If you were to gain the power to save everyone around you from untimely deaths, would you take it? And, if you did, would that choice be absolutely selfless?
While Jujutsu Kaisen does not attempt to answer these philosophical questions, this incredibly hyped shonen may give you some food for thought. Then, what is Jujutsu Kaisen really about? Is it just another overhyped shonen?
In simple words, the story is about a world with demon-looking curses and the Jujutsu sorcerers who fight those curses. Hence, the name Jujutsu Kaisen, which literally translates to Sorcery Fight. The interesting thing about curses here is that their sources are actually the negative emotions of people like regret, jealousy, shame, and such.
Things go completely crazy when Yuji Itadori, a high school student, gets involved in a Jujutsu fight and becomes the vessel for the strongest spirit of the curse, Ryomen Sukuna aka the King of Curses. Yuji's fight instantly becomes twofold as now he has to fight against the curses along with the demon that lives within him. While the plot may sound like a familiar one, Gege Akutami's Jujutsu Kaisen is definitely one of, if not the, best shonen out there.
What makes Jujutsu Kaisen a standout?
Jujutsu Kaisen does what shonen does best, it purely entertains you. The show is well-paced and every episode keeps getting more exciting than the other. The sorcerers have their unique cursed techniques based on their personalities to exorcise the cursed objects. Their techniques are revealed during the fights and the animation studio MAPPA (which also produced the last season of Attack on Titan) made sure the fight scenes were a treat to watch.
There are very few still scenes on the screen, which is rare in shonens. On top of that, there are multiple fight sequences and each scene has a new twist to it. The visuals of Jujutsu Kaisen are extraordinarily beautiful and will make you sit tight to finish the series in one go.
While the action department undoubtedly did an excellent job, I fell in love with MAPPA's execution of Akutami's characters. Typically in shonens, the side characters lack depth and solely exist to get the story going. This, however, did not stand true in Jujutsu Kaisen's case.
Characters that will stay with you
Akutami has managed to introduce some versatile and interesting characters to the shonen fanbase. The characters have already garnered huge popularity. The major villains and their twisted perceptions about the world are nothing but startling. Sukuna, the ultimate villain of the series, might just become the coolest villain in Anime history.
Speaking of the side-roles, you will be frustrated to watch Megumi Fushiguro's constant self-doubt stopping him from reaching his full potential. You will feel Kento Nanami's despair, a burned-out adult in the toxic corporate world who finally confronted what he truly cares about.
Aoi Todo's muscular body with a lunatic character will make you giggle a couple of times. He will also make you root for the friendship he almost forcefully builds with Yuji.
Satoru Goju's invincible attitude, witty nature and optimistic worldview are bound to make you fangirl over him. But you will be failing to ignore his cool nerves, blindfold and blue eyes, which often reminds of Kakashi Hatake from the world-famous Naruto.
Then there is Itadori Yuji, the protagonist, who is desperately trying to fulfil his grandfather's deathbed wish, which will make you empathise with him. For me, however, it was Nobara Kugisaki who stole the spotlight of the show.
Breaking stereotypes at their best
Shonens are infamous for featuring gender stereotypes and downplaying their female characters and abilities. However, Jujutsu Kaisen does not appear to be interested in perpetuating such tropes. Nobara Kugisaki is not acting solely as a love interest or plot device. She expresses her frustration about the unrealistic expectations women are often pushed to meet to be equal to their male counterparts, which makes her character more relatable.
Kugisaki denounces patriarchy by screaming her lungs out, "I don't give a damn about 'Men' this and 'Women' that! I love myself when I'm pretty and all dressed up! And I love myself when I'm being strong!". The way she embraces self-love disregarding society's expectations, is a fantastic moment to behold, giving more reasons to appreciate Jujutsu Kaisen.
In a nutshell, Jujutsu Kaisen lives up to its hype. Even if the story appears predictable to some, the unpredictability of the characters complemented by incredible action scenes will make it worthwhile. So, do yourself a favour and watch Jujutsu Kaisen as soon as possible. You too will find yourself jumping into a debate about it being the best shonen made till date.