Welcome all, to another episode of Jujutsu Kaisen! This week sees the villains show up, gives us our first fight of the arc, and lets Itadori show off a bit. Plenty to talk about, so lets jump right in!
Starting off, production wise this week wasn’t anything to great. It wasn’t bad, but it’s obvious Jujutsu Kaisen is saving the big stuff for later. Instead this week was mostly a rather standard display of Gojo’s power and a weird hallway CGI scene with Itadori. As awkward as it was at times though, I would still call it an improvement from Season 1’s poorly composited sewers and forests. Part of that is probably that the environment was a lot less ambitious, really just being two rectangular hallways side-by-side. But I think they’ve also just legitimately improved at it, full stop. The textures were better, they slowed the camera down and let the animation do most of the work. If anything the complexity of the Curse’s design was what held them back the most. Hopefully it continues to improve as we get further and further into the arc.
Moving onto the actual story, the pacing feels good. Jujutsu Kaisen is doing a solid job of splitting up the narration/information dumps with bursts of action or interesting dialogue. The explanations of the veils within veils, the mystery of what Mahito is doing at a different subway, how they walked us through the plan to limit Gojo step by step. It all worked and felt natural, rather than jump dumping it on us all at once. I do wish the rules of jujutsu sorcery were a bit more concrete, allowing us to piece these things together ourselves a bit. But not only is that a problem every fantasy magic system ever written has, it’s also just my personal bias for Hard Magic Systems. I find them particularly enjoyable. So the closer Jujutsu Kaisen gets to that, the more clear cut it’s explanations, the more I’m going to like it.
Getting back to Gojo, it’s not surprising that their plan is a “Hold Out” rather than a “Win” scenario. The guy is just to OP. That’s by design of course, and it’s a design I think is actually really clever. It forces the villains to be proactive and intelligent with their plans/fights. If the strongest character in the show was a villain, and not a hero, then they could just run roughshod over everyone. By having it this way though, and it not be our lead, it makes the villains more interesting by them being the underdogs while also letting Itadori be one as well. Though then the question of course becomes: How do they beat Gojo and actually let our lead, Itadori, into the spotlight? Well for that we will have to wait and see, though I suspect this “Prison Realm” has something to do with it.
Speaking of Itadori, he got to show off this week. He hasn’t run into Mahito, but that’s fine. That’s one of the big confrontations of the entire arc, so it’s something we have to save for later. Instead he gets to pal around with Mei Mei, fight a locust curse, get some praise, and show off. Hell, the guy didn’t even have to use his Black Flash. The fight itself was decent, the locust abdomen looking like a penis always sticking between his legs was kind of weird, but hey I’ll let that go. It serves to establish power levels and just how much Itadori has grown since he first started fighting curses. Like… surely this thing was stronger than some of the stuff Itadori had trouble with when he first started. It could talk and shit!
As for Mei Mei, she was kind of… weird this episode? Like her whole thing with her sis-con of a brother feels fetishy? Maybe that’s just me assuming the worst of anime and it’ll tone down as we go, and even if it doesn’t it’s not like a deal breaker or anything. Plus her hair continues to be kind of stupid, but in a sexy kind of way. Honestly there isn’t much to say here other than I’m curious just how involved she’s going to be in the upcoming fights. I actually don’t remember much about her from when I read the arc a while back, so most of what I know is coming from the movie. Hopefully she gets at least one similar scene to shine in, because as stupid as her hair is her color palette/design is overall rather nice.
So yeah, all in all a decent episode for Jujutsu Kaisen. We’re slowly getting into the fights, making good use of the cour and a half the show has left. Not rushing into it nor slow-rolling us to much with long and unnecessary lore dumps. Feels like they are taking a solid arc and adapting it well. The only thing left I think is to wait and see if Jujutsu Kaisen is able to properly escalate things. Can we scale this conflict up in a satisfying manner, or will we just sort of jump around awkwardly? Personally, I’m not to concerned. The arc was always solid to begin with and this team has almost exclusively improved upon the source material. I’m not seeing any reason to doubt their ability to do that now.