I’ve been seeing comments about the anime for Jujustsu Kaisen is the best thing ever this year, so when I saw almost the first 12 books in the manga series at the library, I decided to try it out. As it turns out the whole thing is relatively formulaic (enough that missing volumes 3, 4, and 11 didn’t seem to matter a whole lot) but still has enough personality to be interesting. The basic gist is that Yuji Itadori who has just lost his grandfather to an illness runs into student exorcist/demon hunter Megumi Fushiguro, ends up eating a cursed demon finger (yes, you saw that right, and it won’t be the last time either), and hosting a legendary curse monster, yet is somehow strong enough to resist the demon and maintain control over his body and self, but still ahs access to the supernatural powers. He gets enrolled at curse hunter school. The rest of the series through volume 12, follows most of the standard high school, horror, fight-based anime and manga tropes accordingly:
Rule 1: getting killed often does not mean you are dead or that you will stay that way.
Rule 2: standard hero with a mission to help by eternally ‘getting stronger’ and maybe a does of chosen one too
Rule 3: fighting is part posing, part talking/explaining, and part actual combat
Rule 4: that mystery teacher is super strong and impossible to beat (?) but may be up to something (?)
Rule 5: the longer the story goes, the more individual character plotlines get added in to the point where the original challenge is kind of a side point
Rule 6: no one seems to really know what’s going on half the time, either good guys or sometimes not even the villains
Rule 7: there’s always a chance for a mysterious power boost last chance save, that may or may not actually save you
Rule 8: mundane school events still must occur
Rule 9: friendship will always save the day, except when it might not (at least temporarily)
Rule 10: politics of the supernatural world are every bit as corrupt as in the mundane world
Rule 11: the villain has a destroy the world to save it philosophy of some kind
Rule 12: the special thing about the chosen one might be a double-edge sword, making him a possible danger to everyone, also meaning people want to kill him before that happens
I could probably keep going, but in spite of the pretty standard plot, the characters do have interest to them. One of the older students at Jujutsu High School, Maki Zen’in for example is the black sheep of her highly respected family because she can’t see the curses/demons, but she decides that she’s going to be the greatest sorcerer ever, even though she can’t see curses, through hard work, and she’s actually pretty good. Even Yuji, in spite of his mostly normal chosen one qualities, admits that he want to follow his grandpa’s last words his own way, he realizes that the finger-eating thing is kind of gross, and he knows he’s going to have to actually work and learn to get to his goal of saving or helping people; not the whole world necessarily, just what he can, which might end up being everyone anyways, but the thought is there.