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‘Jujutsu Kaisen: Season 2’ is a stunning origin story

Astonishing animation brings Gege Akutami’s manga panels to life
“One Piece” changes many aspects of the source material but still holds onto its main themes.
Rating: A-
Photo Credit: Netflix

Horrific nightmares; cold sweats; missing children. In the real world, these are unfortunate, yet regular, occurrences, but in the Japanese anime -“Jujutsu Kaisen”, these occurrences are the work of cursed spirits.

These infectious spirits cause chaos wherever they go, so it is up to a secret society of fighters called “jujutsu sorcerers” who use abilities called “cursed techniques” to extinguish these nuisances.  

This season jumps backward 11 years from the first and follows Jujutsu Sorcerers-in-training Gojo Satoru (Yuuichi Nakamura) and Suguru Geto (Takahiro Sakurai),  exploring their relationship as comrades before becoming bitter rivals years later.

The two protagonists are entrusted with protecting a girl named Riko (Anna Nagase) who is being targeted by assassins and bounty hunters due to her ties with a mysterious being. Notably among the people after her is a man named Fushiguro Toji (Takehito Koyasu), an exceptionally strong fighter determined to exterminate Riko by any means necessary. 

The plot isn’t anything to write home about. The story seems more like an afterthought that is stuffed in between fights and character interactions. However, the stellar character writing and out-of-this-world animation partially compensate for the plot shortcomings.

The growth of Gojo’s character and his epiphany about the way cursed energy truly works is one of the most significant highlights of the season, and it is all thanks to  Gege Akutami’s (the author of “Jujutsu Kaisen”) quality character writing. Watching his character climb out of the depths of defeat followed by deep self-reflection of his own weakness is truly a marvel to witness, and really shines through in the face of a mediocre storyline.

Although this character arc isn’t unique by any means and nearly every protagonist in a Shonen Jump manga (the company that publishes Jujutsu Kaisen) goes through some variation of the “be defeated, deep inner realization, beat the bad guy,” seeing Gojo taste defeat is a refreshing experience after being presented as an utterly invincible character in season one. 


One big concern I had coming in was the switch of animation directors from Seong-Hu Park to Shouta Goshozono. The animation in season one was sharp and tactful with every frame telling a story. It was also constantly leaning into the dark tones and color palette intended by the source material. On the other hand, the first trailer for season two showed a much more fluid and dynamic animation style with a brighter range of colors, akin to Goshozono’s previous work as a key animator on Mob Psycho 100 and Ousama Ranking. Though the bright fluid animation worked great with those anime, I was worried about what it would do to a more gritty horrific manga like “Jujutsu Kaisen”.

Luckily, all my fears were laid to rest shortly after the first episode was released as the vibrant tone and the dynamic movements vibed perfectly with Gojo’s upbeat and ‘go-with-the-flow’ personality, in contrast with Itadori’s (the season one protagonist) more dark and horrific tone. However, the horror aspect of the show that many, including myself, feared would be cut, still managed to thrive in the new animation style, just on a smaller scale. In fact, the first scene of the entire season took place in a haunted house which made use of a suspenseful score and a bone-chilling, infinite hallway, sure to strike terror into even the bravest of souls.

These five episodes are a true feat of animation and provide a great amount of much-needed background on the characters audiences have grown to love (or hate) in season one. I recommend this season wholeheartedly, even though the plot is weaker than the first season’s. Ultimately, this part of the season serves its purpose as a buffer arc before a major story arc, so it was never going to be groundbreaking. However, the first few episodes of the next arc blew me away, and I’m positive it will reveal the peak of what “Jujutsu Kaisen” can be.

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    LoganSep 19, 2023 at

    FINALLY there’s something here that brings up animation-!
    Might watch the show at some point after this, seems interesting.