It’s here, the book we anime lovers have all been waiting for, the TV Anime Jujutsu Kaisen 1st Season Complete Book (Japanese version)! I cannot rave enough about how much I love this full-colour, info-filled, well-designed book:
Before I start putting heart emoji all over the place, let’s get to the contents:
Mini-Posters in Front
There are two posters, the first one containing the cover illustration with the famous Tokyo vs Kyoto schools illustration at the back, while the second one is the Volume 0 film sketch of Okkotsu with Curse Rika-chan’s arms around him in front, and the official movie poster at the back.
Since the book is B5 in size, these posters are B4. The bad thing is that there are no perforations for easy detachment from the book, so good luck to those who want to actually use the posters as posters!
Full Page Spread of Iconic Scenes
Who doesn’t enjoy looking at all the iconic scenes from the anime? They are all here, full-colour stills of the most popular scenes, arranged in order of appearance.
Let’s have a look at the Gojo one on his Infinite Space domain expansion. Director Park says in the notes at the bottom that he found it difficult bringing this scene to life since it’s the key to showing Gojo as the best of the best. How to express infinite strength? In the book, he says, the expression is “nothingness” of the universe, but to this he also added “realm of the gods”, which was the impression he got from the manga scene. In order to put these together, he interviewed Akutami-sensei again and again about Gojo’s technique. He says in the end that he thought the anime scene allowed us to see more clearly the real Gojo for the first time, when he removes his mask and we get to see his eyes.
For the Gojo “Purple” technique spread on p91, Park says that in the manga, the Red and Blue simply overlap, but he struggled with how to show this properly. The anime staff suggested making the colours “blend” together, and combined with Akutami-sensei’s image of them crashing into each other, Park came up with the “Purple” scene that we’ve come to know so well in the anime.
Other spreads include baseball screenshots with comments on the characters as we saw on TV, such as Inumaki actually preferring bread for breakfast, and Megumi liking the breast part of his chikin nanban (fried chicken with vinegar and tartar sauce), but the thigh part for oyakodon (rice bowl with fried chicken and egg). These humorous comments have been suggested for the anime by Akutami-sensei himself; it’s nice to see them in print!
Opening and Ending Song Animation
In coloured reel form are the scenes from the opening as well as ending songs for both halves of the anime. There are no notes here, just stills.
Just these by themselves are worth the price of the book, I think! Some have many more notes than others.
We can see just how much care they’ve put to Nobara’s clothing as it went from new to worn out during her training with Panda. One handwritten note says, “Torn in four places, skin shows”.
Fans who enjoy drawing the characters will love this book as it shows the many expressions of each character, from happy to sad to angry to confused.
For Gojo’s notes, one says, “There’s a slit here” indicating his long-sleeved shirt, and a “Crease over here” for the shirt part where the sleeve fabric is joined with the torso portion.
All the Backdrops
Then there are all the backdrop illustrations of the landscapes. Won’t post any pics here – just think of all the backgrounds in the anime without anyone in sight. They all look so eerily quiet and disturbingly peaceful!
Maki and Nobara are weapons-oriented and we get to see all their tools here, along with all other props used by various characters.
There are sketches of Sukuna’s finger, with handwritten notes, one of them saying “It curves a bit”, while another one says “Make the box look wooden”.
All the JujuSanpo Dialogue
I’ll be the first to admit that I probably love JujuSanpo just as much as I love the anime itself! Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but I absolutely love these humour-filled, additional animation bits that flesh out the characters more. I love the takes on their daily, mundane lives. Knowing that Akutami-sensei himself has written the dialogue for this portion makes them totally canon and worthy of viewing again and again!
It’s wonderful to get to read the entire script of all the JujuSanpo episodes. Even simply reading them makes me laugh, despite already knowing what the joke is all about.
Final Episode Storyboard and Director’s Interview
Episode 24, the final one, is of utmost importance to the first season so Director Park storyboarded the entire thing himself. We see page after page of his drawings, with handwritten notes everywhere.
