Jujutsu Kaisen confirmed the return of a second season for the anime, confirmed for a release in 2023. Now with the release of the first key visual, it is clear that the anime will follow the chronology of the manga and animate the story arc detailing Gojo’s past.
But this decision was met with mixed reactions from fans who were hyped up for the anime adaptation of the Shibuya Incident. This article discusses why the decision to adapt the Shibuya Incident in the second half of season 2 might be a wise one.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the author's opinions and contains spoilers for the Jujutsu Kaisen manga. All external media in this article are the property of their respective owners.
Adapting the Shibuya Incident arc in cour one of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 could be a disaster
Structuring of plotline and increasing shock factor
Jujutsu Kaisen mangaka Gege Akutami is a master at strategic pacing and structuring of storylines and had good reason in placing the Gojo’s Past arc before the catastrophic events of Shibuya.
The Star Plasma Vessel section of the manga focuses on Satoru Gojo’s time as a student of Tokyo Jujutsu High and explores his relationship with Suguru Geto, a major antagonist in the prequel movie and season 1 of the anime.
The Gojo's Past arc shows him unlocking the full extent of his powers, which resulted in his current reputation as the strongest sorcerer of this generation, and explains Suguru’s defection from the world of jujutsu sorcerers.
Both of these explorations are extremely necessary for the viewers to understand just how big a threat Gojo is to the cursed spirits seeking to resurrect Sukuna, initiating the “Golden Age of Curses.”
The arc also explores Gojo’s psyche and the circumstances behind his own motivations to become the strongest sorcerer of all time. His inability to save Riko Amanai from being assassinated by Toji Zenin made him aware of his own weaknesses, after which he became hellbent on making sure nobody under his protection would ever suffer the same fate.
Losing Amanai fueled Gojo's obsession to rescue young teenagers without hope, as was the case with Yuta Okkotsu and Yuji Itadori. It also prompted him to seek out Megumi after Toji’s death to prevent him from being sold into the Zenin clan.
The arc also introduces Megumi’s father, Toji, for the first time and immediately shows the man as a lethal force of nature. Maki Zenin shares the same Heavenly Restriction as Toji, and parallels between the two become increasingly frequent as the manga progresses.
But without the insight provided by the explosive fight between Toji and Gojo, viewers will fail to get a proper sense of Maki's true potential.
Furthermore, the arc also delves into Geto’s psyche and explains what prompted Geto’s rise as a villain in the series. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 already gives viewers a glimpse into his complicated motives, and even establishes that he is in fact an anti-hero rather than a villain. Gojo’s Past arc focuses on Geto just as heavily and builds up his significance in the storyline of the series.
His death at the end of the movie is sure to confuse viewers regarding him being clearly alive in season 1. It increases the shock factor of the plot twist that comes early on during the Shibuya Incident arc and unveils Kenjaku as the actual perpetrator.
How adapting the Shibuya Incident arc affects pacing of the story
The Shibuya Incident arc of Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the longest story arcs in the manga, spanning a whopping fifty-eight chapters. The events of the arc are also one punch in the gut after another, with almost no breathers in between.
Filled to the brim with shocking plot twists, intense fights, major character deaths and all-out chaos, adapting the entire arc into a single season of the anime without cutting out any major sections would be an exhausting task for animators.
The intensity of the arc would be equally draining for viewers, which would negatively affect ratings for the show. By adapting the Gojo’s Past arc in the first cour of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, the events of Shibuya can be cut into two clean halves, reserving the latter half for a third season.
Judging by how season 1 handled the pacing of the narrative, if the Shibuya Incident is animated in the second half of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2, the upcoming season would end with a major cliffhanger. It will end either with Gojo being sealed in the Prison Realm, or with Sukuna emerging after Yuji is forcefully fed eleven fingers in one go.
The Shibuya Incident arc is one of the most infamous and celebrated arcs of Jujutsu Kaisen and deserves the build-up necessary for viewers to feel the maximum impact of the incident and the way it affects the main cast of the show.
To ensure viewer satisfaction and maintain a proper pacing of episodes, adapting the Shibuya Incident arc in the second cour of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 would be the best way to go.