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“Metamorphosis” feels like a perfect microcosm of the Shibuya Incident Arc as a whole. It offers a bunch of really entertaining and compelling individual moments that don’t quite come together to form a great episode of television. It’s still pretty good but it isn’t capital-G “Great”, and I think there are a few reasons for that.

The first is the nature of the battle arena for this Todo/Yuji vs. Mahito bout, which differs from most of the claustrophobic settings for this arc’s previous fights in that it is just a big, empty, CGI-looking field of dirt. I’m all for a change of pace, and given how bug-nuts bonkers some of Mahito’s transformations get, I can see why Jujutsu Kaisen opted to shift towards a less confined locale. The problem is that the new setting for the fight just isn’t very interesting, either visually or thematically. There’s none of that eerie, survival-horror sensibility that has given this season’s battles their bite (which they have all needed, since there has been so goddamned many of them). When you combine that with the many unfinished-looking cuts of animation that distract from the otherwise very effective storyboarding, you get a climactic battle that looks and feels significantly less visceral than nearly every other fight that’s come before it.

There’s also the larger issue of JJK‘s power structure and systems, which have begun to show their dramatic limitations in a big way over the last few weeks. Much of the dramatic weight of this fight against Mahito is placed on Yuji suddenly developing the ability to call upon the Black Flash power at will, instead of just relying on the roll of the dice, which is something that has never been accomplished before. That’s all well and good, and while it is satisfying to see our hero summon up the strength needed to take Mahito down a peg or three, I just don’t think the show has done a good enough job of establishing the nature and limitations of Yuji’s powers up to this point to make the moment land as strongly as it could have. I have complained about the series’ tendency to fall back on its narrator too often, but this is just one of those moments where I wish the show didn’t have to laboriously tell me what makes Yuji’s powerup so significant. I should be able to see it for myself.

All that said, despite the larger issues that hold “Metamorphosis” back from being an all-time great chapter of the Jujutsu Kaisen saga, there’s plenty here to love. Regardless of the issues I have with how the story got us here, I could never tell you that it wasn’t immensely gratifying to see Mahito reduced to a quivering mess in the face of Yuji’s wrath, and the visual flourish of transitioning the background into a dreamlike winter forest setting was a nice touch. The absolute best moment of the episode, though, has to be the reveal that Todo’s locket contains a picture of Takada-chan, the man’s favorite idol, as well as his brother-from-another-alternate-universe-where-Jujutsu Kaisen-is-a-romantic-comedy, Yuji. Not only does this shock Mahito into stunned silence, but it also gives Todo the last-minute power-up that he needs to…hallucinate his way into clapping Yuji in for the win. It’s honestly so stupid that it comes back around to being incredible. Given enough time to think about it, I’ll have a bunch of angry questions about why Todo’s genuinely insane bromance for Yuji allowed him to survive his encounter with Mahito when Nobara had to go out like such a chump, but for now, I am happy to revel in the madness of it all. Shine on, you crazy diamond.


Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is currently streaming on

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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Episode 45 – Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2