Jujutsu Kaisen: 13 Things The Anime Changed From The Manga (2023)

With the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen all wrapped up and more on the horizon, fans can safely say that Mappa did a stellar job with the adaptation. Once they found their footing Mappa did such a high-quality job of adapting the breakneck pace, style, and flair of Kaisen. Plus, they really went all-out for its combat scenes, so it can really only change for the better from here.

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But, there are still a few differences between the two, sure it's not nearly as bad as some other series, but these changes are still relatively noticeable, so let’s go over the most prominent ones now.

Updated October 3, 2021, by Jacob Buchalter: Jujutsu Kaisen is still going strong, whether it's in the pages of Shonen Jump, or in the upcoming Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie, people really seem to love watching Yuji Itadori and his horrifying adventure to eat a bunch of mummified fingers, wherever they can.

That said, one of the biggest topics of conversation about any new anime is how faithful it is to the source material. Some shows add a lot of anime-only content, while others are 1-to-1 faithful. For the most part, Jujutsu Kaisen is a very faithful adaptation, but there are still some noticeable differences between the original manga and the animated adaptation, so let's take a look.

13 No Volume 0/Episode 0

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Jujutsu Kaisen was initially planned as a short story or single publication but the immediate popularity eventually turned it into a full series. This is obvious to see simply because Volume 0 of the manga, featuring Yuta Okkutsu as the main character instead of Yuji Itadori, was originally titled Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, but was then changed to Jujutsu Kaisen 0 long after the fact. After being repurposed, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 became a prequel to Jujutsu Kaisen.

But, for readers of the manga who didn't know all that, reading Volume 0 first just felt like an introduction to the third years (especially fan favorite Maki Zenin) before Yuji appeared, and it was a relatively natural progression. However, the Jujutsu Kaisen anime chose not to adapt Volume 0, starting at chapter 1 instead. Again, a totally inoffensive change, but the lack of Volume 0 for anime watchers and availability of it for manga readers does change the "starting point" for the reader/viewer going into it, which can affect their overall enjoyment of the story or other stories like it.

12 More Line Detail In The Manga

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There aren’t many anime adaptations that manage to translate the same or a similar amount of line detail as the manga had, it’s just too much work. Mappa does a pretty decent job, but it’s not perfect. There's just no way (most of the time) to fully translate every single line from a still page to moving frames without exponentially increasing the budget of the anime or trading something else in return. In fact, one of the most well-drawn series of all time, Berserk, constantly suffers from adaptations that don't even try to replicate its line detail.

Now, Jujutsu Kaisen's adaptation isn't even close to the level of the 2016 CG Berserk adaptation, but it isn't perfect.

11 Usage Of CGI, Dynamic Camera Movement, & 3D Models

This next one applies to many different anime adaptations of popular manga series, and it’s the fact that an anime can play around with the camera a lot more, especially if they're using 3D models like the final season of Attack on Titan did. Granted, the times Mappa uses 3D for this show are exceedingly small, but when they do they also use it for some unique and interesting "camera" angles.

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That said, the 3D in Jujutsu Kaisen's anime adaptation isn't quite up to the same bar of quality as the Titans in the final season of AoT. In particular, the scene where Mahito has a gusher of blood spilling out of him at the end of his fight with Itadori and Nanami looks pretty rough at a deeper glance.

10 The Adaptation “Prettied” Some People Up

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Coming up next is by far the weirdest change, Mappa “prettied” up some of the characters. Certain characters like Gojo or Kugisaki had their facial features modified just a touch. In Gojo’s case, they made him look a bit more stereotypically “feminine” with thinner eyes, a longer nose, and sharper features. And with Kugisaki they sort of just gave her a bit of lip gloss made her eyes a tad larger and added some more noticeable eyelashes.

It's a shame because both of these characters had this very passive “unhinged” look to them that isn’t really there in the anime anymore, which takes away from the characters themselves a bit. Honestly, it's usually the smaller things that manga series manage to pull off better than their adaptations anyway.

9 It Also "Sands Down" The Edges

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The Jujutsu Kaisen anime made a few characters just ever so slightly more "stereotypically" pretty. Another change was that its violent or horrifying moments don't give viewers quite as much "whiplash" as they do readers of the manga. When something happens from one manga panel to the next, and it's something drastic, there are a lot of ways to make the reader "feel" that impact. For example, if a character is talking in one panel and then in the next, their entire head is gone, the manga can make that transition feel exceedingly quick.

The reader feels like they missed something or they need to take a second to process what just happened. For the most part, the Jujutsu Kaisen manga does this wonderfully, making all the horrifying moments of despair hit that much harder. And, while the anime adaptation is A+ overall, they do suffer a bit from not having those moments hit as hard, whether its because they aren't putting as much focus on the stark contrast of a violent moment, the gore itself, or the tone change.

8 How Itadori First Eats Sukuna’s Finger

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Now onto the actual story changes. The initial few episodes of the Jujutsu Kaisen adaptation made many microscopic changes, with each new episode getting closer and closer to a 1-to-1 translation to the manga. The first episode, in particular, had the most egregious divergences. The most obvious change at a glance is of course the way Itadori consumes the first Sukuna finger, as it's almost entirely different in the anime.

