Image source: warnerbrosanime on YouTube
If you thought a purple man popping out of someone’s back while screaming “ora, ora, ora” and punching at lightning speed was odd, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
2017 marks thirty years of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in print. And with JoJoLion (a.k.a. “part eight”) ongoing in Ultra Jump and acclaimed animated adaptations being broadcast on television, the series is experiencing a surge of popularity. One of the most entertaining recurring elements of the story are the Stands: fantastic abilities invisible to “normal” people that the heroes and villains of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure use to duel one another, often to the death.
While many Stands have become popular characters unto themselves (Dio’s “The World” has been an internet meme for over a decade), a few others are so weird or have such specific uses that they defy expectation. It’s a testament to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure creator Hirohiko Araki that even his strangest ideas are compelling because he writes scenarios that make even the oddest superpower seem deadly.
As a tribute to these less-heralded abilities, here are six incredibly bizarre Stands from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, one each from parts three through eight.
[Be advised that some spoilers will follow but no major story events or finales will be revealed.]
Image source: TVアニメ『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』公式 on Twitter
Everyone thinks they want to know the future, but the truth is, as Tohth demonstrates in Part 3 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, foreknowledge is useless, a burden even, if it doesn’t make life easier for you. Tohth takes the form of a comic book that the Oingo Boingo brothers read. The book shows them events that are about to happen in the immediate future. The predictions always come true, but try as they might, the brothers never managed to defeat anyone, because fate kept getting in the way.
It turns out that just because you see a picture of your enemy blowing up, it doesn’t help you figure out how to blow them up. What makes Tohth cross from nuisance to fascinating is when you think of it from a self-determination point of view: Would the Oingo Boingo brothers have been better off if they didn’t read from the book at all? Would the book’s predictions have come true regardless, or does the very act of reading about the future get them into trouble?
Image source: TVアニメ『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』公式 on Twitter
Most Stands have a “user” who controls their actions, but Super Fly is a Stand that controls its user, making it more of a curse than an actual superpower. Taking the form of a giant metal tower, Super Fly holds any person who steps inside hostage until another person takes their place. Damaging the tower is impossible, as attacks are reflected back upon the attacker.
Toyohiro Kanedaichi managed to live inside Super Fly for years and use its defensive capabilities as an offensive weapon against trespassers, striking and cutting the tower so the “reflection” would ricochet and injure others, but even he was unable to leave the tower without finding another person willing to take his place.
Adding to the strangeness of Super Fly is the fact that the name sounds more appropriate for an insect stand, while Part 3 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure had an insect Stand that was called Tower of Gray.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has featured its share of mind-reading Stands that help extract information from other people, but Talking Head does the opposite. It’s a Stand that inserts itself in a person’s mouth and forces them to lie. Even if the victim tries to write down a message rather than speak it aloud, Talking Head can force their hand from inside their mouth. As it attaches itself to the victim’s tongue, Talking Head can even elongate and articulate that tongue to grab external objects and wield them as weapons.
Most Stands attack people’s bodies, but Talking Head attacks reputations, erasing credibility and spreading disinformation. It’s also the grossest Stand on this list: imagine not only being forced to lie to your friends, but being forced to lie by a sentient squid living in your mouth and squeezing your tongue.
Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the scariest Stands in the entire series, but it’s also one any reader can identify with. Spend a long enough time invested in any popular fiction series and one thought is inevitable: “What if this were real?” Bohemian Rhapsody takes everything–books, animation, photographs, even paintings–and rips every single character from it into the real world (the entire world, all at once, as its range is infinite). As the characters interact with people, they bond with them and drag them back into their original story.
To use a meta-example: If Bohemian Rhapsody activated while you were watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, you might find yourself fighting an actual Stand user. Even if you managed to hit them, you cannot harm them because they’re not real. They’re just an idea. But any real person who recognizes them knows what they can do and can then fall victim to their attacks. Given that people grow up reading fairy tales and comic books loaded with death and violence (even Disney movies have body counts!), Bohemian Rhapsody would have enough fictional ammunition to kill everyone on Earth in a few minutes.
Like a Battleship game come to life, Chocolate Disco lays a grid over the user and his opponent. Any attack or object in one square can be sent to another square, instantly, via a series of buttons on the user’s arm. This enables Chocolate Disco to be used to defend and attack simultaneously, as anything thrown at the user can be returned with one button press.
It’s a futuristic Stand given the 19th century setting of Steel Ball Run (a keyboard armband counts as wearable tech in the Industrial Revolution) but it’s also simple and effective. How long would you last in Battleship if your opponent could see your side of board and was the only one able to attack?
The best and the weirdest Stands in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure all start with a basic idea and then immediately subvert expectations: Everyone needs money, so what if there were a Stand that made you earn money? Not in a figurative way, but literal: Milagro Man renders a person incapable of spending or even losing money. Expensive meals and goods become free of charge when the bill arrives. Any wager, no matter the odds, pays off. Donations and tips are refused. Even destroying the money won’t work; new money instantly takes its place.
It sounds great, but Milagro Man’s dark side manifests in a hurry. Without any way to rid yourself of hard currency, how will you carry it? Where will you keep your ever-increasing supply of worthless paper? If you can’t spend money, what good is money? Adding to the mystery is that Milagro Man has no apparent user or body, which means it cannot be defeated, bargained with, or disabled–only passed to a new victim.