The Ripple (波紋,Hamon), is an energy used in an ancient form of martial arts known as Sendō (仙道, lit. "Way of The Hermit").
Through self-controlled respiration, a person trained in the Ripple technique can produce an energy identical to the energy of the sun, which manifests as ripples throughout their body. This energy can be used in a wide range of techniques, and is fatal to Vampires, Zombies and the Pillar Men.
The Ripple is an energy identical to the Sun's rays. The human body can create this energy through controlled breathing, producing ripples of energy propagating from the bloodstream to the rest of the body and to other objects in contact with it. The Ripple manifests itself as electricity-like sparks, and it can be seen by ordinary humans.
An object charged with Ripple energy will have one or several attributes enhanced by the energy, making it a more effective tool or weapon. Liquids such as water or oil conduct the Ripple especially well, with the ripples becoming visible in the liquid. However, while all materials can conduct the Ripple to some degree, only living organisms such as roses can retain Ripple energy. Joseph Joestar is shown to be able to channel the Ripple through his Stand, Hermit Purple; it is unknown if other types of Stands can do the same.
Though anyone can technically produce small amounts of Ripple energy, Will Anthonio Zeppeli explains that only one in ten thousand has the ability to be a Ripple user in practice. Only a few people have the willpower and therefore the discipline to control their breathing, notably those who have lived through great tragedies and kept their fortitude. However, the ability to use the Ripple is also a talent granted to people whose ancestors were Ripple users, and thus Joseph Joestar had a natural affinity for the Ripple without being proficient in using it.
The series is known for alternating colors between media, the information presented below may or may not be canon.
Due to its identical nature to the positive energy of the Sun, the Ripple's primary uses are to heal ailments and combat undead creatures such as vampires or zombies.
Living organisms can be affected by Ripple attacks, but are not necessarily hurt by it. Will Anthonio Zeppeli used the Ripple to heal Jonathan Joestar's broken arm, and his grandson Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli later utilized it to control a woman during his fight with Joseph Joestar. Kars's Ripple energy, boasting several hundred times the power of Joseph's, caused the latter's flesh to melt almost instantly. Ripple is transferrable between people, as both Will A. Zeppeli and his grandson Caesar transfer their Ripple to a Joestar shortly before their deaths. Ripple users can reject harmful substances in their bloodstream by ejecting it with the use of Ripple energy.
Producing the Ripple regularly also preserves the user's vitality, making them look younger and have more energy even in their old age, though this ability has limits.
To produce an optimized Ripple, users must precisely control the energy produced by their breathing. It typically requires focusing the energy before unleashing it all at once to create a powerful burst of Ripple.
The Ripple can make anything into a weapon.
By imbuing an object with the Ripple, a Ripple user can perform several techniques in combination with their own tactics, allowing for a wide variety of fighting styles. Because of its versatile nature, many warriors use different weapons, ranging from a scarf to soap bubbles to clackers and even wine. Many of the most powerful Ripple techniques are classified as "Overdrive" (波紋疾走,Ōbādoraibu, lit. "Ripple Dash/Sprint") techniques, and are often named and colored after the medium they're used with: for instance, an Overdrive that produces fire is named Scarlet Overdrive, while an Overdrive transmitted through metal is named Metal Silver Overdrive. An object hit with the force of the Overdrive will carry Ripple energy through it, becoming lethal to the undead.
Training The Ripple
To produce more than a small amount of Ripple energy requires the user to breathe a precise way. Thus, to enhance their ability to produce the Ripple and efficiently wield it in battle, a Ripple user must undergo training.
Ripple users undergo harsh physical training to increase their breathing ability, thus increasing the amount and power of the Ripple energy they produce. Although the training is focused on the rhythm of one's breathing, Ripple masters often use physical exercises as well; these exercises can include prolonged swimming and balancing atop one's finger. Harsh masters have also designed lethal training regimens like the Hell Climb Pillar, which puts students in a life-or-death situation to push them to overcome their limits.
Those who want to fight with the Ripple also typically undergo martial arts training in order to acquire battle experience and fighting skills. Though Will A. Zeppeli and Jonathan Joestar train to use Sendō techniques alongside Ripple energy, some Ripple users like Joseph Joestar prefer to use tools with the Ripple, and others like Caesar Zeppeli utilize unpolished fighting styles rather than traditional martial arts techniques.
