Page number limitation is often a bane for manga authors who are flooded with multiple ideas that they want to draw and include in a chapter. Jujutsu Kaisen author Gege Akutami is no different.
In a special interview published in issue #45 of Weekly Shonen Jump on Oct 11, 2022, the author revealed how he overcomes this very problem.
According to Akutami, he only illustrates the scenes based on whether are absolutely relevant to the main storyline and “their necessity in the composition creating a sense of catharsis”.
The author narrates the story in a way which steers the plot towards his characters releasing their pent up emotions.
The example of Higurama’s progression in Jujutsu Kaisen chapter 159 to showcase this is then explained.
The author laid the foundation for Higurama’s emotional trauma first, revealing how he had previously failed to exonerate a client of his. These pent up emotions lent him a burning determination set things right, which is displayed in his demeanor as he approaches a new trial.
Though his current client, Oe, is found innocent in the first trial, the second trial overturns this decision. The fleeting satisfaction that Higurama receives from the outcome of the first trial vanishes and his previous trauma comes back to haunt him.
Akutami wanted to illustrate this second trial in detail. However, due to the limitations, he instead includes just one panel; the one after the sentencing which depicts Oe’s look of disappointment towards him. According to the author, this scene was key to building up the drama of the story, as it overlapped with Higurama’s previous trauma.
Higurama then awakens, his explosion of pent up emotions creating a tragic but memorable catharsis.
“The scenes that need to be drawn are those that tie in with the facets of characters inner working, and those that are necessary to create the final sense of catharsis!! Other than that, I also cut scenes very decisively,” Akutami said in the interview.
Jujutsu Kaisen manga has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since March 2018, with its chapters collected into 20 volumes as of August 2022.
With the release of the 20th volume, the manga had 20 million copies in circulation, including both physical and digital release.
A second season of the anime is currently under production at MAPPA studio. It will air over two cours in 2023.
The first season of the anime aired from October 2020 to March 2021. It consisted of 24 episodes, animated by MAPPA studios.
Source & Translation credits: Soukatsu on Twitter