Jujutsu Kaisen has quickly become one of the big names on Shonen Jump. It’s quickly approaching the big 3 and hunting demons is always a good concept for a show. This one’s off to a very solid start so I hope to see it continue down this path. With a movie already on the way and a season 2 probably coming pretty quick, this franchise is well on its way.
The story starts with introducing us to Yuji. He’s a nice kid who was born with physical abilities far exceeding that of a normal person. He can run extremely fast and casually match world records on throwing and things like that. He’s a part of an occult club at his school since it gives him a place to just hang out. One day he meets a sorcerer who tells him that Yuji’s friends are in great danger. Yuji manages to save the friends from the demon by teaming up with this guy and swallowing the magical item that was putting them in danger.
The item turned out to be one of Sukuna’s fingers. Yuji is now the vessel for the most powerful curse to ever walk the planet. He has 2 choices, be murdered or locate the rest of the fingers and after eating them all he will be murdered. Yuji chooses the second option so that he can at least save people in the meantime. He is placed into Gojo’s squad along with Nobara and Megumi. Gojo will help his squad get very powerful and perhaps one day he can convince the elders not to murder Yuji.
I’d say that’s the general premise at least. Naturally it’s the kind of series that should have a ton of arcs by the end so the plots will change but it works well as a general story scope. There’s already a lot of lore within the series such as ranking the curses as well as the sorcerers from Grade 3 to Special Grade. The lower you go, the more powerful you are. You don’t need to pay too much attention to it though because as Gojo points out early on, these rankings aren’t super reliable anyway. Special Grade comes too soon so as a ranking it’s incredibly broad.
Right away you can definitely tell that a whole lot of effort was put into the animation here. Mappa didn’t hold anything back and so the show can keep up with just about any other. In particular the show got pretty big for the hand to hand choreography which lives up to the hype. You’ll see characters actually go for wrestling throws and other pretty impressive moves the whole time.
Yuji’s fighting style even feels like that of a boxer at times. He definitely knows how to both land and take a hit. Every fight has really quick movements and nice contrasts with the hits. This one definitely holds up with the animation. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening but maybe it’s one of those that will land more later on.
In terms of music the show is top notch as well. “Looming Threat” is probably the best theme in the show. It only plays very briefly when Yuji nearly gets sniped by the traitors on the other team but the full version even transitions to more of a rock tune by the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lyrical song Megumi gets during one of his fights as well and a pretty inspirational theme for the end of the series.
The show avoids fanservice entirely which is great. I dare say the modern Shonens have all been rather impressive with this so if that’s a trend that will continue I’m definitely on board with it. Black Clover, My Hero, Dr. Stone, and now Jujutsu Kaisen are all modern titles that really don’t have any fanservice which is great to see.
Due in part to the very nature of demon hunting the show can get violent at times though. Definitely be ready for things like a character ripping his heart out or characters basically being blown up/deformed by the villainous Mahito. You certainly get some rather crazy visuals in the world of JJK. It’s also rough for the heroes since they can’t exactly heal someone who has gone through the process. Once you become a demon there’s no way back.
Yuji is the main character and a very solid hero. He wants to ultimately make the city safer and becoming a sorcerer was the easiest way to pull this off. It’s definitely shady how the sorcerer government keeps wanting to bump him off but Yuji doesn’t take it too seriously. I didn’t really have any issues with how he acts throughout the story. He’s always making the right moves and also does a good job of always getting right back up again even when he has to power through a bunch of attacks. Now that’s some solid dedication right there.
He’s sort of like a good mix of Naruto and Ichigo. Then you have Sukuna who is always waiting for his chance to emerge. So far the series is playing him off as a full villain who won’t be turning good. We’ll see about that since it usually feels inevitable in these things but he definitely leaves a strong impression. Whenever the guy appears you can feel his strength and that’s considering that he’s not even at 50% yet. If the guy ever fully awakens then the heroes are going to have a lot of trouble.
