This Week in Anime
The Hard-Hitting Action of Jujutsu Kaisen

by Nicholas Dupree & Monique Thomas,

Jujutsu Kaisen is a certified hit with its perfect mix of horror, action, and comedy. Nicky and Nick discuss the finer points of the series from its terrifying villains to the ANN staff's flawed appreciation of bodacious ladies.

These series are streaming on Crunchyroll

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @mouse_inhouse @NickyEnchilada @vestenet

Nicky, I'm sorry you have to be the first one I call out publicly, but there's something very important we need to address about the TWIA crew.

Especially you, Steve. You know what you did.
Look, this is no time to get into arguments over whether the Big Lady from the new Resident Evil trailer should be considered Hot. Though, I think Toudou would fully agree given what he has to say about himself.
Just saying, you're all needing a good suplexing sometime soon.

That's probably true, but I'll only accept it if it's by a lady too tall to fit through doors. On the other hand, Megumi here is absolutely too pure for his own good, though good on him for not actually specifying gender despite what the subs may lead you to believe.
Personally I'm with Toudou on this one. Pick a fetish like a normal person you weenie.
Anyways, if you're reading all of this and are a bit slow on the uptake, this is our 2nd article on the New Hit Supernatural Battle Series, Jujustu Kaisen! We're picking up where the last one left off to cover the back half of the first cour and a bit into the (currently-airing) second one!
And in that time JJK has managed to get both darker and way, way sillier. Which is saying something on both fronts considering this show already had reality-breaking cenobyte monsters AND Panda:
Yeah, quite a lot has happened since we last left Yuuji and Friends. In fact, for a majority of that time the latter assumed the former was dead. Not many people can come back after having their heart ripped out, after all, even for sorcerers. This left some time for both Yuuji to develop on his own as well as introducing plenty of new faces. Some of which include the 2nd years from the sister sorcerer school in Kyoto, like the very eccentric Aoi Toudou above, and Maki's (evil) twin-sister Mai.
Ah yes, Maki's asshole sister whose Curse Power is just GUN. Frankly I can take or leave her compared to Toudou, but I do appreciate her appearance gives us a better look into what kind of girls Nobara is into.

I approve of her taste (and this ship). I similarly didn't care much for Mai, but it spurred me into liking Maki even more, whose very fashionable taste in glasses is also completely justified since her cursed energy is so weak she can't actually see spirits without them. Though you might have figured this out if you're keen on the opening!
It's a neat hint! Though unfortunately this is the last we see of the rest of the Jujutsu Tech kids for a while. But that's okay because Yuuji's interning with the best character in the whole show:
And I thought Goujou-sensei and his Special Eyes was a lot!

In terms of mentors though, Nanami is pretty much the complete opposite. While Goujou vibes with Yuuji's happy-go-lucky streak and has a seemingly lax attitude, Nanami Kento, an ex-salaryman, is all Serious Business.
Goujou and Nanami are basically the 2 sides of the millennial coin. Nanami is the jaded, but still earnest one who's witnessed the shitty side of adulthood and sees it as his responsibility to prepare the next generation for it. Goujou is here for the shitposts:

So between the two of them they make a pretty good pair of dads for Yuuji.
While Yuuji grates against Nanami's particular teaching style at first, part of it is just because he has a hard time understanding that ultimately, he's still just a kid. There's lots of things he has yet to experience before maturing as both a sorcerer and a person. He's barely getting the hang of amassing cursed energy, for example.

In fact, he's so slow at it compared to his intense physical abilities, he unintentionally creates a lag-spike with his attacks, creating two impacts with every hit! Gojou dubs this Divergent Fist.
I do kind of love that in a series where the powers get increasingly esoteric, Yuuji's big shonen super power is just "hit things twice."
I mean, this arc also gave us part of the "explaining your attack to your opponent creates a pact where your power is temporarily buffed" soooo

Nanami's attack power is basically video game butchery btw.
Having the power of Fruit Ninja may sound silly, and it is, but keep in mind the villain of this arc is basically powered by Kingdom Hearts lore.

You're just making this elder-dude look even sketchier now.
Xehanort couldn't rock that much face jewelry, so we're safe.
No Nort-ings has happened yet, but we do get a classic "gullible angst-ridden teen falls for the villain's philosophy" angle oh-so-common in those games.
Junpei isn't quite a Sasuke but he sure toes that line a few times. Though thankfully his Naruto is also somebody who's seen a lot of bad b-movies.

