What’s it about? Itadori Yuji is an unusually physically strong high school student who just wants to hang out with his friends in the occult club and take care of his grumpy sick grandpa. However, after meeting a mysterious and broody character named Fushiguro Megumi, he learns the supernatural does exist and that he lives in a world full of curses. In a desperate attempt to save his friends from dangerous spirits, he has to make a quick decision in order to obtain the power he needs to protect everyone important to him.
MAPPA seems to be a roll and it looks like Jujutsu Kaisen is the newest addition to their repertoire. Based on an ongoing manga series created by Akutami Gege, the anime is being directed by Park Sung Hoo, who is currently known for the adaptation of The God of High School. It’s also worth mentioning the show is being scripted by Seko Hiroshi, known for being involved in a wide variety of anime such as Banana Fish and Deca-Dence. Admittedly, I’ve had mixed feelings about the above-mentioned shows, so I was curious to see if Jujutsu Kaisen would either hook me right away or win me over in future episodes.
While it didn’t immediately hook me, the show definitely has a lot of potential. The first episode felt very disjointed and tried to introduce too much information right away rather than gradually ease the viewer into the story. In the early part of the episode, the comedy aspect of the high school segment felt forced, but it did highlight how Yuji is renowned for his unusual strength and is extremely popular in his neighborhood.
Despite the pacing issues, Yuji’s personality shines through and he seems like a genuinely nice kid trying his best to simultaneously take care of his grandpa and enjoy his high school life. While the interactions between Yuji and his grandpa were short, the grumpy old man makes it clear he wants Yuji to be better than him. Whatever other important matters he wanted to discuss with Yuji will probably be revealed later in the series (I think it’s an easy guess).
Yuji is an admirable kid to be able to handle his family problems with patience and perseverance, but it’s concerning that he doesn’t have any adults he can rely on during the difficult challenges in his life. Even though Yuji is a good kid, he is surprisingly unfazed learning that curses and the supernatural actually exists, thanks to Megumi’s quick exposition.
Megumi’s explanation on how curses work in this world is definitely helpful and makes me want to scream at Yuji’s friends for messing with something they don’t understand. It’s okay to be curious about scary things, but if you don’t have the proper guidance on how to deal with spirits or curses, then you’re just asking for trouble (just saying).
Although some of the initial cursed spirits look like experiments gone wrong, the horror elements of the series are promising. I’m definitely interested in seeing how the show will handle the psychological introspection Yuji will have with his new inner demon, but until then, let’s wait and see.
I’ve gotten used to seeing underdog protagonists in shounen anime in recent years, so it’s surprisingly fun seeing ridiculously overpowered characters like Yuji again (his parents are probably strong, too). Overall, my biggest concern is the pacing, but if the show can find its bearings and do the source material justice. then I think it’s worth checking out a few more episodes.