Steel Ball Run
Steel Ball Run (スティール・ボール・ラン, Sutīru Bōru Ran) is the seventh part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Initially serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from January 19, 2004 to October 18, 2004, the part's publication later moved to Ultra Jump, where it was serialized from March 19, 2005 to April 19, 2011.
Set in the U.S. in 1890, the story follows Johnny Joestar, a paraplegic ex-jockey, and Gyro Zeppeli, master in the mystic art of the Spin, as the two compete in the trans-American Steel Ball Run race and uncover its benefactor's sinister motivations.
Steel Ball Run marks the start of a second continuity entirely separate from the events of Parts 1-6. Despite this, the story retains several core features of JoJo, including Stands, as well as numerous references to the original continuity, such as character names.
The Steel Ball Run Begins
Countdown to the Race's Beginning
- Main article: San Diego Beach (story arc)
Promoter Steven Steel holds a press conference to announce the Steel Ball Run: a multi-stage horse race across America, with a grand prize of $50,000,000. Participants flock to America from all over the world: among the favorites are cowboy Mountain Tim, Mongolian horseman Dot Han, and British jockey Diego Brando. Even relative unknowns like the emancipated slave Pocoloco and Sandman sign up to join the race.
Gyro Zeppeli is introduced as he registers his entry. He challenges a thief in a duel and, by throwing a Steel Ball at his shoulder, makes his opponent shoot himself in the head. Interested, a bystander in a wheelchair touches the Steel Ball as it spins in its holster, causing him to momentarily stand up. The man is introduced as Johnny Joestar, a former genius jockey who became paraplegic after a petty fight.
Though Johnny is amazed at the miracle produced by the Steel Ball, Gyro refuses to explain its secret. Undeterred, Johnny buys a horse and enters the race. As the race begins, Johnny manages to mount his horse by spinning his own body.
The First Fifteen Thousand Meters
- Main article: First Stage (story arc)
Steven Steel and a team of reporters board a train to follow the racers through the first of the race's nine stages. Gyro quickly gains the lead and incapacitates two of the crowd favorites, Urmd Avdul and Diego Brando, with the power of his Steel Balls. Gyro is then challenged by Pocoloco, who makes up for his late start with uncanny luck and a strange ability. Despite Gyro's efforts to attack Pocoloco, he only manages to put Sandman in danger; nevertheless, the Native American overtakes both of them to become the frontrunner. After a tense battle near the finish line, Gyro turns his cape into a sail to catch the tailwind and barely takes first place.
Interlude: Steven Steel's Past
- Main article: ~How the Steel Ball Run Race Got Started~
Steven Steel's colorful past is explored. It is revealed that the Steel Ball Run race was first imagined by a young girl named Lucy, who suggested the idea to a downtrodden and despairing Steven. After awakening from a drunken stupor, Steven was approached by a group of sponsors who expressed interest in the event and offered to finance it, making Steven rich. Out of gratitude toward Lucy, Steven later married her.
The West: First Battles
A Bloodthirsty Competition
- Main article: Across the Arizona Desert (story arc)
- Main article: The Desert Born Outlaws (story arc)
- Main article: The Devil's Palm (story arc)
Despite his impressive performance, Gyro receives a penalty for having endangered Sandman earlier in the race and is demoted to 21st place. After exacting petty revenge by ruining Steven's party, Gyro agrees to let Johnny follow him and tells him that what matters is the Steel Ball's Spin itself. Meanwhile, Steven and his wife are brought to a murder scene indicating that a murderer is taking out competitors. The local sheriff calls the famous cowboy Mountain Tim, who memorizes the horseshoe prints and briefly flirts with Lucy.
The second stage of the Steel Ball Run begins. This time, the racers are tasked with crossing 1,200 km (750 mi) of desert. Gyro and Johnny are attacked by fellow racer Mrs. Robinson, who uses explosive cacti to harass them. Gyro promptly defeats Robinson with the same cacti. Later, after finding Mrs. Robinson's horse, Mountain Tim realizes that the horseshoes don't match and the murderer is still at large.
Johnny and Gyro make camp and Johnny makes some progress in the Spin. The two are then attacked by Andre, Benjamin, and L.A. Boomboom, who wield the shared magnetic Stand Tomb of the Boom. After a brief fight, Gyro and Johnny flee but are sprayed with Andre's blood. Benjamin disguises himself as Johnny Joestar, confronting Mountain Tim and managing to frame Johnny for the murders. Mountain Tim soon catches up to Johnny and Gyro, and the three of them realize that the enemy is still attacking them. Tim presents his power, Oh! Lonesome Me, which he refers to as a Stand. He reveals that he acquired this power by stepping into a Devil's Palm, a moving phenomenon granting people Stands. Benjamin Boomboom uses his Stand to immobilize the group, but Johnny awakens his own Stand, Tusk: in truth, the group had entered the Devil's Palm without realizing it. Johnny kills Benjamin and incapacitates L.A., who reveals that they were hired to kill Gyro and is promptly left to die in the desert.
