Jujutsu Taisen – Kyoto Goodwill Event and Death Painting Arcs (Episodes 14 – 24) Review

Jujutsu Kaisen’s second half (of what is clearly now just its “first season”) is heavy on action, as all tournament arcs are, but manages to pull away from the genre traps and do something a bit less predictable. Then we get a little mini-arc at the end which was good fun. Basically Jujutsu Kaisen has earned its popularity in my eyes… Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

The “Goodwill Event” between Tokyo Jujutsu Tech and Kyoto Jujutsu Tech begins, but the enemies of both won’t stand by and watch it happen…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

There really were so many well animated fights throughout the series. This single screenshot doesn’t do it justice!

All the training and build up to this sort-of tournament was done at the end of the previous batch of episodes, so we basically get straight to the action, though not before Yuji Itadori is revealed to his former school mates that he was alive after all… which only gets him hate rather than love, understandably. So the tournament is actually a race to see who can defeat a high-grade Curse in a forest, but fighting the other school is perfectly within the rules… and then the Kyoto’s school’s Head flat out instructs his student to kill Itadori because of the God of all Curses trapped inside him. So our central trio of first years, Yuji, Megumi and Nobara (look at the previous review for me info on them…) team up with the second-year students Maki (little power but uses Cursed Weapons), Toge (has a Cursed Power attached to his voice) and Panda (a talking Panda) to face the Kyoto team comprised of Aoi Todo (musclehead who is nonetheless extremely talented), Mai (twin sister of Maki but actually has lots of Curse Energy), Kasumi (sword user who wishes to make money for her family), Kokichi (uses a “Cursed Puppet” called “Mechamaru” from a distance because he is extremely frail), Momo (who uses a magic broom like a witch) and Noritoshi (comes from a prestigious family).

Various people pair off during the contest: Panda defeats Mechamaru complete with backstory for both, Maki and Mai fight each other and we see backstory for them as well, Megumi faces Noritoshi and we get a little hint of what their respective families are like, and Yuji fight Aoi, who immediately bonds with his opponent, calling him “my brother” or “my best friend” (both said in English) and actually helps our main protagonist master his hand-to-hand combat. What was funny is that instead of being confused and repulsed Yuji ends up liking Aoi back and seeing his as a friend and ally, though just not to the same level as Todo does. I have to say that I really disliked Aoi in the previous batch of episodes, but he worked here, so it was just a poor introduction.

To be fair to the evil tree Curse, it is two-on-one, that’s just not fair!

Their teamwork comes in handy when a special grade Curse arrives to break the tournament up in the form of Hanami, who made a brief appearance in the previous batch of episodes and basically looks like a one-armed guy with branches growing out of his eyes. He can control plants and trees and so makes for a tough opponent for our main cast but the combination of Todo and Yuji eventually beat him thanks to the former’s ability to swap places with people and object as the speed of a clap and the latter’s new extremely strong punches. Hanami is beaten enough that he makes his escape after the still super-powerful and “cool” mentor Satoru Gojo breaks the barrier keeping the students in.

Turns out this was all a diversion a Mahito, the crazy villain from the previous arc, stole a bunch of high-grade magical artefacts while their attention was diverted. Three of these are “Cursed Wombs” which soon reveal three Curses called Choso, Eso and Kechizu, and the next, much shorter arc sees our lead trio of Yuji, Megumi and Nobara take on Eso and Kechizu, as well as a Special Grade Curse with another Setsuna finger. Megumi defeats the Special Grade Curse while the other two manage to defeat Eso and Kechizu, with Yuji feeling remorse as Eso cried over the death of his brother. During this we found out Megumi has a sister who is suffering from a curse (from a Curse, I guess), and that he listened to advice from Gojo about letting loose during a battle. As the end credits roll we hear of our lead trio being promoted due to defeating Special Grades and that’s that!

The Bad:

The only screenshot from the Death Painting Arc and it’s Nobara looking insane. Hooray!

Not a lot! The Goodwill Event’s second stage ends up being a Baseball game, which is shown in a brief montage, which was a fair enough as a bit of a jokey come-down after the action, but I associate characters playing baseball with generic filler episodes so it felt very… wrong. Not a serious complaint or anything, but it did feel like I was watching filler, despite it being the accurate end to the story…

Overall Thoughts:

A decisive blow! … Well, actually the fight continued after this, but still! … A strong blow! … There, that’s better.

Jujutsu Kaisen delivers a tournament arc with lots of extremely well-animated action, but little tournament, with some pretty standard flashback backstory scenes added. The last few episodes feature a brief arc than nonetheless shows us how far our lead trio have come, and sets things up for more story down the road…

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