Jujutsu Kaisen

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Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu kaisen.jpg
First volume tankōbon cover, featuring Yuji Itadori
呪術廻戦
Genre
Manga
Written byGege Akutami
Published byShueisha
English publisher
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runMarch 5, 2018 – present
Volumes15 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed bySunghoo Park
Written byHiroshi Seko
Music by
  • Hiroaki Tsutsumi
  • Yoshimasa Terui
  • Arisa Okehazama
StudioMAPPA
Licensed by
Original networkJNN (MBS, TBS)
Original run October 3, 2020 March 27, 2021
Episodes24 (List of episodes)
Prequel
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Jujutsu Kaisen[Jp. 1] is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami, serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2018. The individual chapters of Jujutsu Kaisen are collected and published by Shueisha, with fifteen tankōbon volumes released as of March 2021. The story follows high school student Yuji Itadori as he joins a secret organization of Jujutsu Sorcerers in order to kill a powerful Curse named Ryomen Sukuna, of whom Yuji becomes the host. The series is a sequel to a four-chapter monthly series called Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, which was published in Shueisha's Jump GIGA from April to July 2017, and was later released under the title Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in December 2018.

Jujutsu Kaisen is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media and publishes the manga in print since December 2019. Shueisha publishes the series in English on the Manga Plus app and website. Two light novels written by Ballad Kitaguni have been released under the Jump J-Books imprint on May 2019 and January 2020, respectively. A 24-episode anime television series adaptation produced by MAPPA aired on MBS from October 2020 to March 2021. The anime is licensed by Crunchyroll for streaming outside of Asia, who premiered an English dub in November 2020. The original soundtrack of the anime was released in April 2021.

As of April 2021, the Jujutsu Kaisen manga had over 45 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

In Jujutsu Kaisen, all living beings emanate an energy called Cursed Energy,[Jp. 2] which arises from negative emotions that naturally flow throughout the body. Normal people cannot control this flow in their bodies. As a result, they continually lose Cursed Energy, resulting in the birth of Curses,[Jp. 3] a race of spiritual beings whose primary desire is to bring harm to humanity.

Jujutsu Sorcerers[Jp. 4] are people who control the flow of Cursed Energy in their bodies, allowing them to use it as they please and also to reduce its release. High-ranking Sorcerers and Curses can refine this energy and use it to perform Cursed Techniques,[Jp. 5] which tend to be unique to the user or their family. An advanced form of Cursed Technique is Domain Expansion,[Jp. 6] through which the user can use their Cursed Energy to build a pocket dimension that covers the surrounding area within which all attacks will be stronger.

Plot[edit]

Yuji Itadori is an unnaturally fit high school student living in Sendai with his grandfather. He regularly avoids the track team due to the time commitment required for it, despite his innate talent for the sport. Instead, he chooses to join the Occult Research Club; due to the freedom it allows him in attending, he goes to visit his dying grandfather in the hospital every day. On his deathbed, his grandfather instills two powerful messages within Yuji: "always help people" and "die surrounded by people". These two ideas seemingly stem from his grandfather's own regrets. After his grandfather's death, Yuji interprets these messages as one statement: everyone deserves "a proper death". He is then confronted by Megumi Fushiguro, a sorcerer who informs him of a high-grade cursed charm talisman at his school that Yuji recently made contact with. His friends at the Occult Club unsealed the talisman, a rotting finger, which attracted Curses to the school, creatures that are brought about through negative emotions and are strengthened by consuming magical powers present in sorcerers or such charms. Unable to defeat the Curses due to his lack of magical powers, Yuji swallows the finger to protect Megumi and his friends and becomes the host of Ryomen Sukuna, a powerful Curse. Due to Sukuna's evil nature, all sorcerers are required to exorcise him (and by extension, Yuji) immediately. However, despite being possessed, Yuji is still able to retain control over his body for the most part. Seeing this, Satoru Gojo, Megumi's teacher, decides to take him to the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School to propose a plan to his superiors: postpone Yuji's death sentence until he consumes all of Sukuna's fingers, allowing them to kill Sukuna once and for all.[3]

