by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Jujutsu Kaisen ?
You would think another mostly transitory episode would be shooting itself in the foot by titling itself “Boredom,” but you know what? Jujutsu Kaisen made out perfectly fine this week. After last week's stellar, Gojou-centric “Assault”, we were bound to get some more cooldown time before this School Exchange arc finally gets going. Since Yuuji is in the middle of his “Pretending To Be Dead While Watching a Variety of Movies And Trying Not to Get Punched In The Junk By A Creepy Demon Plushie” training regiment, Nobara and Megumi carry the story for the most part this week as they run into a couple of senior students from Jujutsu Tech's rival school named Mai and Toudou, which immediately results in Shit Going Down. It's essentially the same routine we've seen since The Karate Kid changed cinema forever in 1984 by turning “cartoonishly villainous greaseball teens that use their well-honed skills in violent martial arts to bully nerds and pick up chicks” into a trope, somehow. Except, this is Jujutsu Kaisen, so of course it ends up being even stupider, which I'm honestly pretty thankful for.
The main event here is Megumi battling Toudou, a big buff boy who insists on becoming Megumi's friend so he can grill him on his particular fetishes. He believes that kinks ultimately reveal everything you need to know about an opponent, gleefully announcing to all the world that his dream catch is “a tall woman with a big ass!” Megumi can only respond with the most Megumi answer possible: “As long as she has unshakeable character, I couldn't ask for more.” Such a vanilla response is enough to make Toudou literally weep with shame. He then proceeds to wail on Megumi mercilessly with his incredible strength and Curse Energy. This is, so far as I have been able to tell after two viewings, the sole pretext for all of the action that follows.
You see? Incredibly stupid.That doesn't make it any less fun to watch though, with the animation and direction up to the show's usual standards, which means that even a perfunctory warm-up battle that exists mostly to kill time and provide some exposition about our heroes' future opponents is pretty exciting. Toudou is apparently strong enough to have handled the Curse Parade crisis that occurred awhile back (more on that later), and he only ever needs to bust out his Curse Techniques when he's facing Special Grade enemies. Megumi might be everyone's favorite Dog Friend, and he holds his own for a good while, but he isn't a match for the likes of Toudou, and it takes an intervention from the second years to calm things down (for now).
Nobara gets the short end of the stick again, unfortunately, with her fight with Mai being almost entirely off-screen, which also ends in defeat. Not for lack of trying, though – Nobara insists that Mai leave her sexy dress as battle retribution, which is pretty funny. And really, even if Nobara doesn't get a lot of screen time so far as action is concerned, she spends most of this episode dunking on everyone around her, and that's just as important.
Interestingly, the one person Nobara doesn't get sassy with is Maki, who turns out to be Mai's twin sister. Based on how egregiously douchey Mai is, the whole Zenin family seems to be a real piece of work, and Maki explains that she learned to wield weapons imbued with Cursed Energy because she cannot manipulate any on her own, and her folks have been looking down on her for years because of it. This proud spitefulness immediately endears Nobara to Maki, which is just incredibly cute.
Speaking of cute, Gojou also gets some fun material at the tail end of the episode, when he goes to confront Principal Gakuganji, a senior Sorcerer, over that whole lingering issue of Yuuji getting horribly killed. Outside of enjoying Gojou's flagrantly disrespectful attitude towards to old codger, the scene mainly informs us that the Curse Parade that Toudou helped clamp down on was merely one among many recent outbursts of violent Curse incursions, and that Getou guy seems to be one of the key forces behind it all. This scene ends with a lot of jokey jokes about how hard the principal's assistant, Miwa, is crushing on Gojou, which is incredibly relatable, but the lighthearted tone belies the dark tidings of what is to come.
A brief flashforward before the end credits brings us to a gruesome triple homicide at a local theater, where the victims heads have been stretched and mangled beyond belief by that stitched-together looking Curse from last week, Mahito. As recent events have proven, the old guard among the Sorcerers have been fighting a losing battle, trying to plug their bony old fingers into the holes of a crumbling dam, and the growing torrent of unimaginable evil continues to leak through the cracks. It's all fun and games until the world is consumed by malevolent spirits hell-bent on eradicating humanity, now isn't it?
Odds and Ends
• We learn that Toge, the guy who only talks by listing rice ball ingredients, has a Curse Technique that I assume allows him to manipulate reality simply by speaking his will. This explains the shtick with the ingredients, though I still want to know what this kid's deal is.
• The post-credits scene this week sees Mai visiting Toudou's favorite idol, Takada-chan, at a handshake event, because she knows he'll be even more annoying about it if she doesn't indulge him. Not only does Takada get very flirtatious with Mai, Mai seems to be quite taken with Takada herself. I'd say sorry about crushing Toudou's dreams to marry Takada, except I'm totally not sorry one bit. Also, between this bit and Nobara's interactions with Maki, I'm starting to suspect that the Zenin sisters might have more game with the ladies than any of our male characters. To that, I can only say: “Hell yeah.”
Jujutsu Kaisen is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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