Gyro's Mission and Oyecomova the Terrorist
- Main article: Gyro Zeppeli's Mission (story arc)
- Main article: The Terrorist from a Faraway Country (story arc)
At Johnny's behest, Gyro reveals his past as an executioner for the Kingdom of Naples. For his first execution, Gyro was to behead Marco, a little boy condemned to death by mere association with a treasonous lord. After meeting the boy and seeing his kind heart, Gyro objected to Marco's execution and thus decided to participate in the Steel Ball Run race, as winning could spur the Neapolitan king to proclaim a general amnesty, and in any case the prize money could pay for Marco's appeal.
Some time later, a terrorist from the Kingdom of Naples named Oyecomova follows the duo to a relay village, ready to kill Gyro as an act of disdain against the kingdom. Mountain Tim confronts Oyecomova, but is incapacitated by his exposive-planting Stand Boku no Rhythm wo Kiitekure. The terrorist pursues Gyro and Johnny toward the mountains, having heard of a healing item called the Zombie Horse from a letter Gyro left behind. After a long pursuit upriver, Johnny and Gyro incapacitate Oyecomova with a combination attack. The two reach the Zombie Horse, which Gyro uses to heal an earlier leg injury.
The Steel Ball Run's True Purpose
- Main article: Tusk (story arc)
- Main article: Scary Monsters (story arc)
Johnny and Gyro are attacked by Fritz von Stroheim, who they quickly dispose of. Johnny, confused by the frequency of the attempts on their lives, suddenly realizes that his left arm contains a mummified arm. Meanwhile, Steven Steel converses with Funny Valentine, President of the United States. With Joseph of Arimathea's map in his possession, Valentine covets the divided relic known as the Saint's Corpse. Lucy overhears Valentine's plot to obtain the Saint's Corpse, and glimpses its heart within his chest.
A short distance before reaching Monument Valley, Johnny and Gyro are attacked by Pork Pie Hat Kid, one of Valentine's subordinates. Pork Pie Hat Kid captures Gyro and isolates Johnny, but Johnny's Tusk fully materializes to help its user and whispers the phrase "movere crus" before disappearing. Johnny, realizing the Steel Ball Run's true purpose, manages to reach Gyro and defeat Pork Pie Hat Kid. Having seen his legs being influenced by Tusk, Johnny diverts his attention to the Saint's Corpse and convinces Gyro to help him obtain it.
During the final dash of the second stage, Johnny discovers the location of the next Corpse Part on a nearby newspaper, distracting Gyro and causing Diego to take first place. Gyro barely has time to rebuke Johnny before the race moves onward to its third stage: a 510 km (320 mi) trek through the Rocky Mountains.
Gyro and Johnny meet with Diego, and the three take shelter in a village as night falls. However, Diego suddenly transforms into a raptor and attacks Gyro and Johnny, who are forced to flee upon discovering that the entire village has suffered the same fate. Diego's backstory is revealed: he once spent his youth working on a farm with his mother, but the bad treatment they received and his mother's death made Diego ambitious and resentful of humanity. His talent led him to search for glory in the Steel Ball Run. As Gyro begins to transform into a dinosaur himself, the two manage to locate the Corpse's Eyes, only for Diego to snatch the Corpse Parts away from them. Johnny, remaining human due to the Corpse's Left Arm, confronts Dr. Ferdinand, who explains that his Scary Monsters is controlling the pack of dinosaurs. Johnny unexpectedly abandons the Left Arm and partially transforms in order to toss one of the Eyes at Gyro, who regains human form and acquires an ability called Scan. Dr. Ferdinand is incapacitated and eaten by cougars, but Diego escapes with the Left Eye and keeps his dinosaur abilities.
During the final dash of the third stage, Gyro again challenges Diego. Johnny, having known Gyro for long enough, declares that Gyro lacks the proper drive to win and will lose to Diego. Gyro angrily rebukes Johnny, but Diego remains ahead of him despite his best efforts. Johnny unexpectedly passes Diego and reaches the finish line, only to be told that another racer, Hot Pants, has already taken first place. Defeated, Gyro admits that he does lack the drive to win.
Interlude: The Story of Funny Valentine
- Main article: The Story of F. Valentine
A flashback reveals some of Funny Valentine's past. After surviving a trip into the desert, Valentine became a politician and discovered Joseph of Arimathea's map. The map indicated the whereabouts of the nine parts of the Saint's Corpse: the Torso, the Heart, the Left Arm, the Right Arm, the Spine, the Eyes, the Ears, the Legs and the Head. After becoming President of the United States, he sponsored Steven Steel's race in order to reassemble and seize the entire corpse.
