Hamon or Ripple Energy is a power system that was used in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Battle Tendency, and then briefly made appearances in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders. The Power system was seemingly replaced by a more refined Stand Based Power System that the long-running JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series is known for today.
But this change perplexed a lot of fans who were following the series from the start or had started their JoJo journey from the 2012 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure anime. The first 2 parts of the series focused heavily on Hamon, and it was the central, go-to power system initially that was integral to the plot before the introduction of Stands.
So, let's take a look at Hamon, find out why Hirohiko changed Hamon, and how this change affected the series going forward. And with that out of the way, let's just get into it.
What is Hamon in JoJo?
Hamon or Ripples in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series is introduced as a technique where the user, through controlled breathing, could create ripples in the form a power in their bodies that is very similar to the sun's energy. It is also referred to as Sendo (The way of the Hermit or the way of the Wizard) in the series, is an ancient form for Martial Arts that allows its users to do extraordinary things, bring out their innate potential. The technique has been passed down from generations as the most effective technique against vampires, zombies, and the infamous Pillar Men.
The technique allows users to essentially replicate the sun's energy in their bodies and have it flow in ripples through their bloodstream. The users could then use this energy to enhance their physical abilities, or just manifest this energy in inanimate objects, making them more effective as a tool or just a better weapon overall. Although not as effective on metals, Ripple energy can essentially make a giant leaf into a sturdy shield or strengthen the body to take on immortal properties like not aging over its continued use.
Why did Araki stop using Hamon?
Hamon was abandoned due to multiple reasons, but according to Araki, the biggest reason he let go of Hamon was because his editor at the time advised him so. During his interview published in JoJomenon, Araki emphasized that when his editor told him that his "Hamon is old hat," he started working on a new power system, and then after much thinking after JoJo Part 2, he came up with Stands.
Araki inspired stands from the guardian spirit concept that was prominent in Tsunoda Jiro's Ushiro no Hyakutaro. And since it actually made sense to Araki that going with such a system forward would allow him to actually explore his initial aspiration to give supernatural occurrences some kind of visible form. And since many fans even complained to him that they had trouble understanding what was going on because of Hamon, Araki just decided to go forward with Stands, and that was one of the best decisions Araki ever made for the series.
How did the transition from Hamon to Stands affect JoJo?
As mentioned before, Hamon was an integral part of JoJo's plot in JoJo part and JoJo part 2, but in JoJo part three, there was an abrupt change to the show. Above all, the notorious Hamon lost its relevancy because it was most effective against the main villains' the vampires and the Pillar men in part 1 and part 2, respectively. But going in part 3, with the introduction of the Stands, Hamon lost its effectiveness as the main fighting style against the Stand users. While it did have its relevancy to prolong a person's life or make them look youthful forever with its continued and enhanced healing abilities. But with Stands standing as the main enemy in Part 3, Hamon had virtually no use left with the plot setting of Stardust Crusaders.
But it was not like Hamon just disappeared, it was there and even used by some characters in Stardust Crusaders, and Araki again describes this in one of his other interviews;
"Hamon is life energy that travels through the entire body, through a special breathing method. Therefore, a concrete visualization of it would be some sort of wire wrapped around the entire body, like a vine. If Jotaro's group traveled to the world of Part 2, they would probably be able to see 'Hermit Purple' wrapped around Joseph's body like they see in Part 3."
So even though Hamon is present in JoJo part 3 and Jonathan, along with some other characters, are shown using it, it has lost its effectiveness as a viable strategy against the more powerful Stand users. So, the transition did shape the story a lot in terms of what the characters could do and take advantage of in their struggle against DIO, but overall, the plot remained pretty much the same, though with some expected significant changes.
And not to mention the notoriety that the franchise gained after the transition, making JoJo one of the most popular and unique manga's in the 90s, and essentially has made a JoJo a classic, unlike any other manga to have ever come out to this day.
The Transition from Hamon to the Stand based system was one of the most important and crucial turning points in the series and has essentially added more uniqueness and character to the JoJo franchise.
And Araki, as the Author of JoJo, fully took advantage of this transition, and while he balanced out the series with this new power system and be more creative with his characters, Araki used this chance to essentially make use of this new quality. And using his unique art style, he took his manga to practically new heights and just a whole lot more enjoyable.
Now Stands have become an icon in the Japanese anime industry with a plethora of mangakas paying homage to the symbol of creativity Hirohiko Araki, by referencing them in their own works and this shows how more popular JoJo has become after this significant change.
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