JoJo: On the Origin of Stands

JoJo: On the Origin of Stands

What Exactly are Stands in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?

Stands — if you’re a fan of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, or even if you aren’t, I’m betting that you know what they are. They’re the physical embodiment of a person’s life force. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone gets to have one — or does it?

I’ll get to that question later on in this article, but for now let’s just go with the original explanation for the existence of stands. While everyone has some amount of life force, there are also those with an overwhelming abundance of it. These are the people who have the capacity to manifest a stand under the right conditions.

And since each stand is linked to the life force of its user, they tend to personify something about that person in one of two ways. On one hand, Sticky Fingers’ appearance and ability reflect Buccellati’s sense of style. On the other, Hermit Purple’s ability is exactly what Joseph needed to track down DIO’s whereabouts.

Stands also come in a variety of shapes, styles, and functions. Some are humanoid like Josuke’s Crazy Diamond, while others are objects like Narancia’s Aerosmith. Sometimes users need to directly control their stands like Avdol’s Magician’s Red, and other times they function automatically like Yuya’s Highway Star.

The Evolution of Stand Abilities

While there’s a lot of variation among stands even within the same part, stands have also evolved as the series has progressed. The stands introduced back in Part 3: Stardust Crusaders are very different from the stands of Part 5: Golden Wind.

The original stands from Stardust Crusaders were fairly simple by today’s standards. To showcase the progression of stands across the parts, let’s take a look at the stands of the main JoJos for Stardust Crusaders, Diamond is Unbreakable, and Golden Wind.

Jotaro’s stand is extremely simplistic, though still extremely powerful. It’s a close-range, humanoid stand with extreme strength, speed, and precision. It’s from this stand, Star Platinum, that we get the term “punching ghost.” However, later on in the part it does develop a time-stopping ability.

Jotaro Kujo and Star Platinum from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3: Stardust Crusaders
Jotaro Kujo and Star Platinum

Josuke’s stand is another humanoid stand that punches things, but this time there’s a twist. Crazy Diamond traded in the power, speed, and precision of Star Platinum for the ability to repair anything it touches (except Josuke himself). This ability can be used to heal his allies, repair broken objects, or incorrectly do either of those actions to the detriment of his foes.

Giorno’s Gold Experience is even more complex than Crazy Diamond. Again, it’s a humanoid stand that punches things, but it comes with a whole host of extra abilities. It can heal friends, track enemies, reflect damage, cause disorientation, and more.

Ways to Acquire a Stand

So now that we’ve established what stands are and how they’ve changed over the parts of the series, how does someone actually acquire one? Originally it was implied that stands manifested in people with strong wills (or life forces) on their own, but this was retroactively removed from canon.

Currently — in the anime at least — there are two confirmed ways to acquire a stand. The first and hopefully most obvious is to be pierced by a stand arrow. This is how the vast majority of the stand users we see in the series acquired their stands.

The second way to get a stand is by being the descendant of someone who received a stand from the stand arrow. The only member of the Joestar bloodline to have awakened their stand via a stand arrow was Jonathan, and he was already dead by that point.

Every other member of the Joestar bloodline awakened their stands due to being Jonathan’s descendants. However, just being a descendant of someone who was pierced by a stand arrow doesn’t automatically mean your stand will awaken — it just means you have the potential.

Shizuka Joestar (Achtung Baby) from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
Shizuka Joestar (Achtung Baby)

For the stand to awaken, there needs to be some sort of external pressure. For example, the Joestars in Stardust Crusaders who awakened stands did so in response to DIO awakening his stand with an arrow. In Diamond is Unbreakable, we can assume Shizuka’s Achtung Baby stand was awakened due to the pressure of being abandoned.

But, there’s actually a third possible way to get a stand — spontaneous stand acquisition. This hasn’t been confirmed, but I just want to put the possibility out there. We don’t know who Shizuka’s parents are, so it’s possible the extreme pressure of being abandoned was enough to awaken a stand for her on its own.

Where do Stands Originally come From?

