Welcome all, to another week of Jujutsu Kaisen! This episode is basically one big fight, no big narrative moments, no huge revelations (yet), just the meaty crunch of fists on faces. And you know what? It’s pretty good! Lets go ahead and jump on into why.
Starting off, let’s talk production. I’ve been critical of Jujutsu Kaisen for the past few episodes. Talking about melt, issues behind the scenes, all that jazz. And a lot of that is still present in this episode as well. Some closeups still look meh, the contrasting red and blue looks fantastic in wide shots but doesn’t translate well to many of the closeups, that sort of stuff. Basically there were a lot of good ideas, but some of the execution was off. Overall though… God this episode is stylistically beautiful. It’s rough at times, yes, but there was clearly a vision behind it all. The shading, the fluid animation, the dynamic action, the board, the freaking POV shots. If you break it down frame-by-frame you can nitpick the hell out of it. In motion though, this might be one of my favorite episodes of Jujutsu Kaisen, visually, in a while.
Seriously, just look at the opening of Choso and Itadori’s fight. The water-jet like stream of blood cutting through the environment, Itadori’s panicked expression as it hits him, the way the fluids splatter all over the scenery before peeling off the surface like dried glue. What about Choso running into through the hallways in first person, hands raised, or Itadori parkouring around the restroom? Again, and I know I’m repeating myself but I don’t care, the actual movement is rough. The way it’s boarded and paced however, how the scenes flow into each other, it all felt really good. This episode is the perfect example of evocative works vs technical ones. This episode of Jujutsu Kaisen is technically troubled. But it’s powerfully evocative to me. And that’s worth so much more than clean, clinical linework or smooth movement. So yeah, tldr, this episode looked really good.
Narratively, the fight was fine. I’m happy that Itadori lost, I’m always excited anytime a hero loses because in Shounen you naturally expect them to win. It also builds Choso out as a possible returning villain rather than a one-off for the arc. What I don’t like though is how he survived. What are these memories, why did Choso suddenly leave him alive? Did they make him think that Itadori was part of his family, one of his brothers that he cares so much for? That doesn’t make much sense, but assuming that, how did they get there? Did Sukuna plant them, were they awakened by something else, what? It just sort of came from nowhere and I don’t think it’s a very convincing way for Itadori to survive this encounter. Maybe had they been hinted at properly they could work, but as is they come out of left field. That said, I did like the VHS effect in them. Felt like a grainy 90s anime. Was a nice touch.
So yeah, all in all this was a pretty hype, fun action episode. Not much in the way of narrative progression, but that’s fine, sometimes you just want to watch people beat the shit out of each other. It ended on an odd note, one I don’t really get, but that still leaves 95% of the episode as an action packed good time. Assuming Jujutsu Kaisen comes back and capitalizes on this memory thing, explains what’s happening in a satisfactory way, I’d call the whole thing a success. And if it doesn’t? Well we got a hype action episode, probably the best of the arc so far. To me, that’s a pretty good deal.
Some of my favorite shots from the show, just tossed in for y’all to look at with me