Review: Jujutsu Kaisen: The Official Anime Guide: Season 1

You wouldn’t be blamed for forgetting just how good the Jujutsu Kaisen anime often is. After all, it’s been close to three years since season one premiered, and two since the franchise’s below-average film. Season two—which premiered this summer and is currently ongoing—reminds us, however, that Jujutsu Kaisen is a unique shonen entry as engrossing as any action series aimed at that demographic. Jujutsu Kaisen: The Official Anime Guide: Season 1, a companion book that VIZ Media is releasing on September 26th, serves to continue encouraging viewers of the series to be hyped about it, while also helping those like me, who have forgotten much about the season, to remember what happened and why it was so cool.

The best part of this guide is the unique material it features, particularly its behind-the-scenes features. For instance, while it’s nice to see the “Juju Stroll” pieces visually summarized, better still is reading the director’s notes on these scenes. The same can be said of other commentary on the season one episodes.

And truly, the most engaging part of the book is the last section, which features lengthy staff interviews. There’s so much to learn in these pages. For instance, the interview with music director Akiko Fujita dropped tidbits such as how Jujutsu Kaisen’s mangaka, Gege Akutami, informed him that Gojo is “a man of resignation.” The interview with the series composers was just as fascinating as they explained their approach to the series’ musical elements, which included an attempt to combine traditional and modern Japanese instruments. There are additional insightful interviews that follow as well.

But aside from interviews and comments by staff, most of the guide is filled with images from the series. The mini-arcs are broken into “chapters” in the book, which serve to basically summarize what happens and explain who the characters are. Most of the characters, including minor ones, receive profiles; the more important players from the story get longer spreads. Beloved episodes or scenes, such as the baseball episode and Todo and Itadori’s AU “best friends” sequence, also receive more attention.

If there’s a drawback, it’s that many of the pages look somewhat amateur, particularly the ones offering visual summaries of the episodes. The font looks like it’s from a very typical array used by everyday folks in their word processing and the scenes are laid upon each other in very middling collages; it just looks like some dude’s Photoshop job. Nice if your friend is doing it for you, but not as much when it’s being published. I also wish we could have had more than a couple of pages about Jujutsu Kaisen 0, though it seems that this guide launched in Japan in October 2021, two months before that movie premiered.

Regardless of the drawbacks, Jujutsu Kaisen: The Official Anime Guide: Season 1 is still an excellent companion book for the series. Its ability to function simultaneously as a collector’s item, a reminder about season one for moderate fans of the series, and a hype book for super fans, makes it a worthy purchase for many viewers. In that way, it’s much better than a seasonal guide has any right to be. A nifty pickup about an excellent anime.

Jujutsu Kaisen: The Official Anime Guide: Season 1 is published by VIZ Media. It releases on September 26th.


One thought on “Review: Jujutsu Kaisen: The Official Anime Guide: Season 1

  1. Oo, I’m actually watching Jujutsu Kaisen season 1 now! It’s really good and the story and characters have a surprising amount of depth. I might have to check out this book to have as a collectable!

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