How Jujutsu Kaisen is Changing Shonen

Yeah, okay going to geek out for a bit here, if you’re reading this no you didn’t.

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Jujutsu Kaisen tells the story of protagonist Yugi Itadori who eats demon fingers. Yeah, that’s pretty much the plot of it all, shocking. His teacher Gojo Satoru is surprised because when he ate a literal demon’s finger, he should have died but surprisingly he is able to control this demon now inside of him. The show will follow Itadori’s journey till he eats all twenty fingers. This demon Sakuna is now a part of Itadori and they switch between personalities, mostly when Itadori is losing a fight so Sakuna has to switch over to control because the guys bleeding to death. The story continues with Itadori now having to attend a school of other sorcerers that work by killing demons on earth and getting rid of them. At this school he meets Megumi and Nobara other classmates who are in his class.

While the show has grown a huge audience especially now being animated the manga is more popular than ever. They’ve probably now sold over the original 30 million copies. The anime however is animated by one of the leading animation studios in Japan right now. The studio is animating not only this but also Attack on Titans’ Final Season (which is insane and extremely popular), and are set to animate more like Chainsaw Man, which is another popular manga.

The studio is growing, and the workers are definitely being worked the bone, although sometimes being criticized for their art style you can’t argue they’ve been killing it at 3D animation. A sole scene in one of the Jujutsu Kaisen’ episode’s cost them the equivalent amount of a whole season of another anime series.

Now onto what I want to discuss today.

The Shonen genre is basically your action anime with a main hero and a villain they must defeat. The plot usually follows the hero going through obstacles they must overcome in order to get stronger and defeat the antagonist. From most amines that I have now binged watched thanks to quarantine. There’s a pattern in storylines involving love interests with the main protagonist, all female characters are weak, the hero complex of man saving women, yea you get it.

The main reason why Jujutsu Kaisen is doing so well in the anime world is a factor to many different reasons; one, female characters actually fight, two, no love interest between the main characters they’re just good pals, and three no extremely sexualized female characters.

This does go way farther into the world of stories because female characters always have to be sexy and f#ckable because that’s what the men audience would want. As a woman, it is always extremely tiring having to watch any action genre involving women because of how much they sexualize the character, there’s always a butt shot for some reason, oh and whenever women fight, they always seem to suffocate who they are fighting with their legs (remember that next time you’re watching any action genre involving women).

In Shonen, it is so tiring seeing the same thing and the women in the show are always just so useless and have to be saved by the man. That being said, there have been great characters in anime like Revy in Black Lagoon, Sakura from Naruto and Yoiruichi from Bleach. Although these characters are strong and can fight on their own, Revy and Yoiruichi are still extremely sexualized, and Sakura was just so annoying to watch, but she still became a strong character. But when it comes to male characters and how they are written, they are always just stronger characters.

I love that there is no love triangle between the 3 main characters, and they are all just friends, one of the main female leads Nobara, fights to kill always. In one of the scenes where Nobara is fighting another character, as she is about to throw the final blow, she screams “What makes us obligated to meet such perfection or such absurd demands? I don’t give a damn about ‘men’ this and ‘women’ that! I love myself when I’m pretty and all dressed up! And I love myself when I’m strong!” Her character is already extremely entertaining to watch and she’s so confident as a woman anyone would love her.

Every woman in the anime has their own perspective on life and all of them fight strong with no mercy.

It is refreshing to see well written characters that are beyond their looks, because if you take the looks away from these characters there really is not much to them. I think what is also so great about these women is that they are all in their own lane. Instead of lusting over men and being saved by them, they’re more than capable of being independent woman.

As we move forward in the world with women’s rights and acknowledging the misogyny in the world and media. It is great that we can have this conversation in the world of film and media about the portrayal of women on screen. Although anime itself is made in the intention of teenage boys who watch it and spend money on merchandise, you can’t deny the teenage girls who grow up watching these shows as well. Audiences who watch literally anything all grow up and start to form a brain, so as a writer you need to discuss these issues in your industry, in order to change them. You can’t keep writing the same forever.

And with that all being said I love the series, it is great to see an action anime where they don’t feel bad for beating the hell out of these demons.

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