REVIEW: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ Episode 1 – “Ryoumen Sukuna”

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Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1

Jujutsu Kaisen is a horror-action anime produced by MAPPA. Yuuji Itadori is a laid back kid just trying to get through high school. But when he chances upon a cursed object he discovers there is a whole other side to his world he never knew about. The only question is, can Itadori survive the experience. In Jujustu Kaisen Episode 1, “Ryoumen Sukuna,” an everyday person is thrust into a world of magic and horror, that exists right under our noses. We just never knew it was there.

Let’s face it, this isn’t a new concept. When treading on such familiar ground a story needs to provide something special to get and hold, a viewer’s attention. After watching Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1, I think this series might just have a couple of those special things. Let’s start with the protagonist.

Itadori’s introduction gives me lots of hope for this character. He has some fun quirks, and a bit of a slacker attitude many can appreciate. At the same time though, he doesn’t come off as completely ridiculous. Anime often times likes to have those protagonists that make you wonder how they are smarter enough to breathe. Happily, Itadori falls well short of that. Though he does occasionally seem a bit slow on the uptake, he is, all in all, a kind-hearted person. This is most clearly shown in his dealings with his grandfather.

As Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 opens Itadori’s grandfather is sick, and not long for the world. And, even over his grandfather’s protests, he makes time to visit him. It’s clearly hard for him, but he does it anyway. This, along with his attitude toward the Occult Investigation Club he is a part of, really establishes Itadori as a good guy. Though his grandfather doesn’t get him in trouble like his club life does.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 
Itadori (at left) with the other members of the Occult Investigation Club.



It is Itadori’s desire to help out the members of the Occult Club that turns his life on it’s head. When he accidentally comes into possession of a cursed artifact, his school becomes the home for some truly monstrous creatures.

Along with a great main character, Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 also gives viewers some great visuals to feast their eyes on. Given that MAPPA is responsible for other recent anime visual hits like God of High School and Dorohedoro, it won’t surprise many that this series provides a look that is both unique and polished. I’m not sure exactly sure how to describe the art style here. While it obviously presents all the hallmarks of an anime, there is an aspect to the linework that makes it feel different to me. More grounded I think. At least until the curses show up.

Curses are what Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 call it’s monster/demon entities. And trust me, these things are the stuff of nightmares. Lots of disturbingly placed eyes, oddly protruding limbs, make these creatures uncomfortable even to look at. How they interact with the human characters is even more uncomfortable. They are grotesque, even without any gratuitous blood added for shock value.

When all is said and done Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 delivers a pilot that is fun, intriguing, and disturbing all at once. It’s too soon to say whether or not the series will live up to it’s early potential, bit it is certainly off to a great start.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 Is streaming now on Crunchyroll.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 - "Ryoumen Sukuna"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1 delivers a pilot that is fun, intriguing and disturbing all at once. It’s too soon to say whether or not the series will live up to it’s early potential, bit it is certainly off to a great start.