The phenomenon Jujutsu Kaisen captured the hearts of many shonen genre fans with rather well-designed characters and swirling action brought to life by renowned studio MAPPA. We have already had the opportunity to discuss how the work of Gege Akutami has settled at the table of the great classic shonens, and today we come back to a little anecdote from the author who reveals to us how the The manga’s unexpected success has reshuffled the cards as to the choice of the series’ main character.
You must have heard of Jujutsu Kaisen in recent days with the release on March 16 of the ambitious film by Mappa studio: Jujutsu Kaisen 0a prequel that takes place before the events of season 1. On the strength of its success, the film established itself at the box office and introduced us to intriguing new characters like Yuta Okkotsu.
JUJUTSU KAISEN: A classic but effective shonen
The animated series Jujutsu Kaisen enjoyed huge international success in 2021; it was viewed in 71 countries and territories, and became the second most viewed anime series on Crunchyroll in 2020. Additionally, the series was voted “Anime of the Year” at the 5th Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2021, while Ryomen Sukuna won the “Best Antagonist” category, and Lost in Paradise feat. AKLO by ALI won the “Best Ending Sequence” category.
Season 1 was able to unite shonen fans around a story that was not necessarily out of the ordinary but with near-perfect execution of shonen ingredients ! Indeed, there are a lot of clichés of the genre, whether through the main character Yuji Itadori. This one is found orphaned and possessed by a superpowered demont (nod to Naruto), he is then saved and taken under the tutelage of a really stylish and super strong sensei. We also go through the school box, then we meet classmates and antagonistic characters, and of course we can’t do without a good tournament arc!
What is exciting with this anime is that the narrative rhythm is quite sustained so we don’t really have time to get bored with off-series or soporific missions under the pretext of changing the dimension of the characters. No, it’s the opposite, Jujutsu Kaisen goes straight to the point without scriptwriting detours and with refreshing characters full of personality. Without forgetting of course the completely crazy and sublime animation delivered by the MAPPA studio ! So you got it, Jujutsu Kaisenwithout being a gem of originality despite aspects that show how the manga breaks some codes of the shonen genre, remains a very enjoyable and entertaining anime.
Yuta Okkotsu vs. Yuji Itadori
Apart from the fact that their first names or the design of their characters are similar, these two do have similar personality traits. Indeed, those who have been able to see the film Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in the cinema (and we encourage you to do so!), have necessarily noticed that Yuji and Yuta embodies the same type of main character. For example, they are both overwhelmed by an overpowering demonic power that inhabits them and both follow the same path with our good old Gojo-sensei coming to their aid to teach them the ins and outs of their dark energy. What’s more, both characters obviously have a benevolent background towards their friends and swear not to let any innocent soul die. This is how they will both become high-ranking exorcists and join forces with the Jujutsu school of exorcists to end the menace of the plagues on Earth.
That’s not all ! Be aware that their resemblance may not be entirely the result of chance. In reality, manga author Gege Akutami did not expect his first chapters to be published in the Weekly Shōnen Jump known as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was going to get such high praise from the community. He is then offered to develop his story and create a real manga in the universe of Jujutsu Kaisen. Akutami was thrilled to continue his manga and so replied “Why not?! Here we go, let’s do it!” We can thus deduce that the character of Yuta Okkotsu was therefore, at the start, the main character of his story and would later become Yuji Itadori’s prototype.
However, while the connection was indeed there between the two characters of Akutami, they are not necessarily a reflection of one and the other. Moreover, it is always more pleasant and more attractive to have a wide range of characters to explore in a manga, and with whom the community can identify. Given the popularity of Yuji Itadori, it’s a winning bet! Itadori and Yuta’s journey and arcs are similar, but their differences create complementary stories – each worth exploring. We can’t wait to discover Yuta’s involvement in Yuji’s life in the sequel to the anime!