Set in 1890, Steel Ball Run spotlights Gyro Zepelli and Johnny Joestar as they pit their spirits on a Fifty Million Dollar race across the heart of America. Their track quickly becomes a no-rules land as the racers' dreams collide and only human will spurs them on. But there is more to this race than any contestant realized and each of them soon grasps the real size of their world.
Alrighty, seems I'll be the one to do the review for Steel Ball Run. Story- The focus of this part is the race known as Steel Ball Run, a race that traverses from San Diego, California and across the United States all the way to New York City, New York for a chance to win Fifty million dollars. Racers like Gyro Zeppeli and Johnny Joestar pit their spirit against others against others in a test of the human spirit. But there is more to the race than meets the eye, with conspiracies abound. One of the complaints from fans is that Steel Ball Run has a slow start, but in my opinion I was okay with it. Art- Before Steel Ball Run was in Ultra Jump, it was in Weekly Shonen Jump. For the most part it was following the same art-style from Stone Ocean. When the author moved to a monthly magazine, it allowed him more time to focus on the art. That is where the art starts to get really good. This may in fact be the Jojo series with the best art. Characters- Let's start with Johnny Joestar. I'm gonna be honest, Johnny was a real asshole at the beginning of the series, SPOILER- getting shot and crippled by a guy he pissed off at the beginning of the series, but I think the author making the main character dislikable is a bold move. Redemption seems to be a key theme with Johnny, therefore the main character has to be initially in the wrong. But at the same time for me I find it hard difficult to care about the redemption of a character who spends a lot of time being obnoxious and hard to get along with. Although he does undergo a development arc, one of the more substantial, I find it hard to sympathize with him and feel accomplished, since his goals aren't noble. He's in the race to win for a selfish reason and that to me makes me dislike the character. So you could say that his paralysis is a symbol of his egocentrism, so over the series he loses his self righteousness. Even if you see the paralysis as a symbol, there's still no denying its another selfish motivator. If the moral is one of redemption and self improvement, SPOILER- how come Johnny is able to walk again? This came off to me that there were no consequences to Johnny's selfishness, SPOILER- except those like Gyro that fell around him, only to better him. That is what I don't like about Johnny. His story is one of selfishness at the beginning, selfishness motivation to carry it through, and in the end who is the one left standing? The selfish one. Those who looked out for others died, that is not a message of redemption. I have to admit, Lucy Steel became one of my favorite characters during this story part. What start as an act of courage for her husband throws her into the major plot of the story. Seeing her being brave despite being scared is what makes her an admirable character for me. Dio actually makes a reappearance during part 7 and its during this part that Dio, thanks to the fact that Araki revamps Dio's origin story and it actually helps make Dio a more interesting and more likeable character. Now let's talk about Funny Valentine, the main antagonist for this story part, one that covers deeply political debates with a tyrannical insane villain being a vehicle for discussion. While some may think the theme for a plot pretentious or delving too deep for a series such as Jojo but I would have welcomed this with open arms, if it had been done correctly. He's close to being a good villain but falls short in all the key aspects. A villain whose goal is to save and improve the lives of many innocents. How am I suppose to get behind a protagonist who I don't really sympathize with to fight a villain who is just doing his job? Valentine disregards anyone but the USA. He wants his country to be the best and doen't care about anyone else unless they can be exploited for the betterment of his country. It sounds fascinating as a concept, it just comes off as the wrong way around in the final pursuit of battles. He was also shown to be a cold person that just conflicted with his overall goals. He just too likeable to be the villain that Araki wants him to be. In addition to that, every Jojo part before this one had a real pure connection between the ally emsemble and a villain with a cast of villains. There's just very little connection between Johnny Joestar and Funny Valentine. Why would Johnny Joestar want to take on Funny Valentine? Johnny just isn't the type to care about america as a whole. If Johnny was to gain a sense of righteousness and to suddenly start caring about the rest of the world then I really didn't see it executed very well. The only time I felt invested in Johnny's goals was when he was avenging Gyro's death. But this in itself is a selfish goal. These are the reasons I couldn't enjoy Valentine as a villain. There's a lack of true contest and contrast between good and evil. Then there is the use of a deus ex machina that was used to counter Valentine's ability, Tusk 4 and Ballbreaker, of which no one will even admit are deus ex machina, they are, even more conclusively so than part 5. The tenacity of people insisting that part 5's ending sucked because of Golden Experience Requiem and yet part 7 is the greatest part of its kind with a perfect conclusion really irks me a lot. Valentine's ability literally makes him invincible. The only way to counter it is to have an ability that is specifically able to destroy the source of such invincibility. This idea is simply carried out much better in part 5 because part 5 is about fate, both with the characters and the stands. Part 7 doesn't even get near this degree of fate. I can't disagree with the plot device, I can and will stand by that its only able to be done well in the correct set up which I strongly believe it wasn't given in part 7. Now its time to praise for what it did well in. I believe that all parts of Jojo are excellent, however, I feel as though part 7 gets more praise than it deserves. So what did I like? Well, I think this part had some of the most creative and badass abilities over any part. The part with Ringo was simply amazing! With a groundbreaking transition from shonen and seinen, Steel Ball Run subverted many manga troupes we know and love to create a piece of art that is fascinating. Although Johnny is not a likable character, he's a very interesting one. Although Valentine is not a hard aligned villain for me, he is a very interesting one. The part felt a real maturing for Jojo, Araki wanted to become more mature, more excellent in his craft. Surface enjoyment is a number one factor in wrecking ball. So what does that say about part 7? It didn't keep me as much as it did with the justice of part 4, the destiny of part 5, the futility of part 6. For me part 7 has its place in Jojo, but it does tell a complete story on a grander scale than any of the others before it. But I can't wholeheartedly enjoy it the same way I do with the other series. Its placed in its own pedestal in my mind for achieving something the others never did. But at the end of the day its not how I like my Jojos. That's just my opinion though, why I think Steel Ball Run isn't as good as people say. All of the credit goes to RainbowNebula, a youtuber who did a good job dissecting Steel Ball Run for me, who wanted a critical review of Steel Ball Run.
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