All of Yuuji's time spent in his "training arc" really seems to be paying off!
As somebody who's made lifelong friends from watching NUTCRACKER: THE UNTOLD STORY I can confirm watching shitty movies is a great bonding experience.
Hi, I'm one of those friends. Anyways, speaking about things being true to my life. LBR, I consider Junpei MUCH less insufferable than Sasuke because his struggle with bullies and human cruelty are actually pretty relatable. At least to me, also a former misunderstood teenage edgelord.
I have some reservations about Junpei's bullying – mostly that the guys involved veer into cartoonishly monstrous at times – but I can appreciate JJK's attempts at crafting a very human reason for why he'd fall into Mahito's scheme. At heart he's a kind, compassionate kid, but he's also been hurt and isolated to the point that the power to hurt them back is gratifying.
Mahito smells his disdain for humanity from the next dimension and decides to take the kid under his (sometimes literal) wing.

How their relationship contrasts Nanami's teachings of Yuuji highlights exactly how emotionally predatory this is. While Nanami isn't quick to dole out compliments, he is first and foremost concerned with Yuuji's wellbeing which is why he goes through such lengths to remind him of his immaturity. Mahito, on the other hand, pretty much immediately instills both fear and affection into him and makes him think he's more grown-up than he actually is.
You ever have that friend in high school who had like, a college-age or older brother? And they liked to hang out with your friend group and would offer to buy you beer and always talked about how mature you are for your age? That's Mahito, except Mahito is also a literal curse baby who's mainly manipulating Junpei for the lulz.
Though, we do get a ton of useful exposition out of it! Like some info on who our other big bads, the sentient curses, are supposed to be.
Ah yes, a classic trio of villains. The fiery rage of earth's inner core. The eerie and inhuman disdain of the forest. And of course:
With Mahito himself representing good ole misanthropy! Making him pretty much the most human and inhuman of all. That also means that most of what he uses to fight are actually uhh, other humans. Much to Yuuji's dismay.

Though the good doc insists that they died of shock when being transformed so Yuuji isn't quite a murderer (yet).
It's pretty fucked up! Though thankfully Yuuji proves more mature than either Mahito or Nanami expected. And I don't just mean that he eventually kills one of those curse-victims in battle. But when he confronts Junpei for attacking his school, he's able to reach out and connect with him as a friend rather than just a sorcerer. It's super touching.

Indeed. Very Touching. Shame if anything happened to it.
Oh nothing's gonna happen. Junpei will get his face turn and join Yuuji at Jujutsu Tech. It's in the OP and everything! Just look at how happy they'll be.

Wait why do I hear cruel laughter in the distance?
Yeah, things aren't lookin' so great when your new best friend suddenly looks like he should be scrounging for chicken nuggets at the bottom of a McDonald's PlayPlace ball pit.
This is easily JJK's darkest, cruelest twist, and honestly I'm still not sure how I feel about it. If nothing else it certainly hammers home that Mahito is indeed an enemy that needs destroying, and Yuuji is happy to oblige no matter how much he gets his ass kicked.
Yuuji is rightfully pissed the fuck off, which normally is what Mahito would want in order to bring out Sukuna, but turns out he's Yuuji-intolerant. Because of Mahito's shapeshifting abilities even strong-ass sorcerers like Nanami can barely get a hit in, but since Yuuji is so self-aware as Sukuna's vessel, he's able to power through no problem.

Regardless, Sukuna doesn't really feel like playing around.

He let's Mahito off the hook with a warning for the laugh (at Yuuji's expense) but let's it be known that unlike Yuuji's heart, he's NOT to be fucked with.
Granted Yuuji's still inexperienced, so he can't do much on his own. Thankfully Nanami is there so they can 2v1 this asshole into the ground.
Unlike Gojou though, Nanami doesn't have a domain, and Yuuji isn't the only one still experiencing growth. The serious ass-whooping was actually just what Mahito needed in order to have his real epiphany and promptly traps Nanami into a domain of his own.
Also can I point out these fucking gross ass mouth-hands? Just disgusting little chicken tendie delivery devices.
Gotta do your Naruto handsigns while eating tendies like a real weeb.
But yeah, getting stuck in the Hand Zone basically means Nanami is fucked the moment Mahito stops gloating, which takes just long enough that we get a flashback to explain just how much of a Best Boy this jaded 27-year-old is.

