ADVANCE REVIEW: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ Volume 16

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Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 - But Why Tho

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 is written and drawn by Gege Akutami. Snir Aharon does touch-up art and lettering, John Werry does English translation, and English publication is through VIZ Media. Jujutsu Kaisen is serialized in Shonen Jump. Picking up where the previous volume ended, Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 includes chapters 134-142.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 contains pivotal moments in the series as one arc, The Shibuya Incident, ends, and another begins. Akutami skillfully transitions from one arc to another, taking readers from the tail end of the Shibuya incident itself to the next adventure; the fallout from the Shibuya Incident. Because of Sukuna’s destructive rampage, Yuji’s death sentence is back on. And Gojo, despite still being sealed in the prison realm, is considered an accomplice to the Shibuya incident, resulting in his exile from Jujutsu society. Should anyone try and rescue him, it will be considered a crime. The Shibuya Incident has permanently altered the world of Jujutsu sorcerers.

Further disruption comes in the form of the head of the Zen’in clan’s death. With Gojo incapacitated, possibly forever, leadership falls to Megumi Fushiguro- something that infuriates Naoya Zen’in, who believes he’s the rightful heir.

Unfortunately for normal citizens, the chaos within Jujutsu society spills over in the form of millions of powerful curses being unleashed, destroying entire cities. With Gojo out of the way and Yuji and Megumi on the run, the odds are certainly stacked in the curses’ favor.

Throughout all of the chaos and upheaval, Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 sees the return of familiar faces in the form of Yuta, and Rika. A delightful reintroduction to the protagonist of Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0. That is until you realize that Yuta is there to kill Yuji. It’s fitting that a boy with immense power and the possession of a special grade curse is sent to kill another boy with immense power in possession (or being possessed by), a special grade curse. It also makes for an incredible battle. Yuta and Yuji are well-matched in terms of power, and they’re fighting for their lives.

Akutami intersperses their fight with the fight between Choso, and Naoyo, whose fight began when Naoyo showed up to kill Megumi, finding Yuji instead. And this fight reveals a lot about both Naoyo and Choso as characters. Choso is a character that has grown on me a lot as his relationship with Yuji has grown. Choso is a Special Grade Cursed Object: Death Painting Womb. Yuji killed his brothers. And yet, Choso wants to befriend Yuji, going so far as to call him his brother.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 is very close to being a perfect volume. The storytelling and characterization are amazing, the artwork is beautifully done. However, the lettering, specifically the layout of the speech bubbles, experiences some problems. These problems are especially noticeable during chapter 137, there are a few pages with so many speech bubbles it is extremely difficult to figure out the order in which to read everything. In addition, the information itself, about how the government and Jujutsu Sorcerers are trying to save civilians from the rogue curses, feels wordy and dense.

But because this is the most notable issue with the lettering, and because it’s such a small part of the overall volume, it’s not enough to bring the story down significantly. It’s merely a section that could have used some reworking.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 is a well-done installment for the series, bridging the gaps between story arcs without feeling like filler material.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 is available June 21st, 2022.