Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 episode 14 aired on Thursday and continued the trend of giving us wonderful action (for the most part). An aspect of weekly episodes compared to those released all at once (Pluto, Good Night World) is that the use of cliffhangers can make a huge impact—and boy did it ever in this episode. Episode director and storyboard artist Hokuto Sadamoto really left anime-only fans with a cliffhanger that could leave some screaming for the next episode.
Production Peaks, Valleys, and a Respectable Storyboard
Re-watching the episode I couldn’t help but take note of how much I absolutely loved this episode in so many ways. The storyboard and direction from Sadamoto in his episode debut in both roles were wonderfully executed and made all of the moments from this part in the manga that much more attractive. The framing was incredible and the decision to alter the typical style of color design during the beach scenes was one I was blown away by. It looked so damn clean that I didn’t picture these fights in the manga to look the way did in this week’s episode at all—that’s a good thing. And while none of the coloring team for the episode worked on the anime series Great Pretender, I can’t help but be reminded of the vibrant color comparisons.
But every coin has two sides. Studio MAPPA has been under fire in recent weeks about the work schedule for Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 and the deadlines that need to be met. Unfortunately, that was seen a few times in this episode’s in-between animation. Choppy frames were noticeable towards the end of the episode, which is almost flipped from the beginning of the episode with Mei’s fight.
I digress because, after my first watch-through of simply enjoying the episode and not putting it under a microscope, at its core, the episode was exciting throughout. The action was tense and the soundtrack placeage was utterly perfect. The voice acting was S-tier as always with this stellar cast and to nobody’s surprise they delivered yet again. While the episode’s action wasn’t on the scale of last week’s in terms of production quality, it was still exciting from the moment the episode started to when it ended. For an episode directing and storyboard debut, Sadamoto deserves some praise, especially if the scheduling has been as rough as it’s being claimed to be.
If I had to pick a favorite frame of mine from the entire episode, it would have to be the one below during Mei’s fight. Right after asking Ui Ui if he would die for her, it transitions into a close-up shot of one of the crows’ feathers that cover Ui Ui’s face in the background of the shot. Having Mei right underneath the feather and looking over at Ui Ui creates such a haunting aura at the moment which leads the viewer to believe he really is going to die. The depth of the background was wonderfully done in this shot showing Sadamoto really knew what he was doing with this episode, let alone the cool storyboard moments that followed suit.
Naobito was first introduced towards the start of the Shibuya Incident arc when the groups were in place. But introducing a character in the arc we haven’t seen before ends up having the reputation of the fastest sorcerer besides Gojo proves that Jujutsu Kaisen will always be there to throw us curveballs in the most interesting moments.
I think that’s why this arc is also hailed as the best in the series. Despite introducing new sorcerers, we’re constantly on the edge of our seats seeing what they’re capable of and they always dish out some incredible displays of abilities. Plus, what’s even better about Naobito is we all received a basic animation lesson at the same time thanks to his ability.
Maki and Mei
One thing we can all count on when it comes to Jujutsu Kaisen is for the women in the series to handle business when push comes to shove. Maki had to tell both Nanami and Naobito, both grade-1 sorcerers, to their faces that she would be doing anything but running away from a fight.
Maki herself got roughed up in the fight, having her proclaim that she was going to need to be killed if there was any hope of stopping her. And the close-up shot of her during this moment was so chef kiss perfect. It just amplified those words so much more and it was used in the right moment. The idea of close-ups is to intensify the character’s emotions during that moment and it looked, and felt, as raw as can be.
And there’s no forgetting Mei. While the main fight in the episode was handled mostly by Naobito, Mei took care of her fight in quick fashion, even hitting a pose after it was over. Quick calculations and no-mercy style of fighting with a crazy look on her face are some of the many reasons why fans are drawn to her.
I think what I loved about Mei’s fight the most was at the end when she acted like she didn’t even break a sweat and told “Geto” straight to his face that it was fun and it was time for the main event as if it was a WWE match. Hitting her model walk with the crows flying from behind her was one of the most badass moments of the entire season. The women in Jujutsu Kaisen are built different and it’s all the more reason to love the series.
Megumi to the Rescue, Father to Spoil The Party
Remember that part I said about this arc just throwing curveballs? Raise your hand if you’re an anime-only fan and you expected Megumi to save the day. If you just put your hand up, you’re a liar. Also, why are you raising your hand while reading this? Anyway, his entrance was just further proof this series as a whole knows how to keep its fans guessing. Megumi not only made a grand entrance, he even began giving commands for Nanami, a grade-1 sorcerer, to follow.
Do you know how capable of a character you have to be for a teacher of yours to begin listening to your commands when he’s in a pinch? God I love shonen anime for moments exactly like this. We already saw how brutal Nanami can be in a fight just two weeks ago and that same guy is being led by Megumi who is years younger than him. I think it’s a huge testament to Megumi’s character in this episode to receive praise from both Nanami and Maki. It really showed just how truly special of a sorcerer Megumi is. When he said “I’m risking my life, but I don’t intend to throw it away,” I went absolutely nuts. Chills and everything.
And I can’t begin to stress what a cliffhanger this left us on with Toji, Megumi’s own father, popping through the domain hole as if he was some clown leaping out of a birthday cake. The grin on his face and everything with absolutely zero sound or music after showcasing everyone’s shocking stares was like a freaking cherry on top of a perfect sundae. While some production fans will find composite problems with this episode, I don’t care. Most fans, including myself, lived in that moment of the ending leaving us all going to social media or texting our friends about who else went nuts with the ending.
I’m a fanatic when it comes to contrast in anything. Color design. Writing. Characters. You name it, I love it. And that’s because a story can’t be interesting without it. It’s a crucial element of storytelling and animation that a proper series can’t go on without it. And what better contrast is there than to have Megumi save the day only to have his father ruin it all? This was undoubtedly one of the best cliffhangers in recent memory.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Episode 14 Wrap-Up
It feels good to be back in the saddle with the episode reviews after being away for a couple of weeks and this episode gave me plenty to talk about. It was one of the better episodes from the Shibuya Incident arc so far and we got yet another episode direction and storyboard debut as well. While the MAPPA criticisms seem to carry on across social media, I still couldn’t be more thankful to all of those grinding on this series to give us the best possible product. This episode was all-around wonderful to watch on many levels despite its nitpicked flaws.
Episode 14 rating: 9/10
Episode 15 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 will be released on Thursday, November 2. Make sure to vote for the episode in our weekly poll! The series is streaming on Crunchyroll with English subtitles.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©Gege Akutami/Shueisha/JUJUTSU KAISEN Project