Production[edit]

In 2017, Gege Akutami published Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, a 4-chapter series that ran in Jump GIGA from April 28 to July 28.[4][5] This series would serve later as a prequel to Jujutsu Kaisen, being retroactively titled as Jujutsu Kaisen 0.[6] Akutami began the publication of Jujutsu Kaisen in the 2018 14th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, released on March 5, 2018.[7]

Akutami stated that Neon Genesis Evangelion influenced him to develop the mythological aspects of the series.[8] Akutami is a fan of horror films, and its influence is noted in the series, expressing as well that he used to be obsessed with found footage films.[9] Akutami is particularly a fan of Yoshihiro Togashi, author of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter.[9][10] Akutami is also a fan of Tite Kubo, author of Bleach, and discussed in an interview with him the similarities between their works.[11][12] His art style is influenced by Togashi, Kubo, Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto) and Yusuke Murata (Eyeshield 21 and One-Punch Man illustrator). Akutami said that he wanted his art style to get as close as possible to Togashi's style.[8] Akutami stated that the magic system presented in the series is largely based on Togashi's Hunter × Hunter, whose fights, in Akutami's words, "rejects emotional arguments", but Akutami said that like Daisuke Ashihara, World Trigger's author, whose magic system featured in the series is also similar to Togashi's, he is trying to find and develop his own style.[9]

In October 2020, Akutami stated that he had the ending and the main stages of the story planned, but the path between the two remains "fairly free".[8] In February 2021, Akutami stated that the series will probably be finished within two years, although he added that he had not confidence in that statement. He knows how the story for Megumi Fushiguro will end, but not for Sukuna.[13]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Jujutsu Kaisen is written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. The series started in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on March 5, 2018.[2][7] Its chapters are collected and published by Shueisha into individual tankōbon volumes. The first volume was published on July 4, 2018.[14] Fifteen volumes have been released as of March 4, 2021.[15]

Shueisha began to simulpublish the series in English on the app and website Manga Plus in January 2019.[16] Viz Media published the first three chapters for its "Jump Start" initiative.[17] In March 2019, Viz Media announced the print release of the series in North America.[18] The first volume was published on December 3, 2019.[19] As of April 6, 2021, nine volumes have been released.[20]

Light novels[edit]

Two light novels written by Ballad Kitaguni have been released under the Jump J-Books imprint. The first, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: Soaring Summer and Returning Autumn,[Jp. 7] was released on May 1, 2019.[21] The second light novel, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: The Path of Roses at Dawn,[Jp. 8] was released on January 4, 2020.[22][23]

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation was announced in the 52nd issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump published on November 25, 2019.[24] The manga author Gege Akutami and the main cast members appeared at Jump Festa '20 on December 22, 2019.[25] The series was produced by MAPPA and directed by Sunghoo Park. Hiroshi Seko was in charge of the scripts, Tadashi Hiramatsu designed the characters.[26] While the anime had an advanced streaming debut on YouTube and Twitter on September 19, 2020,[27] it officially aired on MBS and TBS's Super Animeism block from October 3, 2020 to March 27, 2021.[28][29][26][a] The series ran for 24 episodes.[30] From episode 3 onwards the series includes post-credits anime shorts titled "Juju Sanpo",[Jp. 9] which focus on the daily lives of the characters.[31]

The anime is licensed by Crunchyroll for streaming outside of Asia.[32] Crunchyroll has released streaming dubs for the series in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German that premiered on November 20, 2020,[33][34] with the English dub also premiering on HBO Max on December 4, 2020.[35] Viz Media will release the series on home video.[36] In Southeast Asia, Medialink licensed the series and streamed it on iQIYI.[37][38]

Music[edit]

