If you’re a huge shounen manga/anime fan but have yet to catch Jujutsu Kaisen, then I regret to inform you that you’ve been living under a rock.
All the other popular shounen series braced themselves when the Jujutsu Kaisen anime premiered in October with its dark and creepy themes of horror and curses.
This anime makes no bones about the gritty world which both Cursed Spirits and Jujutsu Sorcerers inhabit, and who have only one mission; to exorcise and kill each other with deadly force. Caught up in this battlefield of grotesque Curses and power hungry Sorcerers is Itadori Yuji, a very normal high school boy with above average athletic abilities.
His life gets turned on its head when the Occult Club in school that Itadori is in unearths an ancient shrivelled finger of the ‘King of Curses’, Ryomen Sukuna, the most powerful Cursed Spirit to ever walk the earth.
The cursed finger starts to attract Curses to it, hungry to consume the ancient artifact. In a moment of desperation, Itadori gains tremendous cursed energy when he literally eats the shrivelled finger, causing him to also be possessed by the cruel and malicious Cursed Spirit that is Ryomen Sukuna.
Jujutsu Kaisen is currently available in Asia on the iQiyi streaming service, and will also be released on Netflix on 3 June.
Here are some things that anime fans who have (or haven’t) watched the anime might want to know:
1. It’s all about monsters called Cursed Spirits and Sorcerers who exorcise them
The macabre and creepy looking Cursed Spirits that populate Jujutsu Kaisen all have rankings — Vengeful Cursed Spirits who are created by humans after a wrongful death, Imaginary Vengeful Cursed Spirits, formed by the accumulated hate, fear or desires from masses of humans, like in hospitals for example, and Diseased Curse Spirits, birthed by diseases, sickness and plagues.
The weaker of these spirits use their claws and malignant presence to attack humans, while the stronger have access to more potent cursed energy and even use cursed techniques. The most tenacious are called Special Grades, with powers beyond imagination. These spirits are said to require the equivalent of ‘carpet bombing’ to defeat and take down.
Jujutsu Sorcerors also have rankings of their own, with 4 grades in total and some semi-grades in between. As a newly christened Jujutsu Sorcerer, Itadori is ranked 4th, while his teacher, the strongest Sorcerer in Tokyo, is a Special Grade Sorcerer and above the Grade 1 Sorcerers.
2. Jujutsu Kaisen is getting a feature length movie in December
On March 27, Studio Mappa announced on Twitter that they would be making a feature length movie for Jujutsu Kaisen, along with a short 30-second teaser trailer. The movie is scheduled to be released on 4 December 2021.
Watch the teaser trailer here:
3. The anime is popular because of its themes of dark horror, death and unique system of powers and abilities
It's been awhile since something really dark and horrific has hit the anime scene since the gruesomely sexual Berserk and violently satisfying Demon Slayer, and Jujutsu Kaisen's popularity has really soared because of this.
As the manga's creator Gege Akutami has gleefully opted for zero plot armour, death runs rampant in the series and distinguishes not between civilians, Cursed Spirits or even main characters. There's a scene where Special Grade Cursed Spirit Jogo decides on a whim to spontaneously incinerate all the patrons of a cafe, just for fun.
In shounen manga/anime, power is king; anyone who can accumulate or amass the most amount of it prevails. But the power in Jujutsu Kaisen is complex to the point of almost incomprehensible; Sorcerer Supreme Gojo Satoru's might for example, is insanely overwhelming and omnipotent.
It's almost like listening to other-worldly music; you can't understand the lyrics or follow the melodies, but it just washes over you, leaving you feeling gratified by the devastating aftermath of the battles.
4. Its characters are lovable; especially Sorceror Supreme Gojo Satoru, who is so damn cool!
Speaking of Gojo Satoru, Sorcerer Supreme and head of the noble Gojo family, his coolness is just off the charts. He looks like the love child of Hatake Kakashi from Naruto with the platinum hair, but his eyes resemble the iciest star from the farthest reaches of space – majestic and untouchable.
So it's a pity that he keeps them hidden behind bandages for the most part, only removing them when he wants to unleash the full extent of his sorcerous might.
His powers are two-fold. The first is Limitless, an inherited ability from the Gojo family, which allows him near absolute control over the space-void continuum, and Six Eyes, another inherited ability from his family which allows him to drastically improve the output efficiency of his Cursed power, meaning he will never run out of Cursed energy in a fight.
No one can really understand the full extent his powers, but we're just happy to watch him absolutely destroy his opponents with impunity.
5. Jujutsu Kaisen is collaborating with Uniqlo on a t-shirt collection
Uniqlo recently announced a collection of Jujutsu Kaisen-themed T-shirts, slated to be released in July.
Here are some of the T-shirts:
6. There is a temple that deifies main villain Ryomen Sukuna in Japan
In the Gifu prefecture in Japan, the Senkoji Temple in Takayama actually deifies the main villain of Jujutsu Kaisen, Ryomen Sukuna. The temple has reported that more people have come on 'anime pilgrimages' to the temple following the immense surge in popularity of the series.
Fans would be interested to note that in ancient history, Sukuna was a hero and benefactor of the Hida region, in contrast to the villainous Cursed Spirit that he is in the anime series.
7. Jujutsu Kaisen bears certain resemblances to popular shounen anime Bleach
Both have a male protagonists (albeit with different hair colours but similar spiky styles), noble houses with powerful heads of households (Kuchiki Byakuya and Gojo Satoru are powerful and have an understated nobility about them) and the creepy Cursed Spirits in Jujutsu Kaisen are very much like their counterpart Hollows in Bleach, with matching ranking systems as well.
Both main protagonists initially had little to none of the prerequisite meta powers that enable them to fight effectively, and had to gain their powers through very unorthodox methods; Yuji had to swallow a shrivelled finger and Kurosaki Ichigo had to be pierced by a zanpakuto (a spirit sword).
Alas, fans of Bleach were devastated by the very weird and abrupt ending to the once legendary series. Hopefully, the above is where all of Jujutsu Kaisen's semblances to Bleach end!
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