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JoJo’s Bizarre Analysis – 02: The Inspiration Behind the Stand Virus

An analysis of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series and a theory about the inspiration of the Stand virus in Golden Wind.

Hello, welcome to “JoJo’s Bizarre Analysis”, a chronicle about analyzing various aspects of the “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” series. In this chronicle, I will discuss various topics such as symbols, behind-the-scene details, or inspirations in JoJo. Please note that Hirohiko Araki will probably not have confirmed what I will claim in this chronicle. As such, consider it food for thought that is coming from my own intuition rather than an official statement.

Context

In a flashback, Polnareff explains that Stands are caused by an alien virus

In Chapter 113 of Golden Wind, Jean Pierre Polnareff explains the origins of Stands to Bruno Bucciarati and Giorno Giovanna.

Polnareff explains that Stands come from an alien virus which arrived on Earth from a meteorite that landed on Cape York, Greenland. Moreover, the Frenchman explains that the Stand virus is a dangerous disease which can infect humans and for the most part, is fatal to them. However, a few individuals with exceptional willpower are able to survive and obtain a Stand. In the series, it is common for new Stand users to suffer from a fever before they acquire their ability, corroborating Polnareff’s explanation.

Today, I want to talk about the real-life inspiration behind the virus.

Theory

Araki has mentioned his favorite manga series in childhood several times and regularly places Babel II among his favorites. I believe that the idea of the Stand virus granting psychic powers in JJBA is a homage to Babel II.

In the 27th chapter of Babel II, the protagonist Koichi discovers that an extraterrestrial virus has granted powers to his enemies. Among these powers are superhuman strength and regeneration, but more importantly, the virus grants psychic powers. Additionally, in the 34th chapter, we discover that the virus has a high mortality rate and that only the survivors acquire superpowers. Knowing that Araki often openly admits that he takes inspiration from many sources, it probably isn’t a coincidence to find similarities with Polnareff’s explanation in Golden Wind.

Hirohiko Araki gladly cites Babel II as one of his all-time favorite manga series. For starters, Babel II ranks among Araki’s Top 10 manga series. In several other interviews and commentaries, Araki praises the manga and tells how much it has inspired him. He notably acknowledges that Jotaro’s school uniform outfit originates from the image of Babel II‘s protagonist Koichi crossing the desert on foot while wearing his school uniform. This image, Araki says, “permeated a sense of a man’s spirit of romantic adventure, and beauty“.

I can easily see the alien origins of JJBA’s Stand abilities as a nod and homage to Babel II. As one of the series which influenced Araki into becoming the mangaka that he is, it is probable that he wanted to salute Babel II and acknowledge that JJBA has some roots in it. Although the explanation of Stands as the consequence of an alien virus comes out of nowhere and leads to nowhere as far as the story is concerned, I see this as a touching moment with a creator making a homage to another creator who deeply inspired him.

About Babel II

Babel II is an action-adventure shonen series written and illustrated by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. The magazine Akita Shoten published the series from 1971 to 1973. Babel II was compiled into twelve volumes and has also been adapted into an animated series.

The series follows Koichi, a Japanese schoolboy who learns that he is the reincarnation of an alien named “Babel”. Koichi obtains Babel’s powers and thus becomes “Babel II”. Koichi can also use Babel’s advanced spaceship and its awesome technology, and is accompanied by three protectors: Rodem, a shape-shifting black panther; Ropross, a pterodactyl-like flying creature; and Poseidon, a giant robot. However, the terrible monarch Yomi is also a reincarnation of Babel and covets Babel’s technology in order to conquer the Earth. Thus, Koichi and Yomi start a long bitter struggle that will decide the fate of the world.

Hirohiko Araki enjoys Babel II for its non-stop gripping action. The protagonist Koichi and his archenemy Yomi constantly try to outwit each other and both possess roughly matching strength. Koichi uses his superpowers and his advanced alien technology while Yomi has an army and his great cunning at his disposal. Araki notably cites each fight having “rules” which the narrative respects and the plotline’s great sense of suspense as two of the series’ qualities. Araki also lists Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s impactful art as one of the series’ strong points.

Posted in Analysis, Exclusives, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Manga, Stardust Crusaders, Vento Aureo

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