- Titles: Sorcery Fight, JJK, Jujutsu Kaisen
- Genre: Action, supernatural, comedy, drama
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: MAPPA
Yuuji always knew he was a special guy. For one, he’s way too athletic for a normal high school student and it’s not like he works out that much or anything. He just seems to have been blessed with some amazing abilities. Otherwise, though, he’s perfectly normal. at least he was until he accidentally swallowed an old mummified finger that actually contained an ancient and powerful curse for which he is now the vessel. Man, I hate it when that happens. High school, am I right guys? There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that Yuuji doesn’t have to face his new situation alone. A semi-secret organization of Jujutsu sorcerers have been keeping curses in line for generations. And he’s already met a couple of them. The bad news is that half of them want him immediately executed, and the other half want him executed later. Oh well, Yuuji might as well make the most of his newfound powers and help save people from curses in the meantime.
I really didn’t know anything about Jujutsu Kaisen when it came out but I kept hearing my fellow bloggers say some really great stuff about it. So I finally picked it up a few weeks before the season finale and ended up having to wait for the last episodes. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I guess it’s not as bad as becoming a cursed vessel.
I have to say I’m pretty impressed by Mappa lately. They certainly know how to create some eye-catching animation and Jujutsu Kaisen is no different. It’s a good production all around but it really shines when it comes to animation. It’s so smooth and fluid while maintaining proportions and art quality. It’s the type of show where the fights are just fun to look at. You know what I mean. Like it doesn’t really matter what exactly is happening, the choreography is entertaining enough on its own and it’s so well animated.
I should also give a little mention to the voice cast. They all did a good job. Although I wouldn’t be able to name a character that had a particularly great performance, the chemistry among them, especially between the main characters, is obvious and makes their relationship a lot more real. I absolutely believe these guys are worried for each other. And that really sells the rest of the story and the atmosphere Jujutsu Kaisen is going for.
Story & Characters
Once every 3 to 6 months, I will see someone try to talk about the “Big 3”. Either as a way to distinguish real fans from fake ones or as a marker of quality. If you don’t know what the Big 3 are, don,t worry, I had to look it up. The Big 3 refer to what was considered the 3 most popular anime for a while, all of which are action shonen. And they are Dragon Ball, Naruto and Bleach. I was really surprised One Piece isn’t in there. It should be, right?
Stay with me here, I’m going somewhere with this. So occasionally, people will bemoan that there is no longer a Big 3 or that modern anime could never produce a Big 3 or something along those lines. Well, I watched 2 Action shonen this season. Jujutsu Kaisen and Dr. Stone 2. I would argue that both compare quite favourably to those past titles. In fact, if the likes of Jujutsu Kaisen are what the new generation has to look forward to in the genre, I would say we are doing pretty great.
Jujutsu Kaisen has a diverse cast of characters all with well-established backstories and individual personalities but the series doesn’t feel the need to sit down and neatly explain all of these characters to us. Sometimes they are a bit messy or contradictory. Like real people. They lie to themselves a bit or they don’t want to face certain parts of their personalities. In some ways, they are a lot more mundane than a lot of anime action heroes (in personality rather than in powers) but it brings a certain down-to-earth quality to the show.
And this is a show with a lot of crazy stuff in it. Talking Panda cursed spirit, a guy that communicated in onigiri fillings, strange curses that all have different powers without anything seemingly too out there. What I’m saying is that Jujutsu Kaisen is a show that needs some grounding to remain accessible and the fact that these crazy characters act and react in surprisingly reasonable ways is what pulls everything together.
It also makes the stakes feel a lot more real.
You see, Jujutsu Kaisen is not a series that shies away from violence or from killing likeable characters. For the moment, none of the main cast has been lost but while watching it, I felt like no one was off-limits. Like any of these characters could be killed and stay dead forever. So for a pansy like me, it meant watching a series of episodes with very tangible anxiety as I hoped and prayed my faves would come out of it unscathed.
It’s not exactly a pleasant experience, but I can,t deny the series got me hooked enough to be very worried about the characters. I honestly cared about what would happen to these people which meant that sometimes I would put off watching some episodes out of stress while other times I just had to go to the next one just to make sure everyone was OK. And that’s pretty impressive for an anime to do.
I noticed that the buzz around the series seemed to die down during the second cour. I was wondering if the season goes downhill or something. I think that it’s just because new anime came out and we have very short attention spans because episodes 13 to 24 are just as great as the beginning. There is a tournament arc with the sorcerers from Kyoto which could be considered a bit of a lull depending on how you feel about the new characters. I quite liked it though and found it a welcome respite that helped the overall pacing.
