After 24 episodes interrupted only by a brief hiatus late last year, the broadcast of the animated adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen, based on one of the latest hits from the Weekly Shonen Jump manga. A product that has had a stellar reception from the public, capable of trending on all the main social networks immediately after each episode and giving an incredible boost to the sales of the original work.
According to the latest data, in fact, in the month of March 2020 the Jujutsu Kaisen manga reached 40 million copies in circulation, with the goal of 50 absolutely feasible for the summer. In demonstration of how a good fit can make a difference, as it happened with Murderer of demons.
But how does the manga transposition of Gege Akutami by the busy but reliable MAPPA study? Let’s find out together in the final review of the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen, which you can find in streaming on the platform Crunchyroll subtitled in Italian.
Team Tokyo vs Team Kyoto
At the end of the first part of the season we are left with an event of great emotional impact (which obviously we are not going to reveal to you) and with one Yuji Itadori, the protagonist, more determined and combative than ever and ready to return to the team after a forced expulsion. In the second half, however, rather than continuing down the same path as the previous episodes, the series begins with a narrative arc centering on a trick fans of the shonen battle will surely find familiar: the tournament. Or, to be more precise, a clash between rival schools. On the occasion of an exchange meeting, the team of young wizards from Tokyo that included Yuji, Megumi and Nobara, led by the seemingly irresponsible Satoru Gojo, will have to face the students of the Kyoto high school, including (among others) Mai, the charming and dangerous twin sister of Maki Zenin. But soon the tranquility of this event will be disturbed by some unwanted guests.
Narratively speaking, the second half of the animated adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen it is without a doubt lower than the first. Much of the premises opened with the latter and the characterization of the fascinating background of the work find, in fact, little space in the episodes that go from 14 to 24, with the main plot, if we can call the one related to the machinations of the villain. Mahito and his collaborators, who advance in small steps without arousing the viewer’s interest too much.
Problem reflected in one final part that, net of its visual spectacularity (since we will have the opportunity to talk to you shortly) has absolutely no flavor at the end of the season, and that refers everything to a sequel not yet announced, but very likely.
However, this is not too serious a deficiency that affects the overall quality of the product. The strengths of Jujutsu Kaisen They are quite different and the story, while full of great ideas, is still in its introductory stages. The anime adapts the content of the first 63 chapters of the manga, and we are sure that what we have seen in these 24 episodes is only a (tasty) taste of everything to come.
A different shonen but not too much
The aspects in which the series is really brilliant, already highlighted in our half season of Jujutsu Kaisen, are basically two: the characters and the fights. In other words, the solid foundation of any Jump School battle shonen, and beyond. If Akutami’s work has managed to attract the attention of the fan audience from the first episodes, it is undoubtedly thanks to his amazing cast. A set of figures that, taken separately, does not present who knows what depth (at least until now), but that is well characterized and capable of imprinting itself on the mind of the viewer from the first moments. During the second year we deepened our knowledge of the rest of the members of Tokyo young magicians team, where the mythical Panda-senpai and the rude Maki Zenin (protagonist of one of the sequences with the highest adrenaline rate of the season) stand out, and we are presented with the one from Kyoto, just as full of strange and eccentric characters as to represent a kind of dual.
Impossible not to decree the imposing one as the absolute winner, in this motley set Aoi All, a bully with an irascible character but with a noble and tender soul who will establish with the protagonist an unexpected bond of friendship with truly hilarious implications.
An undoubted advantage of Jujutsu Kaisen, in this context, is to present the viewer numerous strong, tenacious and independent female characters. Unlike what many have said on the net, this is certainly not the first shonen battle to do this, however it is undeniable that girls born from Akutami’s pen have definitely a gear higher than average of titles in this category, and we can only hope that more and more mangaka will follow suit.
In particular, the characterization of Nobara Kugisaki, a character who completely overturns the stereotype of the group’s female shoulder (someone said Sakura from Naruto?) thanks to his character frank, self-centered and irascible, and that for that reason it turns out to be one of the most successful of the series, if not the most successful of all.
Paradoxically, but not too much since the same has already happened in similar works such as tower of God, is exactly the protagonist Yuji Itadori be the least incisive, due to the absence of new character developments and adherence to the canons of the genre that prevent him from achieving the same charisma as his peers.
Furthermore, the fact that in this second installment of episodes the interesting figure of Ryomen Sukuna has been a bit neglected. We’re not dealing with anything irreparable here either, but it’s reasonable to expect something more in subsequent animated iterations of the franchise.
Another MAPPA center
It is impossible to talk about the second trump card of Jujutsu Kaisen, the fight, without reference to the technical sector. And here once again MAP denies all skeptics who prove they can guarantee high visual quality even with an above-average workload (we remind you that the studio also handled the Final Season of Attack of the giants).
If in the first part Jujutsu Kaisen was characterized by a constant graphics sector, but without really high peaks, the rest is characterized by some ups and downs. The latter, fortunately, are few and limited, while the former manage to reach notable peaks, which confirm this series as one of the best animated products of the last period.
Animations supervised by Tadashi hiramatsu (FLCL, Yuri !!! On ice, Maquia), an industry veteran character designer, and led by Seong-Hu Park (The God of High School) perfectly transpose the movement and adrenaline of manga battles, reinforced by excellent quality drawings and a color palette that accentuates the dark tone and darker (than average) of the job. In particular, as already pointed out in our previous articles on the matter, the visual representation of curses And the various techniques used by the characters is nothing short of superlative.
The struggles of Jujutsu Kaisen, in addition to the more technical merits, they also benefit from a perfect balance between immediacy and strategy, with explanations on the nature and on the different strengths and weaknesses of each skill, typical of many similar series, reduced to the minimum necessary to favor the rhythm of the narrative.
A choice that will inevitably leave Battle Shonen fans who prefer great attention to these kinds of details, but in the long run turns out to be a winner, thank you too. to the absence of deus ex machina or unsolicited forcing (except perhaps the intervention of a particularly OP character in a certain sequence) and which shows that Gege Akutami knows how to do his task well.
Finally, in terms of sound Jujutsu Kaisen is characterized by a powerful musical accompaniment and in keeping with the atmosphere of the title, with rock and similar melodies capable of exalting the viewer at the right moments. A separate discussion should be reserved for the couple. opening-ending.
It was really difficult to think of being able to repeat the success of the first part, one of the best in recent years, but even in this round the MAPPA staff achieves a little miracle replicating the same magic. In particular, the opening theme VICE LIVE Who-ya Extended is another spectacular visual masterpiece from the animator Shingo yamashita, while the closing (Return it, from Co shu Nie) manages to warm even the coldest hearts.