Why keeping Naoya Zenin for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 was MAPPA's best decision, explored

Why keeping Naoya Zenin for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 was MAPPA
Why keeping Naoya Zenin for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 was MAPPA's best decision, explored (Image via MAPPA Studios)

With the conclusion of the anime’s second season this past Thursday, December 28, 2023, fans of the smash-hit television anime series are already begging for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3. Thankfully, with the third season’s production being officially announced shortly after the second season finale, all fans have to beg for is a quick turnaround time to the third season’s release.

Likewise, anime-only fans and manga-readers alike are excitedly discussing what’s next to come for the series within the confines of Jujutsu Kaisen season 3. With the third season already confirming it will be covering the Culling Games arcs, there are certainly plenty of exciting moments for fans to look forward to.

However, manga readers specifically are discussing one character in particular who’ll have a major role to play in the early and late sections of what Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 will cover. This is none other than Naoya Zenin, whose delayed introduction to the coming third season rather than in the second’s final moments is one of MAPPA’s best decisions for the second season.

Saving Naoya for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 allows season 2 to end on the perfect cliffhanger, and more

Why it’s MAPPA’s best decision, explored

The most immediate and exciting impact which saving Naoya Zenin’s introduction for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 has is actually unrelated to the third season entirely. By saving Naoya’s introduction rather than trying to rush it, MAPPA was able to end season 2 perfectly with the cliffhanger of Yuta Okkotsu’s reappearance and apparent dedication to kill protagonist Yuji Itadori.

By delaying Naoya’s introduction, MAPPA allowed themselves to end on a cliffhanger which has had social media abuzz in the roughly 24 hours since the season 2 finale aired. While manga readers are well aware of what’s coming next, a significant portion of the series’ fanbase is anime-only, making this move a prudent one.

Saving Naoya’s introduction for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 also preserves the original intent and pacing behind his initial introduction in the series. To feasibly introduce Naoya in the season 2 finale, events that are now set to open up the third season would’ve had to be reordered and likely rushed through in the final stretch of season 2.

While Naoya isn’t the most important character for the third season’s events, his introduction and the role he plays throughout are nevertheless memorable and narratively integral. By giving themselves the opportunity to do Naoya’s introduction as it was done in the manga, MAPPA studios have allowed themselves to very clearly highlight his significance and importance via his original introduction as seen in the manga.

There’s also the fact that Naoya is rarely, if at all, mentioned in the series overall and in the second season specifically. To rush his introduction into the final moments of the second season rather than preserve it for Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 would likely confuse anime-only fans more than it would intrigue them.

Naoya’s introduction and initial presence in the series is also deeply intertwined with the fallout of the Shibuya Incident rather than the event itself. By allowing season 2’s final moments to establish what this fallout is, fans can get the full context and significance of who Naoya is within the series’ world and its recent events.

Be sure to keep up with all Jujutsu Kaisen anime and manga news, as well as general anime, manga, film, and live-action news as 2023 progresses.

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Edited by Yash Singh
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