Friday, July 17, 2015

25 Days of Jojo’s - #9: Johnny Joestar

(Fair warning: there will be spoilers abound in this series of posts, as I find there are major moments that define some of these characters late in their respective story arcs. So in the event that you have not yet read/watched a particular part of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure storyline, you may wish to skip over certain entries.)

#9 - Johnny Joestar: The Steel Ball Run counterpart to noble and heroic Jonathan Joestar, Johnny Joestar begins his tale aligning considerably less with attributes of the former. Once a well-known horse jockey, Johnny’s ego got in his way, and a bad encounter with an impatient gun-wielder cost Johnny the use of both of his legs. This, combined with the accidental death of his brother, and the fact that his father swore that God took ‘the wrong son’ from him, leads Johnny to initially be a protagonist who is a bit rougher around the edges than many of his predecessors.

However, this culmination of unfortunate events also provided Johnny with a great passion for horse jockeying, offering him something to prove to himself. Forging an early friendship with Italian-born Gyro Zeppeli, Johnny quickly discovers that there is much more at stake in the cross-continental Steel Ball Run horse race than some fat stacks of cash. Hoping to recover the mysterious corpse parts before President Funny Valentine and his many henchmen can, Johnny and Gyro find that their role in the Steel Ball Run is one less of landing a strong finishing place and more of unraveling the larger picture, while also trying to stay alive.

Johnny’s Stand, Tusk, is one that certainly puts the ‘bizarre’ in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It allows Johnny to fire his fingernails as projectiles, ten at a time, but manifests new abilities over time, not unlike Koichi Hirose’s Echoes in Diamond is Unbreakable. The more powerful stages of Tusk allow Johnny to throw up defensive walls, create wormholes to fire at his foes through from surprise angles, and even perform the Joestar bloodline’s signature ‘ORAORAORA’. While Johnny plays the down-to-earth pupil to Gyro’s eccentric mentor role in learning the Spiral, Johnny is also shown to be a fierce and highly capable fighter, sometimes becoming so intent on completing his goal that Gyro has to snap him out of his focus, so as to prevent him from pushing himself too far.

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