Currently in its second season, Jujutsu Kaisen is phenomenal. With wonderful characters and outstanding animation, it was an absolute joy to watch. So much so that I watched the series and the movie again, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, several times. The last time I watched it, I was struck by the theme of loss of innocence. This theme runs through the whole thing Jujutsu Kaisenand it’s fascinating, especially when you watch the series in chronological order.
My journey began like any other: at the beginning. I decided to celebrate the upcoming release of the Shibuya Incident Arc by watching it Jujutsu Kaisen In the right order. I started with Season 2’s Kaigyoku/Gyokusetsu, also known as “Gojo’s Past Arc.” Watching this part of the series was so wonderfully evil in so many ways. What struck me about this arc was how seemingly innocent Gojo and Geto were.
Just from the opening Jujutsu Kaisen felt like a slice-of-life anime with its cheerful tone and infectious nature. The reason for that? Gojo and Geto saw themselves as gods; the role of magician was a toy for each of them. They were unchallenged and undisciplined. That’s where Toji Fushiguro comes into play, who brings them both to their knees and ruins what she considers a “summer affair” with her protégé, the young Riko Amanai. After she is killed, Gojo and Geto grow apart and this loss begins a journey of utter devastation. Their relationship deteriorates and they both end up on opposite sides of a brutal war.
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We then fast forward 11 years and meet Yuta Okkotsu, a young man with a dark and twisted secret. He is haunted by his childhood love and anyone who pays him attention usually ends up as a pile of red mud. As he learns to master this dark gift, he gets caught up in the machinations of Gojo and Geto, who want to use his incredible power for their own purposes.
As a fan of the anime, I don’t know where the story will ultimately end, but I can’t help but notice the darkness behind the seemingly goofy Gojo. Many fans compare him to Kakashi, but I think that’s superficial. Kakashi is a noble man and a tough disciplinarian, but Gojo uses everyone around him to win. There is a special moment Jujutsu Kaisen 0 this illustrates this. Panda, Maki and Toge are sent by Gojo to Yuta and Geto when they meet. At first you think they were sent there to help Yuta, but there’s a much more sinister mentality behind it. Yuta never needed their help, Geto even pointed out that he would never kill another wizard, and Gojo knew that. In fact, Gojo wanted the event to motivate Yuta to kill Geto, unleashing his true destructive power in the process. It’s a cold and heartless move because it turns Yuta into something dark. The brutality in Jujutsu Kaisen is immense and he is a far cry from the wallflower who tentatively opened the classroom door at the beginning of the film.
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This theme is pushed even further in Season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen begins. Gojo barely hides the fact that he is training the next generation of wizards to be his weapons in the coming war. He mentions Yuta and another student as important weapons in his arsenal. When he meets Yuji Itadori, he sees another chance. This vessel for the cursed spirit Sukuna is a sweet boy who dotes on his sick grandfather, stands up for the little guy and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Within months, Itadori is faced with absolute horrors, twisted abominations, and his own death and resurrection. To top it off, he has to kill people. In the end the young man is changed. He puts on a brave face, but every now and then the facade collapses.
After watching all these events in sequence, I felt a sense of fear. Even the openings and endings of the series reflect the mood. Every beginning of the first part seems to be full of joy and excitement. They show the characters having fun, even if there is a bit of danger. However, something is different at the start of this final season. There is an edge. As an anime fan, I can only imagine how many manga fans are screaming at the monitor right now, exclaiming, “You know nothing, Graham Day!”
All I know is that the players are ready, the course is set and not everyone will escape with their lives.