Even though Jujutsu Kaisen has been off the air for months now, along with author Gege Akutami on hiatus the show did not stray away from its initial hype, rather, the popularity has only peaked. Jujutsu Kaisen was among the “Top 10 Most-Watched Series” for a whole week on Netflix following its launch on June 2021.
Well, while fans expected a second season to be announced at the end of the first part, MAPPA surprised them with an announcement of “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” movie for a Christmas gift this year which takes a detour from the main plot of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Recently, on June 27th a panel discussion of Jujutsu Kaisen on MAPPA STAGE 2021 staging voice actors Junya Enoki(Yuuji Itadori), Asami Seto(Nobara Kugisaki), Yuuma Ichida(Megumi Fushiguro), and TV anime producer Keisuke Seshimo, revealed some interesting behind the scenes information during the making of Jujutsu Kaisen season 1.
Looking at the discussion between the voice actors and the producer, even though the anime heavily focuses on curses, death, and negativity the staff had much fun executing the scenes.
Taking the help of Twitter users @soukatsu and @kylescouter, one of the live translations of the event reveals that producer Seshimo was already in love with Jujutsu Kaisen as soon as he saw the storyboards of the first episode! Tadashi Hiramatsu‘s character design under the supervision of the manga author turned out to be something highly graphic and multilayered.
The plot of Gege Akutami’s best-seller manga revolves around a cursed high-schooler, Itadori Yuuji. Naturally, as the MC voice actor, Enoki has to always stay behind recording in the studio, way longer than most other voice actors. Well, it is what it is, as the protagonist has to have a lot of scenes which pushes them to put in a lot of hours recording for any show or anime without a doubt. That is why at one point in the conversation, Enoki jokingly declared “Ore ga Jujutsu Kaisen da. (I am thee Jujutsu Kaisen)”
Apart from MAPPA’s innate technique to bring out the best animation for its shows, Jujutsu Kaisen has exceptionally lovable and pretty characters. So much so that they even look too cool and badass even when they are in the face of defeat!
As the Producer of the show informed, they had to specifically assign someone to animate Megumi’s Domain Expansion scene to make sure he has an “ugly” face. This is because, in all of Megumi’s past fights, he always looked pretty even when he was losing the battle. The staff was conflicted about it since he’s normally a very good-looking “ikemen” guy, but their efforts amounted to nothing. In the end, even with his nosebleed fans loved him because he ended up looking cool!
Through several media interviews, actors often reveal that the most difficult part of acting is to become the character. This was just the case with Asami Seto who plays the loud-mouthed Nobara Kugisaki. The soft-spoken VA had to take advice from her seniors and go through the characteristics of Nobara a million times to get accustomed to the rude and razor-tongued nature of the character. Thanks to her efforts, now fans can’t stop thinking about her slanders after the anime ended.
Coming to animation, Producer Seshimo and Enoki unveiled during the MAPPA Anniversary event that the adaptation of the Black Flash scene with Yuuji and Todo was through with after the seiyuu recorded the dialogue for it. The animators had to sync with the audio rather than the other way around. No wonder that is why the scene looks so perfect!
Speaking of perfection, before the discussion ended Ichida who joked around a lot during the event commented on his performance of his character Megumi Fushiguro’s Domain Expansion scene. He described it as a footage that he watched more times than his parent’s face…! It is truly amazing how much a single scene demands from the actors and animators alike to bring the perfect impact without any errors so that the fans could only get the best of them.
The entire panel discussion of the Jujutsu Kaisen TV anime cast and staff is now available on MAPPA’s Youtube channel.
While it was very informative to know the view behind the Jujutsu Kaisen anime from the character voice actors and producer, back in January, Director Sunghoo Park also shared some important details to Crunchyroll about his favorite moments in the TV anime.
Sunghoo Park is no stranger to the world of animation, having directed series including The God of High School, Pokemon Generations, and Garo: Vanishing Line to name a few. On top of these projects, Park has also been a part of the animation department for projects including Macross Frontier, Yuri On Ice, XXXHolic, and many others.
Taking up Jujutsu Kaisen, Park was really able to show off his skills, with the battle anime giving fans some of the biggest animated sequences of the past few years, pitting Yuji Itadori and his fellow sorcerers at Jujutsu Tech against a never-ending line of curses set to tear the world apart.
Park informs that with this production they have a more abundant variety of animators than before. That is why they are opening up spots for giving each of them a chance to show off their unique abilities. Especially creating the depiction, construction, and environment of each character’s Domain Expansion technique was the most favorite and difficult part of the anime, said the Director.
He distinctly emphasized keeping an eye out for scenes where Gojo first removes his mask and reveals his eyes, as well as the scene that shows Itadori’s growth at the end of episode 13. With Jujutsu Kaisen, he was really happy for finally landing a long-awaited Jump title.
Now, that the first season is all done and dusted, MAPPA is getting ready for the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie. The plot of the movie will mainly focus on the events before Itadori became the protagonist. The story will revolve around Okkotsu Yuta, a nervous high school student, who has been cursed by his childhood friend Rika Orimoto.
Because this new movie is tackling the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 prequel series, this will feature makeovers for the second-year characters in Tokyo’s Jujutsu Tech school like Toge Inumaki.
In the original Jujutsu Kaisen 0 prequel manga released a few years before Jujutsu Kaisen began its official serialization (and back when it was known as Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School), it features a Toge Inumaki design that’s very close to Yuji Itadori’s design. In order to shift away from his first Yuji-like look ahead of the movie debut, Akutami provided supervision for the character’s hairstyle makeover. But it’s only one of the small changes we’ll see.
Other classmates of the protagonist, first-year students Maki Zenin and Panda‘s characters also received considerable changes in their designs. While Maki is sporting round glasses (instead of her square ones) and she wears socks instead of leggings, Panda looks younger than his second-year design.
Previously, the official website of the movie also revealed the character design and setting of the protagonist of the movie, Okkotsu Yuta.
Reflecting on the wishes of the original author, Gege Akutami, this character design is unique to this movie version as well, based on the rough design provided by the author.
The official website unveiled the setting for the character Okkotsu Yuta as:
When he was a child, he lost his childhood friend Rika, whom he had promised to marry, dies in front of him in a car accident. He was possessed by her after she became a cursed spirit. Rika’s uncontrollable power hurts everyone around him, so he avoids building relationships with other people. However, he begins to unravel the curse of his “loved one” when he met Satoru Gojo, a teacher at Jujutsu High.
Yuuichi Nakamura, Mikako Komatsu, Tomozaku Seki, and Kouki Uchiyama will reprise their roles as Gojo Satoru, Maki Zen’in, Panda, and Inumaki Toge respectively.
The movie will release in Japanese theaters on December 24, 2021, Christmas eve.