Kars is the leader of the Pillar Men, and the designer of the Stone Mask. His goal is to evolve further to become immune to the sun's rays, and thus he seeks the Red Stone of Aja to empower his Masks, battling the Ripple users for its possession.
As the creator of the Stone Masks and Vampires, Kars is one of the more influential characters in the series, his invention having far reaching repercussions for a number of major characters, such as Dio Brando, the Joestar Family and the Zeppeli Family.
Kars is a tall, very well-built man with long, dark, wavy hair which he keeps under a dark, tight head-wrap (taking it off as a sign of either honor or aggression). Three little pointy horns sprout out from his head and he wears a little diadem with one jewel embedded in it. When designing Kars and his companions, Araki pulled inspirations from Roman statues, Egyptian sphinxes and Japanese Nio statues to emphasize their beauty as god-like figures.
He is otherwise minimally dressed, wearing high boots, forearm guards, a thong, and a flowing loincloth. When attacking, he produces long, shimmering blades from his forearms and legs.
Kars is the only one to wear a turban to display his superior power and intelligence as the king of the Pillar Men group. However, Araki made him naked from the waist up to contrast with his air of intelligence.
In Switzerland, Kars dons a fedora and a longcoat in order to appear less conspicuous in public.
Kars is intelligent, ruthless, and single-minded in his dedication to obtain the Red Stone of Aja. He was stated to have been a genius among the Pillar Men, having been the original creator of the Stone Mask.
Initially, he appears to be the most aloof and no-nonsense of the Pillar Men, rarely smiling and often being the one who has to remind Wamuu and Esidisi of their goal. Obsessed with obtaining the Red Stone of Aja, he is willing to trample anyone in his way, no matter how dishonorable the method. At his worst, he broke his word about fighting for the Stone fair and square, cheating to defeat Lisa Lisa and then unleashing his Vampire minions to kill a weakened Joseph and has been revealed to execute children, anticipating their revenge.
With the advantage of his resilience and immortality, Kars is a methodical and patient individual who can infiltrate human society (donning their clothes) or observes a room to strike all its occupants in one move. His first battle against Joseph demonstrates a great deal of relentlessness in trying to obtain the Stone as the Pillar Man answers Joseph's every tricks calmly with moves of his own. Unaffected by setbacks such as when he peacefully accepted that Joseph stole the Stone from under his nose, he will relentlessly struggle to win through the direst situation. Only when does he find himself in space, unable to move despite repeated attempts to do so, and drifting away from Earth does he lose his composure and hope. Nonetheless, his obsession with the Aja Stone is an easily exploitable weakness as Kars prefers to take no chance in losing it. Thus it has been used as a shield and leverage by his enemies with ease.
Despite his stern, no-nonsense exterior, Kars possesses a murderous and sadistic nature. He has stated that a life without an enemy is boring and has shown to enjoy fights occasionally. However, he only really appreciates seeing his enemies being in a weak position and panicking, appreciation the expression and cries of despair on Joseph when he was the Ultimate Life Form, and often licks his lips in anticipation of their demise. Kars also comes across as mockingly polite, as he offered Lisa Lisa poison in order to die on her own terms rather than fighting him. These tendencies become more clear when he attains his ultimate form, and he is seen to thoroughly enjoy his status as the most powerful life form on Earth.
Kars reveals himself to be a power-hungry Pillar Man, fixated on controlling the full potential of his body and the idea of resting "at the top". When he discovered that the Pillar Men's brains held untapped potential, much like humans, Kars wanted to control it. That obsession made him build the Stone Masks to unlock his hidden abilities; when that failed to meet his expectations, he sought out the Red Stone of Aja to complete his transformation into an ultimate being. He was enraged when the rest of his tribe refused to "conquer the sun" as he wished, believing that they should use their innate power to the fullest and rule over all life; however, he either ignored or failed to consider the fact that the increased hunger brought on by the Stone Mask's power would cause his race to exterminate all life on Earth.
