HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Jujutsu Kaisen" - Volume Twenty-One

MANGA REVIEW | "Jujutsu Kaisen" - Volume Twenty-One

MANGA REVIEW | "Jujutsu Kaisen" - Volume Twenty-One

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was completely wowed by a volume of Jujutsu Kaisen. Looking back, the last time I gave this series a perfect score was Volume Ten in August 2021, right when “The Shibuya Incident” was just about to begin. (And look how downhill that went!) But here we are, with the twenty-first volume of Jujutsu Kaisen, which delivers over 200 pages of the awesomeness and badassery that this series knows it can deliver. The strange thing: some of it involves my least-favorite Japanese pastime: pachinko.

Hakari and Panda take center stage for this, with the former facing the wannabe manga artist Charles and the latter with Kashimo. Charles looks foreign, but he was born and raised in Japan. And his love for manga has influenced him to want to create his own. Sadly, he’s got too many ideas meshed together, on top of a bad habit of breaking manga editor’s fingers! (Is this Gege Akutami sending a warning to his own editor?)

Charles and his massive pen starts to make some good damage onto Hakari. But the game really gets started when Hakari unleashes his cursed technique. Using pachinko-like mechanics, Hakari is able to become un-killable for four minutes and eleven seconds. And during that time, he gets a little crazy!

How Akutami manages to take one of the things I hate most about Japanese culture and turn it exciting is something of a miracle. I don’t know if it’s just from the way it’s presented, or if it’s because it’s actually teaching me everything about how this loud annoying gambling game. Either way, it had my attention throughout Hakari’s battle with Charles. As for when he comes face-to-face with Kashimo, well, that’ll come in just a couple more paragraphs.

Jujutsu Kaisen favorite Panda faces off against Kashimo, who demands to know where Sukuna is. Tight-lipped as ever, Panda goes all out against Kashimo, only to be literally ripped into pieces. And then…something weird happens. A story involving a little Panda, a talking gorilla, and a couple of other ODDTAXI rejects interrupts things, only for it to serve as a metaphor for something going on internally for Panda.

This leads to the good shit: Kashimo versus Hakari. It’s a back-and-forth that results in limbs slices, flesh wounds gouged, and plenty of jackpots. Also, thanks to Charles, Hakari now has a case of manga brain, thereby making his mentality a little more loony. From the surface to the deep sea, both curse users deliver a genuinely bombastic fight that hasn’t really been on display in this series in a very, very long time.

What Volume Twenty-One of Jujutsu Kaisen delivers is exactly what I’ve wanted this series to showcase since its beginning. Even without any of the main guys to be seen, Akutami manages to give us readers nonstop madness and fun in this volume. I don’t know if it’s a fluke or not, but I’m hoping this is a good sign that the creator is finally getting back into the swing of things. If that’s the case, then we should prepare for a lot of awesome things to come in Jujutsu Kaisen!


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)