The Midwest: Struggle for the Saint's Corpse
The World of Man
- Main article: The World of Man (story arc)
The fourth stage of the race is a 1,250 km (780 mi) path toward Kansas City. In a forest along the trail, Gyro and Johnny meet Hot Pants and briefly fight her over a stolen cow. Using Scan on Hot Pants' spine, Gyro deciphers a clue toward the next part of the Corpse; nevertheless, Hot Pants' flesh-spraying Cream Starter nearly kills him and Johnny. Johnny reveals that neither he nor Gyro killed the cow, compelling Hot Pants to show mercy. The three attempt to continue onward, but find themselves repeatedly returning to the same cabin. A gunslinger named Ringo Roadagain emerges from the cabin and introduces his Stand, Mandom, which can rewind time by six seconds. A shootout ensues in which Johnny and Hot Pants are apparently killed, leaving only Gyro alive. Ringo drags Johnny's body inside the cabin, but Gyro realizes that Johnny's wound isn't fatal and decides to confront the gunslinger.
A flashback reveals that Ringo Roadagain was once the sick youngest child of an impoverished family. One night, Ringo's mother and sister were killed by a bandit who tried to assault him, forcing him to shoot and kill the bandit in self-defense. Ringo then became a gunslinger seeking challengers in order to purify himself, drawing the attention of one Funny Valentine. In the present, Gyro overcomes his own doubts and challenges Ringo again, ultimately defeating him by forcing Ringo into a falling splinter's trajectory. Acknowledging his defeat and Gyro's growth, Ringo forces the Neapolitan to finish him off.
Lucy Steel Gets Involved
- Main article: The Green Tomb (story arc)
- Main article: Catch the Rainbow (On a Stormy Night...) (story arc)
After his duel with Ringo, Gyro heals Johnny and Hot Pants with Cream Starter. Johnny accidentally discovers that Hot Pants is a woman, but chooses not to tell Gyro. Near Kansas City, the duo crosses paths with Sandman, who warns the two that Diego is in the lead and that a storm is coming. Johnny realizes that Ringo had sent a message to Valentine before his death, and that Diego already knows the location of the Corpse's Spine.
Upon seeing Ringo's pigeon arrive on the roof, Lucy decides to infiltrate a government building and steal the message it carries. When Valentine and his henchman Blackmore nearly discover her identity, Lucy calls Mountain Tim for help. After escaping the building, Tim confesses his love toward Lucy and advises her to meet Johnny and Gyro before he departs. Blackmore confronts and quickly kills Tim with his rain-controlling Stand, Catch the Rainbow. Discovering that the intruder was a woman, Blackmore rushes toward Lucy's location as she approaches the Spine. Blackmore takes the Spine from Lucy, but the two are suddenly warped into the middle of Kansas City; Lucy takes advantage of Blackmore's confusion and excitement to fatally shoot him and escape with the Spine. However, Blackmore seals his fatal wounds with frozen raindrops and continues discreetly pursuing Lucy.
Meanwhile, Gyro and Johnny catch up to Diego, but are unable to get ahead of him, as his enhanced senses allow him to detect the optimal path. Gyro suddenly catches up to Diego by sensing the optimal path on his own and, after a brief fight, manages to incapacitate Diego's horse. The duo then meets Lucy, with Blackmore in hot pursuit. Catch the Rainbow immobilizes Johnny and Gyro, but the latter utilizes the raindrops' static positions to throw a Steel Ball at Blackmore; the spinning Steel Ball evaporates the raindrops in its way and strikes Blackmore, knocking him down. As the storm clears, Blackmore dies from his wounds, and the Spine reveals the locations of the remaining Corpse Parts to the group. Gyro entrusts Lucy with the task of stealing the Heart from Valentine, lending her the Right Eye and seating her on Johnny's horse to avoid suspicion.
The Golden Rectangle
- Main article: Silent Way (story arc)
Some time after Johnny and Gyro reach the fourth stage's finish line in Kansas City, Diego meets with Valentine's henchmen. Diego promises that he has information regarding the government traitor, but seeks revenge against Johnny and Gyro before revealing it. The president reluctantly cooperates with the British jockey, granting him a single subordinate Stand user.
Near the Mississippi River, Gyro and Johnny rest in front of a cottage and discuss the Corpse's identity. Suddenly, the two are attacked by a combination of Diego's dinosaurs and a strange ability that destroys anything that touches an affected object via sound waves. The cottage collapses on top of a despondent Johnny, but Gyro saves him by digging a hole with his remaining Steel Balls. Without any Steel Balls, however, the duo is forced to flee into the river.
