The first season of Jujutsu Kaisen is on track to becoming one of the most popular animes! And with Crunchyroll bringing us the dubbed episodes, I’m gonna tell you exactly why you should be watching.
Jujutsu Kaisen is actually a follow-up to the short manga, Tokyo Metropolitan Magic Technical School. Both were written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. The story picks up a little while after Technical School and follows Yuji Itadori. An exceptionally physically gifted high schooler who lives with his sickly grandfather. Despite his athletic ability, Itadori avoids participating in any sports. Choosing instead to hang out with his friends in the school Occult Club.
But like all Shounen, parents and guardians don’t stay with us forever, and JJK is no different. Itadori ends up losing his grandfather. Finding himself on a path that will put his athleticism to the test and his moral fortitude.
Itadori’s life takes a hard left turn after he and his friends find a mummified finger on school grounds. At first, they assume it to be a slightly out-of-the-ordinary object. But it turns out they bit off more than they can chew when Cursed spirits begin to attack. As the spirits hunt for the finger, Itadori finds only one way to keep it out of their hands. He eats it. Sure, the gross act of bravery gives him the power he needs to defeat the evil spirits. It also leaves Itadori cursed. Making him the host to Sakunathe Double Faced Specter, the former owner of the finger.
Sukuna only stops in part because of the interference of Gojo Satoru. The eccentric, self-proclaimed Strongest Jujutsu Sorcerer with an assist from Itadori’s own willpower. After things calm down, Gojo gives Itadori a choice. Become a Jujutsu Sorcerer or die.
He explains that while what Itadori did was very brave, it was also foolish. That now, he is a target for other cursed spirits and a target of other Jujutsu Sorcerers. Many of whom now see him as a potential threat should Sukuna ever take complete control of his body. Gojo’s solution is to have Itadori enroll in the Tokyo Metropolitan Magic Technical School. There he can learn to channel his new power and find the remaining fingers to exorcise Sukuna for good. Now Itadori’s story truly begins as he dives headfirst into a world of adventure, friendship and tragedy.
Along the way, Itadori meets several characters with enough personality to lead their own shonen series. Like Naruto, Itadori is put into a three-person group along with Megumi Fushiguru and Nobara Kugisaki. The easiest way to describe Megumi is Sasuke with manners. He’s a no-nonsense sorcerer with the ability to summon various supernatural animals using shadow hand puppetry. Nobara, on the other hand, is an outspoken girl from the country. Despite being a more than adept sorcerer, she would much rather have fun exploring the big city of Tokyo. She uses a special hammer and nails to inflict curses upon her foes.
The three of them for a wonderfully comedic and heroic trio. They quickly become close in a matter of episodes in a way many shonen claims but often don’t show. They aren’t always together; the anime and manga make sure we know how they’ve left an impression on each other. Sometimes in little ways like showing a meal, Megumi learned to cook from Itadori. Other times more significant, like one of them being driven forward during a battle because of their friends’ support.
Outside of the central trio, some of my favourite characters have been Nanami. The former Salary Man Sorcerer who becomes stronger if he has to work overtime. Panda, who is exactly what his name states. And Maki, a sorcerer from a wealthy family. She has very little cursed energy of her own but is an expert at using cursed weapons.
Another fun little thing the anime does is include little post-credit skits called Juju Sanpo (Jujutsu Strolling). Usually, comedic events in the characters’ daily lives or something that happened off-screen during the events of an episode.
The manga is currently 100+ chapters in and available through Shonen Jump. The anime’s 24 episode season features lead writing by Hiroshi Seko (Deca-Dence). Lead direction by Sung-hoo Park (The God of High School) and animation production by MAPPA. MAPPA is also behind such anime as Dorohedoro, Zombie Land Saga, Yuri on Ice, and Yasuke.
They bring their A-game throughout each episode with stunning, fast-paced fights and mesmerizing visual direction. However, the best eye candy is the opening and ending animations— each with its own flashy take on current and future events within the story.
The soundtrack is certainly something to behold as well, with work by composers Hiroaki Tsutsumi (Dr. Stone), Yoshimasa Terui (Houseki No Kuni), and Arisa Okehazama (The God of High School). My favourite piece of music, however, is from the anime’s first ending song. A track called Lost in Paradise by ALI featuring AKLO. The funky mix of pop and hip hop accompany a fluid ending animation showcasing dances from each of the main characters as they go about having their day off from fighting curses.
With just wrapped up with the first season, now is the perfect time to catch up with Jujutsu Kaisen. If you’d like to give it a watch, it’s currently available on Crunchyroll.