Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 episode 9 was a big step up from last week’s questionable production and overall storyline. With Gojo doing all he can to save as many lives as possible, faux Geto puts him in a corner and leaves him as useless as last week’s locust. But there was much to rave about this week. From animations to voice acting, episode 9 end up as one of the better episodes so far this season.
When action overtakes plot development in anime, it leaves little room for a formal discussion about an episode. When the animation is excellent, or the opposite, there isn’t much to say with a limited knowledge of animation production other than something such as “That was epic!” or “They really did a great job with this moment.” That’s sort of where this episode leaves us with.
Gojo turning Hanami into grape jelly all over the Shibuya subway wall reinforced with incredible sound design is the type of moment that reminds us how powerful he is. Then at the end being sealed like it was nothing also was a grim reminder that even the best sorcerer in the series can be bested. I think my favorite part of the latter is that it adds drama to what has already become a brutal massacre of innocent people — if the strongest can’t save the day, then who will?
The beginning of the episode really built up the hype for the concern of that question. While everyone has their own opinions on Gojo as a person, not a single one denies he’s a cut above the rest when it comes to being the best sorcerer they’ve ever known, almost like a “child of a prodigy” kind of story. As I’ve said many times, I also love the stories that start out in the future and the rest of the story is told how it got to that point, even if it’s just a single episode like this week.
Mahito’s internal monologue of Gojo’s capability of cold logic that Itadori lacks with the piano soundtrack layered beneath while the camera zooms in on Gojo was stellar. That’s how you can build up a proper moment of action that’s about to take place. Goosebumps from head to toe still wouldn’t describe how I felt watching that moment animated. Having those drums of war beating with each second only to fall silent before Gojo used infinite void was wonderful directing by Teppei Okuda and Shōta Goshozono.
I think it’s safe to say that whenever we see Goshozono working the storyboard for an episode it’ll be of the highest quality. He worked as the storyboard artist with Atsushi Nakagawa (episode 5 director) and now this week with Okuda (episode 9 director). I think the only person who’s directed and/or storyboarded an episode that has outshined Goshozono this season is Naoki Miyajima, whose work on episode 4 was what I considered the best episode of Jujutsu Kaisen entirely, or at least so far.
The piano track fading in after a moment of dead silence when “Geto” surprised Gojo at the end was bone-chilling. It captured that moment perfectly in every sense of the word and just added that extra layer of emotion after Gojo just had to slaughter thousands of transfigured humans. The constant eye shots of Gojo with various moods were well executed. As the cherry on top, the voice acting from Gojo’s voice actor Yuuichi Nakamura proved why he’s one of the best in the industry.
That being said, I had only two gripes with this episode after watching it again. The first is right after Gojo kills Hanami and turns to Jogo, the scene immediately cuts to “Geto”, Jogo, Mahito, and Hanami all having downtime. I know it’s similar to what happened last week and has its symbolic meaning, but I feel like it fit better back then when they were on the playground.
Having to cut to something so slow after something brutally violent just happened like that was an odd transition that kind of threw off any adrenaline Gojo created by turning Hanami into a mural. I understand the need to explain to the audience the plan of trapping Gojo, but it just felt like it could’ve been placed before any of the fighting happened and it would’ve been perfectly fine in that way.
The second was the freeform jazz music when Gojo took those 299 seconds to eliminate all of the transfigured humans. A soundtrack can make or break any moment at any time in a series. The music when Jogo and Mahito were talking about what Gojo might do next was damn perfect. So it surprised me that Goshozono and/or Okuda decided to go with that track at that moment. I feel like something more intense, or even slow and dark, would’ve been more appropriate.
We heard the same soundtrack at the beginning of this season before Gojo was about to be attacked, and that episode was directed and storyboarded by Goshozono. So if he was the one who ultimately decided to choose that track for such a fast and well-animated moment, it would be my only time questioning his decision making which ultimately took away from what could’ve been something much more serious.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Episode 9 Wrap-Up
All in all, the episode was wonderfully adapted from the manga. It’s one of those moments that it just makes the source material that much better and it allowed Okuda and Goshozono to both work their magic. Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 will be remembered for its stellar production, so the little things I mentioned won’t even be remembered in a week’s time. All the credit in the world is deserved for the animator who also worked on this episode.
Episode 9 rating: 9/10
Episode 10 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 will be released on Thursday, September 28. The series is streaming on Crunchyroll with English subtitles.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©Gege Akutami/Shueisha/JUJUTSU KAISEN Project