I’ll take this time to say I truly admire and respect Sunghoo Park. His Japanese is perfect, better than mine, in fact, which is a shame-on-me because I’m the one with Japanese blood. When people ask why I look and sound foreign all around, I tell them I was born and grew up abroad (with a Japanese mother who didn’t care to teach her children her mother tongue) and only began learning Japanese when I was in high school, so I have an accent and my handwriting isn’t pretty. All of these become poor excuses when we meet someone like Director Park. He was born and raised in Korea, only coming to Japan after high school, and yet he has mastered the language and perfected the anime genre. Me? Ugh, I feel like a complete failure next to Sunghoo Park!
Having said that, and putting my feelings of failure aside, let’s have a look at Park’s interview. He says that since it’s the final episode, he wanted to make it look as cool as can be, and truly went out of his way to make it look as good as possible. In the manga, this part of the story solidified the trio’s friendship, and he tried to express thedir relationship with the best action sequences and camera angles he could come up with.
He says that when there’s too much action in a scene, the parts lose their unity as a whole. So he used camera work like tilt-up to show Eso’s entire body, dwindling it down to only the necessary facial expressions, and combining it with the right tempo and music and so on to produce a unified action sequence. When he put the music (“Remember” by Coldrain’s Masato) over the anime, he knew he had finally reached a completed episode.
For Park, the final conversation between Nobara and Yuji is a personal favourite of his in the manga. The conversation flows without interruption, so he decided to use a fixed camera without any cuts. A problem he feared he’d encounter was when the voice actors lip-synched their parts but couldn’t match them with the movements of the anime character’s mouths. He solved this by asking the actors to ignore the storyboards and simply read and emote from the manga. Afterwards, he made the animators match the movements of the mouths, eyes and facial expressions of the characters to the recorded voices. He says he thinks they did an incredible job and he is proud of the result: like a live-action film.
Aside from liking the battle scenes, Animation Producer Keisuke Seshimo says his favourite is the scene where Yuji chases after Eso’s truck. As Yuji shouts “Kugisaki!” he’s not just doing simple running but is actually doing the proper stepping (i.e., foot movement). Running is such a basic movement in anime so everyone has done a running scene, but this one in JJK, in his opinion, is as close to real running as possible and did an incredible job combining the movements with the characters and their drama.
In response to this praise, Park laughs and says it’s a pivotal scene in the anime and had to be done as well as it had.
Comments from the Voice Actors
If you’re following the Jujutsu Kaisen official podcast on Spotify, you’ll notice that some of the things the actors (called CV or character voice) say here have already been said during the channel interviews. But it’s always nice to see their faces and find their comments in written form!
Let’s have a look at some of the amusing things they say. Junya Enoki (Yuji Itadori’s VA), when asked which technique he’d like to try, says that since he tends to oversleep he’d like the nue (Megumi’s eagle-like bird shikigami) to carry him to work. Yuma Uchida (Megumi Fushiguro’s VA) was asked which scene left an impression on him, and he says that while he enjoys the dynamic action of the anime, the final scene of Megumi and Nobara having a quiet conversation regarding Itadori was something he liked in particular, including the personal space between them, but especially Nobara’s considerate tone.
Now let’s go through ALL of Yuichi Nakamura’s (Satoru Gojo’s VA) comments! When asked what he took pains with in particular when giving life to the character, he says it’s always a good thing to try to find a footing by himself, but what he enjoyed the most was the discussions he and the staff had regarding the acting. He says he received detailed instructions from the staff so it really helped! Next, he’s asked whom he’d like to be friends with if he were to enrol at Jujutsu High, and he says Toge seems really fun to talk to, by trying to figure out what the onigiri types mean. If worse comes to worse, he says he can always interpret the words to his own liking! Finally, Nakamura is asked to leave a message for Gojo, and he says, “Don’t leave matters to the youngsters too much, get out there more! (haha).” xD
Mitsuo Iwata (Kiyotaka Ijichi’s VA) says he read the manga and saw Ijichi as a lovely character, loyal to Jujutsu High and dedicated to his job. When acting, he tried to show Ijichi’s good characteristics through his voice. Junichi Suwabe (Ryomen Sukuna’s VA) says he’d like to do lots of petting with both the black and white Divine Dogs. Shigeru Chiba’s (Jogo’s VA) message for his character is so adorable: “You’re pure and cute! But if you’re into Hanami, you better gather up the courage to tell them! (…whoa!)”
