Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top 5 Stands in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Though the Ripple abilities harnessed by Jonathan and Joseph Joestar are the sort of ‘magical energy’ trump cards in the first two arcs of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Stands replace them from Stardust Crusaders onward. Stands are, in essence, a manifestation of their users’ willpower, and while the most iconic ones take on humanoid forms, their appearances can range from a small toy-sized fighter plane, to one powerful possessed sword, an electrical socket that forms a magnetic field around anyone who touches it, and even the collective consciousness of hyper-intelligent plankton. As is explained a number of times over the course of the long-running Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure tale, Stand users are the only ones who can see other Stands, and they will be inexplicably drawn to one another, be it on friendly terms or seeking to destroy one another. Below are my five current favorite Stands – as Jojolion is still ongoing and there will likely be more parts to Jojo’s in the coming years, this list may change in the future. Also, this list is based exclusively on the Stands, their appearances, and their powers, and the personalities or actions of their respective users do not necessarily bear any significant hold on their ranking.

#5 - Moody Blues: When part five presented the idea of a group of teens tracking down a mob boss and attempting to piece together the mystery of his identity along the way, Moody Blues stood out to me the moment its powers were explained. It allows its user, Leone Abbacchio, to rewind time and discover what transpired in a particular spot hours beforehand. It might not be the most exciting concept when compared to the Stands of the other Vento Aureo protagonists, like Guido Mista’s smart-mouthed revolver shells or Bruno Buccellati’s opening portals via zippers. Moody Blues is, however, quite practical, given the focus of their mission.

#4 - Whitesnake: Stone Ocean offered up many cool ideas that never quite panned out in quite as exciting a manner as I had hoped. It did, however, present some very cool Stand and core character designs, Whitesnake being chief among them. Enrico Pucci, Stone Ocean’s main antagonist, relies on Whitesnake’s ability to seal the memories and Stand powers of his foes on CDs in order to gain the upper hand on them. Whitesnake is present from a very early point in Stone Ocean, keeping tabs on Jolyne Kujoh, but often remaining in the shadows, carrying out tasks on Pucci’s behalf. It is one of the few Stands to display an ability to speak, and has a sinister, scornful personality that wonderfully matches its creepy subhuman face, its starkly-contrasting striped body, and the crown-like piece atop its head, denoting it as master of the Green Dolphin Street Prison

#3 - D4C: Considered one of the most powerful Stands in the entire series, D4C (shorthand for ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’) allows its user and President of the United States, Funny Valentine, to slip between objects in order to travel to parallel universes. D4C’s powers are barely even hinted at until it makes its grand debut late in the Steel Ball Run storyline, but when it does enter the scene, it commands center stage, constantly thwarting Johnny Joestar and Gyro Zeppeli’s attempts to halt President Valentine’s visions of grandeur. D4C also grants Funny Valentine an immunity to the dangers of traversing the multiverse, as he is able to move back and forth freely in order to heal himself via swapping bodies with alternate versions of himself, which D4C will subsequently follow. Any other individuals who might attempt to follow President Valentine to another reality, however, will ultimately meet their destruction upon being forcibly pulled towards the other version of themselves native to that universe.

#2 - Silver Chariot: The Stands in parts three and four of Jojo’s generally have simpler designs and powers, which is by no means a bad thing. The goofball would-be-heroes of Stardust Crusaders all boast powerful Stands with specialized abilities that complement one another well, though my personal favorite – both in terms of its aesthestic appeal and mystical powers – would have to be Jean Pierre Polnareff’s Silver Chariot. Single rapier in hand, Silver Chariot is a simple enough knight in armor design, but its lithe build and lightning-fast jabs make for a fresh approach compared to the heavy-hitting, armor-burdened design that would have proved the easier route to take in designing a medieval warrior-style Stand.

#1 - Killer Queen: Another one bites the dust with each detonation of Killer Queen’s explosive powers. Killer Queen is the antithesis to the Stand of Morioh’s local hero, Josuke Higashikata’s Crazy Diamond. Whereas Crazy Diamond can repair any broken object, Killer Queen is gracefully destructive, leaving not a trace of any of serial killer and user Yoshikage Kira’s victims (save for their hands, which Kira keeps as companions due to his fetishistic m.o.). While most Stands have a set power level they will never surpass, Killer Queen continues to grow more powerful over the course of Diamond is Unbreakable, making use of fellow Stand Stray Cat to launch projectiles and Kira's eventual 'awakening' as a gateway to forming temporal loops to overwrite any mistakes in Kira's plotting. Killer Queen’s appearance is largely humanoid, completely white, with a feline face and decorated with small portions of purple leather and gold studs. On its shoulders, its belt, and in a few other places, Killer Queen bears a terrifying skeletal face that appears to be something of a fiendish mockery of its own face – an appropriate parallel to the smooth and beautiful exterior housing such a violently destructive routine.

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