Beat and Greet – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Eight)
Pop quiz, hotshot: what’s the best way to show that a new character is powerful? Have them beat up a character who is already established as powerful. What’s the best way to establish that a new character isn’t the friendliest tool in the crayon box? Have them beat up a character who is already established as (mostly) likeable. Enter Toudou: a big, buff badass from the only other jujutsu school in Japan, and the kind of person who pummels somebody half to death because he disagrees in their preferences in women. So…a strange guy. Also, what is it with Jujutsu Kaisen and characters proclaiming their type of woman? I know it’s only happened twice, but it happened very aggressively both times. S’weird. Regardless, Toudou’s absolute walloping of Fushiguro clearly shows that he is one tough customer—some added exposition explaining that he is already capable of taking down a special-grade. Moreover, it is only when versing a special-grade that Toudou even bothers to use cursed techniques, seemingly relying on brute strength when combatting lesser foes. Toudou’s classmate Mai is also shown to be quite a formidable foe, straight up just shooting Kugisaki with some sort of curse revolver. Though no permanent damage is done to either member of our main cast, this episode does set up some manner of rivalry between the members of the jujutsu schools. In fact, both Fushiguro and Kugisaki manages to prove their mettle somewhat, with Kugisaki grappling Mai—despite the latter’s insistence that the former’s wounds took her out of commission—and Fushiguro’s fleeting moment of legitimate fighting intent taking Toudou by surprise. Nothing too crazy, but enough to whet our appetites for whatever fights will take place during the exchange event—which may be happening sooner than we thought because…
One-month time skip. Yeah, the episode just throws up a title card partway through explaining to us that one month has passed. Also, three high school boys are brutally murdered. Also also, Itadori is apparently back on active duty and in the company of a new character. Though not a complete shock, the jump in time was quite abrupt and did leave me momentarily quizzical. The final scene before the skip isn’t particularly dramatic, nor does it flow into the events of the future-now-present; in fact, it’s a joke. Toudou, living up to his proclamations of type, is a big fan of a tall idol; so, he goes to a handshake event…then we jump into the future. It’s not a bad gag necessarily, it’s just a very strange point to leap from. There’s also a definite sense of mood whiplash, shifting from an idol striking a pose—complete with animated love heart—to the mutilated corpses of three high schoolers. Also, due to the Jujutsu Stroll, a surprising amount of time in this episode is devoted to this aforementioned idol. Again, not necessarily bad—given that seeing the harsh Mai surprised by her own response to the idol is pretty funny—just odd. This episode also includes some expository confirmation via Gojo, who explains how both curses and sorcerers have grown exponentially in power through the generations, but that definitely leans harder into foreshadowing of things to come—all of which I’m excited for. Also, the visiting principal’s assistant excitedly chasing after Gojo for a photo was pretty funny; the same with her outwardly berating Gojo’s attitude whilst secretly fawning over him. Now that I think about it, this episode was a weird combination of violence and attraction…and I’m not sure how to quantify that.
Never Say Dai – Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Episode Eight)
If the Dark Lord’s sudden appearance back in episode four was a shock to the system, episode eight is where shit hits the proverbial fan. We barely get a moment to breathe as we arrive at Romos Kingdom before Crocodine and the entire Furfang monster army decide to immediately wage an all-out assault on the kingdom. We knew Crocodine wasn’t going to forgive Dai for what happened in their previous encounter, but now that he has been manipulated by Zeboera he is more dangerous than he was then.
Crocodine has given up all pretence of being an honourable and proud warrior, implementing lowly tactics such as deploying a mind-controlled Brass to fight against his own adoptive son, Dai. This makes for a truly emotional battle as Dai does not want to fight his grandpa, but Brass relentlessly attacks due to the aforementioned mind control.
Fortunately for Dai, Maam rocks up to assist in the fight—after verbally trashing Popp for being a coward and refusing to help Dai, yet again. I am starting to get very frustrated by Popp; but, if the preview for next week is anything to go by, it looks like he might finally man up and earn his keep as a part of Dai’s party.
The episode ends with a pretty substantial cliffhanger with Crocodine unleashing his ultimate attack, which sees his arm get massively jacked and let off an insane Dragon Ball-esque wave beam. Dai and Maam are left face down in the wreckage as Crocodine screams as we cut to credits. It looks like our heroes are well and truly on the ropes here, but I for one hope to see them mount a comeback in this fight in the next episode—hopefully with the help of the thus far useless Popp.
All in all, I am really digging this Crocodine arc. He is a great antagonist for Dai and party to combat against, and his moral code and warrior’s pride seem to conflict with the ways of the Dark Lord. I have a hunch that, by the time this battle is over, Crocodine may be in line for a face turn. I personally think he’d make a great addition to Dai’s party, and the dude is just badass. Come on Dragon Quest, you got to give the people what they want!