Though Ripple users can utilize Ripple energy freely, destroy undead beings in a single strike, and turn even the most mundane of objects into lethal weapons, they are not without significant weaknesses.
A Ripple user must be able to consistently breathe; if this breathing is weakened or made arrhythmic due to injuries or other conditions, they slowly grow weaker and lose the ability to create Ripple energy, to the point where they can be easily defeated by a mere zombie. This weakness is notably exploited by Dio Brando when he mortally injures Jonathan, piercing his trachea and in the process preventing him from using the Ripple. Similarly, Ripple energy requires a strong flow of the user's blood to be used with any great strength. Dio develops a technique that can flash-freeze a Ripple user in seconds, halting their blood's flow and rendering them unable to attack. Additionally, Wamuu remarks during his fight with Caesar Zeppeli that Caesar's heavy blood loss prevents him from using the Ripple.
While Ripple energy is strong enough to smash through rock and brick, it is unable to smash through stronger substances like iron or steel, according to Will Zeppeli.
The Ripple is ineffective at removing an object from the user's body if said object is made of the user's own flesh, as seen by Joseph Joestar when he attempts to remove the Stand Empress from his body.
Note: Due to the versatility of the Ripple and the near-universal ways of deploying it, there are very few shared techniques between Ripple users. Many of the techniques listed here are exclusive to individuals and do not represent the full spectrum available.
The most basic application of the Ripple. The user attacks with either their limbs or an object imbued with the Ripple. When Joseph uses it, he imbues his hand with the Ripple and strikes his opponent with a chop.
Sendō Ripple Overdrive(仙道波紋 疾走Sendō Hamon Ōbādoraibu, lit. Hermit Way Ripple Dash)
The user charges Ripple energy through his arm and releases it into a solid object, such as a wall or partition. The Ripple travels through the object until it reaches the other side, and anything hit by the Ripple is sent flying. If the enemy is an undead being, the Ripple will enter their bloodstream and destroy them from the inside.
By charging the Ripple into one hand, a Ripple user can light their own hand on fire. They are then able to transfer the flame to another part of their body, and anything that touches that body part has a chance of catching fire.
Turquoise Blue Overdrive(青縁波紋疾走Tākoizu Burū Ōbādoraibu, lit. Turquoise Blue Ripple Dash)
A Ripple user can release powerful tempests while underwater with enough force to blast enemies away. In most cases, a good portion of the water is propelled outward as well, to the extent that a lake can be drained to waist-high depth. Strangely, in Heritage for the Future, Joseph performs this technique via an inward chop imbued with Ripple energy, despite not being underwater.
Skilled Ripple users can unleash a devastating Ripple-infused strike with power comparable to the sun itself, with the ability to completely obliterate an undead being. The attack is notable for producing a very clear yellow color akin to sunlight.
Life Magnetism Overdrive(生命磁気への波紋疾走Seimei jiki e no Ōbādoraibu, lit. Existence Magnetism Ripple Dash)
With the aid of another Ripple user, one can draw all the leaves in the immediate area together and magnetize them, forming one giant leaf which can be used as an impromptu hang glider. Human bodies have a faint magnetic field, and can act as a living magnet when that magnetic field's power is increased by the Ripple. That magnetic field is then transferred into the leaves, creating a massive magnetic sheet that holds the leaves together.
The Ripple user leaps into the air and points his legs towards his opponent. From here, he is able to channel the Ripple into his lower half and essentially dive-bomb the opponent in a drill-like spinning motion.
Deep Pass Overdrive(深仙脈疾走Dīpasu Ōbādoraibu, lit. Deep Hermit Pulse Dash)
One of the most powerful Ripple techniques, Deep Pass Overdrive allows a Ripple user to transfer all of their life energy into another Ripple user. The recipient gains the performer's energy, causing their strength, agility, and Ripple technique to increase dramatically. This rapid loss of life energy also changes the performer's physical appearance, causing their skin to wrinkle and their hair to turn white, as if they had aged considerably. This is one of the few Overdrive techniques without the kanji for "Ripple" in its name.
