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All the Announcements from Anime Expo 2024
Jujutsu Kaisen Panel Celebrates Success of Season 2

by Kalai Chik,

ANN's coverage of Anime Expo 2024 sponsored by Yen Press and Ize Press!

Photography by Kalai Chik

Anime Goliath Jujutsu Kaisen dominated the latter half of 2023 with an intense two-part season. Ending on the unforgettable Shibuya Incident arc, season two brought fans to their knees. MAPPA brought three guests to the Anime Expo panel—Junya Enoki (Yuji Itadori), Shōta Goshozono (Director of Season 2), and Keisuke Seshimo (Animation Producer)—as a celebratory victory lap to thank fans for their support. Although there were no announcements and no signs of the next season, the three panelists soaked up the high energy from the room.

The panel standby line was capped only an hour before its start, which is not surprising given the series' popularity. “I thought it was going to be empty because it's Sunday morning,” confessed Enoki. He and the other two guests gave quick introductions to cheering fans, and immediately jumped into some behind-the-scenes visuals from their animation pipeline.

Starting with a reflection of the past season, Enoki listed the last battle with Mahiro—the rabbit chase scene—and Episode 41—where Itadori vomits after witnessing what has happened—as the most memorable for him. The room rewatched the emotionally intense scene together, and Enoki recalled how he was on all fours like Itadori while recording those lines. “I didn't actually throw up, but I did cry a lot.” Director Goshozono looked over at him and simply added, “It's a great scene.” He added how Enoki's acting brings a level of realism that anime normally doesn't have. The voice-acting cast is very different from their characters. “Although Mahito, voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki, is an incredibly frightening character, Shimazaki is a nice guy. He's always cheering on the entire cast in the studio,” said Goghozono. From Producer Seshimo's perspective, sometimes Shimazaki's banter can be “really long,” so the staff must remind everyone to move on to recording.

As a special treat to those who braved their way to the panel, Enoki performed a live audio reading of Itadori's Black Flash on Mahito in Episode 44. Once he finished, Director Goshozono pulled up key art and exclusive storyboards from this past season. First, Goshozono explained a visual of the tree scene with a young Gojo. After showing the animatic storyboard, layout, and touch-ups, Goshozono joked that his sketches looked really silly and someone else “who is good at drawing” would draw the cleaned-up genga. “Whenever I fix a drawing, Gojo ends up looking very cute.”

In the next visual, the director clarifies why Itadori puts his hands together. “There's a thing in Japan called ippon-jime: when no one knows when the party's over and you get everyone to clap at the same time, it means it's time to go.” He asked for the room to do it as a group panel activity. “That closes the whole arc when you clap, it's the ippon-jime.” There are times when key frames can look off-model, so it's up to him to make comments to tighten it up. On a genga sheet for Yuta Okkotsu, Goshozono asked for the artist to “make it more like the manga '' because it was starting to deviate.

Enoki asked him how long it would take to make one scene. Goshozono stated that his job doesn't take “that long” but turned to Seshimo for clarification. “In one episode, there are 300 cuts. It does take a few months because we go through a couple of cuts simultaneously just to complete this one shot,” said Seshimo.

To thank the fans for their time, the producer brought a special highlight reel of season two to the tune of the opening song. Enoki thought the crowd wasn't excited enough and encouraged the cheers to be super rowdy for the MV. Both he and the Director were watching the crowd as it played, and Enoki even tapped his foot to the rhythm of King Gnu's “SPECIALZ.” Later, he and the other two panelists would do a call and response for the lyric, “You are my special.”

Since the panel still had time left over, the moderators took questions from the crowd. Enoki promised to come back next year, and the audience asked him to bring Yūma Uchida. Hilariously, a fan asked what Enoki's type is, given how Yuji Itadori's own preference is someone who looks like Jennifer Lawrence or Megan Thee Stallion. “Next question,” he said bluntly. However, he eventually played along and responded with: “She's gotta have hips and is tall.”

For eager and aspiring animation artists, Director Goshozono recommends that artists try out animating something simple first. “Before I was in college, I hadn't drawn anything. When I graduated, that's when I first started to draw.” He recommended that artists reflect and check if animation is even enjoyable to them. Once they find their answer, they should keep drawing. “Getting into the animation industry in Japan is pretty hard, so keep drawing and improving. Hopefully, we can work together someday!”

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