Although Yuji Itadori looks like your average teenager, his immense physical strength is something to behold! Every sports club wants him to join, but Itadori would rather hang out with the school outcasts in the Occult Research Club. One day, the club manages to get their hands on a sealed cursed object. Little do they know the terror they’ll unleash when they break the seal…
Okay so... I do not fall under the standard demographic for shounen but regardless I've been reading shonen manga for a while now. I'm only up to chapter 80 or so and even though more than that has been published, I'm more than halfway through what's come out but I could no longer resist writing a review. I've enjoyed other shounen more tbh but this is the first time I've ever itched to write a review. So... the art is fantastic though I really don't like body morph as a general rule which is the only reason I gave the art a 9. The expressions, body language and character traits come across quite thoroughly through the art. Character progression is slow and steady yet you constantly feel like there's another layer and something you are missing. Even a minor crush from middle school days that pretty much has nothing to do the plot connects with the reader because it's just so human. Storywise it follows a fairly standard shounen format. I'm not mad. What works works so long as you don't do it terribly. I do feel the rivalry is slightly forced between yuuji and megumi but perhaps it's just a translation issue. Idk. Now onto the main reason I felt I absolutely needed to write this review. The themes. Them themes bro. Like I cannot express. It delves into those dreges of consciousness that none of us want to admit that we have contemplated(Megumi and Mai and Getou and even early Gojo). It also completely blows past such basic concepts as good and evil. It is established pretty much from the get go, through megumi, that this isn't the sort of story where the good guys are the type that want to save everyone and the bad guy are ones who kill. Yuugi is the standard shonen protagonist in that aspect but not to the point where it holds him back, he is capable of making the decision that goes against the broad notion of morals and acceptability when compared to what he actually wants to achieve. This isn't so much a story about morals but about the nature of humanity and how quickly it can change based on what you strive for and the things you have experienced. There is so much deeper you can go into the themes. I've fallen into an endless thought spiral and that doesn't generally happen with shonen. Like at all. The most I usually think is like 10 or 20 minutes. This manga has had me contemplating for at least two hours and I see no clear end. I wanted to write this review in the middle of binging the series to make sure I gave it the proper amount of thought it is due while also telling others that there is so much more to this manga than the surface premise would lead you to believe. Please give it a shot.
This is one of the few mangas I've ever binged from start to current chapter (~127 as of this writing). There's something oddly addictive about this series. It could be the pacing of the story, or it could be the whimsical nature of the characters. Each character has unique qualities about them that make them deeply interesting. I find myself curious to learn more about even the side characters. Nothing feels wasted in this manga. The conversations with curses always reveal some kind of deeper philosophical conflict and each fight scene is paced and fits perfectly with the story. There's just enough action and character development without either dragging on for forever. The art is a bit different. It's not super crazy unique, but it's different enough from the typical moe/pretty style that it really lends itself well to the overall mood of the story. The only reason the art rating wasn't higher was that occasionally the perspectives and proportions were just slightly off. But it's not egregious or bad by any means. I learned about Jujutsu Kaisen because of the anime (which by the way does the manga pretty good justice - it's a very good adaptation). I just had to jump into the manga and keep seeing what happened next. I don't regret it, and I don't think you will either.
