Genre: Action,Demons, Horror, School, Shounen, Supernatural
The highly anticipated shonen jump manga Jujustu Kaisen has finally been released as an anime. Produced by MAPPO Studios this is their latest release following popular titles like Dorohedro and God of High School.
Itadori is introduced in a sombre scene as he calls to checks in on his grandfather’s health. Although he is shown to be light hearted at school, it sets the tone of his struggle he keeps from others. The anime doesn’t directly say it but spending time with his grandfather is a large part of his life. While challenging the track and field coach, we see Itadori display superhuman strength and speed. He should join a sports club, its a no brainer but Itadori chooses the Occult club because he could leave at 5pm “…for my own reasons”.
Finally, his grand father leaves Itadori with his last wishes, to take care of people. He curls up in his bed and passes away. It’s not overdramatised or unnecessarily drawn out. Its something that sits with Itadori and afterwards he says to a nurse”…it doesn’t feel real yet” and I appreciated that direction. It felt sincere.
Its during this moment that we meet Fushiguro, who reveals he is searching for a cursed object and delivers the shows pitch. Curses are real. They are invisible spirits that are drawn to locations that breed negative emotions. Consequentially, these locations are protected by Talismans, cursed objects that keep curses away. But over time, as the Talismans fades in power, its begins to attract curses like sharks to blood. Once consumed, the curse absorb the Talisman’s energy and becomes very dangerous.
Fushiguro’s exposition was fine but its no Morpheus explaining the Matrix. Itadori is sceptical. He goes on to explain his Occult club have discovered cursed object and they look to examine it that night. Despite his scepticism , the potential danger to his friends sets him into action. Both characters rush to the school to fight the curses.
I know this wont be a popular opinion but I didn’t find the animation production to be that exceptional. Its only during these combat scenes the animation really finds itself and the movements become more fluid and dynamic. As Itadori leaps into combat like Spiderman, its at this moment, he remembers his grandfather telling him to take care of people. “…I have my own troublesome curse” he says and I can see similarities. Heroes honouring the memories of love ones. With great powers come great responsibility.
The episode ends as Itadori eats the cursed object in order to defeat a cursed spirit. Its expected. Itadori transforms and the cursed object is given voice. They inhabit the same body but Itadori is still showing signs of control. The episode ends with Fushiguro standing off against the possessed Itadori.
I feel like this story is just at the precipice of plunging into a different world. Maybe they should have released the first two episodes to create momentum. As it is, Im not hooked yet but I did like Itadori. Under his fun and easy going deposition, there is a dimension to his character that is revealed in this episode. He also seems to be cultivating an idea about “a correct death” and I wonder if that continues.
Early in the episode, Fushiguro was checking the empty container and had reopened it like a fridge, expecting different results. I laughed at that bit but other times like the scene with the track and field coach, I felt the humour was a bit forced. But its good to see there is a comedy element to balance that horror.
Overall, I felt the pacing was a bit slow but I liked the first episode. Im looking forward to seeing more. I hope they explore more of the world building & mystery. Leave a comment, Id love to hear what you thought about the episode. I’ve haven’t read the manga, so I would appreciate a readers opinion.