Welcome all, to another week of Jujutsu Kaisen! I’m not thrilled with this episode, not because of any production issues surprisingly enough, its just narratively a mess. Why do I say that? Well lets dive in and talk about it.
So like I said, visually this week was fine. Jujutsu Kaisen is handling its behind-the-scenes melt rather well all things considered. This episode didn’t look great by any means, lots of the same cost cutting measures we’ve been seeing for a while and some rather uninspired shots. But by and large for a production that’s ostensibly falling apart according to its own animators, this episode wasn’t a chore to work on. There’s even some public tweets from the episode director, Naoki Miyajima, thanking the team that are generally positive. And it’s not like there weren’t good shots either, I can think of two scenes in particular stood out during the fights. If this is the worst Jujutsu Kaisen’s production gets, good on them. And by “them” I mean the animators working their asses off to make this production work. Treat your employees better MAPPA.
No, the thing that upset me about the episode was Jujutsu Kaisen’s treatment of Nobara. The girl has done absolutely nothing this entire season, has gotten bodied in every fight she’s participated in, and when she finally has an opponent she works well against? She gets killed off in an instant for Itadori’s development. Does he really need another loss at this point? After seeing the aftermath of Sukuna taking over his body, after watching Nanami die directly in front of him? What is going to do, hulk out… again?! It doesn’t feel like Nobara’s death adds much to his story, instead taking away one of the few female characters I actually cared about in this show. And if what I know about the manga is right, manga fans are still pissed about this!
And that isn’t even the worst of it. Nobara didn’t go out in style, in some epic fight showing off everything she can do. No, she got touched in the face and then we got something like 15 minutes of flashback that I honestly couldn’t care less about. Saori? Fumi? I don’t care about them, I care about Nobara! Why are you interrupting the fight to drop all of this on me now when it could have been set up far earlier? It destroys the tension of the scene and leads to most of the episode feeling like a waste of time. Were you to take this flashback away, absolutely nothing about the before and after would change. The point about her finding a family with these goofballs would still be there. Instead we got a completely unnecessary waste of time.
All that said, I will give some credit for how Jujutsu Kaisen handled Mahito this week. He continues to be fun, with some great off the wall strategies. Recognizing a losing fight and simply running, splitting up his body, swapping places so Nobara thinks she’s facing the clone and not the real one. Excluding Toji, who clears everyone handily, Mahito is probably my favorite villain of the series. I quite enjoy watching him tear Itadori down bit by bit until there’s nothing left. Of course the way Jujutsu Kaisen goes about it isn’t great at times, RIP Nobara, but the end result is at least fun. Hopefully that goes somewhere before the arc is over! hint hint.
So yeah, all in all this was a disappointing episode of Jujutsu Kaisen that took a character I quite liked and sort of just… threw her away for Itadori’s development. I don’t mind her dying, if done well like with Nanami is could really mean something. But this? It just doesn’t feel good, I don’t feel like this was earned, and the flashback to try and make us care/accept it felt like a waste of time. And considering that was 60% of the episode, it really hurt my enjoyment this week. Hopefully the next can be a bit better.