The original soundtrack of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime series is composed by Hiroaki Tsutsumi, Yoshimasa Terui and Arisa Okehazama.[26] The series' first opening theme is "Kaikai Kitan",[Jp. 10] performed by Eve, while the first ending theme is "Lost in Paradise feat. AKLO" performed by ALI.[39] The second opening theme is "Vivid Vice", performed by Who-ya Extended, while the second ending theme is "Give it Back", performed by Cö Shu Nie.[40] The original soundtrack was released on a 2-CD set on April 21, 2021.[41] Anime Limited released the soundtrack digitally in North America, Europe and Oceania on April 21, 2021, and on CD and vinyl in Q4 2021.[42][43]

Other media[edit]

A fanbook, titled Jujutsu Kaisen Official Fanbook,[Jp. 11] which features exclusive information about the series, character profiles, author commentaries, an interview and a special dialogue between Akutami and Bleach author Tite Kubo, was published by Shueisha on March 4, 2021.[44]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

Jujutsu Kaisen was 6th on the 5th Tsugi ni Kuru Manga Awards in the Print category in 2018.[45] The series ranked 1st on the "Nationwide Bookstore Employees' Recommended Comics" by the Honya Club website in 2019.[46][47] It won the 3rd annual Tsutaya Comic Awards in 2019.[48] In 2019, the manga was nominated for the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category.[49] The series ranked 31st on the 2021 "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.[50] Jujutsu Kaisen topped Alu's manga community "My Manga Best5" 2020 ranking, in which 46,641 users (via Twitter) participated, and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 ranked 43rd.[51][52] On TV Asahi's Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150.000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Jujutsu Kaisen ranked 19th.[53][54] Jujutsu Kaisen won the Mandō Kobayashi Manga Grand Prix 2020, created by comedian and manga enthusiast Kendo Kobayashi, in which each year's winner is decided based on his personal taste.[55] The manga was nominated for the 25th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2021.[56]

Sales[edit]

The Jujutsu Kaisen manga had 600,000 copies in circulation as of December 2018,[57] 770,000 copies in circulation as of February 1, 2019,[58] 1.1 million copies in circulation as of February 2019,[59] 2 million copies in circulation as of June 2019,[60] 2.5 million copies in circulation as of November 2019,[61] 4.5 million copies in circulation as of May 2020,[62] 6.8 million copies in circulation as of September 2020,[63] and over 10 million copies in circulation (including digital copies) as of October 2020, having grown 400% in one year, and about 230% in a half year.[64][65] As of December 2020, the series had 15 million copies in circulation (including digital copies).[66] By January 13, 2021, the series had over 20 million copies in circulation (including digital copies),[67][68] and increased to 25 million copies in circulation by January 26.[69][70] As of February 2021, the manga had over 30 million copies in circulation (including digital copies).[71][72] By the start of March 2021, the series had over 36 million copies in circulation (including digital copies),[73] and by the end of the month, the manga recorded over 40 million copies in circulation.[74] As of April 2021, the manga had over 45 million copies in circulation.[75][76] Jujutsu Kaisen was the 5th best-selling manga series in 2020 (from the period between November 2019 to November 2020), with 6,702,736 copies sold.[77] In January 2021, Jujutsu Kaisen's first fifteen volumes at the time (including volume 0) took 15 of top 16 spots of Oricon's weekly manga ranking (week of January 11–17), being only surpassed by Attack on Titan's 33rd volume, which topped the list.[78]

Critical reception[edit]

Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin gave the first volume a score of 8.5 /10. Douresseaux praised the series for its characters, plots, settings, and internal mythology, and described it as a "combination battle manga and horror comic book".[79] Shawn Hacaga of The Fandom Post, in his review of the first volume, compared the series to early Bleach and praised it for its world, lore, characters and artwork, concluding that it is a "solid first volume".[80] Hannah Collins of CBR found parallels between Yuji and Sukuna and Marvel Comics characters Eddie Brock and Venom. She also noted similarities to Bleach, Blue Exorcist and Tokyo Ghoul. Collins commended the manga and regarding its then recently announced anime adaptation concluded that Jujutsu Kaisen is a "darkly enjoyable action series that's sure to be one to watch out for in 2020".[81] Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network ranked the first volume as a C. Silverman praised the series' use of Japanese folklore and yōkai elements, comparing this and Akutami's art style to Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitarō, but criticized the story for being "very generic". She concluded; "It has the potential to be more as Akutami gets more comfortable with the serialization process and figures out precisely where the story is going, so it may be worth a second book to be certain. But as of this one, it's just okay, making it the kind of series that gets damned with faint praise".[82]