Let’s talk about the stand arrows for a bit. I’ve been talking about them for a while now, but I haven’t actually explained what they are (though most of you already know). These are arrowheads which grant those who are pierced by them stands.

However, not everyone who gets pierced by a stand arrow survives and obtains a stand. If their life force, or will, is too weak, then they will be killed by the power of their own stand. And stands can also be pierced by stand arrows, causing them to evolve into Requiem stands.

I don’t really want to get into Requiem stands in this post, but essentially they’re just overpowered stands which have the perfect abilities to solve whatever predicament the user finds themself in. There are only two confirmed Requiem stands and they both appear in Golden Wind.

Anyway, the stand arrows are kind of a big deal, but where did they come from? It’s said that the arrowheads were crafted out of a meteorite which crash landed in Greenland 50,000 years ago. These arrows contain some sort of supernatural power, or virus, which comes from the meteorite and creates stands.

The stand arrows and their creator from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind
The stand arrows and their creator

And this brings up another question, are stands the byproduct of an alien virus? There’s one (possibly) known alien in JoJo’s, Mikitaka Hazekura. He’s a self-proclaimed alien, who does look slightly different from everyone else, who appears to have a stand ability.

However, he doesn’t see his ability as something all that unique. Is it possible that he comes from the same planet as the stand virus? Is there an alien civilization out there completely infected by this stand virus and who view stands as a natural phenomenon?

I think so. Considering the extra terrestrial origins of both the stand arrows and Mikitaka, I think it’s safe to say that stands originate from some sort of alien virus.

The Next Step in Human Evolution

So if there’s a civilization of stand-wielding aliens, what happens when a sizable population of humans develop stands? What if a lot of people survive being pierced by stand arrows, and then go on to have multiple generations of children. All of those children will have the potential to awaken stands, and with each generation there will be more potential stand users.

If this continues, then eventually everyone on Earth would be a stand user. Since having the potential to awaken a stand seems to be a dominant trait, even if only one parent could have a stand, all of their children will be potential stand users.

But like I mentioned, just because you have the potential to awaken a stand doesn’t mean you will. There needs to be an external pressure. So let’s say a world war broke out. Would all of those potential stand users awaken their stands?

Imagine a war of that scale involving stand users. It would be complete chaos. A war like that could very well end humanity.

The good news, however, is that I don’t believe that stands are actually the next step in human evolution. I don’t think the JoJo’s universe would ever have a realistic chance of getting to that point for one, simple reason: stand users attract other stand users.

Because stand users are drawn to one another, and because they’re constantly fighting, their numbers will always be relatively low. Any time a large number of stand users awaken at the same time, they’ll end up killing each other, thus pruning the branches so to speak.

There’s also the fact that not everyone with the potential to develop a stand actually has the willpower to survive it. Holly from Stardust Crusaders is a prime example. She’s strong enough to manifest a stand, but not strong enough to stop it from draining her life force.

Even if stand users stopped fighting each other, it’s not guaranteed that they would be able to sustain a large population due to this effect.


What do you think of the origin of stands? Are there any other ways to acquire stands in parts 3 – 5 that I left out? I know there are other ways in parts 7 and 8, but those are in an alternate universe. Do you think stands originate from an alien virus? And do you think stand wielders are the next step in human evolution? Let me know in the comments.

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4 Replies to “JoJo: On the Origin of Stands”

  1. This is well put together! It helped me remember some important things I was uncertain about.

    One thing that really confuses me is: okay, an alien virus is what awakens stands. That much I can handle. However, why would a virus need to be stabbed into somebody with an arrow in order to infect them? Polnareff’s story in part 5 makes it clear that just being near the metal can cause the virus to infect you. My best approximation is that because it’s an arrow, it can stab you, which is life-threatening and therefore can help awaken the potential you suddenly attained by being infected. But again, what’s the point when people just going near the meteorite were also infected and died? The metal wasn’t fashioned into arrows then, so why did it hurt them, presumably with stands they couldn’t handle?

