Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1-12 Review

    With episode 12’s recent release, Jujutsu Kaisen has officially reached the halfway mark of its 24-episode length. The first twelve episodes truly gave anime-only fans a great impression of the story as well as did more than justice to the manga.

    The anime’s first couple of episodes were a great hit with domestic and international fans, even earning Jujutsu Kaisen its own themed café and Nendoroids. The opening and ending themes were extremely catchy as well. Fans took note of small changes MAPPA (Jujutsu Kaisen’s animation studio) made to the opening of each episode, and TikTok fans even made the ending theme a trending sound.

    Fans in love with Sukuna and Gojou Satoru popped up on every social media platform. One thing that amazed me, as well as many other fans, was the color scheme during certain moments. The scenes that come to mind are Gojou’s eye reveal and Sukuna’s first domain expansion.

    Gojou’s eyes, Photo by MAPPA

    It’s common knowledge that manga is limited with its black and white style. While some manga get color spreads here and there, it can be hard for readers to imagine what the characters look like in a color world. In the Jujutsu Kaisen manga, readers don’t get to see what color Gojou’s eyes are during his grand reveal while fighting Jogo. Rather, what we see are grey-colored eyes with alot of shine in them.

    Gojou’s eyes, Photo by Akutami Gege

    The anime’s method of revealing Gojou’s piercing blue eyes was breath-taking for me and really wasn’t what I initially imagined when reading the manga. I found myself rewatching the reveal over and over and I couldn’t stop staring at Gojou’s eyes.

    Sukuna’s domain expansion had the same impact as Gojou’s eye reveal.

    Sukuna’s Domain Expansion, Photo by MAPPA

    During the Cursed Womb Arc, we get to see how Sukuna’s fights during battles and truly how powerful he is (despite only having two fingers at that time). The manga shows a very detailed drawing of Sukuna’s domain expansion, Malevolent Shrine. However, the anime gifts us a wide-view angle of the domain as well. The way MAPPA depicts Malevolent Shrine gives off the feeling of being split between worlds, which really is the intent of Domain Expansion. The centerpiece of Sukuna’s domain is the shrine littered with skulls sitting on top of a body of water. The water reflects the shrine. However, the water reflects a different background behind the shrine, which is that of reality outside of the Domain Expansion.

    Sukuna’s Domain Expansion, Photo by MAPPA

    MAPPA makes this moment even more of a key scene compared to the manga solely off of this split reflection. The top half of the image depicts the shrine with a red, foggy background and Sukuna inside the shrine, representing Sukuna. The bottom half of the image depicts the shrine with the background of the detention center. However, instead of Sukuna in the shrine, Itadori stands there instead. This split emphasizes Itadori and Sukuna sharing one body, and Sukuna standing on top represents his control over the body at the moment.

    Photo by MAPPA

    MAPPA truly shined with this anime. While there may have been a couple of mixed opinions here and there regarding the animation style, the majority consensus was amazed by MAPPA’s attention to detail. One thing I noticed, and actually prefer, is how you can tell that Jujutsu Kaisen‘s animation is not completely smooth. Compared to other popular animation studios, it seems that MAPPA seems to skip a couple of frames when animating certain scenes, especially fight scenes.

    GIF by MAPPA

    While this kind of animation style may not be favored by some, I enjoyed it quite a bit because it gave off a “handmade” sense. Yes, anime is drawn by many artists who spend countless hours drawing thousands of frames every day. However, with the presence of technological advancements and increased skill, it’s easy for viewers to forget the talent that goes into every episode. MAPPA’s somewhat choppy style not only seems intentional but also reminds viewers of the amount of work that goes into each anime episode.

    Photo by MAPPA

    Despite being at the peak of the arc, episode 12 did not complete the Vs. Mahito arc. I’m excited to see how MAPPA will animate the Nanami and Itadori vs. Mahito fight in episode 13 as well as the Kyoto Goodwill Event arc that follows.


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