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Top 5 reasons I love Jujutsu Kaisen

5. Jujutsu Kaisen’s Reason’s for Curses Spirits

Once I stopped calling Jujutsu Kaisen’s Cursed Spirits, “demons,” I was curious what made them different. First, demons are generally living beings, whereas, as their name suggests, Cursed Spirits are spiritual beings. They are born from the negative Cursed Energy in humans. Locations that are hotspots for curses tend to be populated by negative emotions like hospitals and schools. What’s more interesting is anything humans fear collectively can manifest a Cursed Spirit, even famous monsters or ghosts. The amount of fear directly corresponds to the curses intellect. Mahito is a cursed spirit that believes that he’s the manifestation of humans’ hatred of each other.” In my review of episode 9, Young Fish and Reverse Punishment,” I wonder if cursed spirits could come from “anything.” I think the answer is yes. So far cursed spirits have manifested from human fears of natural disasters, volcano (Jojo), forests (Hanami), diseases like smallpox, and infestations like “grasshopper plague.”

4. Power Levels (Grades)

Jujutsu Kaisen has a power scaling system that ranks jujutsu sorcerers, cursed spirits, cursed objects, and cursed tools. The ranks range from grades one through four and special grades. It can be confusing at first, as most of us associate larger numbers with higher values. Generally, sorcerers are graded from Grade 4 to Grade 1. The scale for cursed spirits isn’t exact, Grade 2 sorcerers are slightly stronger than Grade 2 curses as their abilities put them closer to Grade 1 curses.

Ranks

If traditional weapons were used against curses and sorcerers measured their effectiveness as a gauge:

  • Grade 4: “A wooden bat is enough.”
  • Grade 3: “If you have a handgun, you can rest easy.”
  • Semi-Grade 2 :
  • Grade 2: “Close calls with a shotgun.”
  • Semi-Grade 1 :
  • Grade 1: “Even a tank might be insufficient.”
  • Special Grade 1 :
  • Special Grade: “Cluster bombs might work”.

Source: Fandom

3. Jujutsu Kaisen’s Cursed Techniques/Innate Techniques

Coming up with a unique power system has to be difficult. At this point what hasn’t been done. It’s not always necessary to invent new techniques, like fire, but you can invent how those abilities manifest. The series power system focuses on limitations. Binding Vows, Heavenly Restriction, and Domain Expansions are some limits placed on techniques. By deliberately placing limitations on one’s self, a jujutsu sorcerer can increase their power. For example, Nanami limits his power during work hours. This puts him at disadvantage for hours, when Nanami has to work “overtime” his cursed energy increases.

2. Satoru Gojo

Satoru Gojo was instantly appealing when he was first introduced in Jujutsu Kaisen. He loves to show off, enjoying fights with cursed spirits. When he fights he shows his enemies no mercy, he’ll happily decapitate them without any apprehension. Gojo is more complex than he initially seemed. He’s playful with his students but disrespectful towards the sorcerer executives to the point of suggesting he was willing to kill them. He’s arrogant, becoming judgmental of those he deems “weak.” He claimed that “throughout the Heavens and earth, he alone is the honored one.” He’s the strongest, everyone knows it, and he’s not afraid to remind people.

1. Deconstruction of shōnen tropes

When deconstructing tropes, a writer will often compare how tropes appear in one work and how they might play out in real life. Or at least apply more realistic consequences for the trope. This series deconstructs many tropes common to shōnen anime and manga. For example, Yuji Itadori is possessed by the evil cursed spirit Sukuna. In many shōnen series, like Yugioh, Bleach, and Naruto the evil entity is befriended, and the host gain power. So far in the series, Sukuna is completely unhelpful and even roots against Yuri.

Shōnen series like My Hero Academia and Naruto have massive casts of characters, Jujutsu Kaisen on the other hand only has small classes. This is due to Jujutsu sorcerers being picky and sorcerers being rare. Deconstruction is not intended as a criticism and according to TV Trope, can be thought of as taking work more seriously on its own terms than even the work itself does, for the purpose of laying barely hidden meanings in the text.” Regardless, Jujutsu Kaisen’s deconstruction of some shōnen tropes is welcomed.

Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 24: Recap and Review

Nobara and Yuji uses Black Flash in episode 24 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Nobara and Yuji uses Black Flash

The first season ends with a perfect episode

Jujutsu Kaisen, episode 24, ends the Death Painting Arc. They executed the last episode of season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen perfectly. I always fear the marginalization of female characters in Shonen series (trauma from Naruto). Often they fall by the waist side and become cheerleaders and damsels. Nobara was heading in that direction. I’m grateful that they did not regulate her to “sakura” status (I love Sakura, but she’s not a great female character). Anyway, Nobara and Yuji face the Death Painting brothers, Eso and Kechizu. The episode opens with high-speed action. Yuji and Nobara attempt to avoid the “poisonous” blood from Eso’s Rot Technique Maximum: Wing King. Nobara isn’t fast enough to avoid the technique’s so Yuji carries her while sprinting. It impressed both Nobara and Eso.

