JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 7: Steel Ball Run review
Often, I wonder why I sift through disappointing and mediocre comics, why I read things I'm nearly certain I won't like, and why I don't just stick to what I'm familiar with. And then I read something like Steel Ball Run, which fuels my search all over again.
Steel Ball Run is the best part of Jojo. I've always liked the series, but I had problems with previous entries. Flat characters, filler fights, and plot holes/contrivances has kept Jojo from being its best. No one part could solve jump these three hurdles completely, only part 4 got close. Characters in particular were never too complex. We
begin to see better characters in part 6, but part 7 has the best characters in the series.
Our two protagonists, Johnny and Gyro, have their own lives, stories, and motivations. It's incredible that a minor villain in this part has more character than half the main characters of part 3. The major villain, Funny Valentine, is also great, and sometimes feels more just than our protagonist. Diego is cool, I think Hot Pants was interesting but could've been better, etc etc... What really makes these characters great is their motivations and morals. We understand each character because we get to know them, and what they lose in eccentricity compared to other Jojo parts they gain in depth.
The battles here aren't quite as good as in part 5, but it's close. Johnny has a cool stand that actually get's more powerful like Echoes from part 4. Spin is a really cool power (Although it feels a bit broad and OP), and pretty much all the stands in the series are really cool. Sometimes stands similar to ones from previous parts are brought back, which can sometimes feel like a retread, but usually feels like a fresh take. I only wish there were more racing elements, as I felt that was usually secondary to stand battles.
The plot is actually really involved. A cross-country race with a hidden agenda, filled with battles, espionage, and powers is a great idea that is executed excellently. There's no filler, and a decent amount of variety in fights and arcs. The ending is a bit too rushed in my opinion (And by ending I just mean the last chapter). This is the best plot in Jojo.
Araki's artwork has reached a brand new level. He has perfected his style, with both expressive and detailed art. His backgrounds are also excellent, which is great because it brings the alt/universe America this takes place in to life.
Jojo Part 7: Steel Ball Run is one of those rare pieces of art that manages to be both entertaining and compelling. It's a unique story that only Araki could make, and I doubt there will be anything quite like this masterpiece ever again. You could skip straight to part 7. I don't recommend it, but you could.