Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese supernatural, dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. It was adapted into 24 episode anime series by MAPPA in 2020.
The series runs around a boy named Itadori Yuji, an unnaturally fit high school student living with his dying grandfather. On the death bed, his grandfather passes him two messages: “always help people” and “die surrounded by people”, because of his own regrets. He is then confronted by Fushiguro Megumi, a sorcerer who tells him about a high grade cursed charm talisman in his school. Yuji swallows that item to protect his friends and the sorcerer from the Curses attracted by the talisman and becomes host of a powerful curse, Ryomen Sukuna. Because of the evil nature of Sukuna, sorcerers of Jujutsu world wants Yuji to be executed but in spite of being possessed Yuji still retains the control over his body. So, Megumi’s teacher, Satoru Gojo decides to postpone his death sentence until he consumes all the talisman and get rid of Sukuna once and for all.
So, that was pretty much the plot of the series which will pretty much give Itadori the death he wants. Almost all of the shounen protagonists have some goal in their aim and the whole story pretty much revolves around how they achieve that goal. Some wants to be “greatest ninja of their village” or maybe “King of Pirates” or “King of Magicians” or “world’s greatest hero”. Well, this protagonist wants to die. Pretty interesting. But the type of death he wants is what constructs his path forward to the series. To look at it from a way, this isn’t that humongous as compared to other anime series. This might as well be very common and many people want that. We all have to die one day and to die like that might be something that many people wish for in the real world as well. This is what gives this anime some shreds of reality. When the series goes supernatural, it goes completely supernatural but sometimes these little things don’t sever a lose bond it has with reality.
Well, for Itadori to achieve that goal, he didn’t have to go on risking his life every day and enter this risky world. He would have lived a pretty much normal life and would have still achieved that goal. But because his unique ability to absorb those talisman and also circumstances of situations, he follows the path which might not even guarantee his goals. His ability is kind of a double-edged sword which might make people in the Jujutsu world not like him because he’s a host of an evil curse. He might die and be remembered as a monster as well. But he understand his ability and what casualties he can avoid because of it. He do wants himself to have a proper death but also wants other people to pass away in a right way rather than at hands of curses. This pretty much gives us a glimpse of what kind of character Yuji is. Besides, Yuji, other characters are his classmates, Fushigoro Megumi and Kugisaki Nobara and their goofy teacher, Satoru Gojo who covers his eyes.
Three students, one girl, one has an evil power sealed inside of him, one is very good student and doesn’t express much emotions and a teacher who covers his eyes. Now what does it sound similar to? Is this Naruto? Well to be honest while watching Jujutsu Kaisen, you’ll get reminded of Naruto a lot. Not because of only these things but you’ll feel a lot of similarities. “Megumi is very much similar to Sasuke”, “the nature of Itadori’s power is pretty similar as well” and “Gojo looks very much like Kakashi”, just is a lot goofier, also gives some vibes of Urahara from Bleach. Nobara is the character who stands out more strongly. I felt she was a better character than Sakura. In fact, she’s easily one of the best female characters I have seen in Anime recently.
So, does Jujutsu Kaisen seems similar to Naruto? If you ask me then yes. I felt they were a lot similar and was reminded of that series a lot of the times while watching this series. So, is Jujutsu Kaisen just a rip off of Naruto? This question has popped a lot since it has gained its hype. Well, I’ll have to disagree on this one cause no matter how similar I felt these two anime were Jujutsu Kaisen manages to have its own unique identity.
The characters of this show are great. Both Main and Supporting characters are pretty interesting. I do feel the characters except Itadori Yuji, they lack certain depth. We haven’t got chance to explore other characters a lot and are surrounded with a lot of questions and mysteries with just little information. But the characters are pretty good and have enough depth for setting the series for further cours.
Taking about the power system of this series, it’s called Cursed Energy, an energy emitted by all living beings which itself is not that interesting. Let’s be honest, we’ve already seen so many variations of this already. But the techniques composed by this system is actually very interesting. Different techniques demonstrated by various characters sure is interesting. There sure are much overpowered techniques with overpowered users. But this series handles those overpowered characters pretty well.
Like Satoru Gojo doesn’t interfere much himself. And if Ryomen Sukuna gets involved it’s pretty much game over but Yuji awakens him in the worst case scenario and keeps him as last of the last option. Because he knows Sukuna is evil and getting help from him is pretty much making deal with the devil. Also while Sukuna possesses him, he’s not obliged to help him anyways. Sukuna will do what he likes in most cases try to take control over the body or hurt his close ones. So the series dedicated to develop Yuji with his own skills and identity.
Besides them there are a lot of higher ups to whom I didn’t contribute any attention or curiosity. Maybe because the series didn’t contributed much to make them interesting. There are powerful families in jujutsu world but they’re just there. The anime says it’s there and has some influence over the series time to time but that’s it. The anime might explore them in future and then it might be interesting but for now they don’t get my attention.
I really like the supernatural aspects of this series but it’s not the only thing that I like about it. How Yuji goes back and rethinks whether the ideals he inherited from his grandfather really a good thing? Simply implying whether it’s good to inherit someone’s will and what negative impacts they might invite. The series explores bullying, pressure of being a failure in a Noble family and other things which as well keeps the connection of this series to the reality intact. The animation is great and I also love how this series is filled with pop culture references.
The antagonists do their job pretty well as well. Sukura is portrayed as the main antagonist but you can’t actually take him that much as a villain. He’s an interesting character no doubt but can’t really see him that much as an antagonist. The series can get really dark in a matter of moment and since it is a shounen series, I really liked that combo. In spite of getting really dark, Jujutsu Kaisen has its jokes ready to be delivered at its own time no matter how dark the situation might be. And no matter how much dark the episode was, it’s ready with Jujutsu Stroll at the end of the episode.
This series was good but it feels like this particular season was trying to set itself up for the future events. So it might be possible we are witnessing the making of a great anime but it’s not quite there yet. A lot of exploring of this world is required but still this was an enjoyable watch. And despite of having so much similarities with other anime, Jujutsu Kaisen was able to create it’s own unique identity.