Most Evil Sorcerer in History

Kechizu ambushes them, spraying Yuji with his acidic blood. Eso explains that their blood is painful but not lethal. He activates his Rot Technique Decay. Floral patterns appear across the face and arm of Yuji and Nobara. In a flashback, we learn the history of the Death Painting Wombs. During the Meiji Era, they ostracized a woman because of her child being born with a mixed of cursed spirit and human blood. Afterward, she found herself the victim of the “most evil sorcerer in history,” Noritoshi Kamo. He impregnates her nine times and aborts each pregnancy, creating the Death Wombs. Jujutsu Kaisen doesn’t state that there are nine wombs, but it seems like it would make sense. Death Wombs 1-3, Eso, Kechizu, and the introduced Choso side with Mahito.

Choso argues the world Mahito wishes to create is more favorable to them. The three brothers agreed to live for each other. The creation of the wombs is tragic but their relationship with each other is touching. Being trapped for 150 years with only each other has left them alone. With very little time, Jujutsu Kaisen made men like Eso and Kechizu. In the present, Nobara admits the curses are strong but a “matchup” for her. She activates her Straw Doll Technique: Resonance and stabs herself, injuring both Eso and Kechizu. By “linking” them with their Decay ability, Nobara can harm both brothers. Despite this, Eso is certain that they’ll win.

As Sukuna’s vessel, Yuji is afforded several perks. One is that he’s immune to poisons. This permits him to continue moving while under the curses technique and he dominates Kechizu. Yuji and Nobara switch places. Eso attempts to reach his brother before he’s killed. However, Nobara kills Kechizu with Straw Doll Technique: Hairpin. Witnessing his brother die cause Eso to cry. Nobara notices that Kechizu’s corpse didn’t disappear, meaning it’s not just a curse spirit but flesh and blood. When a truck comes barreling out of the tunnel, Eso hops on and takes the passenger hostage. Yuji pursues him, while Nobara uses her Resonance technique, piercing Eso through the chest. As he falls off the truck, Yuji apologizes before killing him with a Divergent Fist through the chest.

What does it mean to take a life

After killing Eso and Kechizu, Nobara and Yuji discuss what’s it like to kill someone. We understand Yuji hates killing any living, even if it’s no longer human. Nobara on the other doesn’t care. She’s self aware enough to know how she sounds, but I like her attitude. However, neither are wrong. Yuji knows why the brothers had to die, but still regrets having to kill them. I would expect they will test both of their morals in the future. Megumi wakes up, and it relieves Yuji and Nobara.

Still, they have to do something with Sukuna’s finger. Megumi gives it to Yuji mainly because he has the most strength, but not so he can eat it. Suddenly, Sukuna manifests a mouth in Yuji’s hand and swallows the finger. It’s one of the subtle comedic moments in this episode. Yuji notes that not only didn’t Sukuna help them, he hasn’t even lead them to fingers like Gojo thought. It’s odd that Sukuna doesn’t appear preoccupied with getting his limbs back.

Later, Megumi tells Nobara that Sukuna’s “incarnation triggered the Yasohachi Bridge curse,” and she should tell Yuji. Elsewhere, Sukuna taunts Yuji for “killing all those people,” Yuji warns Sukuna “not to tell Megumi.” He remembers Megumi asking him “what are you going to do when someone you saved kills someone else?” Yuji saved Megumi by eating Sukuna’s finger and triggered the activation of the bridge curse. From Megumi’s perspective, he’s the person who Yuji saved that caused innocent people to die. He doesn’t want Yuji to feel guilty, and Yuji doesn’t want Megumi to either. Finally, after killing a special grade each, Nobara, Megumi, and Yuji, along with Panda and Maki, are recommended by Aoi Todo and Mei Mei for Grade 1 status. Jujutsu Kaisen’s first season ends with an action pact, emotionally touching, and occasionally funny episode. It’s the perfect ending for an amazing first season.

Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 23: Recap and Review

Megumi let's loose in episode 23 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Megumi let’s loose

The Origin of Obedience, Part 2

Jujutsu Kaisen’s final arc of the season is fleshing out Megumi Fushiguro’s character. Megumi and Nobara are underdeveloped compared to Yuji. As we head towards the last episode, the trio realize that they’re in the presence of another Sukuna finger. Unfortunately, so are the newly resurrected Death Painting Wombs, Kechizu and Eso. A Cursed Womb: Death Painting are “Special Grade Cursed Objects created with the mixed blood of both Cursed Spirit and human.” There are nine. In the previous episode, Mahito stole Death Paintings 1-3 that Jujutsu High possessed. Kechizu attacks Yuji with acidic blood. It surprised the curse that Yuji is so strong. Meanwhile, Nobara and Megumi play a creepy game of “whack-a-mole.” Suddenly, Eso pulls Nobara out of the domain. Kechizu rushes out the domain to join with his “older brother.” Yuji chases them to help Nobara.

A Special Grade Curse Appears

After Megumi crushes the last curse with his Divine Dog: Totality, he notices the domain doesn’t disappear. A new tunnel appears and a curse similar to the one they fought in the detention center falls. This version of the curse is stronger. It snaps his cursed sword and then knocks him unconscious. In a flashback, we see Megumi and Gojo training. Gojo suggests that Megumi “doesn’t know how to bring out his best.” He reminds Megumi that jujutsu sorcerers fight alone. Gojo says “no matter how many allies a sorcerer has they always die alone.” That’s a very dark claim. It also conflicts with the message that Jujutsu Kaisen is trying to send. In this arc especially, they have emphasized that friendship matters. Is Gojo wrong? Or is the trio going to change what’s possible? It’s likely that Gojo is bitter or cynical after experiencing a tragedy. We’ll find out.

Domain Expansion: Chimera Shadow Garden

Jujutsu Kaisen has been teasing us regarding Megumi’s power. We finally get a glimpse. Picturing himself as a future Megumi that has surpassed his limits, he activates his incomplete Domain. He covers the floor with a shadow that releases darker version’s of his summons. The curse escapes by using a powerful explosion of cursed energy. It’s exorcised by Megumi’s Divine Dog: Totality. With Sukuna’s finger in hand, Megumi falls asleep. Elsewhere, Nobara and Eso sense Sukuna’s finger. Eso goes to get the finger, while Nobara gives chase. The Death Paintings are a weird pair. Their design reminded me of the mech’s from Gurren Lagann. Anyway, the rest of this episode sets up the next battles, Nobara vs Eso and Yuji vs Kechizu. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 23 adds important details to Megumi’s character. He’s steps out of his comfort zone and it pays off.

Top 5

My Top 5 Demon Slaying Anime

Demon slaying is common in pop culture. They come in several varieties. The hunter who kills demons for revenge. The “chosen one,” who is born to kill demons, or the half demon that a target for full fledge demons. Family raises some demon slayers to fight demons. Specifically, demon slayers are common in anime and manga. In the last few years anime that focuses on “demon slaying” have gain prominence. So what are my top 5 demon slaying anime:


Berserk

Berserk is a little extreme for my tastes. A manga series created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk follows Guts as he fights evil spirits and demons from hell. Guts was cursed with the “Brand of Sacrifice.” As a result, ghosts and demons want to eat him. After the betrayal by his former best friend Griffith, Guts seeks venegance. Born from the womb of a hanged woman, he was raised as a child soldier. The series begins in the middle, establishing Guts character and the setting. It then flashes back revealling Guts tragic childhood.

Berserk is frequently disturbing, including child abuse, torture, sexual violence, and gore. It’s not a series for everyone, however, if you can stomach it the series explores themes like revenge, moralitiy, and coping with a cruel world. Berserk is inspired by Kaoru Kurimoto’s Guin Saga, Buronson’s Fist of the North Star, and Go Nagai’s Devilman. I don’t read the manga but I do search on Pinterest for Miura’s phenominal art work. If anything is going to attract you to this series it’s his art. Unfortunately, the anime often has terrible animation, I don’t recommend them.

Inuyasha

If your looking for a lighter series then Inuyasha is a great series. Rumiko Takahashi created the series in the 90s. The manga was serialized from 1996 to 2008 and the anime ran for seven seasons. Kagome Higurashi is a Middle School student that time travels to feudal Japan. While there she encounters youkai, ghosts, orges, and many other creatures. I really loved this series for it’s use of Japanese mythology. Kagome meets Inuyasha a teenage half-youkai.