Johnny remembers his youth in England, where he lived for a few years because of his father's work. Johnny once brought a white mouse home, which his father promptly ordered him to drown in the lake; at the suggestion of his jockey brother Nicholas, Johnny instead released it into the woods. When Nicholas later fell from his saddle and died, a nearby Diego Brando shouted that his horse had been distracted by a white mouse. Johnny's father never came to terms with Nicholas's fate, and following an argument with him Johnny was kicked out of the house. Thinking that fate wants him to pay for his brother's death, surrounding and betraying him at his happiest, Johnny falls into despair.
An indignant Gyro reminds Johnny that he isn't even close to mastering the Spin and introduces him to the Golden Rectangle, a ubiquitous proportion which is used to form a perfect and infinite rotation. However, the water multiplies the enemy's sound waves, and Gyro is badly wounded. Sandman reveals himself as the enemy and inexorably corners the duo. On the brink of despair, Johnny realizes that the Golden Rectangle is present in nature itself, even in a white mouse. Tusk evolves to ACT2 and an even shootout ensues, but Johnny surprises Sandman with a bullet made from Gyro's belt buckle and kills the Native American. Suddenly, Hot Pants appears and knocks Johnny out, moving him and Gyro to the other side of the river and stealing all of their Corpse Parts save a fraction of Johnny's Spine.
Interlude: Stands Explained
- Main article: Untitled Stand Chapter
An explanation of Stands and the rules governing them, such as their appearances and relationships with their users, is provided. Notably, it is mentioned that the power of a Stand depends on its distance from its user, and that some Stand users have the potential to evolve their Stands. Finally, it is revealed that techniques such as the Ripple and the Spin, inspired by certain tools that can draw out these abilities, approach the power of Stands themselves.
The North: To Accept Loss
Sugar Mountain's Trials
- Main article: The Promised Land: Sugar Mountain (story arc)
Near the beginning of the sixth stage, Gyro senses that eleven horses are approaching them with unnatural synchronization. Johnny reveals that Hot Pants was an agent sent by the Kingdom of Naples to collect the Saint's Corpse; as both he and Gyro reaffirm their mission to obtain the corpse, one of Gyro's Steel Balls rolls into a nearby lake and disappears. The two spot a girl named Sugar Mountain running away with the dropped Steel Ball in her hand. Chasing her into a large tree, the two are surprised when she offers them a choice between a piece of gold or a diamond; when Gyro asks for his Steel Ball back, the girl surprises them further by bestowing all three items upon them. Johnny and Gyro realize that Sugar's ability recreates the fable of the Golden Axe and, after further exploiting the girl's naivete, use a rabbit's ears and a wolf's paw to obtain the Corpse's Ears and Right Arm. As the two prepare to leave, Sugar warns them that everything they acquired must be used up by sunset, lest they be absorbed into the tree.
Gyro and Johnny head toward a nearby city but find it difficult to spend their fortune, as bribery and charity only accelerate the tree's absorption process. Gyro decides to spend their cash at a casino, but the eleven assassins catch up to them. The eleven men almost kill them with their body-phasing ability, but a group of local thugs come to their aid and kill all but one of the men, having already been paid by Gyro to become their bodyguards. Though all of the cash is spent, Gyro suddenly begins to be absorbed once more, and Johnny realizes that the Corpse Parts they received must be used up as well. Johnny reluctantly trades his Corpse Parts with the last assassin for a bottle of wine, freeing Gyro and breaking the tree's curse on its inhabitants. As the two honest men have a toast, the girl formerly known as Sugar Mountain salutes their resolve.
Lucy Infiltrates the Government
- Main article: Tubular Bells (story arc)
On the outskirts of Chicago, Diego meets with Mike O., head of Valentine's security staff. Diego reveals that the traitor is a woman weighing less than 51 kg (112 lb), which Mike O. reports to Valentine. The two agree to investigate a list of 147 suspects and, if necessary, capture their target with Mike O.'s automatic-tracking Stand, Tubular Bells.
After meeting with Hot Pants and learning that the government's search is closing in on her, Lucy investigates the first lady, Scarlet Valentine, and exploits her lesbianism to infiltrate the president's mansion. Separating from Scarlet with the help of a sleeping drug, Lucy uses Cream Starter to disguise herself as the first lady and approach Valentine. Suddenly, Tubular Bells begins to attack the disguised Lucy, and the real Scarlet recognizes Lucy after waking up and investigating the commotion. Lucy kills Scarlet by covering her in her own disguise, causing Tubular Bells to target her. Mike O. appears at a nearby window, but Hot Pants comes to Lucy's rescue and kills Mike O. However, Hot Pants is unable to take Lucy or the Right Arm with her as she escapes, forcing her to disguise Lucy as Scarlet while taking the real Scarlet's body with her. Temporarily separated from her husband and allies, Lucy can only weep in silence.
