Anime Taste Testing: Jujutsu Kaisen

And the new anime season finally kicks off with… a less-than-stellar shounen work populated by characters that seem like they’re built less around their personalities and more around their fantastical physical prowess. W00t.

I think my biggest problem with Jujutsu Kaisen/Sorcery Fight is that it itself doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. At some points, it’s a school comedy, at others, a supernatural horror, and at still others, it’s a fantasy martial arts-inspired action piece. Personally, I wish the show had leaned more into the comedy angle, because I can’t really take it seriously enough as any kind of drama or horror, and I’m not enough of an action fan to appreciate the battle scenes. However, any kind of thematic cohesion would probably have done this premiere a world of good.

My other major problem, as I alluded to at the start, is that the characters just don’t feel like fully-fledged people to me. Of the five introduced in this first episode, one dies by the halfway mark, two are side characters (assuming they have a continued role in the series at all), and the two main characters don’t exactly have me excited to see more. They’re just kind of there, fulfilling their respective roles as in-the-know-anime-tough-guy and oblivious-anime-tough-guy, with nothing in particular to distinguish them as people I should actually care about either way. The side characters honestly seem way more fun, but like I said, I have no idea whether they’ll become a staple of the show or not.

The good news is that the series certainly looks the part. MAPPA has done a good job with the visual direction and animation quality, with decent integration of the CG and bringing the demons/spirits to delightfully creepy life. I dearly wish our only female character hadn’t been groped when it was her turn to be sucked into the monster’s eeeevil clutches, but then again, is it even possible to animate any girl above elementary school age being abducted by a monster without fondling her in the process? Apparently not.

In all, I was underwhelmed and mostly bored by what Jujutsu Kaisen had to offer as a first impression. I don’t think any major storytelling sins were committed here, but the story itself strikes me as average at best, and I don’t think I really care to watch any further.

Rating: 5/10

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