The next review finds us looking at the next big Shonen Hit, Jujutsu Kaisen. With the success of Koyoharu Gotōge’s Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba both in Manga and the Anime Adaption (with the Studio Ufotable involved,) Tite Kubo’s Bleach Spin-Off, Burn The Witch Series, we are in a New Era of the Supernatural, Dark Fantasy Shonen Genre. Jujutsu Kaisen is a story about a young man named Itadori Yuuji who has tremendous physical strength, though he lives a completely ordinary high school life. One day, to save a classmate who has been attacked by curses, he eats the finger of Ryomen Sukuna, taking the curse into his soul. From then on, he shares one body with Ryomen Sukuna. Guided by the most powerful of sorcerers, Gojou Satoru, Itadori is admitted to Tokyo Metropolitan Jujutsu Technical High School, an organization that fights the curses… and thus begins the heroic tale of a boy who became a curse to exorcise a curse, a life from which he could never turn back. It is adapted from the manga written and illustrated by Mangaka Gege Akutami, while I will be reviewing the Series Premiere including episodes two and three as well.
The series is considered to be the second series produced by Mappa, the Studio behind anime such as Zombieland Saga, Yuri on Ice, and The God of Highschool (Another anime that premiered this year) which has been highly successful. The Animation style is perfect for this type of story that Gege Akutami created. It provided a sense of calm and a sense of fear when needed to get a point across, and we can thank Art Director Jeong Ryeon Kim and the artistic team involved at Mappa; moving forward we learn what drives Itadori Yuuji to be the person who he is and puts him on the path of fighting Curses and that is simply to do what is right and that if someone does die, they do not have to die alone or be afraid. What also draws us into the character is the central conflict which we learn about in the second episode, “For Myself,” where he eats the beef jerky-like finger of Ryoumen Sukuna (Definitely not on my Bucket List I assure you!) The poor fella signed his Death Warrant, basically this situation “Wow, you have an incredible ability to prevent Sukuna from taking over your body, but the Elder Sorcerers of Tokyo can’t allow you to live so tough luck, you’re gonna have to die.”
The script does a good job of establishing this world of sorcerers and curse monsters without rushing things along at too quick a pace, perfect for a new fan to jump in and understand what is going on without complicating things. While Yuji’s fate hangs in the balance after an incredible fighting scene between Gojo and Sukuna (and for that, his execution has been put aside for now,) and getting beaten to a pulp by the Dollmaker’s Principal at Jujutsu Tech… Beaten by a Cute, menacing Cursed Doll but the purpose was to find out why he wanted to be on the path of a doomed sorcerer (mentioned in the previous paragraph.) The first two episodes gave us a chance to learn about Gojo, Yuji, and Megumi but Episode Three gave us a fun new character, Nobara Kugisaki. Sure Nobara is bratty, conceited but she can back it up with her skills, to the point where Sotaru intentionally leads her and Yuji to a curse infestation in downtown Tokyo. Nobara’s confidence is borne from dealing with curses from out in the sticks, and Sotaru wants to know how she’ll deal with the curses from the city, which aren’t just stronger, but more cunning, too.
Overall, this is a fun Anime, it is clear to see how much research Mappa, Gege Akutami put into this series with creatures, and the Supernatural. If you’re interested in reading Jujutsu Kaisen, you can read it at Manga Plus and Viz Media.
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