Yuuji is just an average occult-obsessed teen, but when he unwittingly becomes the vessel for an ancient Cursed Spirit named Ryoumen Sukuna, he plunges face-first into the secretive world of jujutsu sorcerers. With their power to control cursed energy, this collection of misfits keeps Japan safe from Curses... but they can’t always save everyone.
Jujutsu Kaisen is one of Weekly Shounen Jump’s biggest properties right now, so its anime adaptation certainly has a lot to live up to. But does it capture the same melancholy atmosphere that its premise promises and its source material is acclaimed for perfecting? Let’s take a closer look and see!
Strays Away from Many Standard Shounen Tropes
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this anime is how far it sets itself apart from other shounen series. It has a noticeably darker tone, emphasizing with some very strategically placed gut punches (the first cour’s finale is a particularly heart-wrenching example) that Curse attacks can and will kill people. These monsters are also impossible to reason with – Sukuna only “helps” Yuuji when it’s beneficial to his own interests, Mahito seems like an amiable guy until you realize that he wants to watch the world burn, and many other Curses are just agents of pure chaos birthed from the fear that exists within human hearts. It’s surprisingly sobering for a genre that’s normally so upbeat.
That said, not everything is all doom and gloom. Jujutsu also strays away from the huge ensemble casts that many shounen series have, instead choosing to focus on the handful of sorcerers at the Tokyo and Kyoto jujutsu high schools. This way, we get to know each character better and have more opportunities to see them interact with each other in meaningful ways (or silly ways, as the post-credits “Jujutsu Stroll” segments show). Even some minor characters like Panda and Kento Nanami get a hearty dose of development, despite only appearing in a few episodes. Maybe it’s not as lucrative for merch sales to have such a small cast, but we appreciate the commitment to good storytelling.
Polished to a Mirror Shine
In addition to solid characters and a unique tone, Jujutsu Kaisen is simply one of the most polished anime we’ve ever seen. Just call MAPPA John Hammond from Jurassic Park because they spared no expense with this project! The OPs and EDs are dripping with style, Gojou’s eyes are as striking as a clear blue sea, and the sakuga in fight scenes perfectly captures the emotions that each character is going through and as they push their bodies to the absolute limit. Some of our favorite moments include Mahito’s karmic beatdown at the hands of Yuuji and Nanami, the contorted expressions on Mai’s face as she realizes that she can’t defeat her sister, and Nobara’s insane game of “chicken” with Eso that shows just how fearsome she really is. This anime is a work of art!
Jujutsu Kaisen does have a few flaws, like occasionally slow pacing and confusing explanations for the sorcery powers, but it’s a solid anime that anyone who loves shounen and/or supernatural horror should take a look at. We hope that it gets a second season so we can simp over Gojou some more – uh, we mean... see more of this amazing story!
What did you think of our review? What were your favorite parts of Jujutsu Kaisen? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!