The Pillar Man, Santana (story arc)

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The Pillar Man, Santana (「柱の男・サンタナ」, Hashira no Otoko Santana) is the third story arc in Battle Tendency.

It narrates Joseph's effort to investigate Speedwagon's whereabouts in Mexico, then the fight between him, the nazi officer Rudol von Stroheim, and the Pillar Man named Santana. It subsequently introduces Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli, the grandson of Will Anthonio Zeppeli, and a fellow Ripple user.


Since the Nazi Party took over Germany, the German military have been working to get an advantage over the rest of the world through science and ancient relics. Major Rudol von Stroheim was sent by his superiors to Mexico to find out if the Stone Masks could be of use to the Third Reich. Once Speedwagon regains consciousness, he is brought to a secret bunker built under the hacienda where the Pillar Man is stored and is horrified to hear Stroheim's intent to revive him. Stroheim then visits a cell where he knocks out a rebelling prisoner and asks the others to choose someone to sacrifice. One young boy courageously volunteers himself to save the others, but as a twisted reward for his bravery, Stroheim spares the boy and sacrifices all the other prisoners.

Joseph leaving Donovan tied to a cactus.

Elsewhere, after a brief run-in with thugs in a village, Joseph is riding a motorcycle through the Mexican desert until he confronts his stalker: A German assassin named Donovan whom Stroheim sent to intercept Joseph for intel about Straizo. Joseph manages to defeat Donovan, learns Speedwagon is alive and leaves the assassin tied to a cactus after getting directions to the hacienda.[1] Once there, after a failed attempt to sneak inside in drag, Joseph knocks out the guards and takes one of their uniforms.[2]

The revived Santana consuming a vampire.

Inside the bunker, after killing most of their prisoners for their blood, the Nazis proceed to revive the Pillar Man which Stroheim named "Santana" after the wind. Upon awakening, Santana's attempts to situate himself off the ground proved hilarious to Stroheim. They then begin the experiment by introducing a vampire they starved for days into the bunker, with Santana allowing the creature to attack him without resistance. A disappointed Stroheim was about to press the kill switch when he and his group realize that Santana is absorbing the horrified vampire into his body for nourishment.[3] But once Santana finished devouring his prey, he shocked everyone by saying Stroheim's full name.[1]

Santana escaping through the vents.

The moment everyone's gazes were away from him over that he is learning their language, Santana had suddenly vanished. Confused, Stroheim orders them to stop the oxygen flow into the room and replay the recorded footage. On the film in slow motion, it depicts Santana distorting his body to squeeze into the air vent.[2] Stroheim realized too late that Santana heard his name though the ventilation system as the Pillar Man forced himself into one of soldiers near the grate. The rest of the soldiers waste no time firing on their doomed comrade's bloated body as Santana consumes his host, The Pillar Man proving to be vastly intelligent as he demands why he was prematurely awakened before using the bullets in his body to kill everyone in the room. Only Speedwagon and Stroheim were spared as Joseph makes himself known and shields them with his “Ripple Hair Attack”.[4]

Santana using his rib blades on Joseph.

Joseph then tries to be friendly with Santana to the bafflement of Speedwagon and Stroheim, the latter getting into an argument with Joseph over if Santana is truly evil or if he only killed the Nazis in just defense. Though Santana ignored the "primitive" Joseph to suit his curiosity of the Germans' weapons, he eventually gets annoyed and tries to kill the human. Confused when Joseph's Ripple prevented him from absorbing the human, he decides to consume Speedwagon to see if he would get a similar response. This infuriates Joseph, finding his Ripple-infused punch to have no effect despite Speedwagon assuring him that his energy is protecting him from being absorbed.[5] Santana physically overwhelms Joseph and absorbs him once knocking the wind out of the human, only to realized too late that Joseph was holding his breath to lull the Pillar Man into a false sense of security to blow him up with a surge of Ripple.[6]

Binding Santana's torso in chains as his body begins to reassemble, Joseph tries to drag up the bunker and expose him to sunlight. Joseph succeeds with Stroheim's help after being forced to chop his leg off.[7] However, Santana enters Stroheim's body through his wound with the Nazi keeping himself from being moved towards a well as he takes out a grenade. Stroheim tells Joseph of the other Pillar Men his people discovered in Rome, asking him to find a way to defeat them before triggering the explosion to kill himself and leave Santana exposed. Joseph was touched by the German's noble act before a furious Santana lunges at him while they fall into the well. But Joseph allowed the Pillar Man to get the drop on him so he can be exposed the reflection of the noon sun, turning Santana back into stone.[8]

A mural of Santana and the three Pillar Men above him.

Santana's damaged body is subsequently brought into the Washington branch of the Speedwagon Foundation, stored away with UV light exposure. After analyzing the mural from the ruins, Speedwagon confirmed that there are three more Pillar Men that are stronger than Santana as he decides to contact an associate to meet him and Joseph in Rome. The associate is revealed to be Will Anthonio Zeppeli's grandson Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli, who clashes with Joseph in their first meeting.[9]



Nazi Doctor Av.png NaziDoctorsAvAnim.gif

(1st appearance)

SantanaAv.png SantanaAvAnim.png

Adolf Hitler
(Mentioned only)

Stroheim Prisoners Av.gif StroheimsPrisonersAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Death)

Courageous Mexican Kid Av.png CourageousMexicanChildAvAnim.png

(1st appearance)
Mexican Thugs
(1st appearance)

Erina2Av.png ErinaAvAnim2.png

(Mentioned only)

VampirePrisonerAv.png Vampire Prisoner Anime.png

(1st appearance) (Death)

SmokeyBrownAv.png SmokeyAvAnim.png

(Cover only)

DonovanMangaAv.png DonovanAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Retired)

Straizo2Av.png StraizoAvAnim2.png


NaziGatekeepersAv.gif NaziGatekeepersAvAnim.gif

(1st appearance)

Nazi Researcher Av.png Nazi Researcher Anime Av.png

(1st appearance)

Fat Santana Host Av.png Santana's Body Host Av.png

(1st appearance) (Death)

Santana Victims Av.png SantanasNaziVictimsAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Death)

WillAv.png WillZeppeliAvAnim.png

(Mentioned only)

EsidisiAv.png EsidisiAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Cameo)

KarsAv.png KarsAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Cameo)

WamuuAv.png WamuuAvAnim.png

(1st appearance) (Cameo)

DioBrandoAv.png DioAvAnim1.png


Rome Hotel Waiter Av.png RomeHotelWaiterAvAnim.png

(1st appearance)

CaesarMangaAv.png CaesarAvAnim.png

(1st appearance)

Caesar's Date Av.png CaesarsDateAvAnim.png

(1st appearance)



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