In the manga, Megumi mentions Itadori would need to possess Cursed energy to kill a curse, so Yuji immediately eats the Sukuna finger in response without thinking much of it, surprising Megumi before he can even process what just happened. In the anime, he’s about to be crushed in the jaws of the curse and has to eat the finger as a last-ditch effort, with Megumi watching him as it slowly falls into Yuji's mouth.

7 New Visual Flair For Cursed Techniques

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Communicating the properties of something "unnatural in reality" is so much easier with sound, motion, and visuals than it is with pure linework. It’s obvious, but people don’t seem to give mangaka the credit they deserve for managing to communicate the weight, feel, or power of supernatural effects with just some ink and paper.

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In Jujutsu Kaisen, mangaka Gege Akutani uses heavy blank ink and flowing lines to portray most Cursed Techniques that these glorified exorcists use. But, in the anime, they use much thicker lines to show that these powers are very different from everything else in the natural world. It's a smart change on Mappa's part, considering the "black ink" effect wouldn't look as noticeable in an anime as it does on a manga page.

6 Fewer References In General

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Honestly, there are a lot of little references to games, shows, and other media spread throughout Jujutsu Kaisen. Now, Mappa did keep a lot of these references in, but not all of them. One of the funniest ones once again happens in the first chapter/first episode. In it, Itadori is being introduced as the supernaturally strong boy that he is, and he's up against the track-and-field coach in a competition with Yuji joining the team as the prize.

Among the whispers, the Occult Club president mentions that there's a rumor Itadori is a previous winner of the iconic Ninja Warrior series. It was a hilarious reference, and it gave readers a reference point of how everyone else in the story saw Itadori’s natural abilities. But, in the anime, this reference is nowhere to be found.

5 Jogo’s Diner Scene Is Elongated

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Going from a comedic change to a dramatic one, let’s talk about the Special-Grade Cursed Spirits that show up partway through Jujutsu Kaisen’s first season. Namely, Jogo, Mahito, Hanami, and Dagon. Early on, Suguru Geto meets with these Cursed Spirits in a diner to discuss their plan. But, as Jogo gets more and more annoyed throughout the course of the conversation, he starts to expel a lot of heat.

Once the topic of discussion is over, Jogo decides just to slaughter everyone in the diner as a way of "showing" he can fight Satoru Gojo. In the manga, this scene happens quickly and is an easy-to-understand way of showing how absurdly strong Jogo is as a curse. In the anime, they elongate this scene, making it intentionally uncomfortable to even watch, which actually does a better job of showing the viewer that these curses place no value on human lives.

4 The Fight Between Sukuna & Megumi Is Exaggerated

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Now, in terms of exaggeration, the Jujutsu Kaisen anime does it a fair amount. Usually, it’s pretty subtle or small, but in the case of the fight between Megumi and a Sukuna-possessed Itadori outside of the Juvenile Detention Center case early on, they sort of turned it into a Super Saiyan battle rather than a fight between Jujutsu Sorcerers.

In the manga, Sukuna launches Megumi high into the air then spikes him down into the apartment complex. But, in the anime, Sukuna punches him so hard he skids off two different rooftops, then gets punched through what looks like five separate concrete walls. The end result is the same, but the anime implies that Megumi has some absurd durability when that’s always been Itadori’s thing. To be fair, it's not like the series was ever "realistic", but this was a bit jump in believability.

3 Junpei Standing Up To His Bullies Is Anime-Only

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Junpei Yoshino is by far one of the more interesting characters in the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen. His outlook on life is unique, his story is tragic, and his death impacts Itadori in a big way. Manga fans knew this character wasn’t long for this world, but the anime did its best to hide or lie about that fact. They included Junpei hanging with Yuji, Megumi, and Kugisaki at the school in the intro as if to imply that he would eventually become a Jujutsu Sorcerer.

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And, they also gave Junpei an extra scene where he first stands up to his bullies when they tried to take over his club room. It’s minor, but this anime-only scene of Junpei standing up for himself gave fans a bit of a look at how brave the kid actually was and the potential he had. But, sadly, Jujutsu Kaisen isn’t exactly a happy story (something that's pretty unique for a shonen), and not all characters make it to the end.

2 Combat Has Extra Moves & Added Flair

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Let’s talk a bit more about the combat in the anime adaptation. The combat scenes, for the most part, are so incredibly well composited and animated. When people are fighting hand to hand, it looks like martial arts, and then when they use their curse techniques it gets a lot more supernatural.

The dynamic camera, the extra moves, the added flair, it’s all stuff that was added in the anime, and it all works so well. Sure, sometimes Mappa exaggerated the damage a character would do to another in comparison to the manga (such as when Idatori fights the Curse Humans with Nanami at the batting cages), but honestly, it's worth it for how incredibly all these battles end up looking.

1 The Manga Is "Raw" & The Anime Is "Clean"

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One thing that is incredibly hard to translate from still frame to motion is the "roughness" of the mangaka's art style. Gege Akutami is a fantastic artist, no doubt about it, and a big reason for that is that he absolutely excels are using messy lines, blotches, or purposely ugly expressions to convey his intentions. For example, in the scene where both Mahito and Sukuna are mockingly laughing at Itadori right after a tragic death, the difference between the anime and manga is clear.

This contrast makes that moment so much stronger, and while the anime replicates it decently and even adds color, it's not quite the same. That's just one example of course, but there are examples of it all over. The Jujutsu Kaisen anime is beautiful, masterfully made, and clean, but those traits hamper it a tad when they're compared to the linework and visual language of the manga art.

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