Wekapipo's Wrecking Ball
- Main article: Wrecking Ball (story arc)
Johnny and Gyro reach a frozen strait which they must pass. Unbeknownst to them, two enemies are observing them from afar, one of them being a man named Wekapipo. Once a member of the royal guard in the Kingdom of Naples, Wekapipo had his sister's marriage annulled after learning that her husband had beaten her until she was half-blind. Furious, the husband forced him into a duel that, despite Wekapipo's victory, led to his exile from the country. Having heard of his sister's death, Wekapipo enters Valentine's service in exchange for citizenship and a government position. For his assassination mission, Wekapipo is paired with Magent Magent, a sardonic and unprofessional man fascinated by the newly-invented airplane.
Johnny and Gyro try to cross the frozen strait, noticing a wolf that seems to be following them. In the middle of the strait, the two are attacked by Wekapipo's steel Wrecking Ball, which can make its victims unable to perceive anything to their left. Johnny locates and attacks Magent Magent, but the latter's 20th Century BOY allows him to create an impenetrable shield around himself while kneeling. As Gyro and Johnny realize that Wekapipo knows where the next Corpse Part is, Magent Magent shoots the wolf to immobilize it before turning to Gyro. Following a tense shootout, Gyro takes out Magent Magent by making him deflect a Steel Ball upward and distracting him as it falls back toward him.
Wekapipo takes care to destroy any possible model for the Golden Rectangle, including Gyro's hand and the wolf's corpse. However, it miraculously begins to snow, and Gyro uses the snowflakes to recreate the Golden Rectangle. At the same time, Johnny notices the Corpse's Legs emerging from the wolf's corpse. Wekapipo, seriously wounded, asks Gyro to kill him. However, Gyro refuses, revealing that Wekapipo's sister is alive and currently in hiding in the countryside. As he and Johnny depart with the Legs, Gyro asks Wekapipo to search for and protect Lucy.
The last dash of the sixth stage sees Johnny and Gyro race against Pocoloco toward the goal. Pocoloco's ability guides him out of the way of a chasm, but Gyro and Johnny combine their abilities to cross it directly with a makeshift steel rope, effectively beating Pocoloco's luck. Gyro finishes in first place, putting him back in the running to win the race. Meanwhile, Magent Magent crawls back to civilization, having overheard that Lucy Steel is the traitor against the government.
The Northeast: The Hunt Concludes
Valentine Takes All
- Main article: Civil War (story arc)
A flashback details the discovery of Lucy Steel's body from the Fox River, as a distraught Steven Steel comes to the realization that the woman before him is not his wife. Six weeks later, 145 km (90 mi) west of Philadelphia, Gyro and Johnny spot Hot Pants hurriedly racing toward a nearby town. Chasing after her, the two follow her into the town's garbage dump, where they encounter a woman dressed in nun's clothing. Gyro, still unaware of Hot Pants's gender, checks the back of the dump for Hot Pants's Corpse Parts, leaving Johnny to interrogate the racer. All three parties are suddenly attacked by Civil War, a Stand that can manifest people's guilt and attack them with it; in Hot Pants's case, she is immobilized by the brother she sacrificed to a grizzly bear in her youth. Undeterred, Johnny makes up his mind to defeat the Stand user.
Johnny finds Gyro, but is ultimately unable to attack the ghosts of his past, despite a mysterious figure's warning to not shoot with doubt in his heart. Gyro manages to find the Stand user, Axl RO, with his Steel Balls, and Johnny fatally wounds him. However, the final aspect of Civil War's ability revives Axl RO and transfers his sins to Johnny, notably the ghosts of the soldiers he failed to warn of incoming enemy troops at Gettysburg. Johnny suddenly understands the meaning of the figure's words and chooses to shoot himself, evolving Tusk to ACT3. Johnny threatens to destroy the corpse, forcing Axl RO to kill him and thus receive both Johnny's sins and his own. Axl RO lunges toward a purified Johnny, but is suddenly shot from behind: the shooter is none other than Valentine, who shot to defend another person and is thus unaffected by Civil War. Valentine collects all of the present Corpse Parts and departs unscathed, noting that the Skull's location remains unknown and that Diego and another government traitor hold the Left and Right Eyes respectively.
Assembling the Saint's Corpse
- Main article: Both Sides Now (story arc)
A flashback details the past of Lucy Pendleton: she was once the eldest daughter of a farmer indebted with the mafia, who wanted to abduct her and make her work as a prostitute. However, Steven bluffed the mafia by marrying her and telling them that he took her virginity. Despite Steven's promise that she could leave him anytime she wanted, the two became close out of their mutual gratitude and trust.
