MANGA REVIEW | "Jujutsu Kaisen" - Volume Twenty
There’s a flair to the current arc in Jujutsu Kaisen that makes it a page-tuner. Unlike their last long arc, The Culling has found many ways to keep things interesting, to say the least. Sometimes it’s with a witty conversation between fighters, and other times it’s with the spectacle of the fight. But in Volume Twenty, the appeal can be summed up with one phrase: man-eating cockroaches!
Reggie and Fushiguro’s battle in the Tokyo colony almost reaches a standstill, until one of our heroes pulls out a very unique trick. Meanwhile, Okkotsu has found himself in a four-way in Sendai, with wild techniques dished out around every corner. Both Jujutsu fighters have their work cut out for them, as they fight tooth-and-nail to stay alive. But in the case of Okkotsu, he at least has a special someone he can conjure up by simply slipping a ring on…
For the battle between Fushiguro and Reggie, the wildness of the climax is a delight to read through. From the use of weight techniques to being in a void of nothingness, their fight throws everything into the mix, with most of the attacks landing with gusto. It’s some outside-the-box thinking from Fushiguro that aids in him gaining both the upper hand and a certain peace of mind in the long run. Although this is mostly Yuji Itadori’s story, Jujutsu Kaisen goes to great lengths to show that he’s not the only star player in the series.
Which leads me to Okkotsu, who takes part in the battle in Sendai. Gege Akutami has a knack for the gruesome when it comes time, so the sight of a plethora of cockroaches eating a person down to the bone is just delightfully spine-chilling! And this particular fighter isn’t the only one with some unique skills. A woman with the ability to literally pull on the scenery results in some terrific visuals, on top of it being a nicely cartoonish trick. Then there’s the Elvis-looking fighter, who uses his pompadour to fire off his attacks.
Much of this volume is a showcase of Akutami’s battle-drawing skills. The detail, the expressions, and even the curses that come forth are presented with impressive detail. So it’s a bit of a shame that the narrative part takes a bit of a back seat. There’s no progress on saving Gojo, and many of the fights happen for “just because” reasons. Then again, most folks don’t read this manga to be treated to a deep story; they just want the violence.
Volume Twenty of Jujutsu Kaisen is a high mark from a visual standpoint. But as storytelling goes, it’s merely okay. Fortunately, the battles are presented terrifically, and it hides the narrative flaws enough to make it an excitable read. So long as it doesn’t drag these battles for longer than they should, The Culling will hopefully be a high mark for the Jujutsu Kaisen series.
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.