This episode begins by jumping into a fight between Itadori and Junpei. Right away they’re going at one another, which surprised me. I’m so used to there being the dramatic monologue before the fight that us jumping right into this one seemed a refreshing change of pace.
Junpei is full of anger and pain, all built up over time and finally bubbling over with the death of his mother. The fight is cool, and one Itadori seems to have an advantage in right away. Junpei took the fast track to attaining his powers, through the help of Mahitoi, giving better control almost right away. Although that doesn’t seem to compare to old fashioned hard work.
His power is to summon a cursed jellyfish-like creature that can poison his enemies. Although the creature takes on Jojo Standlike properties to help Junpei in battle, anything he does seems to never come close to halting the relentless assault of Itadori, who seems more interested in understanding Junpei than really fighting him.
The two to break through to one another eventually. Despite their battle, the two had seemed destined to become friends before they even met, Itadori ending up simply lowering his guard and coming to approaching his friend to help soothe his pain in any way he can. Just as he breaks through to the kid, Mahito shows up, revealing his true colours to Junpei in the process.
The kid, blinded by his own pain and disconnection from humanity suddenly realises how messed up all of the things Mahito showed him in the sewers actually were. Realising too late, as Mahito puts a hand him and turns him into a monster using his power of idle transfiguration.
It’s tragic really, Itadori, the impossibly empathetic hero that he is begs Sukuna do something to heal him, even offering to give his body over to the curse in return. Although the curse refuses, seemingly content with whatever bargain he made while Itadroi was petering on the edge of death. Something Itadori himself has no memory of.
As the mocking laughs of both Sukuna and Mahito ring in his ears, the monsterfied Junpei slumps over, seemingly dead and unable to keep on living in this form. Something that causes something to snap in Itadori. I said it before when I was watching Demon Slayer, there’s nothing scarier than a good man’s righteous anger. And he announces with a conviction that he will kill the curse responsible.
Which all makes for a fantastic series of visual representations of Itadroi’s divine rage, but doesn’t nesseserily mean he can back it all up. He puts up a valiant effort against the curse creature, as his unique situations gives him some perspective on his own soul that helps him actually hurt the soul shifting monster.
But that doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near a match for his opponent. While Mahito’s goal seemingly is to draw Sunuka out and bring him over to their side, it turns out that maybe he has also misjudged the situation he’s in. While he has Itadori around his little finger, he tries to draw the curse within him out, which backfires pretty spectacularly.
Sukuna creature calls Mahito an idiot and tells him to never touch his soul again, the only reason he lets him get away with it in the first place because because the two shared a hearty chuckle at the kid’s expense. So with that plan out of the window, it seems like Mahito is going back top his original plan of beating Itadoi almost to death so he’d be forced to bring Sukuna out himself.
Although Kento show up at the last minute to save his stupid ass. It take mere moments for Kento to assess the situation and come up with a battle plan, he quickly realises that Itadori, the person he’s been trying to keep out o this fight as much as possible, is the key to defeating this powerful curse.
Not only is he immune to his transformation powers, he is the only one who can hurt him, plus he has the advantage of Mahito not wanting to land a killing blow on the kid. So, ironically, the one thing Kento was trying to do by sparing Itadori the pain of innocence being lost is the very thing he’s about to do by using his student as a human shield and weapon.
This was a great episode, it’s done a great job of making us really feel for Junpei and understand the tragedy of his situation. So making his death, whether it’s permanent or not, all the more impactful, which makes Itadori’s rage moment all the better. There’s nothing that gets me fired up more than a bit of pure righteous anger from an otherwise good-hearted person.
Although it’s still too early for Itadori to really do anything on his own against what, as far as we know right now, is the major antagonist of the series. Which ends up being kind of deflating to an extent when we got such good build up and some very artistic representation of Itadori’s rage.
I do like that Itadroi is no slouch, he’s a capable sorcerer, now more than ever. But even so, he’s finding himself in situations where he’s punching well above his own weight. There are situations in shonen where it feels like the main character’s development is either too fast or too slow, where they’re either storming through enemies until they encounter a “boss” or every fight they’re in seems to be a life or death struggle.
Itadori seems to fall into the later more than the former camp when it comes to Jujutsu Kaisen, but its really through no fault of his own, as he keeps getting pitted against enemies he really has no business battling at this point in the series. This arc has been my favourite of the anime so far, having stretched out for longer than I’d expected and created some real stakes and character drama for me to sink my teeth into.
It’s a good thing I’ve got two episodes to watch back to back this week.