by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 15 of
Jujutsu Kaisen ?
The single best moment of this week's chapter of the School Exchange Event Arc isn't even something that really happens. It comes when, after the Tokyo and Kyoto teams sprint off to begin the Wacky Cursed Spirit Exorcism Race, Yuuji has to hold off Aoi's assault while the Panda and Megumi squads keep the pace. The fight itself is definitely the action highlight of the episode, with some well-implemented 2D/CG blending and solid choreography that shows off Aoi's immense strength, which Yuuji can barely keep up with. The best part of Episode 15 doesn't come from any of the punches or kicks that Yuuji and Aoi exchange, though. Rather, it's what occurs right after Aoi asks his customary mid-battle question: “What kind of girl is your type?” Yuuji is understandably baffled by this, but he humors his opponent, giving the same answer he provided back when he first joined up at Jujutsu Tech: “A tall woman with a big ass. Like Jennifer Lawrence.”
Now, a cursory Google search tells me that Yuuji and Jennifer Lawrence are actually both around 5'8”, so I'm not sure if JJK's universe just has a J-Law who's got a few inches up on her Earth-Prime counterpart, but Aoi isn't bothered by such petty trivialities as “basic facts it takes only a second or two to research.” No, instead, Aoi vibes with Yuuji's taste in ladies so goddamn much that Jujutsu Kaisen straight up pauses the entire episode to cut away to a two-minute-long fantasy sequence in which Aoi imagines his normal high school life as Yuuji's best friend. Yuuji offers dating advice even as he dunks on Aoi for relentlessly pursuing Tamaki-chan, and Aoi even manages to fail at asking Tamaki out in a dream world of his own making, borne from the overwhelming surge of bro-vibes coursing through his heart and brain. When we cut back to reality, Aoi has snot and tears streaming down his face, and he declares with inarguable authority that he and Yuuji are now Best Friends 4 Life.
It's the kind of gloriously stupid diversion that Jujutsu Kaisen revels in at each and every opportunity, and it basically makes this whole episode worth it, even when the rest of it is merely okay. Too much of the plot after Aoi's bromantic flash-sideways is taken up by either the Kyoto team reminding us of how much they want to kill Yuuji – save for Aoi and Kasumi, that is — or with the Tokyo team taking an awfully long time to figure out what the audience has already known for two weeks now: Everyone else is trying really hard to kill Yuuji. Then the squads all split up even more, with Panda and Nobara handling Momo, while Maki and Megumi are left to deal with Noritoshi and Kasumi. It's standard battle-manga procedure, but it still can't help but feel like more table setting, when we've already spent a whole first cour and change getting this arc started.
The Yuuji and Aoi fight continues, too, but aside from a couple of nice-looking cuts, much of the animation this week falls a teensy bit short of the show's usual standards. The models look rougher, the motion is choppier, and the direction is more pedestrian. Also, the episode does that thing that too many shows do when they're adapting action-heavy manga chapters, where instead of ending, it just kind of…stops, right in the middle of a conversation.
All in all, this was far from JJK's finest (half) hour, but some nice character beats and that particularly funny bit with Aoi's fantasy kept Episode 15 from stumbling too much. I expect that we'll get a lot more out of this Wacky Cursed Spirit Exorcism Race as the stakes and action continue to escalate. If nothing else, at least ol' Yuuji seems to have made a new buddy. Now, if only Yuuji could get the guy to stop beating him half-to-death…
Odds and Ends
• Yuuji's best line of the week has to be, "You think you can just pound away on my head like that, idiot!? What if you made me dumber than I already am?"
• Kasumi also gets some good lines in amid a bunch of exposition about how one goes about climbing the Jujutsu Sorcerer ranks; she may not be down to murder Yuuji, but she's absolutely in it to win the Exchange Event. That could get her a promotion, after all, and when Maki asks her why she's so dead set on earning those sweet teacher recommendations, Kasumi's response is simply: “I'm poor!” I'm rooting for you, girl. Make that green and own that scene.
• This week's Jujutsu Stroll gives the ladies of the cast an opportunity to share what their type of romantic partners are: Maki just wants someone stronger than her, Kasumi is all about hot guys that make a girl feel special, and Momo is apparently a Sebastian Stan…stan. Nobara doesn't say what she's interested in, though she does make it clear that she can't stand “UBSSDs”. This stands for Useless, Broke, Smelly, Stingy, and Dead (and I feel like that last point is aimed at a certain delinquent death faker, for sure). Meanwhile, there's an odd cut to Gojou, who vamps a bit before pointing out Kasumi. Damn it, man, don't start creeping on your students – I need you to be better than that! We all need you to be better than that!
Jujutsu Kaisen is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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