    Then there’s a few scattered stand examples that really contradict this sci-fi concept of an alien virus. How does a virus infect a metal transmission tower (Superfly)? How does it resurrect the dead or activate a ghost and control it upon death (Stray Cat, B.I.G.)? Even looking back at really powerful, classic stands makes this really rough for me to deal with. I just can’t bring myself to believe that a virus could give people the ability to stop time, alter reality, or do things to other people who are not infected. A virus is technically a living thing. Logically, a living thing that infects a host needs to do so because it’s the best choice for survival and propagation. And yet, this virus can remain dormant in solid metal with no issues, but it actively tries to pierce and infect people it senses as having a strong will? At this point, fantasy, fate, and spirituality are crashing into scientific concepts where those don’t apply. It’s really weird.

    And I admit, this is also a series where masks made of stone could unlock the hidden potential of the brain. It’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, not JoJo’s Perfectly Logical and Easily Explained Adventure. But I just feel like once you get aliens and viruses involved, you’re stepping firmly into a different genre that doesn’t gel with what came before.

    I guess what I’m saying is that much as I love stands, and their lore as it’s uncovered, I think the choice to pin down where they came from in this way was kind of a mistake. I haven’t gone past part 5, but from what I hear it’s not like much was done to work with the alien virus revelation. It’s not like the Speedwagon foundation develops a cure, or more is learned about it as a virus and how it works.

    I don’t know. Just some thoughts I had after reading your article. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I know that JoJo’s isn’t really supposed to make sense, and it still doesn’t even with this explanation, but I do think based on the evidence we have that that stands being born from some sort of space virus makes the most sense.

      Also, I’d like to counter your point of sci-fi not really being the JoJo’s genre by saying that JoJo’s doesn’t really have a genre to begin with. While there are some elements which are carried through all the parts, each part is a different genre. Part 1 was classical horror, 2 was more of a traditional battle series, 3 was a massive adventure, 4 was a murder mystery, and 5 was based on old mafia movies. And since each part has fantasy elements tied into them, it’s not that strange for sci-fi to be in the mix as well.

      1. I agree, apart from the fact that Mikitaka is a gag character, stands being born from a space virus makes the most sense and I arrived at the same thought. My issue is that it makes very little sense anyway, even if it is the best option.

        To clarify: my issue isn’t with JoJo having science fiction. You could argue it had elements of it from the beginning. JoJo is mainly about using science, human intelligence, basically mundane things to defeat supernatural foes, or about embracing supernatural things as a tool while staying true to humanity. Part 2 is particularly great at this, where a trickster uses both magical sunlight powers and every tool and trick at his disposal to overcome a massively overpowered enemy.

        My issue is how suddenly and seemingly at random the alien concept was added to the story, and in my opinion without any real payoff or reason. Like, the goal for the part 5 finale is “Get this super-powered arrow before the bad guy does.” Do we really “BTW aliens” thrown into the mix?

        It’d be kind of like if in part 4, we never see Yukako until the Cinderella episode, and then Kira doesn’t use Cinderella to change his face. It’d be a sudden, creepy romance that is played straight and then never relevant again.

        Though I’ll admit, the reveal of alien life gives people stuff to theorize on, which is good.

        1. I feel that the development of stands deals with mainly the spiritual parts of a persons body being tied to thd physical elements of DNA and the stand arrows, while the whole alien virus piece of the puzzle is unclear, the fact that stands are connected to both DNA and the meteorite is obvious. As for why the two people who originally discovered the meteorite became sick and died, we can assume that the same even that occured to holly in stardust crusaders happened to them. Also as for how they were affected without being pierced or touched by material, we can assume that the meteorite was still hot and we all now that when things get hot, especially viruses they spread faster. Also with JJBA involving so many different literary elements, we can only really enjoy the fact that ariaki has gotten this far. To close i just want to say that certain stands and their abilities are spiritual and therefore not near as subject to certain scientific fact, we also know that stands can be awakened by other powerful stand users nearby, which ciuld very well be the reason for the invisible baby stand. Thank you, so much for this article.

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