1 (81)||September 25, 1890: San Diego Beach|
Issen Happyaku Ky?j? Nen Kugatsu Nij?gonichi San Diego B?chi (1890?9?25? )
|May 20, 2004||ISBN 4-08-873601-X|
|2 (82)||1st Stage: 15,000 Meters|
F?suto Sut?ji 15,000 M?toru (1st. STAGE 15,000?)
|May 20, 2004||ISBN 4-08-873613-3|
|3 (83)||2nd Stage: Arizona Desert Crossing|
Sekondo Sut?ji Arizona Sabaku Goe (2nd. STAGE )
|November 4, 2004||ISBN 4-08-873673-7|
|4 (84)||Gyro Zeppeli's Mission|
Jairo Tseperi no Shukumei ()
|November 4, 2004||ISBN 4-08-873689-3|
|5 (85)||The President's Conspiracy|
Dait?ry? no Inb? ()
|August 4, 2005||ISBN 4-08-873845-4|
|6 (86)||Scary Monsters|
Sukear? Monsut?zu ( )
|November 4, 2005||ISBN 4-08-873890-X|
|7 (87)||A Little Grave on the Wide, Wide Prairie|
Hiroi Hiroi Dais?gen no Chiisana Bohy? (?)
|March 3, 2006||ISBN 4-08-874117-X|
|8 (88)||To a Man's World|
Otoko no Sekai e ()
|May 2, 2006||ISBN 4-08-874119-6|
|9 (89)||A Stormy Night Is Coming|
Arashi no Yoru ga Yatte Kuru ()
|September 4, 2006||ISBN 4-08-874147-1|
|10 (90)||Illinois Skyline, Michigan Lakeline|
Irinoi Sukairain Mishigan Reikurain ( )
|November 2, 2006||ISBN 4-08-874285-0|
|11 (91)||Make the Golden Rectangle!|
?gon Ch?h?kei o Tsukure! (!)
|March 2, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-874336-3|
|12 (92)||Conditions for the Body, Conditions for Friendship|
Itai e no J?ken Y?j? e no J?ken ( )
|May 2, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-874362-2|
|13 (93)||Wrecking Ball|
Kowareyuku Tekky? ()
|September 4, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-874420-9|
|14 (94)||The Victor's Rights|
Sh?risha e no Shikaku (?)
|December 4, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-874438-4|
|15 (95)||A Dream of Gettysburg|
Getisub?gu no Yume ()
|May 2, 2008||ISBN 978-4-08-874518-3|
|16 (96)||Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap|
Itomo Tayasuku Okonawareru Egutsunai K?i ( ?)
|September 4, 2008||ISBN 978-4-08-874574-9|
D? F? Sh? (
|March 4, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-874648-7|
|18 (98)||Ticket to Ride|
Chiketto Tu Raido (
|July 3, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-874725-5|
|19 (99)||Don't Get Used to Having Money|
Okane Mochi ni wa Narenai (?)
|November 4, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-874769-9|
|20 (100)||Love Train - The World Is One|
Rabu Torein - Sekai wa Hitotsu (-)
|March 9, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-870060-1|
|21 (101)||Ball Breaker|
B?ru Bureik? ()
|July 2, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-870099-1|
|22 (102)||Break My Heart, Break Your Heart|
Bureiku Mai H?to Bureiku Yua H?to ( )
|November 4, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-870160-8|
|23 (103)||High Voltage|
Hai Vorut?ji ()
|May 19, 2011||ISBN 978-4-08-870206-3|
|24 (104)||The Stars and Stripes Forever|
Seij?ki yo Eien Nare (? ?)
|June 3, 2011||ISBN 978-4-08-870253-7|
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN|
|1||February 17, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619657-4|
|2||February 17, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619658-1|
|3||March 17, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619659-8|
|4||March 17, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619660-4|
|5||April 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619661-1|
|6||April 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619662-8|
|7||May 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619663-5|
|8||June 16, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619664-2|
|9||July 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619665-9|
|10||August 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619666-6|
|11||September 15, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619667-3|
|12||October 18, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619668-0|
|13||November 17, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619669-7|
|14||December 15, 2017||ISBN 978-4-08-619670-3|
|15||January 18, 2018||ISBN 978-4-08-619671-0|
|16||January 18, 2018||ISBN 978-4-08-619672-7|
Kono Manga ga Sugoi! recommended Steel Ball Run as a good place to start for people who have not read previous parts, due to how it serves as a reboot of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series, and appreciated how its move to the monthly seinen magazine Ultra Jump enabled Araki to write longer stories and depict things that would have been difficult to do in a sh?nen magazine. Erkael of Manga-News called the manga one of the best in the series, and said that it does not disappoint the reader at any point.Anime News Network called Steel Ball Run an interesting take on the battle manga genre due to its positive portrayal of a hero with a disability, and found it, along with JoJolion, to represent a big shift in the evolution of Araki's art, following his earlier shift from muscle men to thinner characters and fashion.
K. Thor Jensen of Geek.com called the portrayal of Johnny and Gyro's relationship one of the best platonic friendships in comics, citing their transition from rivals to close allies who make sacrifices for one another and help each other with their respective abilities. Erkael liked the high speed and intensity of the story, saying that it was as if Araki wanted the reader to feel like they were part of the race themselves, and how the story eventually opens up to follow several different characters whose paths at times intersect, leading to a world that feels "rich and dense". They wrote that the lack of Stands early in the story, with Gyro instead using steel balls, was surprising but refreshing, and reminiscent of the hamon abilities featured in the first part in the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series, Phantom Blood; they still enjoyed the shift in focus to Stand abilities later in the story, calling them "original and surprising".Kono Manga ga Sugoi! liked the depiction of the landscapes Johnny and Gyro travel through, calling them "beautiful".