Animating Halloween | Episode One-Derland: Jujutsu Kaisen

Plot: The world is riddled in curses – demon-like creatures that consume humans and other curses in order to become stronger. They’re usually invisible to the human eye, and people called Shamans are sent out to dispatch the curses and cursed charms in order to protect the world from harm.

Yuuji Itadori is not one of those people….Yet. He has insane levels of strength and speed, making him a much sought after asset to all of the sports clubs in school, but Yuuji would rather hang out in the occult club with his friends. Being in the occult club is not only more fun and less stressful than the sports clubs, but it also allows him to regularly leave school at 5PM. Yuuji needs this time open in order to visit his ailing grandfather in the hospital everyday, much to his grandpa’s annoyance.

His grandpa suddenly tells him to not live his life as he did – with no friends and hardly anyone around during his last days. He tells Yuuji to live a good life, make friends and die surrounded by people. As he utters these words, Yuuji’s grandpa suddenly passes.

Fueled by his grandpa’s final words, Yuuji becomes determined to ensure everyone has a proper death, even risking death himself to save others from a terrible fate. His newfound mission in life leads him to making a reckless decision that forces him to become the host of the curse, Sakuna.

Breakdown: “Twix! Another series that debuted very recently?! Please seek medical attention, for you are surely ill!”

Ahhhh, hate to disappoint anyone who thought I was starting to keep up with current series, but someone just asked if I was going to do this series for Animating Halloween and I had never heard of it before, but I was still like ‘Okay!’ So here I am. That’ll show you for thinking I’m hip and hoppity with the current anime the youth today is jamming with.

Jujutsu Kaisen does a very good job at drawing you in from the get-go. It starts with a scene in which our main character, Yuuji, is tied up and someone is telling him that he’s set for execution before we get our theme song and flashback to how we got to this point.

Outside of that it’s…pretty much standard shounen fare. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it runs through a lot of shounen fantasy/fighting tropes. Super kind, goofy and optimistic main character who is also brave, heroic and self-sacrificing? Check. Born with super physical traits like speed and strength? Check. Deeply impacted by the death of a loved one? Check. Deuteragonist who dresses in black is stoic and cold? Check. Bonus points for the wolves being part of his powers. Fighting monsters? Check. Main character getting some sort of insane super power as a last resort to save his friends? Checkaroo.

I was going to argue that maybe him housing a demon/curse in his body was kinda unique, but it’s also…not. I very quickly remembered that that’s basically a shounen/seinen trope too – either housing a demon, being a demon/monster or having dark powers. Naruto, Yusuke, Ichigo, Yugi, Ken, Inuyasha, Eren, I think Asta from Black Clover also qualifies, though I’m not that familiar with the series – hell, you can even argue that Goku kinda falls under this trope too because of his uncontrollable ape form.

They also don’t do much in the way of making memorable monster designs or names for the things. Curses and shaman?

Again, none of this is particularly bad as long as they can package it in such a way that draws my attention and leaves me wanting more, and it did.

I really enjoyed Yuuji. He may be kind of a stock shounen protagonist, but he’s easily lovable and a lot of fun. He’s one of those characters I’d love to have as a friend. He also has a great relationship with the two members of the occult club, though as far as I’ve read on the series they don’t stay on as regular characters, which is a bummer if true. I liked them as characters on their own. They were endearing and really passionate about the occult.

Fushiguro was alright. He was the most flat of the characters, at least so far. Unlike Yuuji, he didn’t shine through enough on his own to bypass his tropes, but he didn’t make me angry or anything. Hopefully, after some time, he’ll shine a bit more.

As a first episode, it does well. It establishes the world and characters decently enough and gives us just enough information to make a solid episode without being a big exposition dump while also ending on a good cliffhanger.

The art and animation are pretty good. Got some nice character designs and interesting shots.

I also enjoyed the music quite a bit too. The OP is particularly catchy.

As for whether this is good Halloween fare so far…well, it’s more simply supernatural than it is horror, but for lighter Halloween fun, this seems to work just fine.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

I had quite a bit of fun with this episode, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes. Not sure it’d stick with everyone who’s a bit over all of the normal tropes, but I think it has enough style to continue working itself out.


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2 thoughts on “Animating Halloween | Episode One-Derland: Jujutsu Kaisen

  1. Covering a brand new series? WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!

    I’m not sure if this would be my thing since a ton of shonen stuff can be hit or miss with me.

    Shaman is a term in this series? Well, somebody needs to call Yoh, Len, and Horo Horo over there. :3

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