Kars keeps an ambiguous relationship toward those around him. On one hand, he considered Santana to be nothing but a simple guard dog, and slaughtered the rest of his race (including his parents) without hesitation or remorse. On the other hand, he expresses himself to care deeply for Esidisi and Wamuu, repeatedly vowing to achieve his goals and kill Joseph Joestar to honor and avenge their sacrifices in ensuring his success. Kars also seems to have a certain respect for nature and animals; he caused a drunk driver who nearly hit a puppy to get into an accident and die, and he deliberately complicated an otherwise-simple landing to avoid falling on a flower. However, he does later attack a squirrel when testing his Ultimate Form's abilities, and is said to have threatened an entire ecosystem fueling his Stone Masks. Ultimately, Kars is capable of affection and forming bonds with others, but those affections always come second to his goals.
Kars looks down on machines, sneering at the cyborg technology Rudol von Stroheim demonstrates and considering it inferior. Moreover, he considers his Vampire grunts to be worthless pawns, unmoved if they are victimized or slain, and willing to execute them himself should they prove annoying to him.
As the Ultimate Life Form
- Superhuman Intelligence: Kars is an extremely intelligent and cunning individual, even by the high standards of his species. He was the one who created the Stone Mask, studying the Pillar Men's brains to unlock untapped power. In battle, Kars is methodical and observant, able to analyze the enemy's plan and plan accordingly with cunning and ruthlessness. Kars has also mastered his godly powers quickly, using the power of Earth's fauna and even its most obscure properties to his advantage. In every setback, Kars manages to quickly find a counter or a way to exploit it and reverse the situation.
- Superhuman Senses: Kars can sense the heat and air pressure around him by forming antennae. His vision is akin to an astronomical telescope, and he is able to hear anything from whale calls to bat screams.
- Superhuman Strength: Kars's strength is 900 kg/cm2.
- Regeneration: Kars can heal any wound in a short period of time.
- Immortality: Kars is invincible, immortal, and nigh indestructible. He does not age, is self-sustaining, and is described as more beautiful than a Greek sculpture.
- Body Manipulation: As the Ultimate Life Form, Kars' body contains the DNA of every organism to ever live on the Earth. He can manipulate his entire body on a cellular level to gain the traits of any life-form, such as bird-like wings that enable him to fly. He can even detach parts of himself and transform them into separate organisms that act independently of himself, such as turning his hand into a flesh-eating squirrel or turning his feathers into armadillo-scale projectiles that morph into piranhas and octopus tentacles to bring down Joseph's plane.
- Reactive Evolution: Kars can also alter his body to withstand extreme conditions, as seen when he evolved a continuous layer of inorganic porous material to survive being submerged in magma.
Esidisi: Kars appeared to care for his comrade, being the only Pillar Men of his generation to agree with his ideals. He trusted him to investigate a lead on the Red Stone of Aja alone, and immediately went to Switzerland himself when he realized that something must have happened to Esidisi. Upon learning that Joseph had killed Esidisi in order to keep him from the stone, Kars vowed to kill him after completing his primary objective - and he meant it, as the first thing he did after testing his Ultimate Being abilities was to attack Joseph.
Wamuu: Along with Santana, Kars raised him along with Esidisi. While Kars respected Wamuu's ability as a fighting genius, he showed no respect for his honor and thought he was too pure to be a warrior. Nonetheless, he seemed to care for Wamuu to some extent, as he immediately cut down a group of his own minions for mocking Wamuu after the latter's demise and vowed to avenge his death along with Esidisi's by killing Joseph.
Santana: Along with Wamuu, Kars raised him along with Esidisi. In comparison to Wamuu, however, Kars saw Santana as guard dog and left him behind when he couldn't keep up with them.
Joseph Joestar: As the man who created the stone masks, Kars is essentially responsible for Dio Brando's transformation and the death of Jonathan Joestar. Initially, Kars was just one of the Pillar Men to defeat in Joseph's eyes, but after Joseph killed Esidisi, Kars voiced a deep-seated hatred for the human above all Ripple users. Kars would win Joseph's ire as well by revealing how dishonorable he is compared to the others. It was only once Kars became the Ultimate Life Form that he indulged himself in attacking Joseph who made great efforts in order to defeat him. Kars responded by cutting off Joseph's arm and it ended in Joseph unintentionally sending Kars out into space, but not before mocking him one last time.
Chapters / Episodes
- “Geez... have humans devolved since the past?”