Megumi is definitely one of the biggest characters in the series and he looks good here. While it’s one of those unique cases where you could argue that the main character has already surpassed him, Megumi is tough in his own right. Hey, not every rival can be stronger than the lead right? Megumi talks tough and knows how to effectively fight along with his summons as needed. I do think that summons will always limit you in the end so I’d like to see him focus on hand to hand going forward.
he’s a rock solid character though so I see a good future for him. Then you have Nobara as the main heroine. Her fighting style may be the most unique in the series since you almost always see Voodoo as more of a villain technique. She uses her hammer to punch nails through her opponents and as long as she has a piece of DNA she’s good. It’s really a difficult combat style to get past although her weakness would naturally be against long range foes or close range ones who can get around that. Her skills aren’t up to par with Megumi or Yuji’s yet but she has solidified herself as a tough fighter through and through. Her tag team battle with Yuji was pretty great.
Then you have Gojo, the most powerful fighter in the series. His inclusion is really a big part of what makes JJK so much fun. He’s just a fun guy even without his abilities. He’s very laidback and really allows the students to express themselves. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Kakashi and I suppose he fits that mentor role. On the other hand, he just feels a lot younger and more confident. His absolute confidence is one of the most enjoyable things about him. A lot of characters are strong but will act oblivious or be modest. Gojo’s not modest in the slightest. He’ll tell people to their faces that he’s the strongest and can back it up.
His ability is the Infinity. Nothing can hit him because the distance to infinity will always be just beyond your grasp. It’s a really great ability and you can see how versatile it is right off the bat. He can use it for offense, defense, and even just for speed. There are probably limits to the ability that he hasn’t yet explained but even with those it’s just really hard to get around. Effectively you need to just be able to purely overpower him and break through infinity itself or at least to whatever Gojo’s limit is since true infinity cannot exist.
It’s also a fun dynamic with the villains since they acknowledge from the start that they cannot defeat him. That’s the whole point of why they want to trap him instead. The only other time I’ve seen this is with RWBY where Salem and her cabal have to be careful of approaching Ruby since her Silver Eyes can one shot them. Of course, they overthought it since nobody helped teach Ruby about her abilities which was a cool subversion in itself. Here though Gojo’s power is very much the real deal.
Now, this is part of why I see Gojo turning evil. There have yet to be any signs of this happening yet in the series but it sort of adds up. He’s already mentioned the idea out loud about murdering all of the elders in the Kaisen world. Those guys are so corrupt that they’re practically villains anyway but of course the instant Gojo uses his abilities on someone like that there would be no going back. Gojo continues to be frustrated with the way things are going and I just see him snapping. Who better as the final boss than the man who commands Infinity? Of course it will need to be handled carefully since right now he is easily the best character in the series. You don’t want to mess that up by having him turn evil in the wrong way.
Meanwhile you have the principal Yaga. He has the power to make cursed spirit objects but beyond that he hasn’t really gotten to fight yet. He seems like a good enough supporting character but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about him. We already know he’s much better than the Jujutsu leader though. That guy wants to murder Yuji immediately just for being a vessel. He seemingly has no logical comebacks to Gojo’s arguments on why they should keep Yuji around so the guy already lost the battle. His guitar skills have been shown only off screen so we don’t know how tough he is yet.
Mai is one of the fighters from the other sorcerer division and she’s certainly rather ruthless. She has no problems with the murdering Yuji plan although I guess none of them have any issues there. Her gun skills are really sharp but you do feel like she will need a better weapon if Maki can already catch those bullets. Using a gun against curse spirits also feels like a dead end. I can’t possibly see any special grades having trouble with such a weapon. I do like her confident façade even if she starts losing hype when she starts complaining about the past. In short, Mai made for a good villain but I’d like to see her grow stronger.
Then we have Toudou who is easily the most impressive fighter. He’s so powerful that he is able to take on Yuji in a proper fight. His teleportation ability is also very sharp and makes for some good strategic moments. He has a rather odd tradition of finding out if someone can be worthy to fight him though. It seems to be related to an origin story that hasn’t actually happened yet.
