Jujutsu Kaisen – Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

As we open this episode, we do so not with Itadori, but of some other high school kid. One who is targeted and bullied by his classmates for no real reason other than they find it funny. In fact, we get a quick crash course as to why people suck and why this kid hates everyone around him. While getting bullied, a teacher spots it happening out of the window and does nothing. The kid is obviously frustrated by his own life and wants some way, any way to lash out back at life.

So when he’s in the theatre where the three warped bodies showed up at the end of the previous episode, rather than be disgusted or terrified by what he’s seen, he chases down the man he saw do it and asks if its a power he can learn too. It’s a very understandable motivation for a teenager, one who feels ostracized and targeted by his peers. It’s just too bad this kid exists in a world where he can manifest literal powers to murder.

Meanwhile, we’re introduced to the new guy who seems to be leading Itadori around while Gojo (Y’know what, I am constantly spelling and remembering this guy’s name wrong. So going forward, I’m just going to copy how the Manga’s wiki spells it) is unavailable, his name is Nanami Kento, and he’s the “ex-salary man jujutsu sorcerer” according to Gojo. A man hailing from the neutral planet apparently, only dealing in facts and being hyper-literal at all times. The total antithesis to Gojo. Although I like his reasoning for becoming a sorcerer:

Jujutsu Kaisen - Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

Sorcerers are shit, but work is also shit. So he settled on the one he felt was less shit of the two. Even in being the “normal” one, he’s still a weird-ass dude. I’d describe him as aggressively apathetic, he doesn’t want to like anything, and he’s really in your face about it. He’s a weird guy to be fair, he reveals his power of being able to identify the weak point of an enemy and hit it for a “critical hit”, able to punch above his weight in a fight, so to speak.

When Itadori questions the logic in revealing his power in front of the enemy, he goes on a monologue about how “revealing one’s hand” can increase the effectiveness of their techniques while fighting a curse. Itadori, who is battling another curse is caught between listening to him and paying attention to his own battle. It’s silly and makes me wonder how much of the revealing your hand pact is an actual thing (ala Kurapika’s Nen contract from HunterxHunter) and how much of it is just him talking himself up to seem like a badass.

Jujutsu Kaisen - Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

Cutting to a flashback, we get some insight into Itadori’s fighting style and use of cursed energy. As you’d expect from a main character, his power is incredibly straightforward. The visual style is very cool looking though, with the blue and black flames surrounding Itadori’s strikes, it reminds me of the treatment of the techniques used in Demon Slayer. At this point, it seems like Itadori’s cursed energy can’t keep up with his natural superhuman strength, so his punches almost have a double impact.

Kento seems impressed with Itadori’s potential because while his current technique is very untested, his own raw physical strength compensates. And with this, Itadori feels a little more on par with his peers, while not having to rely on Sukuna again. At least if he can help it. As they’re about to end the fight, Kento comes to a chilling realisation.

Although I feel like it should be a chilling realisation, every other character in the show is so bloody jaded by all the death and mayhem going on around them that they don’t really seem that affected by it. The monsters the two were fighting weren’t actually cursed spirits, rather they were humans, or rather former humans transformed like the bodies in the theatre by Mahito, the scarred guy’s powers.

Jujutsu Kaisen - Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

Which, coupled with the fake Frankenstein movie the characters were watching when the episode started makes sense. Like Doctor Frankenstein, this guy seems to be bent on creating new life out of old life. Although he seems to glee in making inhuman monsters out of former people. Something that shakes Itadori, upon seeing this Kento lightens up on the kid a little and starts to treat him a bit nice to bring him out of his funk.

Cutting back to the kid and Mahito, it seems like the kid is easily accepting whatever the scarred guy is telling him. And quickly becoming indoctrinated to whatever his goal is, like the kid it seems that, despite his cheery disposition, he is deeply resentful of how shitty people are to one another and seems to be more content to be “friends” with the curses.

The episode ends with Kento having figured out everything he needs to go after Mahito, he seems highly competent, and will soon be highly dead based on his next choice. While he plans on confronting the scarred up guy, he sends Itadori on a wild goose chase, investigating the kid who made contact with him after he chased him out of the theatre where the original dead bodies showed up.

Jujutsu Kaisen - Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

While this kid is undoubtedly connected to Mahito, he mostly wants Itadori out of the way, to protect him. Which screams to me that Kento is dying in the fight. I’d be willing to put money on it.

I like that we’re returning to the wider world in this episode outside of sorcerer school shenanigans. Seeing that the police are aware of the curse spirits to some extent and just turn a blind eye to the sorcerers doing their jobs, as well as seeing Itadori display the beginnings of his power as a sorcerer. I like Kento too, he’s a weird guy and obviously one who’s destined to die.

While that fight is a given in the next episode, I’m more curious as to what’s going to happen between Itadori and the kid, if the kid is still normal or has been changed by the scarred guy’s power to turn people into monsters. Which seems like the most likely outcome, given that people can’t learn cursed energy. It’s going to be another tragic ending I see, something that won’t sit well with super empathetic Itadori and his weird fascination with people choosing how they die.

One thought on “Jujutsu Kaisen – Episode 9 Review: Small Fry and Reverse Retribution

  1. “Sorcerers are shit, but work is also shit. So he settled on the one he felt was less shit of the two”

    Not quite he felt both were equally shit. He was just better at being a Sorcerer so picked that one.

    Like

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