In Independence Hall, the disguised Lucy attempts to distract Valentine as the Right Eye rolls toward the other hidden Corpse Parts. Valentine describes his motivation for sponsoring the race, declaring his intention to "take the first napkin" and obtain true power over the world. Aroused by his wife's sudden cuteness, Valentine tries to have intercourse with her, only for Lucy to ditch her disguise and stab him in the throat. Agonizing on the floor, Valentine forces a chair to fall on top of him, reappearing unharmed beneath it. Lucy tries to hide from Valentine in the neighboring room, where she finds the hidden Corpse Parts and receives a vision. As Valentine breaks into the room, he sees the silhouette of the Head on Lucy's abdomen and realizes that she has become the Corpse's host.
Meanwhile, ruminating in his coach, Steven finds a photograph of the president and his wife. Comparing them with photos of Lucy, Steven discovers that Lucy is somehow posing as Scarlet Valentine. Suddenly, Magent Magent appears and shoots Steven, as Valentine no longer needs him alive. Wekapipo intervenes to protect Steven, having heard Gyro's suspicion that Hot Pants disguised Lucy as someone else. After a brief fight, Wekapipo wraps Magent Magent in the coach's cables with his Stand active and consigns him to the bottom of a river, where he thinks of Diego coming to save him until he is no longer able to think.
One hour later, Gyro and Johnny enter Philadelphia, the seventh stage's goal. Seeing that Diego has made a comeback and finished the stage in first place, they decide to confront him and steal the Left Eye from him.
Interlude: A Joke from Gyro
- Main article: Seven Days in a Week
Gyro tells Johnny a joke: reciting the days of the week, Gyro acts progressively crazier as the days pass before suddenly regaining his calm at Sunday. Johnny praises and writes down the joke, and the two continue on their way.
The East Coast: The Power of the Saint's Corpse
Free-for-All in Philadelphia
- Main article: Chocolate Disco (story arc)
- Main article: D4C (story arc)
Near Independence Hall, Johnny and Gyro spot Diego with Wekapipo following him. As Gyro sneaks up on Diego, Johnny is suddenly shot by an unknown party and barely escapes into the sewer. Gyro notices the gunshot and attempts to run toward Johnny, but is immobilized by the grid of D-I-S-C-O's Chocolate Disco. Despite D-I-S-C-O's ability to teleport objects wherever he wishes within the grid, Gyro easily disposes of him by tricking him with different layers of air. Interrogating the witnesses in the nearby park, Gyro is surprised to learn that Diego, Wekapipo, and Valentine are all incriminated by different groups.
Meanwhile, Wekapipo meets with Diego, and both parties claim to have shot Johnny: Wekapipo had experienced being attacked by an unknown party while pursuing Diego, but Diego had experienced being attacked by Wekapipo while pursuing Valentine. Suddenly, Valentine attacks the two from above with his Stand, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Valentine reveals that his Stand's true ability allows him to navigate and transport people and objects between parallel worlds, with himself being the only entity that can exist in two places at once. Incidentally, it is revealed that Valentine himself had been the one to shoot Johnny, having intentionally muddled the situation to throw off both the witnesses and the suspects.
Diego attempts to kill the president, but Valentine drags his top half into a parallel world, and both him and his alternate self begin to break apart as the president steals the Left Eye. Suddenly, the parallel world's Johnny appears from the sewers and shoots Valentine, having been led by Diego's dinosaurs. Valentine is apparently killed, but the absence of the Eye indicates that the president has disappeared with it into another world. Still merging with his alternate self, Diego uses his spurs to draw Wekapipo closer to him, using him to return to the base world. The alternate Wekapipo, dragged into the base world along with Diego, is forced to merge with his other self, killing both. Diego's resolve to kill the president is renewed by the conclusion that the Saint's Corpse exists in only one world.
Valentine is Blessed
- Main article: Ticket to Ride (story arc)
- Main article: D4C (story arc)
At Independence Hall, a heavily-pregnant Lucy is contacted by a mysterious voice compelling her to get away. Lucy's guards are incapacitated by a series of coincidences, allowing her to escape by carriage with a wounded Steven. As the carriage approaches the river, Lucy realizes that she has been caught in a trap: with the power of both Eyes, Valentine has lured Lucy toward his own ship to take her to the map's final destination. Meanwhile, Gyro finds Johnny in the sewers. Gyro suggests abandoning their pursuit of the Saint's Corpse, but Johnny stands up briefly, reaffirming his will to obtain the Corpse and fully regain use of his legs. Relenting, Gyro introduces the ultimate level of the perfect spin technique, which can only be used on horseback by making the horse form the Golden Rectangle. The two resolve once more to rescue Lucy Steel, defeat Valentine, and obtain the Corpse.