Right now I’d say he’s definitely a standout character. He’s certainly quite obsessed with an idol but at the same time I wouldn’t say Toudouu acts creepy about it or anything. It’s not something I’d deduct points for yet at least and he was also nice enough to give Mai his ticket to one of the concerts at one point which was nice of him.
Mechamaru would be one of the lower members of the team for me so far. Mainly because this guy was absolutely trying to murder Panda and was throwing a pity party for himself from the start. Now, I think its fair to say that he has had a rough time of things to be sure, but it’s still no excuse for going all in like this. His battle with Panda was definitely a highlight in the show though. No doubt about that.
Noritoshi seems like the group’s leader and he does a good job in the role. His skills are impressive and it’s implied that he would have probably beaten Megumi if he was actually going in with 100% of his skills. He isn’t able to do much against Hanami but to be fair, pretty much nobody could do anything at that point. His blood arts seem quite versatile so I’d like to see more of him.
Momo has one of the smaller roles from the team. She can fly rather quickly with her broom and that makes her a tricky opponent to catch. In a fight though? She’s not going to be able to do much at all. She’s also on board with Mai feeling bad for herself. Honestly at that point half the team are feeling sorry for themselves, you definitely can’t compare these guys to the main team. I hope she’s hiding some extra skill beyond her broom.
Then you have Kasumi who’s a lot of fun. She goes down fairly quick against Mai but from the team her moveset might be my favorite. It’s simple but I like her little en field which serves as an attack range and her sword. She is lacking in experience right now but if she can improve her base skills then she should definitely be ready for the big time. Hopefully this loss doesn’t discourage her too much.
Now lets talk about Yuji’s senior teammates. First up you have Maki who may not be able to use curse energy like the others but she’s a master at close quarters combat. Way I see it, you can never go wrong there because when all else fails, you can always count on the abilities you learned on your own. She takes down several opponents on her own and even has a good fight with Hanami so she’s proven herself to be one of the most powerful fighters here. Catching the bullet with her bare hand was also very impressive. She’s off to a great start.
Panda is another fun character. He may be a cursed object technically but at this point he has a will of his own and emotions so you may as well consider him a sentient being like any other. In a way he is a special object in that sense because he is truly alive at this point in time. His battle style is sort of like Yuji’s as well with the various combos he throws out. If he hadn’t been so injured I’m sure he would have contributed a lot to the Hanami fight.
Finally you have Toge. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of his yet. He has the ability to turn his words into power which is really handy. Effectively he can tell you to go away and a blast of sonic energy will accomplish that task. He has fairly low durability though and can only talk for a little bit before being taken down for the count. Additionally, the amount of words he can say goes down further based on the strength of the opponent. So that’s all things to keep in mind. He means well but I really think he needs another ability on top of that to really make it here.
Now lets talk about some of the villains. First up is Jougo. As the first big villain to attack you know he’s doomed from the start. Still, I do appreciate his confidence since he’s the only villain to just flat out attack Gojo. He wanted to see what this fighter was all about and got his wish. Jougo’s fire abilities look really fierce and against anyone other than Gojo he may have really had a fair shot at winning.
The anime does a good job of showing that he’s clearly in a different league compared to most of the other villains. So he may not have gotten to do as whole lot in the grand scheme of things but I definitely liked Jougo. Then there’s Hanami who is my favorite villain from the show. Effectively she can manipulate the planet itself for a lot of great combos. She can also absorb energy through spores and has terrific hand to hand combat.
Group fights are always a lot of fun with everyone jumping in and out of the fray. This one pretty much goes in that direction as she takes a lot of foes down. The battle with the heroes is one of the most memorable and her defenses were enough to survive Purple as well. That’s no easy feat. The villain group’s off to a pretty solid start all things considered.
Then you have Mahito who is one of the main villains. He isn’t the leader or anything but has a big enough role where you could see him growing into that role. He has a lot of similarities to Shigaraki both in terms of personality and design. Mahito’s ability to alter his soul is also not something you really want to underestimate since it makes attacks really difficult to land. How do you hit someone who’s always something else right?
