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Jujutsu Kaisen - Introduction

+ posted by Kaoz in Manga Reviews on Sep 29, 2018 12:16


An Introduction to Jujutsu Kaisen by WithYouInSpirit

One of the recent additions to hit Weekly Shounen Jump has been Jujutsu Kaisen by Akutami Gege. Her first entry to the major leagues in the Manga Industry, the series follows the story of Yuuji Itadori, a prodigious Track and Field athlete with no actual interest in said sporting event. His real interests are in the Occult Research Club! He doesn't actually do much there, but he's happy to tag along for the kicks. Things get serious however, when a real cursed spirit shows up at their school!

Jujutsu Kaisen is a Shounen with an occult driven narrative much like the Jump SQ series Ao no Exorcist. Mystics with special powers called "Shamans" learn and teach others of their craft at the Tokyo Metropolitan Magic Technical College (都立呪術高等専門学校), and exorcise cursed spirits when and wherever they can in order to keep the world safe. This is a series that takes some inspiration from the best parts of some series out there, like Naruto and Bleach, and combines them to create a new Dark Shounen.

Characters:

This series introduces a wide cast ranging from novice and expert Shamans, to eccentric Cursed Spirits with a grudge, and all of these individuals have their own ways of surviving in this gritty rendition of our world beset by curses. Today I will introduce you to a few of them, starting with the main character.

Itadori Yuuji:

Our protagonist finds himself and his classmates attacked by a cursed spirit drawn to them by the dusty old finger his Occult Club friends had found to research, bringing him into contact with Fushigura Megumi, a first year student at the Magic Technical College and a Shaman. One thing leads to another, and Yuuji is faced with a deadly spirit that the injured Shaman Megumi cannot defeat alone. Forced to the conclusion that he must consume that gross old finger to gain its power, our protagonist becomes host to the King of Cursed Spirits, Sukuna! After becoming essentially a half human, half curse, Yuuji is given two options. Be killed by the Shamans then and there due to the Curse within him being so dangerous and powerful, or stay alive at the service of the Shamans to gather the 20 fingers of Sukuna and be executed with the full curse within him, therefore removing Sukuna from this world entirely.

Junpei Yoshino:

A high school student capable of seeing Curses, Junpei has a twisted view of the world, compounded by the loss of his mother at the hands of a Curse. His lack of self worth and faith of humanity overall allow the High Grade Cursed Spirit, Mahito to whisper evil in his ear. It is not currently known what role Junpei will play moving forward in the story, but he is no true antagonist. Simply a lost boy giving into temptations in the wake of his mother's death.

Mahito:

A High Grade Curse born from a Human, Mahito is a unique Curse who is able to achieve near immortality thanks to his ability to change the shape of the soul; which changes the body. As long as the shape of his sould remains intact, he can be reborn again and again. His intentions are currently unclear, but chaos seems to be his forte. What is his interest in Sukuna, and how far is he willing to go in order to achieve his goals?

Gojo Satoru:

After the events of the first chapter, we are introduced to Gojo Satoru, Megumi and now Yuuji's mentor, and First Grade Shaman. An eccentric, mysterious character who rarely shows his face which is hidden behind a face wrap, Gojo could be considered the Kakashi figure of Jujutsu Kaisen. His power is immense, and his Territorial Expansion is frightening, which brings us into the summary of Powers and Abilities in this manga.

Yuuji, Megumi, Gojo and Nobara Kugisaki, sassy tritagonist and First Year Shaman, form a team of First Year Shamans whose purpose is to gather Sukuna's 20 Fingers. High Grade Cursed Spirits are beginning to form disturbing alliances in order to bring down the Shamans, and tame Sukuna's power for themselves. Our protagonists each bring something valuable to the table, whether it be Nobara's slightly unstable sensibilites, Megumi's steadfast willpower and skills, or Yuuji's own personal promise to himself: Don't let anyone die anymore.

Powers & Abilities:

Every Shaman has the capability to bring out their unique internal magical spells in order to combat the cursed spirits, as well as the higher level Shamans posses a shared ability that Cursed Spirits are also capable of using: Territorial Expansion. When an Expansion is activated, it acts as the culmination and ultimate form of someone's ability, allowing a Spirit or Shaman to use their ability within that space freely and to its fullest extent. Think of it as akin to Bleach's Bankai.

Art:

This manga utilises a very simplistic and minimalist design scheme, with sketchy edges being very prevalent, and adding to the overall grittiness of the story's theme. Art in Jujutsu Kaisen captures your attention with sharp edges, starkly contrasted imagery, and more.

So, just why is Jujutsu Kaisen Japan's latest craze? Is it due to a story that grips you with action and intrigue from the beginning? Or a cast of characters that's brimming with eccentricity and mystery? At this early stage in the manga's serialisation, there is still so much to discover. Will Yuuji truly sacrifice himself for the greater good of humanity? What are the intentions of the devious High Grade Curses who are beginning to band together for the first time? To find out, you'll need to read Jujutsu Kaisen. Thanks for reading.


If this series has caught your interest, join the discussion over at our Jujutsu Kaisen series discussion thread!

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