Whenever JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure returns to television, it will likely be as an adaption of the next arc in the manga, Stone Ocean. It’s the first arc in the series to take place in America, and the story introduces the first female JoJo, who’s been framed for murder and thrown into a maximum security prison. She’s going to have to find a way out to stop a sinister plot being set in motion by a set of Stand users and followers of Dio.
But there’s one storyline everyone’s curious about, and it isn’t Stone Ocean….it’s an arc that took place outside of regular continuity and was one of the most bonkers plotlines the series has ever seen (which is saying something). We speak of “Steelball Run.”
It goes like this: Johnny Joestar is a former equestrian who had to give up the hobby after an accident cost him the use of his legs. But when he hears about the Steelball Run competition, which promises to give its victor a granted wish, he HAS to find a way to get back in the saddle and enter. The ensuing competition is a horse race across the entire country, with plenty of Stand users and their powers involved, including non-canon versions of classic characters from the series.
Kohei Ashiya, the lead animator of Golden Wind, was asked about Steelball Run recently, and his reply may let down some of you…he’d rather not take it on. It’s not the sheer scope of the story that scares him, it’s the fact that it involves a ton of horses whose legs are constantly moving from all angles, and that’s not fun to animate. When the possibility of CG horses was raised, Ashiya said those visuals wouldn’t blend in very easily with the established JoJo style.
We’re sure if they think hard enough they can solve this. There are shortcuts we’ve seen used in other anime that would work here — show the horses mostly above the legs, or use dust clouds to obscure the movement. Or use CG horse models anyway, but trace the legs onto 2D horse drawings. Lotsa ways to cheat, guys — use some imagination. Let’s get this race going!