Jujutsu Kaisen. At first read it seems pretty standard and nothing less of a stereotypical shonen with the usual plot devices and character tropes that come along with it. Now having stereotypes isn’t bad at all, it's how you execute and utilize these stereotypes/tropes to fit in with your story without it lacking luster. Gege Akutami takes advantage of these tropes and creates unique as well as interesting characters out of all them while simultaneously giving the audience the impending death of the main character. This is all a breath of fresh air to combat the clicheness that was evident in the first chapter. Akutami was able to single handedly pull off these stereotypes without losing individuality and depth to each character. As you continue to read the facade of Jujutsu Kaisen being stereotypical peels off revealing an eccentric, humorous, thrilling, and enthralling manga. Jujutsu Kaisen deserves all the hype it is given. While it isn't finished just yet, I do want to say the best aspects about the manga so far to get you interested. One thing I love about this manga is the art style, it seriously reminds me of Chainsaw man but with more detail. It's sketchy yet refined and when you get to the fight scenes that's when the art really shines. There are all sorts of unique powers and various uses of the power system that make the fights interesting. There is always a new power to be revealed or a new skill to be shown off when characters are going at it. Each fight had me glued to the page to see what happens next. The tension was always on the table beckoning me to turn that page. The fights were just that thrilling. Speaking about fights and cursed energy, this leads me to the clever worldbuilding and fantastic blend of realism and the supernatural. Jujutsu Kaisen takes place in the real world but reinforces the idea of the curses, negative and positive energy, sorcery, and the supernatural. While this aspect in itself isn't uncommon, Jujutsu Kaisen takes this supernatural and ghost trope up an action packed notch. This starts with the use of ingenious power systems. Most people have their own cursed energy to which they use, some have more than others and each person has a distinct skill that allows them to utilize the cursed energy. But some don't have any cursed energy so they use cursed tools or rely on their strength to exorcise a curse. Their ability to use cursed energy, see curses, and excorsise them all impacts the cast. I mean hell, just from this it had me hooked on how each person would use their power or how they had to train to use it or how they could match up against cursed spirits depending on their rank and skill. I was excited for a beat down of a curse or extremely nervous for a curse user that isn't experienced to fight something big. This all made it the more fun to read, plus it's super clever. I never would have thought about certain places carrying more cursed energy if it's a school or hospital since people give out more negative energy in those buildings. Like come on, that was really creative. While power systems and training isn't new to the Shonen genre, Jujutsu Kaisen is different in the sense that it blends something from an Insidious movie or the Conjuring to create it's power systems and evil villains. With that, I was automatically captivated. The oh so addicting blend of shonen and horror. Many other well known manga and anime use this popoular but unorthodox blend like Chainsaw Man, The Promised Neverland, and Hell's paradise. Each of them have something in common, and that is it's enchating orginality. While this applies to a lot of aspects to Jujutsu Kaisen I can't say it applies a lot to the characters. But, despite their obvious stereotypes they have a undeniable appeal that makes them unique and interesting. This is a part of their built up depth and charming personalities. Initially when I started Jujutsu Kaisen I thought the characters were going to be fairly shallow because the manga itself seemed like a light read. But I was pleasantly suprised as well as wrong. Upon reading more I saw the characters develop and their backgrounds being exposed to the audience. Many of the characters have gone through lots of traumatic events in the past due to their shaman background. I absolutely loved this aspect to them because it takes away that one dimensal steretotypical feel to them. Their backgrounds and pasts were obviously met with detail and specifcially curated with their development and depth in mind. Espcially when it comes to Itadori, Megumi, Yuuta and Geto, I would say these are the characters that show the most development out of everyone in the series. The others like Nobara, Maki, Toge, Gojo, Nanami, and Mahito are static, but they are well rounded in the sense that they don't lack depth or fall flat in terms of dimension. This makes most of the main cast well written and always interesting because their three dimensionality. When dealing with a variety of characters it's always wise to give them a set of conflicting morals or certain perspectives on life or deep themes that are engaging. And this is exactly what Akutami does. Throughout the manga you see it deals with all kinds of themes about questions of sense of self, morality, righteousness, guilt, egocentrism, selflessness, and sacrifices. These in particular were my favorites because they brought these thought provoking questions that intertwined with the coexistence of shamans, non shamans, and curses. These were all upon the basis of morality, instinct, and duties which applied to most of the cast. It was so interesting to see how each character dealt with these topics or presented these themes. Especially when one of these themes absolutely changes a character or breaks them down. As you can tell from my listing of the themes you can preditct Jujutsu Kaisen isn't going to be super lighthearted forever. It takes a dark spin once you get further into the manga. The first couple volumes are very different compared to the later volumes in terms of themes and character development. It slowly evolves the more shonen-y happy first couple of volumes into more mature dark later volumes. So get ready for the tissues and tears. Overall Jujutsu Kaisen will definetely go on to be one of the most interesting and enjoyable new gen shonen. I predict the anime adaptation once its finished will be a big hit too. I can't wait for the final volumes created and then adapted. !Coming back now (2021) to edit my review to be a little bit more objective in reviewing, the manga has been adapted and the anime is so great. If you're here from the anime then read the current chapters of the manga, and if you're here just to read the manga. GO READ IT!
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