Manga Talk Lite: Jujutsu Kaisen

Welcome back to Manga Talk!

Today we are going to be trying something a little bit different.

We will still be talking about the first volume of Jujutsu Kaisen, however instead of me going on a long ramble about what happens in the story, shorter than the manga but still a lot of info, I will try and give a shorter summary of what’s going on.

There will still be MASSIVE SPOILERS for this manga, but condensed.

We’ll call this Manga Talk Lite.

Maybe this new format will help me in the future to not get these things late, but we’ll see.

Let’s get started!

Summary

So what this story boils down to is following a young man by the name of Itadori Yuji, a high school student who is freakishly athletic.

He is involved with his school’s occult club and they accidentally find a cursed artifact that unleashes monsters that very nearly kill Yuji’s club friends.

Never use a Ouija board in manga.

Fortunately for them, a young man by the name of Fushiguro Megumi comes in to save them. While he does help, Megumi is no match to deal with the monsters alone, so Yuji, remembering the dying words of his grandfather, comes in to help.

After defeating the creature, they find the cursed artifact, a severed finger from an evil being by the name of Sukuna Ryomen. This is one of twenty fingers that are all very hard to get rid of, but Yuji does so by eating the finger.

This manages to not kill Yuji or allow him to become possessed, which impresses a teacher by the name of Gojo Satoru who enrolls him at Jujutsu High, which is where a bunch of sorcerer’s are taught how to fight evil.

After recruiting a young woman named Kugisaki Nobara, they deal with a cursed school and save a young boy. After that the trio are called to deal with a special group of monsters that have taken several delinquent students hostages/killed them horrifically.

The three get separated from each other, but Megumi manages to find Nobara and retrieve some of the victims so that Yuji can use the power from Sukuna to deal with this greater evil, which is where the volume ends.

Powerhouse

What this manga does well is provide a lot of characterization.

While there is a lot of simple character archetypes going on, Yuji being a shonen protagonist and Megumi being a stoic lone wolf, it feels like there is something more going on with the characters.

Yuji has the attitude one expects from a shonen protagonist, but there are subtle character moments that allow him to feel like he is more than a trope.

Gojo is a delightful character for the relatively little that we see him, taking the mentor role and running with it in a casual manner.

The action scenes are done well, with the art feeling dynamic as the panels are set up in a way that follows through after the initial hit and reaction shot.

The best way I can say is that the action is well choreographed, which is weird to say in a format where there is no moving images.

Weaksauce

I feel that the biggest issue is that the story moves at a fever pitch.

It starts at one point, then BAM the next point, then BAM the next point, there is very little room to breathe.

We go from club antics, to Yuji’s grandfather dying, to fighting monsters, to Yuji becoming possessed in the matter of a single chapter. Granted it’s a 60 page chapter, but that is still fast.

While the characters don’t fall into tropes, the fever pitch could hamper future development. For example, the chapter that introduced Nobara went by with her introduction to fighting in the span of a couple pages.

We only know so much about her, that her backstory is tacked along with a searching sequence rather than properly introducing the character.

In Conclusion

I would recommend this manga if you enjoy action, a quick pace, and fun characters. I will probably continue with the second volume, but I’m not sure how much farther I will go with it.

The Saturday article will be tomorrow, but it will be about what I feel are the major differences between American comics and Japanese manga.

So until then,

Heiwa to sayonara!

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