TFW you are 27-years-old but corporate life ages you so much you look unmistakably in your forties. Man, Fuck Capitalism. Value your "essential workers" more, damn it.
For real though, Nanami's story is crucial to JJK's themes. It's been established that the life of a Jujutsu Sorcerer is a miserable, often short one. But at the same time it's a critical part of the cycle that at least has the chance to help somebody who needs it. And seeing both why Nanami left and came back shows us why that sliver of humanity makes all the hurt and danger worth it.

It also rings true in that there's not really one "correct" path in life and that for many people it's going to be full of twists and turns where some of us are going to take rather nontraditional routes before we even have a chance of figuring out what this big thing called "Life" is about. Which is why one of those twists is Yuuji just dropping in to save Nanami's ass from his "obligatory mentor sacrifice".

Cuz like, domains are meant to keep people IN not OUT.
For once JJK pulls its punc-er, well actually it throws MORE punches. But they're punches in the direction of Mahito. He manages to get away, but Yuuji's at least able to save one person from certain doom, even if he doesn't see it that way.
He's alive though and that means he's still got room to figure that out, which is good because we gotta move that out of the way so we can deal with this new School vs School battle! AKA The Wacky Cursed Spirit Exorcism Race.
Hell of a swerve to go from all the body horror and tragedy of Junpei to finding out the Kyoto school includes a Ghibli Witch and a fucking robot.
Also, immediately dealing with the awkward dilemma of introducing Yuuji to the rest of the cast, but instead of going for something more dramatic, JJK just embraces the awkwardness for full-hilarious effect by having Yuuji pop out of a box like a stripper out of a cake at a bachelor party.
They may not be excited to see him, but you know who is? His new best friend!

This leads to hands down, one of the best sequences in the show. The screen immediately shifts to wide-screen while Toudou's mind delves deep into his own fantasy about him and Yuuji being bros in regular non-sorcerer murder-y school, full of inspirational (mis)quotes from famous wrestlers.

It's so funny he even asks out his beloved idol, Takada-chan, and promptly GETS DUMPED IN HIS OWN FANTASY, only for his new bffsies Yuuji to comfort him, like a real bro.
It's some amazing bullshit, and I absolutely love it. I totally get it if people feel put off by following Junpei's arc with this nonsense, but for me this is where JJK finally finds its true niche.

Reminder: Toudou was beating the shit out of him not 15 seconds ago and also the rest of the Kyoto students are trying to murder him as Sukuna's vessel. But no time for that, they've bonded over their love of
Though if you think this lets Yuuji off the hook, you'd be wrong. Toudou is more hungry for a fight than ever but he's also not about to let his colleagues get away with his prize, so it's at least one meaty obstacle to keep everyone else from ganging up on him. He's also got some more backup this time than before.

Though, they might lack some means of communication.
I can't wait to see the rest of this tournament arc in action, honestly. As a manga reader this is where JJK takes a turn for the ludicrous, and that's very much a good thing. Plus I just want to see how they'll handle Panda's fight.
The big wigs are still dead-set on making sure Yuuji gets killed (again) before Sukuna becomes a problem and want to use the exchange event as a cover, so the gangs are dead-set on fighting each other ON TOP OF whatever cursed spirit they're supposed to be dealing with. It's a more standard set-up, but JJK has proven itself to be effective enough at making both the action and characters compelling, no matter how dark or weird it is.
Thankfully Gojou's also here, so even if things get twisted they should get too dangerous. Yuuji has so much more to learn from him after all:
We're in the age where we got more Shonen Jump adaptions than ever. This season alone has at least two other series to keep eyes on. With so many running concurrently, It can be hard to find what really makes a series stand out, make you laugh, or tug on your heartstrings, but JJK, despite being relatively new, still manages to do it all with its own style to boot.
Oh right, we've got a bunch of other JUMP stuff airing too...well, guess I know what we gotta cover next.
Well, hopefully the rest of them keep up the quality and we'll be COOL!! 'Til next time, folks.

discuss this in the forum (5 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

This Week in Anime homepage / archives