Sukuna officially joined the fight in Shibuya during episode 15 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 and what better way for him to make an entrance than taking a couple of lives to start off? It’s simply par for the course. Backed by beautiful animation and a wonderful storyboard, it’s no wonder this episode immediately trended on social media the minute it dropped. Amidst the animator leak controversy, this episode deserves focus on all that was great about it and those that worked their asses off for the fans.
The Return of Sukuna and the Jogo Dilemma
Despite the first half of the episode focusing primarily on Toji’s fight (we’ll get to that part, stick with me), Sukuna stole the show in typical fashion. The glorious return of the series’ most powerful villain will always have the focus shifted towards him, especially with Gojo apprehended. The classic hair push-back and smile followed by his immediate desire to wipe away any life in front of him without hesitation couldn’t have been done any better in his revival. The only thing that was missing was hearing his iconic, “Ganbare ganbare.”
While we have experienced some rather gruesome and dark moments in this arc with other characters, and even before with the Gojo’s Past arc, Sukuna just brings that new level of power and destruction that isn’t felt with other villains in this series. But instead of being scared and ready to piss ourselves like everyone who faced Sukuna in this episode, we’re rubbing our hands together in excitement with an evil smile knowing everything is really going to hit the fan now.
This is what the Shibuya Incident arc is all about. It’s one punch after the other just like Toji laid down on Dagon in this episode. That’s how this arc is supposed to feel. Just when you think you can regain your footing and the dust settles, something else comes in a hurry and gets right to the point. So what could be the only possible thing to not seem like a fall-off after the beautiful animated Toji-Dagon fight? Reviving one of the most badass characters in modern shonen anime.
Having the Megumi and Toji fight set for next week’s episode, looking back, makes a lot more sense than jumping right into its action at the end of this episode. The Toji and Dagon fight had some added cuts to it in order to make the fighting panels from the manga more fluid with each other, which I couldn’t be more grateful for. They also took away Jogo’s monologue, which was a full two pages in the manga, describing Naobito’s ability more in detail and how he was able to stop him, which I agree was a good move to get everything in the 23-minute time frame this episode needed and ending it with Sukuna.
As much as I have a disdain for Jogo, the moment below perfectly showed how much of a threat he really is to the rest of the sorcerers not named Satorou Gojo. To take down Naobito, Nanami, and Maki without even blinking like that was badass in its own unfortunate way and the animation, color design, and sound effects were wonderful. However, I can’t help but chuckle a little with his character which honestly just took away so much of what he just did in a flash.
Near the beginning of the Shibuya Incident arc, Jogo was basically a plaything for Gojo. Hell, remember what Gojo did to him in Season 1? So it’s funny to me how he can take down the three sorcerers he did in a flash, only to be trembling in fear of Sukuna just moments later. It’s a testament to how powerful Sukuna is, and even Gojo, so on that front the execution was incredible. Jogo’s speed was put on notice when he took down the three yet he was so slow in comparison to Sukuna that half of his head disappeared so quickly Jogo acted as if Sukuna just performed a magic trick he saw for the first time. Jogo just can’t catch a break and I find that utterly hilarious.
The One-Sided Showdown
While Sukuna was the highlight for most fans, for others it was Toji beating down Dagon like a villain in a video game and it was on easy mode. The middle ground between good sides and bad sides in this fight lies with Dagon not being an important character to the overall story while Toji is. So in comparison to fights like Gojo vs. Jogo and Hanami and Itadori vs. Choso, or even Itadori and Megumi vs. Jiro, the significance of the fight didn’t hold much emotional weight. Dagon got turned into calamari on a stick and not one ounce of me ever thought, “Damn, poor Dagon.”
“Wait, can’t the same be said with Jiro not having emotional weight to him and his fight?” I understand that point of view. But it was more about the significance of seeing Itadori and Megumi fighting together in perfect chemistry than it was simply facing Jiro. Here with Toji and Dagon, there’s no real connection other than the end result.
And that end result was the massive ball of dramatic irony that leads to Megumi facing him next episode and not realizing that’s his father. I think this is where the writing for Jujutsu Kaisen deserves a round of applause. Stacking storylines in what is arguably the biggest arc of the manga is no easy task to accomplish, much less animating said moments and making storylines converge in such a big arc. Everything is flowing well for the most part. Sukuna is revived and Megumi is about to face his own father without even realizing it.
The lack of emotional weight Toji vs. Dagon had as a fight was made up for in pure domination, beautiful animation, and jaw-dropping sound design—some of the best I’ve heard since the recent season of Demon Slayer. As someone that is borderline obsessed with colors and their use, they were fantastic in episode 15 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 and I seriously couldn’t get enough of the beautiful shots during the fight, especially ones of Toji.
Production Staff and Cast
Close-ups to medium shots. Medium shots to close-ups and so much more. All of this is coming from an absolutely stacked lineup of veteran staff members such as Keiichiro Watanabe (main animator), Takao Abo (episode director and storyboard artist), Reina Igawa (chief animation director), and the coloring team consisting of Eiko Matsushima and Naomi Nakano (design), and Kaori Maruyama in charge of color setting. ith the unsung hero of the episode Sound Director Yasunori Ebina, we receive a stellar piece of anime production.
Hiro Nagasuna, Okacheke, and Shirako, while not veterans like the previous names mentioned, worked on the color script for this episode and deserve their praise. The color script is very important for anime projects. Well, at least for those that want to look good. For those who don’t understand color script, in short, it’s basically the combinations of colors that relate to that point in the story in order to help establish a tone in the current moment. This process is usually before stuff like lighting comes in to play. Color designers, on the other hand, create proper color palettes for the anime. If you ever find yourself looking at two characters and one has green hair and the other has red hair, that’s contrasting color design work (on a very basic level).
Take the shots in this article for example. Do they all feel like they have a different tone to them and leave you feeling a certain way? That’s color script. Some aren’t as intricate as others, like the two shots below because one is Sukuna before his revival and the other is just him standing in a subway. Color design is better shown in Toji’s fight with his purple eyes in close-ups with the red nunchucks, which are contrasting colors.
Moving on, it’s not just the staff, though — the cast is incredible. There are so many characters throughout anime that their voice actors have made iconic. You just can’t picture them being voiced by anyone else. Nobuhiko Okamoto as Katsuki Bakugo from My Hero Academia. Gakuto Kajiwara as Asta from Black Clover. There are countless others. And, much like those, there isn’t anyone better suited to voice Sukuna than one of the most iconic voice actors in anime history — Junichi Suwabe,
To have a legend in Suwabe himself finally joining the Shibuya Incident arc alongside another living legend in Kenjiro Tsuda was amazing to witness. It’s unfortunate they weren’t face to face with each other but I think the internet would break if those two had an entire dialogue together as Sukuna and Nanami. Whoever pulled strings and got those two to voice their respective characters deserves a major pay raise.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Episode 16 Wrap-Up
I truly don’t understand the hate those working on this season are receiving. Every episode of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 so far has left me speechless for the most part. The art looks beautiful. In almost every episode we receive stellar animation from even more stellar animators. Some of the storyboards have been my favorite all year. The sound design stays consistently incredible. I just don’t know what more people could possibly want. This was another phenomenal episode deserving of a top 3 spot in the weekly polls.
Episode 15 rating: 9.5/10.
Episode 16 of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 will be released on Thursday, November 9. 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