All in all, season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen is a strong start to what could become a future classic of action shonen anime. It’s not breaking any moulds but it’s a prime example of its genre
You might like this anime if:
You like ensemble action series with a lot of blood and a lot of banter.
My favourite character:
Gojou. I know he was written to be a fan favourite and it worked on me!
- Every time Itadori gets extra eyes – take a sip
- Every time a new curse shows itself – oh no!
- Every time Gojou is being a troll – what else is new
- Every time Gojou looks like h’s coming in for a kiss – squee
- Every time anyone bickers on the battlefield – take a sip
- Every time an innocent bystander gets brutally dispatched – take a solemn sip
- Every time there’s an art fail – take a sip
- Every time anyone calls anyone else a “brat” – hey!
- Every time Gojou takes his blindfold off – gasp!
- Every time someone gets beat up real bad – worry
- Every time anyone explains their technique in detail to their opponent in the middle of a battle – smile
- Every time anyone cries – there there
- Every time Itadori makes a friend – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.
9 thoughts on “Jujutsu Kaisen and the New Action Shonen”
I see others are in agreement with me that One Piece should be in the “Big 3.” I think at least a marginal majority would agree it had (and still has) more of an influence than Bleach. But frankly, anyone’s “Big 3” will likely differ depending on their experience and perspective with the medium.
Good write-up on this. I’ve been meaning to watch this given its popularity, and the comment about it “not breaking any moulds” gives me great confidence in that I will not like it nearly as much as the majority, lol. Appreciate you taking the time to write on it.
Huh? What version of the big three had dragon ball? That’s not a thing? It’s always been One Piece/Naruto/Dragon Ball because they came out around the same time. At least that’s always how it’s been with the communities I’ve been apart of. (Though, I don’t think we should talk about a current big three because there is no point to having one anymore, I think)
So anyway, I’m glad you liked it so much! Jujutsu Kaisen was one of my favorite things that aired during past two seasons and I miss it a lot. It just has so much fun with it’s characters and all those amazing action sequences.
Just too let you know, a prequel film in Gojo has been announced and apparently it’s important to the second season if that happens from people actually in the know.
I mean it’s what Google said and Dawnstorm also said he heard DBZ a lot. Honestly I find Bleach to be the odd one personally. I hadn’t even heard of it until a few years ago.
I hope themovie will be available in Canada before s2. The 1st MHA movie took forever to get here, good thing I didn’t need it to understand what was happening
Hmm, could i ask what you Google searched? I couldn’t see that result on my end.
I guess that’s the power of shonen jump films in that most aren’t affiliated with series besides having title characters in them. Has the Demon Slayer film made it you r way yet?
*****I was really surprised One Piece isn’t in there. It should be, right?*****
Your intuition serves you well. I heard the term “Big 3” with respect to shounen first around 2011/2012, and what I heard was “Dragon Ball/Naruto/Bleach”, just as you say. But there’s a second variant out there that replaced Dragon Ball with One Piece. And, frankly, that would make more sense. Dragon Ball is a generation older than those shows, while OP/N/B are peers. I hear the Dragon Ball version more often, but the OP version makes more sense. I don’t know what it would be for the DB generation: Dragon Ball/Fist of the North Star/Jojo’s? Inuyasha, maybe? If I’d make a big three for the current generation, I’d say My Hero Academia/Demon Slayer/?? (Black Clover is probably the most likely candidate). It’s a little complicated, since franchises are still around what with Dragon Ball Super or Boruto. And One Piece is still ongoing. So it’s a bit of a question what you want to talk about. Current popularity? Generational trends?
Personally, Jujutus Kaisen reminded me a lot of Hunter X Hunter in its approach to characterisation: layered characters where anyone can do important things at any time. Also the way that while there are clearly two sides, they all have their shady elements, and nakama don’t necessarily got along (on either side). I feel JJK has the same sort of messy underbelly that HxH had, but two-cour may be too little to tell.
I actually liked it. In fact, of all the recent shounen fighters this would probably be my favourite, if it weren’t for Fire Force. And the difference isn’t huge (and my biggest preference is probably art-style). I’ll definitely watch season 2 (I’m fairly sure there will be a season 2, but not entirely of course).
I also think there will be a season 2 and I look forward to it. Despite the anxiety I had a lot of fun.
I agree with you on the shounen shift going in the right direction, or at least, it’s very much to my taste. It’s interesting to see that the plot progression is faster and there are less details on characters like you mention, but it still gets the job done perfectly. The variety in characters, the comedy, and the tension are all handled well, I think it’s currently one of my favorite shounen series 🙂 Great post!
I look forward to what new seasons will bring