Lucy is forced to board the ship with her husband, though Valentine promises not to kill Steven. Diego meets Hot Pants, who offers to help him find and defeat Valentine in exchange for the Corpse. Diego accepts the deal and the two pursue Lucy's scent, trailed by Gyro and Johnny. Diego and Hot Pants eventually reach a moving train, where the two attack Valentine directly. Diego eventually manages to throw himself and Valentine out of the train, but the latter narrowly drags them both beneath the train, allowing him to escape and bisecting Diego. As Johnny and Gyro note Diego's loss and continue pursuing Valentine, Hot Pants discovers that Lucy's body is merging with the Corpse before being killed by Valentine. The president notes that good fortune and space itself are converging toward the Corpse, and his Stand evolves into D4C Love Train.
Gyro and Johnny catch up to the locomotive, but Love Train's ability redirects any attack toward Valentine to somewhere else in the world. After Gyro throws a Steel Ball to seemingly no effect, the two narrowly escape the president. Though Johnny begins to despair, Gyro reveals that the Steel Ball he threw scraped some of Valentine's hair off, having been thrown with the perfect Spin. Encouraged by the slight damage they inflicted, Gyro and Johnny charge the train. The president cuts Johnny's arm off and moves to finish him off, forcing Gyro to seemingly waste a Steel Ball to save his partner. Johnny is saved when Steven Steel moves Lucy's body outside of the train and entrusts her to Gyro, dragging Valentine's ability toward the Corpse as Gyro moves toward the approaching Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, Johnny sees Valentine's ear stuck to the Steel Ball as the president finally grasps the danger of the Spin.
The Phenomenal Power of the Spin
- Main article: Ball Breaker (story arc)
- Main article: Break My Heart, Break Your Heart (story arc)
Valentine disappears beneath the ocean floor as Gyro harnesses the Golden Spin using his horse. Valentine summons several versions of himself, but Gyro finds the real Valentine and throws a Steel Ball at him. The perfect rotation produces a Stand known as Ball Breaker, which bypasses Valentine's ability and ages the left half of his body. Gyro is shot in the stomach by the remaining Valentines, but quickly disposes of them. The real Valentine recovers, however, revealing that a small part of the Steel Ball was scraped away before it could hit him. Aware of his total defeat, Gyro tells Johnny that the detour was their shortest path before collapsing from his wounds and expiring.
Valentine empties his revolver on Gyro's corpse before attacking Johnny. Johnny wastes all but one nail attacking Valentine, who inflicts a serious wound on his horse and knocks him to the ground. At the last moment, Johnny understands Gyro's final words, picks up Gyro's Steel Ball, and uses it on his horse's leg to make it kick him into the air. As both the horse and Johnny form the Golden Rectangle, Tusk evolves once more to ACT4. Tusk ACT4 forces its way past the president's ability and pummels D4C with enough force to form a crater on the ground. Valentine escapes to another dimension, but discovers that his body has been immobilized and is being torn apart by the perpetual effects of ACT4's infinite rotation.
A flashback details a young Funny's meeting with his future father-in-law, Captain Valentine. The captain told Funny that his birth father had a habit of writing his son's birthday on everything he owned; after being captured by the enemy, he hid a handkerchief with the date embroidered on it inside his left eye socket. Given resolve by his father's devotion to his family and country, Valentine recomposes himself.
The president reappears in the base world, but admits his defeat and offers to summon another Gyro Zeppeli if Johnny nullifies the infinite rotation. As proof of his good will, Valentine tosses Johnny an alternate Cream Starter, which he uses to heal Lucy as the Corpse separates from her, along with his horse. Presenting his father's handkerchief and his promise to Lucy to spare Steven, Valentine almost convinces Johnny to spare his life. The jockey nonetheless tests Valentine's honesty by throwing the president's gun on the ground before him and daring him to pick it up. Valentine hesitates, but ultimately draws the gun he brought from a parallel world, causing the two to merge. After a final shootout, Johnny sees Gyro's spirit ascend into the sky before finishing Valentine off. The president's corpse is dragged underground by the infinite rotation, and his father's beloved handkerchief is buried with him. The Corpse fully separates from Lucy as Johnny mourns his best friend.
New York City: The End of the Steel Ball Run
A Last Foe
- Main article: High Voltage (story arc)
After healing everyone and demonstrating the full recovery of his legs, Johnny realizes that the Corpse has been stolen by a final unknown enemy. Johnny is able to identify the enemy's tracks as those of a competitor in the race, but cannot remember whose horse they belong to. As Johnny prepares to chase the unknown enemy, Steven warns Johnny that Valentine had prepared an impenetrable vault for the Corpse at the end of the race, which the enemy is heading toward. Johnny pursues his final foe as they seemingly teleport around everything in their path. As Lucy realizes that the horse tracks stem from the crater where Valentine met his end, the final enemy is revealed to be an alternate Diego Brando, equipped with the time-stopping Stand known as THE WORLD.
