Genre: Action, Demons, Horror, School, Shounen, Supernatural
Produced by MAPPO Studios
Creator: Gege Akutami
Hey Everyone, this is Neonblue. I’m picking up the new series Jujutsu Kaisen that was developed by MAAPO studios. This is my review and story breakdown of episodes 4 & 5. So quick warning, anything past this point will be spoilers. If your interested in watching the show, Jujustso Kaisen is available to crunchyroll.
Episode 4 – Curse Womb Must Die
We hit the ground running with episode 4 as we see the students are thrown into the deep end. A juvenile delinquent centre has been quarantined under the guise of a gas leak. However in reality a special grade curse has taken residence and only the students are available to find any survivors. They are given strict instructions by Kiyotaka Ijichi, if they come across the curse they are to flee or die due to the danger it imposes. They step up and take center stage with the intention to defeat the curse and rescue the survivors . Well, that was the plan.
Yuji , Megumi & Kugisaki explore the building and find its interior dimensions have been changed (it’s bigger on the inside). And they immediately discover the corpse of one of the reported targets. Yuji wishes to recover the remains for the grieving mother but Megumi shuts down this request as he believes the deceased doesn’t deserve their support due to his negligent background. Before Yuji and Megumi can really confront their philosophical differences, Kugisaki is taken before their eyes. A curse suddenly appears and in that moment, Megumi freezes. Yuji on the other hand attacks the creature and loses his hand in the one stroke. It’s quite obvious the curse is powerful and their plan needs to change.
Plan B or Plan GTFO: Yuji agrees to remain and stall the curse until Megumi rescues Kugisaki. He has to wait for them to escape as Sukana would likely kill his team mates out of spite. Megumi rushes off and summons his shikigami (black wolf) to help search for her. Kugisaki was transported to another area and she has held her own, only defeated through contrition and expended ammunition. Megumi arrives just in time from being eaten.
Meanwhile Yuji faces the curse and he finds himself losing. He’s very much facing his own mortality and we finally see him vulnerable. Questioning his decision to take this path and fearful of its ultimate outcome. I know a plucky and fearless personality is a popular trait amoung Shonen characters (Goku) but courage is the act of overcoming fear. In previous episodes, I have noted it seems crazy Yujii is absent of any anxiety or fears. So, I was happy to see this emotional revelation.
Once Megumi and Kirisugi escapes, Yuji is able to release Sukana to fight the curse. Now, Sukana is very aware of this obvious strategy for him to kill the curse and he would rather hinder Yuji as much as possible. Unfortunately for him, the special grade curse doesn’t want to cooperate and Sukana is forced to kill it. Also revealing within the curse’s corpse is another of Sukana’s fingers. At first, he is disappointed in how everything has turned out but soon realizes Yuji isn’t switching back.
Episode 4 – Cursed Womb Must Die 2
Spoiler Alert: The following has an important Character Revelation
This episode continues right where episode 4 ends. Megumi places Kirisugi in Kiyotaka Ijichi’s care to get her medical attention and then returns to the detention center to deal with Yuji/Sukana. Megumi returns to find Sukana in complete control of Yuji’s body and his hand has been regenerated. Sukana removes his own beating heart and warns Megumi, he can live without one but Yuji cant and if Yuji switches again, he will die. It’s a compelling threat and really shows the dynamic of the opposing forces competing over Yuji’s body.
Megumi battles against Sukana and despite all his best efforts, Sukana is easily the better opponent. Sukana only uses physical attacks and he seems more curious to understand Megumi’s sorcery than defeat him. Meanwhile, Megumi narrates how reality is unfair and the institution he represents imparts justice (retribution/Karma) into this unfair world. It seems Megumi’s ideology has been motivated by someone, most likely someone he loved, who was undeservedly cursed.
Before Sukana can finish Megumi, Megumi changes strategies at the very last moment, and instead of some super-secret sorcery technique, he admits there wasn’t a clear reason why he saved Yuji’s life. His decision came from an emotional place, he felt Yuji was a good person and he doesn’t regret that decision. These kind and reassuring words are able to bring Yuji back and ultimately because of the gaping heart shape hole in his chest, Yuji dies.
In a morgue located at the school, Kiyotaka Ijichi and Saturo Gojo discuss the death of Yuji. Saturo believes the “Higher-ups” who didn’t agree with keeping Yuji alive, were the ones responsible. As they are the ones who arranged first-year students/novices to face off against a dangerous special grade curse. He openly wonders if he should just eliminate the “higher-ups” but before he can elaborate, Shoko Ieiri is introduced to the scene. She wears a white lab coat and looks the part of a forensic pathologist. She confirms to Saturo she will take him apart and make good use of him.
Meanwhile, Megumi and Kugisaki also discuss Yuji’s death and although they don’t go into too much detail, they acknowledge and share the loss. It’s during this time the second-year students are hilariously introduced; Maki Zenin is a specialist in wielding cursed tools, Inumaki is a Cursed Speech User, who can only speak in the ingredients of Rice Balls and then there’s a Panda… called Panda and no further explanation. They invite the first-year students to train and compete in the up and coming Kyoto Sister School Exchange Event.
The episode ends with a character dressed in traditional Japanese robes visiting a cafe with three unseen curses. They reveal they are the ones responsible for the curse at the detention centre with the goal of testing Sukana. The curse leading the discussion is not happy with the current status quo with humans killing curses and seeks war against mankind. The mystery man advises to succeed, Satoru Gojo needs to be rendered incapable of fighting and Yuuji/Sukana must become their allies.
Review – Summary
Episode 4 and 5 continue to explore and build the world of Jujutsu Kaisen. There’s a political layer that encompasses the Jujutsu Sorcerers, manipulating keys characters. Mirroring that world, we are seeing hints of a deeper world of curses. They are more than just random manifestations of negative emotions.
The immediate threat of a special grade curse and the complication of Sukana really keeps the rhythm of the story feel more urgent. These events give Yuji’s character opportunities to push and pull in fun and dramatic ways. And as much as I was happy to finally see Yuji confront his fears, my favorite scene was Yuji patting Megumi’s white wolf. He’s a very likable character and his aesthetic design really makes him pop on screen.
The only design choice that never lands is the animation for the curses. I’ve noted this before but the curses in this series have the same reoccurring special effect. It’s a static textured effect that makes the creatures look flat. If your watching and have experience in animation, leave a comment, Id love to hear your explanation of the animation technique.
This was a great two-part story and it was able to keep things exciting, while introducing new elements, characters and spoiler alert, killing off the main character. Even if it’s obviously temporary, the story is trying new things and challenge expectations. It continues to keep me on my toes with its unique blend of comedy and action. Again, if you’re interested in watching the show, Jujutsu Kaisen is available on crunchyroll. Please leave a comment, Id really appreciate it if someone can explain the below reference.