Anime[edit]

The Jujutsu Kaisen anime was awarded "Anime of the Year" at the 2021 5th Crunchyroll Anime Awards, while Ryomen Sukuna won the "Best Antagonist" category and "Lost in Paradise feat. AKLO" by ALI won the "Best Ending Sequence" category.[83][84] In January 2021, it was revealed that the anime series was the second most-watched anime series on Crunchyroll in 2020, only second to Black Clover, being watched in 71 countries and territories, including North America, South and Central America, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Africa, Asia and Oceania.[85] The official music video of the series' first opening, "Kaikai Kitan" by Eve, reached 100 million views on YouTube in April 2021, being one of the fastest anime openings to hit such number of views.[86]

Micah Peters of The Ringer said that while the series' "focused execution" of shōnen tropes makes it "infinitely watchable", is its "specificity, its personality, its ultra-slick stylishness" what make the show special. He added: "Like with Park’s previous work, there is a sumptuous amount of splashy, expensive, mo-cap-enabled animation, delivering on the action promised by the comics".[87] Paul Thomas Chapman of Otaku USA wrote that the series has "all of the right elements for an action-adventure anime: dynamic action scenes, slapstick comedy, and a cast of lovable weirdos with big, broad personalitie". He called it a "prime example of average material elevated by excellent execution", stating that Jujutsu Kaisen's setting and premise are similar to those from other series like Bleach and Yu Yu Hakusho. Chapman commented that Sunghoo Park "really puts the “beatdown” in narrative beats", adding that he is able to "segue from goofy comedy to chilling horror in an instant". He concluded: "Changing tones at a break-neck pace can result in story where the motivations seem muddled and the plot feels directionless, but Park and the crew at MAPPA make this narrative mutability seem effortless".[88] Ana Diaz of Polygon highlighted the series' 17th episode "Kyoto Sister School Exchange Event - Group Battle 3 -", praising the series treatment of its female characters in comparison to other shōnen series. Diaz wrote: "Jujutsu Kaisen goes a step further than avoiding gender tropes by presenting a variety of female perspectives. It’s not like there’s any right way for these young women to deal with the unique pressures they face. The story lets them disagree, and fight for their perspectives and their place". She concluded: "The show’s widespread success signals that audiences aren’t just ready for change, they’re actively craving it. Now, every other creator has the green light to write all kinds of women into their shows".[89]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ MBS lists the air dates for the series on Friday at 25:25, which is effectively Saturday at 1:25 a.m. JST.[28]
Japanese
  1. ^ 呪術廻戦, lit. "Sorcery Fight"
  2. ^ 呪力, Juryoku
  3. ^ 呪い, Noroi
  4. ^ 呪術師, Jujutsushi, lit. "Cursed Technique Masters" or "Shamans"
  5. ^ 呪術式, Jujutsushiki
  6. ^ 領域展開, Ryōiki Tenkai
  7. ^ 呪術廻戦 逝く夏と還る秋, Jujutsu Kaisen Iku Natsu to Kaeru Aki
  8. ^ 呪術廻戦 夜明けのいばら道, Jujutsu Kaisen Yoake no Ibara Michi
  9. ^ 呪術さんぽ, lit. "Jujutsu Stroll"
  10. ^ 呪術廻戦
  11. ^ 呪術廻戦 公式ファンブック, Jujutsu Kaisen Kōshiki Fanbukku

References[edit]

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