Jujutsu Kaisen vol. 7 – Gege Akutami

3 out of 5

With the last collection of chapters falling prey to some more typical shonen tropes, the assailing on the Kyoto / Tokyo school showdown is concluded, and volume 7 gets off to a strong start. Creator Gege Akutami works at his usual fast pace, shuffling between flashbacks and current events and shuffled moments of dialogue, and now that I’m used to this organization, it’s very effective at layering the levels of comedy, and narration (touching on Mahito’s further plotting), and character building; this layering has been Jujutsu’s strength, and it’s incredibly rewarding and gripping when that’s in full swing. It’s also good that Gege jumps back into some lighthearted fare, with the competition shifting to an ad hoc baseball game between the two teams – it’s a downbeat moment that lets the characters shine.

The second half of this set gets a little cluttered again, though. Megumi, Kugisakim and Yuji are sent right off onto another mission, and while this makes sense, it feels like the thread of Itadori’s training and the fomenting relationships between the trio gets a little lost behind this need to immediately set up another story arc. Unfortunately, this means that shonen genericness starts to seep back in: immediate fisticuffs, crazy villains, and a powers showdown. I realize this stuff is expected, so I can’t fault Akutami for including it – and its always been part of the book’s formula – there just seemed to be more of a linear drive to things before, as opposed to fights for the sake of fighting. However, that organizational shuffling is also at work here, as the last couple chapters start to backfill some good info which fleshes out events, but the tankobon runs out of room before we can get too far with that.

Akutami’s energized art style and apparent bevy of ideas still makes this an exciting read, but we have a deep bench of characters and lore at this point to explore, and I hope we can sit with that for a bit before tossing more clutter on to the pile.