ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ Volume 4

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 is an action-adventure supernatural manga written and illustrated by Gege Akutami and is published by VIZ Media. The series takes place in a world where cursed spirits feed on humans. Luckily there is a mysterious school of Jujutsu Sorcerers whose purpose is to protect the human world from the supernatural threats that plague them every day.

Jujutsu Kaisen follows Yuji Itadori, a gifted track and field high school athlete who prefers to spend his time in the Occult Club. Itadori’s life suddenly changes when he meets Megumi Fushiguro, a Sorcerer and high school student at Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College who is investigating some supernatural activity at Itadori’s school. When the investigation takes a turn for the worse, Itadori jumps into action to help. Now in order to save the world from demons, he may have to become a demon himself.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 consists of chapters 26 through 34. In this volume, while investigating some mysterious deaths, Itadori meets Junpei, a troubled high schooler who is bullied a lot at school. Unfortunately, Junpei is also befriended by Mahito, a cursed spirit and the culprit behind the bloody bizarre deaths. Now having gained Junpei’s trust, Mahito puts his devious plan to trap Itadori into motion. 

Shonen is a genre of manga that is primarily targeted at a young teen male demographic. A signature trope of the genre is that the main character, usually a young boy between the ages of 12-18, discovers or gains power or talent, and then goes on an adventure where they are thrust into danger in order to save the world. That is essentially the case in Jujutsu Kaisen.

When Yuji consumes a fragment of a powerful demon, Ryōmen Sukuna, he gains an immense amount of supernatural power. However, with this power comes great responsibility that puts Yuji’s life in constant danger. But like most Shonen characters, Yuji wants to face the danger head-on and puts the safety of others above his own well-being. 

Overall, Yuji is the typical Shonen type and I really enjoy the character. However, what I found to be very refreshing about this series is how the adults in the series, be it teachers or Yuji’s superiors, treat him like child. This isn’t done in a disrespectful or demeaning way, but rather the adults around Yuji recognize that even though he has great power within him, at the end of the day he is still a young teenage boy.

A great example of this is when Yuji meets Keto Nanami, another Sorcerer that works for Itadori’s Jujutsu school. At first, Nanami is a stoic man with a tough exterior and has good morals at his core. Over the years, he’s become a man worn down by the humdrum practices of day to day life that robbed him of his youth and turned him into an adult.

The reason he treats Yuji like a child is not because he doesn’t trust his sense of responsibility or thinks Yuji’s skills as a Sorcerer are lacking. Instead, he treats him like a kid because he doesn’t want to see him lose his youth for the sake of becoming a Jujutsu Sorcerer. At the end of the day, Namani doesn’t see Yuji as a soldier or a weapon; Namani still sees Yuji as a kid and he wants to help preserve his youth as long as he can.

The artwork in this manga ranges from dark and creepy to explosive and expressive. Akutami‘s illustrations really captures the intensity in both the action scenes and horror illustrations of supernatural creatures. Some of my favorite panels were the explosive fight scenes between the demons and sorcerers.

What really impressed me most of all was the illustrations of the graphic transformations of human bodies into demons. The transformations feel very similar to what is typical in the body horror genre. Akutami ‘s artwork shows graphic and slightly disturbing violations of the human body when people are transformed into monsters.

Lastly, I found the story in this volume to be very interesting. In this volume, Yuji meets Junpei, a high school boy who’s been getting bullied. I can’t help but notice that Yuji and Junpei are reflections of one another. Both of them lost the only family members they had left. They come into contact with the supernatural world and from that point on their lives are forever changed.

The biggest difference between the two is that Yuji didn’t get consumed by hatred and despair over his situation. Yuji was lucky enough to meet the right people and have a support system around him. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Junpei. And that is what sets the two of them on separate paths. I also think the interaction Yuji has with Junpei will mark a memorable moment for his journey to becoming a powerful sorcerer.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 is well worth the read. If you are looking for a new manga that you can jump into relatively easily, then I recommend this one. The series is still just starting off, but the artwork is great and the story is interesting. And while it doesn’t exactly break the mold of the Shonen hero trope, it does give a refreshing take on it.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 will be available in bookstores and online on June 2. To find out where to buy, check out Viz.com.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4
5

TL;DR

Jujutsu Kaisen Vol. 4 is well-worth the read. If you are looking for a new manga that you can jump into relatively easy, then I recommend this one. The series is still just starting off, but the artwork is great and the story is interesting. And while it doesn’t exactly break the mold of the Shonen hero trope, it does give a refreshing take on it.