Manga Chapter of the Week: Steel Ball Run Chapter 46 (Promised Land: Sugar Mountain 2)

This weekend, I sunk my teeth into the seventh installment of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series, cheating a little bit as far as part order order goes.* It ended up being a very worthwhile decision, as I found the series contained bite after juicy bite of ridiculous (but not incomprehensible) content. It’s got everything from non-superpowered horse racing to dinosaur fights to spy-novel style infiltration scenes. It didn’t take me long to plow through the whole story, which integrates both a continental horserace and an epic bodyhunt. SBR is far from a perfect series,** but it’s got mad merits on writing and the way it uses full-page spreads to lay out a scene.

My favorite chapter of the series deals with a comically complex Stand/superpower that’s got abilities halfway between the Golden Axe fable and Leprechaun Gold. It works in the following way: the stand’s owner, Sugar Mountain, offers to return something that a person dropped, but offers both the thing dropped and a ridiculously more valuable version of the same (say you drop an Oreo cookie, she’ll offer you that or a two-pound cheesecake). If one answers honestly as to which they dropped, they get the works. They then have to use up both of those items in fair trades (i.e. they can’t just give them away for free) by sunset the day they receive them. If they fail to do both of those things, they turn into trees like so:

SBR-46-1

Yeah, it’s a little weird

So that’s the general setup, introduced in the chapter prior to this one. Also in the prior chapter, protagonists Gyro and Johnny managed to finagle a couple of necessary body parts off of Sugar Mountain by correctly negotiating the Golden Axe rule of her stand. Beyond the body parts, they’ve acquired a diamond, gold ore, a fancy watch, and $50,000 in cold hard cash. This chapter follows them trying to avoid becoming petrified wood by burning through their Leprechaun Gold via fair trade. All while being chased by a bunch of government assassins. If you think that sounds like the basis of a hilarious heist comedy’s third act, well, you’d be more or less on the money.

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