Jujutsu Kaisen is a revolution for dark shonen anime

An image of Yuji and Sukuna from the shonen series Jujutsu KaisenCrunchyroll

Jujutsu Kaisen is included among the dark trio of the shonen genre. The series has revolutionized Shonen anime with its complex powers and iconic characters. Here’s how Jujutsu Kaisen has set a benchmark for shonen anime.

Jujutsu Kaisen is a popular anime and manga series with Gege Akutami as its creator. The series’ global popularity is understandable, given its brilliantly unique art style and intriguing cast of characters. 

The plot revolves around Yuji Itadori, whose ordinary high school life is turned upside down when he encounters curses. Suddenly finding himself on death row because of having some unexplainable powers, Yuji vows to consume all of Sukuna’s fingers before dying. 

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Several factors distinguish the series from its counterparts. Jujutsu Kaisen has introduced several new elements in the modern shonen genre while highlighting several shonen-related themes and tropes. With its dark themes and plot lines, Jujutsu Kaisen executes the shonen tropes rather uniquely. 

The appeal of Jujutsu Kaisen lies in its complex powers and the concept of curses


Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this series is the unique power of curses. The monsters are born from negative emotions and are called “cursed spirits” or curses. They have varying abilities and can only be defeated by cursed techniques. 

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Very few humans can see those cursed spirits, and even fewer have the power to use them. It’s a similar yet complex concept where everything is intertwined. The source of everyone’s abilities, called “Cursed Energy,” feels somewhat similar to Naruto’s “Chakra” or Bleach’s “Spiritual Pressure.” 

Therefore, the series highlights the basic shonen trope with a significant difference in how it’s portrayed as something that originates from one’s negative emotions. The power forces the protagonists to channel their dark emotions and defeat enemies that are created by the same emotions.

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Jujutsu Kaisen highlights female characters unlike any shonen genre


Male characters in shonen anime tend to eclipse their female counterparts, whether on purpose or unintentionally. These series are primarily about the major protagonist, who is usually a man, and his rivals, who are also usually men. As a result, female characters are sidelined. 

Even when they do achieve something, it is typically underappreciated. Looking at famous series like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, it is evident how unappreciated shonen girls are. The dark trio has taken a different approach to portraying the female characters, and Jujutsu Kaisen is by far the best in this aspect. 

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Although the cast is mainly male, including the main characters, numerous women are iconic in their own right. They play significant roles in the story rather than merely supporting characters. Nobara Kugisaki is the only girl in the first year, and she’s no damsel in distress. 

She fights alongside Yuji and Megumi on an equal level. During her fight with Kechizu and Eso, Nobara uses her cursed technique to turn her enemies’ strength against them. 

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Only then she and Yuji can defeat the special grade curses. Furthermore, Maki Zenin is one of the strongest characters in the series despite not having any cursed energy. 

Villains are solely evil and cannot be redeemed


Shonen series such as Naruto, My Hero Academia, or even Demon Slayer follows the same pattern of making villains redeem themselves at some point in the story. Moments before their defeat or even death, they start to regret their actions, making fans sympathize with them. 

They were never evil, to begin with, but followed the wrong path because the world had been unfair to them. However, in Jujutsu Kaisen, the villains don’t get any redemption and don’t need it either way. They are evil and wreak havoc just for the sake of it. 

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Whether it is Mahito, Kenjaku, Sukuna, or Jogo, they all enjoy harming others. Because curses are born from the negative emotions of others, they do not have feelings of compassion. In fact, because they know they are thoroughly evil, they believe themselves to be “pure beings.” This further solidifies Jujutsu Kaisen’s status as a dark Shonen series.

The monster residing in the protagonist’s body is given a unique approach

An image of Sukuna and YujiCrunchyroll

It is a famous trope in the Shonen series for the main protagonist to have some entity residing within them. Popular examples can be seen in Naruto’s Naruto Uzumaki, Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki, Black Clover’s Asta, and Attack on Titan’s Eren Yaeger. All of their “monsters” are helpful in some way and further amplify their powers tremendously.

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However, because Sukuna is inherently evil, he only adds to Yuji’s trouble. Unlike the other Shonen protagonists, Yuji cannot call upon Sukuna to help him. Sukuna has his own goals, and losing Yuji as his vessel doesn’t faze him that much. 

Even if Sukuna takes control over Yuji’s body, all he does is cause damage to his surroundings. Sukuna is unreliable and just cares about himself. His relationship with Yuji is a unique case in the trope because, unlike the monsters lurking inside Shonen’s heroes, he is a fully fleshed-out individual with complicated motivations and distinct personality features.

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Jujutsu Kaisen can currently be streamed on Crunchyroll. In the meantime, check out our other TV hubs below:

Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 3 | Bleach Thousand Year Blood War Part 2 | Chainsaw Man Season 2 | BRZRKR movie | Jigokuraku Hell’s Paradise | Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Invincible Season 2

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