Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 episode 11 took a drastically dark turn compared to the previous episodes from this season. While the bloodshed was minimal compared to everything that surrounded Gojo in the subway station, the sadistic nature of this episode was almost haunting in a way. Still, we received a beautifully animated episode that puts to rest any criticism from last week. Well, for the most part.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say this was the best-directed episode of the season. Having the opening start around five minutes into the episode made the entire thing feel like it went by in a flash. Then ending it with Megumi calling Itadori adept in the most casual ending to a fight was a weird way to end a gruesome and violent episode. That being said, everything else was stellar from episode director Hayato Kurosaki and company—specifically the overlooked sound design.
Jujutsu Kaisen isn’t necessarily known for its sound design like other anime such as Fire Force, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Spirited Away, and even more recently 86 Eighty-Six. Rather, many look towards its animation. But in this week’s episode, Sound Director Yasunori Ebina really flexed his muscles. You have sound effects, then you have sound design. The latter is the culmination of sound effects used to create a proper ambiance for a given setting and this episode was a wonderful example of such.
In this episode, there was a lot of close-quarters combat. While quality animation in close-quarters combat is essential, so is the sound design. What Ebina managed to do with this episode was create a wonderful emphasis at the point of impact with both fights that took place. Each punch had force behind it, even Itadori’s final punch which was a lot more standard than the haymakers he was throwing earlier. But that added weight I felt as a viewer on top of watching the beautiful animation was there because of the sound design work.
Even when Takuma was fighting on the rooftop, the gliding on water and the moment of impact from his punches were that much better not from just incredible animation, but from sound design. I think we as anime fans really take for granted what stellar sound design can do for any situation, let alone an entire episode. And while Ebina has been the sound director for this entire season, his work this time around was beautifully executed with little to no reverb (echo) and stellar sound effects courtesy of sound production studio Dugout. Everyone loves a visually pleasing anime episode, but I think Jujutsu Kaisen fans should go back and watch, specifically listen, to this episode with headphones on to get a true experience.
There’s honestly no point in arguing which episodes had better animation direction than others (unless it’s obvious). While I do question some direction choices in this episode as far as script and voice acting go, like when Jiro is punched by Itadori at the end of the episode and repeats the same moment and voice reaction a few times, there’s no doubt that it was an overall well storyboarded and animated episode by Kurasaki that had plenty of captivating moments.
One simple aspect I loved about this episode from a script perspective is simply seeing Megumi and Itadori fighting together. The chemistry and humor the two create were nice to finally see after so long and I think both elements from the manga were captured wonderfully in this episode. While I wouldn’t say the duo’s fight was on the level of Itadori and Todo facing Hanami, it was still a spectacle in its own way thanks to the incredible staff that worked on it. Did the fight really have any sort of significance to me? Well, in the words of Itadori…
Another point I loved, and sort of curled up witnessing, is how macabre the scenes in this episode were compared to the manga and that’s also thanks to the sound design. Hearing a person screaming as Jiro skins their face, mixed in with him putting his hands in that person’s skin like a sock puppet, is probably the most messed up thing we’ve seen since this series began. Also, I imagine being stabbed in the back of the neck and seeing your daughter transform into an old woman who said she killed your daughter isn’t the most comforting way to die either.
The brutality in this episode was amped up a couple of notches. I wouldn’t necessarily say there was anything in particular about the art or animation surrounding those acts in flashbacks that made them brutal, but it was simply the acts themselves backed by the eerie sound design and voice acting. Even when “Toji” beats Takuma to a pulp, all you see is the blood splattering and the sound of each punch landing—I just wish the lighting was as good as it was throughout the rest of the rooftop scenes (just look below).
With key animators such as Graham and Dorian Coulon working on this episode, who also admitted to having a little more free reign with the action storyboard thanks to Kurosaki, and admirable animation direction from Yajima Yousuke, this episode’s animation proved to be a solid 10/10. There was never a moment during any of the fights this episode where I questioned anything. The camera movements were stellar. The background animation looked fluid. The lighting and color designs were great for the most part. It was simply a well-rounded animated episode that was spearheaded by Coulon.
I constantly found myself saying “wow” throughout this episode marveling at some of the animation. It really took a step up from last week. While the return of Toji seems to be a headline for many anime-only fans during this episode, I was constantly fixated on the animation and storyboard of the episode the first time I watched it. It was just that damn good and the flowers deserve to be given to the team of key animators and animation directors. It’s an episode that you can say with total confidence that it uplifted the manga. This episode, much like episode 3 from this season, showed the power of what a great adaptation can accomplish.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Episode 11 Wrap-Up
Overall, this will go down as one of the better episodes of Jujutsu Kaisen. This episode embodied what the Shibuya Incident arc entails—gore, violence, and twisted logic. Luckily for us fans, the production staff delivered and them some. It’s definitely a top-of-the-chart-worthy episode and I wouldn’t be surprised if it runs away with it for Week 2 of the Fall 2023 season.
Episode 11 rating: 9.5/10
Episode 12 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 will be released on Thursday, October 12. 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