Working the Soul Case – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Ten)
If there’s one thing villains love, besides evil, it’s philosophising and touting the inherent truth of their personal ideals. That being said, such conversations usually don’t occur so early into meeting a villain; so, seeing the embodiment of humanity’s fear of humans having a relaxing chat with a student is interesting, to say the least. Naturally, a being whose entire existence is owed to fear and hatred has a less-than-positive opinion on humans. The clinical manner in which this being discusses distorting people’s bodies is unnerving, as is the overall jovial tone of its voice. Salaryman (whose name I still don’t remember) even compares the curse with Gojo, noting their childlike simplicity and the tremendous power said personality conceals. Also, the state of the humans this being (who I’ll call Stitches from now on) contorts continues to horrify: not content with the ability to twist and stretch, Stitches has taken it upon themselves to test the limits of their power. You know, seeing how big or small they can make a human body; so, just the worst kinds of stuff. Oh, sometimes the misshapen bodies even ask for help and cry. So…I hope you didn’t want to sleep anytime soon. Still, this horrific aspect of the warped humans shows that Salaryman does legitimately care about protecting humans—even those twisted beyond saving by Stitches—so that’s nice. Salaryman’s ability also comes into play quite nicely in this episode, allowing him to injure Stitches, a being who seems to view this episode’s fight as nothing more than a game. It also begs the question of just how impossibly strong Gojo is, as Stitches voices that a fight with him would be problematic. I mean, we’ve seen Gojo fight, but literally everyone is afraid of the guy: it’s pretty cool. Also, thinking about it now, Gojo’s abilities would nullify Stitches completely: if Stitches can’t touch his opponent, he can’t contort their form. I guess it’ll be interesting to see how the series keeps Gojo away from Stitches then, seeing as it would be a curb-stomp.
This episode also presents a reminder of Fringe’s (again, haven’t learnt his name) backstory. His school life just…it straight up sucked. I understand why the dude didn’t go to school: he was beaten, burnt, forced to eat bugs, and generally tormented. Also, his school seemingly had zero notion that any of this was happening; hell, one teacher even thought he was friends with the people who essentially tortured him. So, while I don’t condone wanton murder and mayhem, I definitely understand Fringe’s malicious intent towards the teacher who called him out for not attending the funeral of his “friends”. Fringe’s musings that teachers are inept because they live their lives in school and never experience the adult world is also a fairly solid combination of interesting and humorous, although a tremendous amount of schoolyard politics/crap is persistent throughout life—hate to break it to you, Fringe. Still, I’m curious to see Fringe’s dynamic with Itadori in future episodes. So far, it seems like Itadori may be the counterpoint Fringe needs to balance out the nihilistic worldview Stitches is peddling—he already stopped the dude from killing his teacher, after all. Itadori also notes that Fringe can see curses, so I’m also curious as to what powers this confused kid might possess. Not to lean into meta too hard, but Fringe is in the intro sequence, so I feel like he’ll be important regardless of the answers to any of these ponderings. Who knows, in a few more episodes, I might even remember his name.
Dai-saster Awaits – Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Episode Ten)
After defeating Crocodine and his furfang legion in an all-out war last week, we rejoin our heroes as they receive a reward from the King of Romos. Dai, Maam, and Popp each receive an armour upgrade thanks to Romos Kingdom, and Dai is even crowned as the new hero by the King—a title which he declines, citing himself unworthy of the title at the moment as he wasn’t able to defeat Crocodine alone.
The party celebrates with the folks at the kingdom, and after taking Brass back to Dermline Island it is back to our main quest of taking down the Dark Lord’s army. Dai decides that their next stop should be the Papnica Kingdom, which is, of course, home to Princess Leona—who we met way back in episode two of the series. Popp and Maam give Dai a bit of a hard time over his crush on Leona, but all agree that it is where they need to go next. Unfortunately for our heroes, the place looks like a complete write off when they rock up, as the Undead legion has utterly decimated the kingdom.
In a cutaway, we meet the other commanders of the Dark King’s army. One is a half-flame, half-ice man named Flazzard; one is a moustachioed man with some interesting dragon-style armour; and there is also another one who is an apparent decades-long mute who can turn invisible. All of them meet with Haldar to discuss the threat that is posed by Dai, who after defeating Crocodine is seemingly now being taken seriously by the Dark King’s army.
Back with our heroes, we meet a mysterious white-haired man who saves them from a gang of undead skeletons. Popp, however, is suss on the guy—despite his claims that he is the original student of Avan. The dude quickly gives up his ruse and reveals himself to be Hyunckel, one of the commanders of the Dark King’s army (and the Anakin Skywalker of the series). It seems he was meant to be the chosen one to replace Avan as the new hero, but for reasons currently unknown he turned to the dark side.
The episode concluded on a bit of a cliffhanger, as Dai and company start to battle Hyunckel—a battle which looks to be the primary focus of next week’s episode. I must say, I did not expect there to be an “evil” student of Avan, but I am definitely interested to see why he turned heel on Avan.
On a bit of a downer note, I felt the animation in this episode was a little bit basic and clunky compared to the series’ usual brilliance. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, it just was a noticeable step down compared to the incredible quality we had been treated to each week so far.
I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, which looks like it will try to deliver on the promise that this episode teased. I just have one question: Why Hyunckel? Why?