Kagome is the reincarnation of Kikiyo, the former girlfriend of Inuyasha. She sealed Inuyasha to a sacred tree 50 years ago and it’s Kagome that frees him. Kagome and Inuyasha begin a dramatic relationship that spans time and space, as Kagome goes back and forth between this world and hers. The series follows the monster of the week structure. Kagome and Inuyasha are joined by friends, Shippo, Miroku, and Sango. Together they batlle againist the forces of Naraku, as they search for the shards of the Shikon jewel.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is the latest entry into the demon slayer anime. While technically, Yuji and his friends exorcise “cursed spirits” I consider them basically the same as demons. Written and illustrated by Gege Akutami, Jujutsu Kaisen began its run in 2018. The first season of the anime began in 2020. Yuji is a high school student, when his grandfather is about to die, Yuji promises to: do good so others can die the “right” way. When Yuji meets sorcerer Megumi Fushiguro his life changes.

After releasing a cursed object that attracts cursed spirits, Yuji and Megumi rescue them. During this fight, Yuji swallows the cursed object, a finger of the “King of Curses,” Ryomen Sukuna. In doing so he becomes the new vessel of Sukuna. I’ll begin reading the manga after this seasons over, but I reccomend watching the anime. MAPPA is really starting to master their craft and Jujutsu Kaisen benefits from it.

Demon Slayer

Apparently, American audiences favor Jujutsu Kaisen over last years anime darling Demon Slayer. However, Demon Slayer continued to set records in 2020 outselling the One Piece manga and making history in the box office. I think when the Demon Slayer anime returns it will resume its run at the top. The series tells the tragic story of Tanjiro Kamado. After returning from selling charcoal, Tanjiro finds his family slaughtered and his sister Nezuko turned into a demon.

Desperate to turn his sister back and prevent others from being harmed, Tanjiro and Nezuko enbark on a quest to find a cure. Tanjiro joins the Demon Corps. Armed with a katana, the water breathing techniques, and his selfless motivation, Tanjiro battles demons. He joins forces with the dumb prettyboy Inosuke, the powerful coward Zenitsu, and the always sleeping Nezuko. Can they stop Muzan before he can eliminate the Demon Corps?

Yu Yu Hakusho

Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen maybe new demon slayer series, but Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic. A shonen fighting manga by Yoshihiro Togashi. Yu Yu Hakusho tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a cynical, smart mouthed junior high school student. One day Yusuke dies after saving a little boy from being hit by a car. This heroic act is rewarded with an opportunity to return from the dead. Koenma, the son of the King of the Dead, makes him the Spirit Detective. Yusuke hunts demons that threaten Earth. He’s sent to train with Genkai, the crotchety old master spirit user.

Yusuke, his best friend Kazuma Kuwabara, demon fox vessel Kurama, and anti-hero Hiei. Yu Yu Hakusho set the bar for anime animation, and fight choreography. I rewatch the Dark Tournament arc occasionally and still believe that it’s one of the greatest anime arc ever.

Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 21: Recap and Review

Completion (Kansui)

After the epic action from the last few episodes, we should expect Jujutsu Kaisen to take a break from the intensity. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 21 concludes the Kyoto Goodwill Evert. Haruta Shigemo regrets his failure. He notes Hanami was “working too hard.” The special grade curse spirit collapses with a massive hole in its body. Hanami doesn’t seem like it can heal the wounds from Gojo’s attack. Shigemo attempts to “kill” Hanami but is stopped by Mahito. They discussed what they achieved. Mahito could “steal two sets of special grade cursed objects that were sealed away,” Sukuna’s fingers and the Death Painting Wombs No. 1-3. I love this series, but Jujutsu High keeping all six of Sukuna’s fingers in one place is ridiculous. Sure, placing Mahito’s cursed energy on one finger made it easier, but still.

Go, Baseball

What was interesting was Suguru deducting that Sukuna cared about one student (Megumi)? He doesn’t know which student but suggests to Hanami that killing students could undermine the mission with Sukuna. Regardless, their mission to seal Gojo is still on for October 31st. In the present, Ijichi lists the casualties and confirms what they took. We’re introduced to a character Tengen who doesn’t seem to matter other than his barriers. According to Suguru, Tengen doesn’t interact with the outside world and compares him to a “tree.” It’s an odd choice for the Jujutsu Kaisen series to make. I wonder why Gege made him so neutral. Maybe he won’t remain so obscure.

Anyway, Baseball. Gojo manipulates the Goodwill event, so the students play a game of baseball instead of one-on-one battles. Understandably, Jujutsu Kaisen would not have more battles, there can be overkill with fighting. I didn’t find the baseball all that interesting but was dismayed that everyone hates Todo. He’s irritating but has become one of my favorite characters. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him when Maki beamed him in the face with a baseball. Meanwhile, Yaga and Gakuganji discuss how to deal with Yuji. Gakuganji admits he doesn’t hate Yuji, but his existence is against the rules. They’re not sure how Yuji and Sukuna will turn out, but Yaga expects that the sorcerers will experience regret. The Goodwill Event ends with Tokyo High as the victors.