Another week, another brilliantly composed spectacle of destruction from Jujutsu Kaisen—though if the ever-buzzing gossip mill of social media would have you believe, MAPPA may not be able to keep up with production demands This output takes longer. I don’t have any specifics on what’s really going on behind the scenes there, but more news about overexploited and overworked animation teams being forced into labor on a ridiculous schedule won’t be the most shocking article of 2023. As time goes on, it becomes harder to enjoy episodes like “Thunderclap, Part 2” because of all the art and The beautiful animation on display always comes at a cost, and we must be mindful of if and when that cost becomes unreasonable.
I’m sure those who put their heart and soul into making this episode a feast for the eyes will appreciate recognition of the fruits of their labor, so at least let me say that this is a Another exemplary program for artists at MAPPA. The entire episode is devoted to a single fight (a running theme this season) and the clash between Sukuna and Makora, Megumi’s strongest shikigami to date, is certainly a notable one. In addition to the smooth choreography and massive scale of the fight, this battle also features some of the most terrifying apocalyptic and surreal imagery of the season so far. Sukuna’s “Wicked Kitchen” domain expansion may have a silly name, but the mass destruction it causes is no laughing matter, wiping out humans and souls alike by cutting and its dreaded dicing.
It’s a shame that the episode conveys the greatness of Sukuna’s power but still fails to crack the code that makes us emotionally invested in what’s going on. This glimpse of civilians being destroyed by the Evil Kitchen reminds us that normal people are dying in this longest Halloween of all time, but that’s something you understand on an intellectual level not on an emotional level. Maybe some more backstory involving attempts to rescue civilians would have been helpful, or perhaps we could have spent more time with some of the weaker supporting characters whose deaths could have been save at this time to sell the impact. That Shigemo guy doesn’t count either. He was a worthless character whose death would have actually been more important if we had just left it up to him being destroyed by Nanami a few weeks ago. Here, it seems like the only reason he was given those vague “miraculous saving” powers was to be an expendable body for a war that otherwise only involved Megumi is unconscious, a shikigami we’ve never heard of before and a villain. whose only defining personality trait is that he is “Evil but more so than other evil people”.
We end the episode with an incredibly moving and powerful moment as the awakened Yuji is faced with the unspeakable crimes that he was complicit in… or rather, the moment could be a powerful moment if the episode didn’t make the completely insane choice to cap the brutal scene with a damn theme song. Hey, Jujutsu Kaisen, for future reference: If you’re going to sell the sheer terror and pain that comes from your hero discovering that his body has been robbed to accomplish what about basically a spooky 9/11 with a score of innocent people, do you know what sounds don’t work? King Gnu’s, “I love you baby/You are my Special” on vibrant music. How sad.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop culture, which you can also find on Twitter his blog and his podcast.