I mentioned in a previous article that Jujutsu Kaisen seems to combine the best parts of Noragami and Beyond the Boundary to create the best action anime of Fall 2020. This point still stands, however, I noticed that Jujutsu Kaisen has a lot of similarities to Naruto. The similarities between the two series aren’t extremely overwhelming. Yet, there are enough similarities to justify why I called Jujutsu Kaisen, Naruto 2.0.
The most obvious similarity between Jujutsu Kaisen and Naruto is that the story revolves around an orphaned boy who has a powerful demonic entity sealed inside him for the safety of humanity. It’s no secret to anime fans that Naruto’s parents died when he was a baby and he grew up without an actual family. With Itadori, his only living relative died in the first episode, thus leaving him orphaned and alone. I don’t know if being an orphan has any effect on one’s ability to seal away powerful entities, but with Naruto and Itadori, this seems to be the case. Kurama and Sukuna are well renowned, extremely powerful, and highly destructive entities in their respective universes, and yet they managed to be sealed away by two young boys who are honestly trying to live their best lives.
It’s important to note that the key difference between Naruto’s and Itadori’s situation is that Naruto had Kurama sealed inside of him as an infant. Itadori on the other hand got overzealous while trying to save his friends and ate a highly cursed finger. Even still, both Naruto and Itadori go through the series trying to help people and become stronger.
Additionally, both Naruto and Itadori have no problem depending on their respective entities to help them out in dire situations. Naruto fans know for a fact that Naruto would call on Kurama when he was losing badly. Itadori is the same way, there have been a couple of instances in the first few episodes where he has called out to Sukuna for help. The difference is that Kurama actually helped Naruto out when he needed it. Sukuna on the other hand, would just straight up refuse to help Itadori and even make plans to make Itdaori’s life more difficult. Sukuna would still come out and fight, but only when Itadori gave up control.
You might ask, “But Jasmine, if Jujutsu Kaisen is Naruto 2.0, why would the demonic entity inside the main character be such an asshole?” Well, if you remember or watched Naruto, you would know that Naruto always treated Kurama with respect and understanding. The relationship between Kurama and Naruto is a symbiotic one and the two eventually develop a pretty amazing friendship. Sukuna and Itadori’s relationship is symbiotic as well, but their relationship is more about dominance and control. It’s clear throughout the series that Sukuna and Itadori do not like each other nor do they want to understand each other. Itadori depends on Sukuna for power sure, but otherwise, he sees Sukuna as something he needs to control. Sukuna is chaotic neutral at best and looks down on Itadori, so it makes sense that they have a fraught relationship.
Another similarity between Jujutsu Kaisen and Naruto is that they have a smart yet dark and brooding foil character for the main character. Both Megumi and Sasuke fill this role for their respective series, yet Jujutsu Kaisen lacks the rivalry between the main character and the foil character that Naruto had.
When Megumi met Itadori, their interaction was pretty casual and the two boys fought well together despite just meeting. Megumi even decided to not kill Itdadori after he ate one of Sukuna’s fingers, even though they had only just met and the laws of jujutsu sorcery require all curses to be exorcised. As the series continues, Megumi is portrayed as someone who has a very calculating, matter-of-fact type of personality. Both Megumi and Sasuke had a bad family experience in childhood that shaped their ideals and their mindset as teenagers, but Megumi isn’t as vengeful or power-hungry as Sasuke was. It’s also shown that Megumi doesn’t particularly understand Itadori, yet the two don’t fight that much, unlike Sasuke and Naruto, who fought almost constantly. Megumi and Itadori have the same goal of keeping people safe, they just have different ways of going about it. Where Itdadori wants to save people in general, Megumi only saves who he thinks is kind and deserves to be saved.
Along with the orphaned yet idealistic main character and the brooding yet caring foil character, both Jujutsu Kaisen and Naruto have a rough and tumble girl in the group to balance things out. Sakura and Nobara are loud, strong (yes Sakura is strong), and impulsive, and they’re proficient in battle but not as good as their partners. Yet, both Sakura and Nobara do a lot of growing and a lot of hard work in their respective series to get great abilities that fit them and only them.
Additionally, both girls are kind of vain, yet Sakura eventually grows out of this and Nobara’s vanity is used as comic relief to round out her personality. The main difference between Sakura and Nobara is that Nobara is actually well written. Nobara has her shortcomings in battle and personality, yet her personality is multidimensional enough that we can focus on something other than her shortcomings. While Sakura spends most of Naruto making questionable battle decisions and simping for Sasuke, Nobara spends her time doing her best to achieve her goals. This isn’t to say that Sakura doesn’t do her best to achieve her goals, it just says that her goals weren’t as clear as Nobara’s. Sakura was treated as a side character whereas Nobara is treated as part of the main cast, abrasive personality and all.
While discussing the similarities between Jujutsu Kaisen and Naruto, it’s impossible to overlook Kasashi and Kakashi 2.0, I mean Gojo. What group of rowdy and powerful kids would be complete without their strong, simp-able teacher behind them? Both Kakashi and Gojo are extremley powerful and well known in their respective universes. Both of them have white hair and wear masks to protect their special eyes. Kakashi and Gojo are confident fighters and they seem to enjoy teaching. They also seem to be good natured and light hearted on the outside yet on the inside they are calculating and observant (which is weird because of the masks but okay).
The main difference between Kakashi and Gojo is the reason behind why they teach. Kakashi teaches because he wanted to look out for Naruto on behalf of Naruto’s father Minato, who was his teacher. Gojo teaches because he wants to reinvent the systems of jujutsu. Instead of taking out the people at the top, Gojo decided that it would be more effective to shape the future of jujutsu sorcerers in his image and assert his dominance in that way. No matter their reasons for teaching, both Kakashi and Gojo keep their students together and allow them to grow.
These are only a few reasons why Jujutsu Kaisen is essentially Naruto 2.0. I would go on to discuss that both Naruto and Itadori are shunned by society after sealing their respective entities and how Maki and Rock Lee are really similar characters in different bodies. But that would take away from the beauty of Jujutsu Kaisen. Even though Jujutsu Kaisen is similar to many popular anime, it’s still unique and amazing. Pointing out the similarities is simply quite amusing.
Jasmine is a 23-year-old writer, weeb, and overall nerd from Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite shows include Kill la Kill, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Criminal Minds. When she’s not writing or watching anime, she usually has her nose in a book or is just existing…y’know like a human person does.