Welcome back to Jujutsu Kaisen everyone! After almost a months break the premier shounen of the series returns! After that absolutely fantastic first arc, I’m excited to see what Jujutsu Kaisen has up its sleeve. So without further ado, lets dive in!
Right away I want to say that Jujutsu Kaisen looked great this week, unsurprising considering that first arc. Everything was just so… snappy. From character reactions and the way they transitioned between faces/poses/scenes to just the energy within the scenes themselves. Everything just felt so… good. And I don’t just mean the animation, though that was obviously great. I also mean the direction, scenes like the Toudo v Mei ping pong and the way ball often became our point of view, or the shots of Nobara pouring herself a cup of soda right after the OP. Even if the actual content ended up being boring, and trust me it wasn’t, the way it was communicated visually was interesting. I really hope Jujutsu Kaisen can keep it up, because so far it’s 6 for 6 on visually engaging episodes.
Getting into the actual content, the first half was easily my favorite part of the episode, it was absolutely stellar. Just watching our leads hang out and interact, the snappy dialogue paired with solid VA work. I’m talking about stuff like Nobara and Fushiguro going all in on setting this girl, Ozawa, up with Itadori, both of them getting in on the gossip. Or the excited way Itadori described the Earthworm Man 4 movie to Nobara before eventually dragging her and Fushiguro along at the end. In just 10 minutes Jujutsu Kaisen successfully re-engaged me with this cast, reminded me about their relationships and made me care. Let this go to show just how impactful choosing the right director can be, because Shouta Goshozono is knocking out of the park with his directorial debut. This is leagues better than Season 1.
Meanwhile regarding the romance, I thought this was really cute. Not just because it reinforces what kind of person Itadori is, someone who sees past the physical into the beauty and personality within, but also how he recognized her. Its actually a legitimately good reason for Ozawa to fall for him. It’s not just MC syndrome, Itadori didn’t even say this to her face. Rather he saw something in her even she didn’t, how she wrote and lived, and that inspired her try and become someone she felt was “worthy” of him. Only when the moment came she saw how she was doing exactly what everyone else was, focusing on looks over showing him who she really was, eventually backing out. It may sound like a cop-out, dodging the confrontation, but it was just so well done I couldn’t help but love it. Way to elevate the material Jujutsu Kaisen.
As for the second half, this was more actual plot and a bit weaker for it. Whether or not that’s due to the first half just being that good I don’t know, but I wasn’t particularly enthused with a lot of this. The setup was fine, our leads being recommended to become First-Grade sorcerers is really just a title since we the viewer know how strong they are, and titles don’t really change who they have to fight. The more interesting bit was Toudo and Mei-Mei’s interactions, and Toudo’s eventual despair at learning he can’t actually partner with Itadori yet. Honestly, the guy is so extra with everything he does I can’t help but enjoy him. Some of sucks, it’s a bit much, like his “What’s your type” shtick. But when the guy is just being a kind meat-head, he’s a riot.
The other part of all this was Mechamaru, which was… I’ll be honest, he didn’t make much of an impression in Season 1, so he really isn’t all that engaging here. It came out of left field, and while a traitor-turned-double-agent plot is amusing, both the interesting questions of “Why” and “Is he really on our side” get answered almost immediately. Now to be fair, the “Why” is pretty good. He’s playing the villains to have them cure him of the downside of his Heavenly Pact, restoring his body, and using the power of Pacts to ensure his safety until it happens. That’s good motivation, I like it. I just wish it wasn’t introduced/resolved in 5 minutes, skipping straight to a fight that, if we’re being honest, we know he’s probably going to lose. It’s a shame, because had Jujuts Kaisen properly built up his relationship with Miwa it’d be a solid tragedy.
So yeah, all in all this was a great episode of Jujutsu Kaisen. An absolutely fantastic return from hiatus. If the series can carry this forward into Shibuya proper, make the fights a bit clearer and tighten up the pacing/more emotional moments, I think the anime can actually turn it into the even manga readers think it is. I don’t enjoy being negative about Shibuya, I just wasn’t impressed by it when I read it. And that was, in large part, due to Gege’s style. Not just his art but his pacing and framing of scenes. I think he misses the mark with how he portrays emotions. So taking a solid story and putting it into the hands of someone a bit more skilled in that area? Well you have a recipe for something great, and I’m looking forward to it. I hope you are to. I have high expectations for what is to come now.
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