- “Foolish... we are immortal, it's lonely without an enemy. Life is only worthwhile with an opponent. I understand your feelings, but our first objective is to gain the power of the Red Stone of Aja. Don't forget that you two!”
- “The Red Stone of Aja! I have waited four, no, five millenia for this, and now it is before me!”
- “It seems I, Kars, am the only one left... but only one can stand at the top!”
- “Heh! A one-on-one fight... ludicrous! My only goal is the Red Stone! To become the ultimate life form! I don't have any romantic spirit, nor do I want to become a warrior like Wamuu, because the method isn't important, all that counts is to get the final victory!”
- “All that matters is that I get a hold of the Red Stone. Move your pieces one at a time on the board, making them effortlessly reduce the risks to a minimum! Chance has nothing to do with it! That's a "true fight"!!”
- “Hehehehe HAHAHAHAHA! The ultimate life form! It is the one gathering all the power... from the living world, all the lives... And this beauty! How gorgeous! I've never seen anything as wonderful as this! Finally!! The sun... Finally, I have tamed the sun!!”
- “You fools! Don't you wish to tame the sun?! Don't you wish to dominate creation!? Don't you wish to not fear anything!?”
- “Humans are a life form with possibilities. You can do almost anything if you simply tweak their brains a little.”
- “Heh heh heh. Humans are a fascinating species. They seem like they are constantly striving to become something else, but they resist actual change. Most likely they simply enjoy imagining things. That is what I like most about the human race. They are the only ones who imagine, who create. Who make stories. When I was living underground I gathered the stories human had written, and read them. Humans are the only species that enjoy things that happen to others of their kind. At first I had no idea how they were enjoying it. Our brains had no concept of emotional investment, of putting ourselves in other's shoes. It wasn't easy to do. My race was complete as it was, and satisfied with that. And as a result they lacked ambition, made no progress of any kind, and lived a life of stagnation. But there's a difference between being actually sufficient and simply not knowing that something is insufficient. I came to understand that we weren't perfect. We just hadn't noticed that we weren't. We lacked even the ability to realize thisfact because we had never compared ourselves to anyone else. Because we expected nothing from anyone else, and made do entirely with what we already had. But I noticed. Reading human writings and learning to enjoy them sent new electric impulses through my mind. I knew then that we had never stopped to think about our own potential. We were certain our species was the pinnacle of all things, and thus we had stopped progressing. This was the first time I ever felt dissatisfied. The first time I had ever questioned myself. That quickly let to frustration, to anger. And that frustration and anger pleased me. It was what you would call a eureka moment. I was furious with myself, and that was cause for celebration. It was proof that I, too, had potential.”
- “We are the ultimate thing, and there is no discord among us”
- “Mere moments ago I intended to take the sole chance I had of killing myself! But I came to understand! Why I ran across the back side of Mars for so long! And why, despite the stifling feelings boiling up inside, I am equally filled with joy! My flesh may not be able to die, but my life is as fragile as it was before, and can be snuffed out so easily! You, who are another 'me'! You are not special! You share the same sadness I feel! But that is a treasure! Rejoice, 'Kars'! You, too, can suffer!"”
- Kars's blades are based on Ikuro Hashizawa's Reskiniharden Saber Phenomenon in Baoh the Visitor, another manga by Hirohiko Araki. Kars's quest to become the epitome of biological evolution is also similar to the goal of the Dress Organization in Baoh.
- Araki drew the final scene of Kars with the intention of him never returning, stating that unless Kars developed a compass ability or crash-landed on another civilization, he'll remain in space forever.
- Araki compares the roles of the Pillar Men to the Japanese historical drama Mito Komon. Kars is similar to the protagonist Mito Komon, a prominent daimyo in the early Edo period. Esidisi and Wamuu are similar to his retainers, Suke-san and Kaku-san, respectively. Araki was inspired by their hierarchy when drawing their poses.
- The explanation for Kars's Ultimate Life Form ability to transform into animals is a reference to recapitulation theory.
- There is concept art of Kars in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future, indicating that he was originally set to appear in the game during development. Kars is also mentioned by Joseph Joestar in the same game.
- The dialogue of Kars and the Light Dancer Kars from JORGE JOESTAR Chapter 16 is referenced in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle in a mirror match of Kars against himself.