Valentine had arranged to transport the alternate Diego to the base world as a backup plan in the event of his death, in order to harness the Corpse and bring prosperity to the president's country. Johnny escapes Diego's first attack and continues pursuing him into the ninth and final stage of the race. Briefly seeing his father in the crowd holding Nicholas's boots, Johnny takes heart and begins devising a plan to finish his final enemy. Before he can, however, Diego enacts his own plan: dousing Johnny in gasoline and setting him on fire while time is stopped. Johnny escapes once more into the sewers and attacks Diego from below, but only succeeds in destroying some of Diego's female admirers. Johnny exits the sewers and rejoins the other racers; as he and Diego cross the Brooklyn Bridge, Diego prepares to make a sacrifice of his own. Meanwhile, Lucy searches for the original Diego's corpse, wondering who the Saint's Corpse will favor in the end.
Conclusion & Epilogue
- Main article: The World of Stars and Stripes (story arc)
Diego stops time and attacks Johnny with both THE WORLD and his own revolver, managing to unhorse him. Predicting that ACT4's energy will approach him from behind, Diego leaps atop THE WORLD and cuts its leg off just as the infinite rotation reaches it. THE WORLD's leg flies toward and strikes Johnny, who is cursed by his own infinite rotation. Diego, victorious, charges toward the race's finish line and finishes both the stage and the entire race in first place. Before he allows himself to celebrate, however, Diego enters the back of Trinity Church and prepares to seal the Corpse away and claim its power for good.
Just as Diego prepares to lock the vault, Lucy enters with a bag in her hand. Diego threatens to kill both her and her husband, but first decides to open the bag, revealing the original Diego's head inside. Diego stops time and tries to get away, but his missing leg prevents his escape. A desperate Diego lunges toward Lucy, but his head is completely destroyed before he can attack her.
Meanwhile, Steven rescues Johnny by allowing him to grab onto his horse, enabling Johnny to shoot himself and nullify the infinite rotation. Steven then visits the vault, where he finds that the Corpse has been sealed away. Ultimately, he concludes, the prized Saint's Corpse belongs to no one, as its last owner was not qualified to possess its power. Lucy hesitates before agreeing with Steven and exiting the vault into the sunlight.
It is revealed that Pocoloco ultimately won the Steel Ball Run race following Diego's disqualification, and that the race's success caused the president's approval rating to skyrocket despite his failure to appear at the finale of the race. With the race concluded, Johnny boards a boat with Gyro's body in order to deliver it to his family, despite the customs staff's attempts to refuse passage to the corpse. The jockey happens to see fellow contestant Norisuke Higashikata and his daughter Rina on the same boat, returning to their own home country of Japan. Reminiscing on his long journey, Johnny prays for a safe voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and toward home.
Years later, the Kingdom of Naples would be abolished following a revolution and would become part of a republic. Marco would be given amnesty upon the dissolution of the monarchy, and would later die from a cold. With the dissolution of their post, the Zeppeli family would reportedly move to a different country, though nobody knows exactly where.
Characters & Stands
Steel Ball Run is set in the United States during the 19th century, following the route set by the Steel Ball Run race. Both real-life cities and the wilderness of the United States are featured in the story, along with other strange locations, as the characters travel eastward from San Diego to New York.
An official VOMIC adaptation was made in December 2007. The first episode released on December 7, 2007, and the 4th and final episode released on December 28, 2007.
- In order to research the American landscape, Araki knew he couldn't cross the United States in one journey and thus split his research trips into three. The first went from the West Coast to the deserts, the second was made from the Great Plains to the Mississippi River and Chicago and the third to the finish line in New York. The trips were mostly done by car. In there, Araki was struck by the openness of the landscape and sensed that he "could never make an escape from an adversary" and that there was nowhere to hide. The emptiness of the landscape also inspired in him an impression of emptiness and lifelessness. Although Araki asked himself if there was any fun in living there at all, he also says that the atmosphere felt rich for suspense. Araki was able to put his experience to use when he drew the manga.
- During its initial serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump, Steel Ball Run was categorized as a different series without the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure title. The change was a request from the editorial department in an attempt to attract reader attention by introducing a "new series." This was undone when the series moved to Ultra Jump in 2005, specifically in the May 2005 issue where the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure name was re-added to the title and the chapter numbering was reset, although the game Jump Super Stars released in August of the same year still classified them differently.