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The much-awaited Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 aired on 6th July. With an offering of fan-favorite characters along with MAPPA’s newest animation attempt, did it live up to the hype? And will my love for Daddy, aka Gojo Satoru, influence the article as it did last time when I put pen to paper the news on Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2? Let’s find out.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2: What You Need To Know?

In my last article of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, which I had written with my love and affection (mostly for my Daddy), I failed to mention what fans should expect and only mentioned what I expected. Granted, it was my second article and at the time of writing, I had just begun reading the Hidden Inventory/Premature Death Arc.

What happens in this arc is basically Gojo and Geto, the Strongest Duo of Tokyo Jujutsu High are tasked with the mission by Tengen-sama, the person responsible for Jujutsu’s Stability. Their mission, escorting a young girl named Riko Amanai, who has been chosen as the Star Plasma Vessel. With her info leaked to the public, the strongest duo has to face many assassins and Jujutsu Users on the way to escort her to Jujutsu High.

If the plot sounds high-stakes to you, then you are mistaken. Because our Daddy, Gojo is at the center stage along with the Baddie-who-was-once-the-bestie-of Daddy, Geto Suguru by his side. So, dealing with assassins was not a problem for them. So, you may ask what is the deal with this arc? Well, it is a crucial arc for both Daddy and his Bestie, as this mission changes their outlook on life and their moral values. And of course, without Toji Fushigiro involved, that would have never happened.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 - Illustration - Deshi Geek
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 – Illustration – Deshi Geek

What Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Shined In?

In my article on Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc, I mentioned the battle between Anime & Manga and how they try to one-up each other using everything in their arsenal. In this case, JJK Manga was a weak competitor against its Anime counterpart. Whatever scenes the Manga had, the Anime did better with its visually stunning animation. And the fact that the Anime had the backing of MAPPA didn’t help its case as it had a strong resume of its own.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 brought back fan-favorite characters while introducing new ones. And they made sure to make each character memorable, whether it is the eerily optimistic Haibara, or the pitting-on-brave-face Riko Amanai. But the one character that made a huge impact, was of course Toji Fushigiro.

Even if we were to exclude the fact that Toji was voiced by Dio’s VA, the character has been making the rounds since the manga appearances. And if you ask my opinion, this character will intentionally make you hate him for as long as he breathes. Until he changes your mind with his “one-final” appearance. And he does that twice.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 also possess some really great openings and endings. Tatsuya Kitani’s “Where Our Blue Is,” could be a reference to Gojo’s Godly Blue Eyes or it could be freedom, intuition and imagination held by the characters. while “Light,” by Soushi Sakayama is probably used as a metaphorical reference to Geto and Amanai’s life. But as if that wasn’t enough, they also made the scenes in the manga more dynamic. And I’ll talk about two particular scenes here.

In the first episode, there is a scene where Gojo and Geto discuss the importance of Jujutsu Users in the lives of the Common folk. Gojo being young and foolish while also being the strongest (even more so than his seniors), disapproves of the fact that they have to protect them while in hiding. Geto on the other hand defends this by saying that the Strong’s responsibility is to protect the Weak. This scene then escalates to them about to start a fight right then and there.

In the Manga, this scene takes place within a Classroom, while in the Anime it takes place in a Basketball Court. By utilizing the do’s and don’ts of both mediums, they understood that where that scene worked in the manga because of that location, it wouldn’t fly for the anime. Hence, they kept their audience’s attention by shifting that scene to a Basketball Court and having them play against each other.

The same would go for the fight scene between Geto and Toji. Where in the Manga, Getou tries to hold his position while Toji freely moves around the battlefield to fight Getou and the spirits in his possessions, the Anime decided to one-up the scene by utilizing their arsenal properly. Both combatants did not only move around the battlefield but also made the battlefield move around them. MAPPA managed to one-up that very fight scene without ruining the character’s style. I’d have to give them another point on that.

Since we’re on the topic of Episode 4, Toji and Gojo’s second round was well animated as well as the post-credit scene. The colors of the hallway they were in were separated just by a door depicting how both of them were about to walk a different path. Even though both Manga Readers and Anime Viewers knew this, it was very pleasing to the eyes. Suffice to say, they did a pretty decent job in the editing department. One particular scene, (at the end of episode 3) paid homage to a moment from Bleach in the Soul Society Arc.