Ripple Beat Overdrive(波紋疾走のビート Hamon Ōbādoraibu no Bīto, lit. Ripple Dash Beat)
The user charges Ripple into their fist and hits the ground. The Ripple travels across the floor, creating a circle filled with a complicated pattern. It instantly disintegrates any undead target into ashes.
Sunset Orange Overdrive(茜色波紋疾走Sansetsuto Orenji no Obādoraibu, lit. Madder Red Ripple Dash)
The user holds the Red Stone of Aja in one hand and presses it against the opponent before charging it with the Ripple. The Ripple resembles the color of sunset and creates a red firework, burning the enemy.
Martial Arts Moves
Seated Jump(座ったままの姿勢で跳躍 Suwatta Mama no Shisei de Chōyaku, lit. Jumping in a Seated Pose)
The Ripple user launches his fist forward and strikes his opponent by elongating their arm. The attack uses the Ripple breathing technique to dislocate and stretch the user's arm's joints to extend the arm and give it greater reach, while simultaneously using the same Ripple energy to dull the pain caused by the move. Due to the arm's increased length, the punch seems to be "zoomed in" from the opponent's perspective.
The user performs a slow kick at their opponent. If the opponent grabs the user's legs, the user is able to perform a split, preventing the opponent from moving their arms; if the split is quick enough, the user can leave an object on their opponent's shoulder without them noticing. The user then attacks their foe's neck with a double chop imbued with the Ripple. The attack's weakness is that it leaves the user's guard open for a headbutt or another direct attack.
An advanced version of the Thunder Split Attack that allows the user to covers its weakness by forming a cross with their arms. It is described as a perfect technique in both attack and defense, and according to Straizo no fighter has ever defeated it aside from Dio.
The user spits globs of liquid from between his teeth. The Ripple makes the liquid not only sharp and dense enough to cut through solid objects, but also agile and accurate enough to deflect other projectiles.
The user imbues a liquid or object with the Ripple. The Ripple passes through the user's body and the environment, enabling the user to sense their surroundings and detect others even through walls. Jonathan and Zeppeli use this technique through wine, while Lisa Lisa uses it through her scarf.
Sticking Ripple & Repelling Ripple(くっつく波紋とはじく波紋 Kuttsuku Hamon to Hajiku Hamon)
A Ripple user is able to use the Ripple either as a repellent or to adhere either themselves or objects to other objects or liquids. Zeppeli first uses this ability to walk on water, followed shortly afterward by Jonathan. Jonathan also uses this technique to expel the venom from Doobie's snakes, and later Dio's vampiric extract, out of his body. Joseph and Caesar manage to climb a pillar covered in oil with adhesion, and Caesar uses the technique to deflect a high pressured oil jet. Later, Caesar and Joseph force Esidisi out of Suzi Q's body: Joseph sends positive repellent ripple into various points across Suzi Q's body, while Caesar focuses attractant negative ripple on only her heart, forcing Esidisi to leave when he can't handle it anymore.
A Ripple user can hypnotize people and animals by using the Ripple on them. The process requires contact between the user and the target, whether it be a kiss or simply touching one's head with their hands. The hypnotized person will act according to the user's demands, with the Ripple energy rendering them stronger than an ordinary being. A Ripple master can also extract forgotten memories using this technique. Furthermore, a Ripple user can knock out ordinary people by applying the Ripple to one's head, as a young Joseph does to a pilot while Robert E. O. Speedwagon's plane is being hijacked.
Satiporoja Beetle Cloth(サティポロジアビートルの布 Satiporojia Bītoru no Nuno)
A Ripple master can use cloth woven from the dried intestinal fibers of Satiporoja beetles, an insect native to Southeast Asia. The cloth is capable of conducting the Ripple at 100%. Straizo and Lisa Lisa use scarves that are made of 30,000 beetles. As it conducts and disperses the Ripple far better than the human body, the scarf acts similarly to a lightning rod, and can completely absorb an opponent's Ripple attack.
The user infuses Ripple into strands of hair to form a barrier that can block incoming projectiles. Joseph uses this technique to block bullets fired by Santana after ripping a fistful of Rudol von Stroheim's hair.
The user fires out a barrage of bubbles, each coated in the Ripple. This increases the density of the bubbles and allows them to hit objects with a greater impact. When hit by the barrage, even a grown man can be completely blown away.