Stating the obvious, Takahiro Sakurai (Suguru Geto’s VA) says Geto is a tough role to play, and he gets plenty of detailed instructions on how to voice him. When asked to leave a message for his character, he says Geto is such a scary guy he fears he’ll say something wrong and make him cross, so he’s too afraid to say anything! xD
Here’s Mikako Komatsu, Maki Zen’in’s VA:
- Q: Who do you want to be friends with if you’re a student at Jujutsu High?
- A: I want to be Nobara’s friend. Shopping, going to the movies, having a meal together. Spend lots of time together (lol). Her inner strength, the strength of her conviction, her strong sense of self – I’m sure it’ll help me. I genuinely respect her.
- Q: What technique would you like to try if you were a sorcerer?
- A: I think Toge’s ‘curse words’. I think everyone at one time or another admires that ability. But then I’ll probably no longer be a VA…(sad).
- Q: Message for Maki Zen’in?
- A: Let’s destroy the Zen’in clan. I’m with you all the way.
Aww, isn’t she a cutie pie? It’s fun to note her birthday is November 11. That’s 11/11. I’m sure it means something special! It’s nice how in the manga/anime, Nobara admires and respects Maki, while in the real world, Komatsu admires Nobara’s character. It’s like a virtual reality/real world crossover mutual admiration club! I love it!
The book goes on with all the other characters, usually with questions on how they played their role, what kind of jujutsu technique they’d like to try, and a message for their character. If you want to know the contents of anyone else’s interview, let me know in the comments section!
In Part 2 of this article, I’ll write about the interviews with the staff found at the end of the book, as well as look at the illustration gallery containing magazine covers and such. (ETA November 3, 2021 – I’ll only write this if someone says they’re interested in reading in the comment section below!)
To Buy or Not
So, is this book worth it? Absolutely! For the price (JPY1980 tax incl, less than USD20), it’s worth every penny. The book has one Major Flaw, however. Take a look at the pic below:
The book is small. As in small, only B5 in size. Compare that to the Jujutsu Kaisen Key Animation Volume 1 book. Now that one’s a proper picture book. This Complete Book has very tiny illustrations and very tiny fonts and very tiny handwritten notes… everything’s just so small! I’m complaining because I’d rather pay more to get a good-sized picture book, than ruin my already poor eyesight peering at the tiny graphics and text of this one.
Granted, it’s the same size as The Promised Neverland art book, but with fewer pages, meaning lots of stuff are squeezed in and made as tiny as possible.
I mean, come on! We already spend an inordinate amount of time staring at our tiny phone screens, and people like me have jobs where we spend the entire day staring at computer screens. Now we get home, grab a can of beer, put our feet up, open this book anticipating a relaxing time enjoying a look back at our favourite anime, but find everything to be so teeny weeny it’s far more stressful than relaxing!
So that’s the one con I can find with this book. Otherwise it’s beautiful, colourful, well-laid out, with plenty of interesting info thanks to the commentaries and interviews. It’s kind of like an anime retrospective, and I love it because the first season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime was a masterpiece.
All in all, I do recommend this book to anyone who loves the anime. You don’t even have to read the text, just the pictures are worth it. Be ready with a magnifying glass, however!
Where to Buy the TV Anime Jujutsu Kaisen 1st Season Complete Book
As of this writing, it costs JPY1,800 plus tax for a total of JPY1,980 (around USD20).
Buying Within Japan
Most bookstores have this in stock. I’ve been to Animate, Kinokuniya, Tsutaya, Kumazawa and Yurindo and all of them have it as of this writing. Of course, there’s also Rakuten Books, HMV, Yodobashi etc, amongst other online bookstores. ISBN is
Buying From Outside Japan
If you live outside of Japan, you can buy this product and have it shipped to you. Check out my Buyer’s Guide.
Search key phrase:
呪術廻戦 1st season コンプリートブック
Thank you so much for reading! Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo – hana
Next up: Jujutsu Kaisen Anime 1st Season Complete Book – Review Part 2 (ETA November 3, 2021 – Is anyone interested in reading about the staff interviews? If so, let me know in the comments below!)