You’ll know which one I am talking about once you watch the series. But I wonder if you’d be able to pull through, given the flaws Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 has!

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Trailer

Why Did Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Disappoint Me?

In my review of JJK Season 1 on MAL under the same handle, you see me complimenting the animation done by MAPPA and how they blended 2D animation and 3D graphics. This time it was not the same case.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is not a bad anime, it has its strength. But it also had its faults, and one that I can’t seem to forgive. What did they do exactly to grab my attention like this? That not even my love for Daddy couldn’t save it? Well, the exact thing that happens once you start reading the manga. But even (some reasonable) anime-viewers would agree with me.

Like Ufotable’s mess on Demon Slayer Season 3, MAPPA made a similar mistake with the animation. However, where Ufotable messed up one scene, MAPPA messed up the experience of enjoying the entire 5-episode anime arc. Since their teaser, they had been teasing us with their unique animation style. And they delivered, badly.

The animation of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, was weird. Sometimes it was smooth, sometimes it was rough, sometimes it had chibi-animation, sometimes it had cartoonish animation. And that was just the first episode. The other episode had a similar animation style and some shone more than it did in the manga. But several key scenes were not executed well in this season’s animation style.

It’s as if MAPPA were confused as to how to adapt this arc of the series and thought that they’d try and pay homage to Ghibli Animation with their own. However, we’ve seen what happened when Studio Ghibli attempted 3D Anime with Earwig and the Witch. Surprisingly the director’s name was “Gojo Miyazaki.” Coincidence anyone?

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 - Scene - Deshi Geek
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 – Scene – Deshi Geek

Does Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Deserve All The Bashing?

My belief is that the fault lies with the animators within the MAPPA that took up the task of animating this season. Why do I think that? Well, the answer is simple, they tried to completely adapt the manga into the anime. You may think, isn’t that the purpose of the anime? The answer is, yes. And I used to think that until I was educated regarding the grey areas within this adaptation game.

Remember how I mentioned the Basketball Scene and the fight scene between Geto and Toji? Instead of try and make it dynamic, they could have chosen to keep it the same as the manga. But they didn’t, instead, they chose a method where they can make both of the scenes more interesting in the anime than it was shown in the manga. They could have done the same regarding the chibi and cartoonish animation. Work their magic to make the scene more watchable in the anime. Instead, they just made it (or tried to make it) exactly like the manga.

And it’s not like MAPPA had not done this before, they have. Back in Season 1 with the Yuji and Todo vs Hanami fight scene. And they did the same with their prequel movie, JJK0. Making the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons and the final fight of the movie exciting.

And as I had mentioned how several key scenes were not well executed, there was one particular of them. And that was the scene that was present in the prequel movie. In Episode 5 of the Premature Death Arc, Gojo and Geto have a final stand-off in a crowded area. There Geto asks, “Are you strong because you’re Gojo Satoru? Or are you Gojo Satoru because you are strong?”

The scene displays their final stand regarding each other’s ideologies after their utter defeat and failure as the World’s Strongest. As both characters not only question each other but also part ways only to return as enemies. However, this scene was butchered for one particular reason and that was the crowd-animation. And allow me to give you a reference, play JJK0 side-by-side with that scene, and you’ll see what I mean.

I don’t know, did MAPPA just go lazy with the material that put them on the map or what? Because Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 deserved better. Heck, the split-second scene of Gojo-Prime in the opening has much better animation than in the recent arc of the anime.

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Trailer Extended Version

My Verdict

Even if it is too soon for me to say this, this year had not been kind for anime fans. Whether it is the series of failures within the Cons in Bangladesh, or a very disappointing attempt from animation Juggernauts like MAPPA and Ufotable. Disappointments have come either way.

However, there is a silver lining, like how despite the disappointing number of Cons, there had been some breathtaking Cosplays; similarly, where the Juggernauts failed with their Magnum Opus, relative unknowns came to light and shone brightly. Sure, this doesn’t save JJK. But this saves the Anime Community as a whole. And I hope that the upcoming episodes of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 are done with care and attention so that the mistake doesn’t occur twice.

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If my name didn't give it away, I am a Baka and an Otaku. And, I do a pretty good job at being both of them. More often than not at the same time.

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