It would be too simple to say Jujutsu Kaisen is a big anime. The series is one of the most popular on the scene these day, and fans attribute its success in part to MAPPA. The studio has become a darling with fans following a slew of hit productions, and ComicBook is right there with everyone else. So when we got the chance to speak with MAPPA executives about Yuji’s journey, we went running.
During Anime Expo, MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka and writer Hiroshi Seko met with ComicBook to talk about the hit series. It was there the pair discussed what made the characters of Jujutsu Kaisen so impressive. And of course, a question about season two came around before the whole chat ended!
First, I want to ask the team here how the studio in Japan is handling the overwhelming popularity and success of the series between Jujutsu Kaisen season one and the movie.
Hiroshi Seko: This is my first time here at Anime Expo. I am definitely impressed with the reaction from all of the fans. The immediate reaction that you get from the fans here, I mean. Whenever you say something on stage, I was really impressed to see how the fans reacted.
Manabu Otsuka: It’s very important to see the fans’ reactions overseas right now. A lot of anime companies are keeping in mind how the international market is reacting obviously. So it’s really nice to actually see that in person firsthand.
Otsuka-san, you said during the panel that Toge is probably your favorite Jujutsu Kaisen character (and he is mine too) but I want to ask what it is about the character you like. And similarly, what does Seko-san like about Megumi?
Seko: I think Fushiguro is a very well-rounded character. Like, he has this gap where on the outside he looks like a very cool and calm collective character. But really there’s some comical sides to him as well, you know? Their past of being a gangster and all that, it’s just surprising to see such depth in the character. Also, we’ve learned a lot of new things about them as we’ve gone on. I think another thing that’s very heartfelt about Megumi is that he cares so much about his older sister that he’s not related to.
Otsuka: As for Toge, I enjoy his humanity and the fact that he’s actually very caring. If you think about it, with Panda and Yuta, he cares about them. You could see that even though he doesn’t really speak full sentences. He can only speak with the ingredients of a rice ball, so you start thinking it must be difficult living your life that way. It makes you start wondering what kind of person he is.
Obviously, Jujutsu Kaisen can be a bleak series, but it has a lot of thought-provoking content and themes going on as well. To Seko, I want to ask what has the biggest challenge been in scripting the anime? Or the thing has surprise you the most?
Seko: When it comes to difficulties, it was definitely hard adding themes that were not in the original series. That is very difficult, you know, to add and come up with content that fits Jujutsu Kaisen. As for something interesting in production, I found that each character is very unique in their own way. You know, they have their backgrounds and powers, so they are all well developed characters individually. If think about the story itself, the narrative is pretty common, but the characters are just incredibly deep. So that’s something that was pretty surprising to see.
I know you cannot say much about Jujutsu Kaisen season two, but you all know better than anyone how hyped fans are. The series is about to butt up against some of Akutami-sensei’s most intense work in the manga. What can fans expect from season two? And without spoilers, what do you think season two will do even better than season one?
Seko: There’s not much we can tell you right now. We are creating something based off of the original manga by Akutami-sensei and, for readers, they know what’s already coming up ahead.
Otsuka: Please look forward to it. I can’t really say anything, but the staff is putting their heart and soul into something that the fans are gonna love. They know that’s what the fans are expecting. They want to meet those expectations as much as possible for the fans that enjoy the series and love it.