Y’all are going to be happy with me this week because I ended up having a really good time with “Dull Knife”, which is one of the best episodes of the Shibuya Incident Arc so far. That said, it certainly wasn’t perfect, by any means. I’ll go ahead and get my criticisms out of the way up front, so I can end the review on a positive note:
For one, Ui Ui sucks. I get that Mei Mei’s shtick kind of requires giving her someone to serve as an audience for her theatrical brand of ultraviolence. The ultraviolence is something I’m all for, obviously; I just wish that it didn’t have to come packaged with such an annoying little twerp. That same goes for Goofy McStabStab, the main Curse User of the Week that Nobara and Nitta find themselves squaring up against before Nanamin makes his showstopping arrival on the battlefield. That’s not the guy’s name, of course, but if his name got dropped this week, I was too busy being annoyed by his lame characterization and grating quirks. To be fair, this did make it all the more satisfying when he got the ever-loving shit beaten out of him at the end of the episode, but I maintain that he didn’t have to be written and performed like such a doofus for the payoff of his hilarious defeat to land.
Also, if I wanted to get nitpicky, I could point out a couple of cuts where the animation didn’t sell the weight and impact of a particular action beat as much as I would have liked.
That’s pretty much all I’ve got, so far as negatives go, and I’m honestly more than happy to put up with a couple of cringey supporting cast members if the main story of the week is up to snuff. In that respect, “Dull Knife” hits more often than it misses. Take Toji’s surprise, for-realsies-this-time reintroduction to the story, for instance. I was initially going to put the narrative explanation for how he comes back up there with my list of complaints because let’s be real: It’s dumb as shit. I hate it when the massive consequences of some random character’s powers feel like an asspull that gets explained after the fact. Then I thought about it some more, though, and I realized that having an antagonistic force that we give a damn about—especially one with as much presence and history as Toji has managed to develop during his short stint in the story—is well worth it.
Besides, the return of Toji isn’t even the centerpiece of the episode. That honor belongs to everyone’s favorite exhausted millennial, Kento “Don’t You Dare Make Me Kill You When I’m Not On the Clock” Nanami. Despite how much I genuinely dislike Goofy McStabStab’s whole deal, I did appreciate how brutal and hopeless the show played his trouncing of Nitta and Nobara. It gave me real horror movie vibes (the matter-of-fact way that poor Nitta got her ass and Achilles tendons all jacked up with that sword specifically reminded me of some of the more gruesome murder scenes from Zodiac, for some reason). Then, just when all hope seems lost, Nanami arrives to wrap that goofy-ass tie around his fist and beat that nerd to death with it, and I could not have been more excited.
This turn of events also gave me those seasonally appropriate horror chills, too, but for entirely different reasons. The way that Nanami goes after the Curse User makes him feel like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees stalking their prey, and how the doofus pleads for his life goes just about as well as it would for any other unfortunate slasher victim. It’s an excellently directed and performed sequence, from stem to stern, and it’ll easily go down as one of this season’s highlights.
If the show can keep this level of quality up, maybe I’ll finally allow myself to start believing some of the hype. There’s still not enough for me to emotionally invest in that would allow this storyline to rival the likes of Chainsaw Man or Attack on Titan—at least, not yet—but I am finally starting to see how this Shibuya Arc could end up being an enjoyable ride if nothing else.
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.