The user chucks American Clackers infused with the Ripple into their opponent's direction. This can be done a number of ways; to produce the best and most surprising effect, the user can hide them behind their back, allowing them to slingshot the clackers from behind their back in all directions.
The user throws pairs of Clackers infused with the Ripple into a beam or pillar behind the opponent, fooling the foe into assuming they missed. One of the pairs of Clackers gets stuck onto whatever it was thrown at and starts spinning, latching onto the second pair of Clackers. The second pair then flings back towards the opponent from behind, mimicking the effect of a boomerang.
The user imbues both his fists and feet with the Ripple to use this advanced adhesive technique, allowing them to slide across and propel themselves up liquid, gaining more distance than they could from normally climbing or jumping.
This technique is a direct improvement on the Bubble Launcher. Inspired by the Ripple Cutter technique, the user creates sharp disc-shaped bubbles. These bubbles spin at high speed and use centrifugal force, but are able to stay intact due to the Ripple. The bubbles move at a higher velocity and have higher precision, allowing the user to fire them in any direction with ease.
A more versatile version of Bubble Cutter, this technique sacrifices the quantity of the original attack, instead focusing on effectiveness. By launching only a few bubbles, the user is able to aim them much like homing projectiles. The bubbles are able to go around objects, giving them a higher chance of hitting the opponent.
The user produces Ripple-infused bubbles that have the ability to refract light and focus it into beams, much like a magnifying glass. After they are launched, the bubbles become stationary. Any light source passing through will cause a domino effect, connecting the bubbles together and eventually shooting multiple beams at their target.
The Ripple user gut-punches a potential ally with their pinky finger raised, allowing them to reach the diaphragm. The target will momentarily lose their breath as their diaphragm empties, but will then be able to produce Ripple energy through their breathing. A skilled Ripple user can gauge how much Ripple energy a person can produce in one breath, enabling them to determine their potential. However, the technique itself requires precision and is difficult to perform. Even experienced Ripple users can fail it, as is the case when Will Anthonio Zeppeli attempts to use Forced Ripple Breathing on Robert E. O. Speedwagon.
The Ripple can heal fractured bones as well as lessen one's sense of pain, allowing Ripple users to use techniques without fear of pain. When Zeppeli uses Forced Ripple Breathing on Jonathan, the latter's breathing heals his fractured arm, which normally would have taken another month or two to completely heal. When Jonathan then grabs a tree branch, it revives withered flowers, causing them to bloom again. This ability of the Ripple is used by certain Ripple users serving as doctors in the Middle East.
The user can predict the future of any individual. Its regular usage allows one to see a few seconds into the future. Extremely skilled users like Tonpetty can see very far into the future of an individual, including the moment of their death.
Consistent use of the Ripple can slow one's aging process, as Ripple breathing imbues the user with life force. As such, both Straizo and Lisa Lisa appear a lot younger than they actually are. Although Lisa Lisa was 50 years old, Joseph assumed she was in her late 20s. However, the Ripple cannot completely halt the process of aging.
Tibetan masters specialized in Ripple training.
The Ripple technique seems to have been created at the dawn of humanity, with the purpose of fighting off the Pillar Men. After gaining the power of the Stone Mask, however, Kars and Esidisi easily slaughtered most of the world's Ripple users in 39 AD before returning into hibernation. However, the technique lived on; as the Stone Masks spread across the world, the Ripple also became an offensive technique against the vampires and zombies created by the masks. Ripple users have built many devices and temples across the world to help them train and learn from one another. Two Ripple masters, Tonpetty and Lisa Lisa, aid Jonathan and Joseph Joestar respectively.
In the Steel Ball Run universe, a power called the Spin (回転,Kaiten) is introduced. The Spin is similar in a few notable ways to Ripple, as part of a series of parallels to concepts in the original universe.
According to Araki, the concept of "Rules" and psychic powers in the manga Babel II by Mitsuteru Yokoyama helped him form the basis around the idea of Ripple.
The Ripple is similar in concept to the concept of Qi/Ki/Chi, a person's natural fighting energy found in many other manga and anime.
The Ripple-based moves, such as the Overdrive, form the basis of some of Joseph's techniques in Heritage for the Future, as well as the entirety of Young Joseph's moves. When performing these Ripple moves using the strong attack button, both Josephs can be seen visibly breathing.