The guy’s pretty twisted so I don’t see a redemption arc for him or anything like that. He likes to fight which is a plus and the guy gets very active no matter what the situation is. I’ll need him to score some wins or just look more impressive though before I like him more. I have a hard time taking him too seriously since it seems like he’s always getting absolutely pummeled no matter where he goes. Technically the guy is tough though.
Then you have Junpei and I was not a fan of this guy either. Now granted he did get a pretty bad shake. He gets bullied at school for no real reason and no matter where he goes he always runs into jerks. However, this doesn’t give him a free pass to turn evil and do whatever he wants. What really hurt his character for me is when he goes home and sees the murder, he doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion. Why didn’t he stop to think for a moment that the evil curse he was working with may have done this?
The person who died…died to a curse. If you ask me that can really only mean one thing. That should have been the natural train of logic but instead he went in a different direction. Even by the end he’s really slow on the uptake. So I can see why he is a bit of a sympathetic character but he made way too many mistakes throughout the show. It made the task of liking him too hard and ultimately I just never got behind the guy. He needed to be smarter.
Finally you have Nanami who is another senior exorcist. He’s more on the level of Gojo in that he’s a sensei. His ability is naturally not as strong as Gojo’s but he’s still very tough in his own right. His cuts have a lot of power to them and he can even increase his strength in short bursts when necessary. He doesn’t exactly love being a sorcerer but he does what’s needed. His origin story where he helps the cafe owner was definitely pretty fun. Allowing her to keep the curse would have been very suspect. So this guy’s a fun character to have around.
There’s not much to say about Getoh yet since he’s mostly still planning in the shadows. He’ll certainly get a pretty big role in season 2 and going forward though. The guy’s not going to hide forever after all. It is pretty surreal how you see the villains just having fun and goofing off in the little specials after each episode though. Not that you should take those too seriously but it would be something if they do actually just hang out and have fun when they’re not messing with the heroes.
The highlight of the anime for me is definitely the tournament arc. After all that’s basically what it is as the two schools fight each other in the Exchange event. We first see how the Kyoto team are all tools who are willing to murder people aside from Toudou and it adds some stakes to the event. Yuji also gets a chance to show what he can do after perfecting his skills. The fact that he was taking on an entire team at once is crazy impressive.
The climax with Hanami is also really hard to beat. Now that’s how you end the story arc in a big way. There are technically 2-3 other arcs in the show but this was definitely the biggest one. You’ve also got Junpei’s arc which is a pretty solid one. It’s the arc that gives Yuji his resolve to fight on as well as his motivation for the rest of the series in stopping Mahito. The tag team battle with Nanami was also on point and it was the first time Yuji really got to cut loose.
Then you have the final arc with Megumi and Nobara. Megumi’s power up was a good way to end his arc although you definitely feel like he should have used the ability a little sooner since he almost died a bunch of times. It is a last resort and he goes kind of crazy after using it, but it’s still worth it. Yuji and Nobara’s combo attacks against the twins was also really solid. While the two villains weren’t very memorable, it was just a great showcase of the heroes’ abilities.
There was definitely a lot to cover here that’s for sure. The show has pretty nice pacing so there’s always another adventure around the corner. The writing is on point so the show is really good about not having any big weaknesses. Hopefully the heroes do something to keep the elders at bay though because it’s always annoying when the heroes are effectively working for the villains but can’t do anything about it. Even in Naruto and Bleach you always had the bosses basically act like villains the whole time. Yuji is a lot stronger now so he can defend himself, but he really can’t let his guard down.
Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen definitely started off strong with this show. It’s clear that Mappa put in a ton of effort as I can’t overstate how good each episode looked. There were constantly top notch fights that got a big budget and it helps to enhance the overall quality of the show. The story is good and the character cast is on point right now. If you’re up for checking out the next big Shonen title then this is a pretty good one to check out. It’s got all the classic action elements you could want.