Jujutsu Kaisen made a big splash when it took home the Anime of the Year award at the fifth annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards earlier in February. The win isn’t surprising given the manga’s recent explosion in sales in the wake of the anime’s growing popularity. The story of Yuuji Itadori, a physically-gifted high schooler-turned-jujutsu sorcerer (think “exorcist”) in training, has certainly struck a chord among anime fans and savvy critics, some going so far as to champion the anime as a noteworthy— even revolutionary work in the history of shōnen action anime.
While we wait for the upcoming Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie, now is a great time to queue a couple new anime to tied you over until the seemingly inevitable announcement of Jujutsu Kaisen’s second season. With that in mind, we polled our staff to bring you nine anime you should watch if you love Jujustu Kaisen.
Yu Yu Hakusho
Jujutsu Kaisen may or not be the supernatural shōnen anime du jour this year, but before either Jujutsu Kaisen was given pride of place at the center of the anime zeitgeist, there was Yu Yu Hakusho. Premiering on Japanese television in 1992 before airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block nearly a decade later, the anime adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi’s supernatural martial arts adventure manga was heralded as one of the most popular anime series of its time and whose lasting appeal and popularity endures to this day.
Yu Yu Hakusho tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent who, in an uncharacteristic act of spur-of-the-moment altruism, sacrifices his life to save that of a small child’s. Having impressed the powers that be, Yusuke is recruited by the Grim Reaper Botan to become a Spirit Detective, an arbiter of sorts between the physical and spirit worlds who is tasked with the responsibility of investigating paranormal activity and defeating malicious demons who prey on humans. What Jujutsu Kaisen and Yu Yu Hakusho share in common is an emphasis on strong characters, fearsome preternatural foes, beautifully animated fights, and resonant themes of friendship and determination in the face of overwhelming opposition. If you’re a Jujutsu Kaisen fan, a Hunter x Hunter fan (the two share the same author!), or just a shōnen anime fan in general and somehow have not watched Yu Yu Hakusho yet, you absolutely must make it a priority on your watch list. You won’t regret it! —Toussaint Egan
Naruto is obviously a shōnen anime staple, being one of the most popular series of all time. But honestly, if you liked Jujutsu Kaisen and you have time to watch 700 episodes of anime, Naruto is also a great choice. The main characters share a similar dynamic: you have a loud mouth protagonist, a gloomier rival who helps the protagonist grow, a strong, badass girl, and a charming, masked teacher. That isn’t to say that these characters are the exact same, though — they might boil down to some simple archetypes, but they all have different motivations and personalities.
While Naruto won’t offer the tight pacing you get from a 24-episode anime like Jujutsu Kaisen, nor is it going to offer the great character development we see in female characters like Nobara, if you’re looking for something long to mull you over until the next season of Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s totally worth a watch. —Julia Lee
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is an easy show to recommend, and an even easier show to recommend to fans of Jujutsu Kaisen. A fantasy shōnen that takes place early 20th century Japan, the show centers around the responsible big brother type Tanjiro Kamado. Instead of vanquishing a demon inside of him, Kamado must find a way to rid his sister of a demonic curse. Both shows introduce viewers to a cast of disturbed, convulsing enemies. Also, both were released in the past two years and share a crisp animation style.
Fans of Jujutsu Kaisen would especially appreciate the action sequences of Demon Slayer. The show consistently delivers nail-biting and beautifully choreographed fights. Each fighter’s powers are as interesting as they are visually stunning, watching the novelty of watching water peel off Kamado’s sword never wears off. Also, it’s on Netflix now so there’s nothing stopping you from picking it up. —Ana Diaz
Fans of Jujutsu Kaisen willing to dig a little deeper into the anime catalogue should check out Soul Eater. Created by Atsushi Ohkubo (the mind behind Fire Force), Soul Eater follows Maka Albarn and Soul Evans in their quest to defeat and consume the souls of corrupted humans. Some characters in the world (Evans included) have the power to transmute into powerful weapons. In each fight, Evans transforms into a comically large death that Albarn wields.
Don’t let its Halloweeny art style fool you. This show oozes towards dark places and explores the internal struggles of its characters in surprising depth. Evans undertakes a similar journey to Itadori, where he negotiates with a devil inside of him in order to access his full powers and protect the ones he loves. And while some of its fight scenes can feel a bit drawn out, Soul Eater does comedy really well. So anyone looking for a similar energy to Gojo Satoru would likely enjoy many of its off-beat cast members. —AD
Studio MAPPA’s 2019 remake of Dororo shares some of the same tonal-DNA that makes Jujutsu Kaisen tick, even if it’s premise moves in the opposite direction. While Jujutsu Kaisen is about a cursed demon gaining his body back from humans, Dororo is the other way around.
Dororo is set in 1400s Japan and follows a young ronin named Hyakkimaru, whose father made a pact with a demon. As part of the pact, Hyakkimaru was born without limbs or skin, and to gain them, he must hunt down the demons to which his father is indebted. The show is just as dark as Jujutsu Kaisen often is and has the same penchant for philosophical monologues. Each of these monologues is usually punctuated with a breathtaking fight scene thanks to MAPPA’s absolutely gorgeous animation, which makes it a perfect way to pass the time while you wait for Jujutsu Kaisen season 2. —Austen Goslin
Dororo is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
The God of High School
One thing that nearly every person who has watched Jujutsu Kaisen can agree on is this: the fight scenes absolutely slap. While of course this is to be expected of any noteworthy shōnen action series, the action in Jujutsu Kaisen has been especially impressive, particularly Gojou Satori’s brief but explosive bout with a Sekuna-possessed Yuuji in the series’ second episode or Yuuji and Aoi’s tag-team onslaught against the cursed spirit Hanami in episode 19. You can thank Keiichiro Watanabe for both of those stand-out sequences, a key animator whose work on anime such as Naruto, Dororo, and now Jujutsu Kaisen has earned him effusive respect and notoriety among anime enthusiasts. The God of High School, the Crunchyroll-produced anime adaptation of mahwa (Korean for “comic”) author Yongje Park’s ongoing Webtoon series of the same name, features Watanabe’s work prominently. As mentioned in our review of the series last year,
The fights are gorgeous. Like Demon Slayer, the series finds a new way to make action visually striking. Where Demon Slayer gave its protagonists’ swordwork an ukiyo-e-esque quality, with exaggeratedly drawn water following each movement of his blade, The God of High School goes all-in on brush strokes. The characters look incredibly polished, but their movements as they get into the thick of fights are followed by bold, thick brush strokes, and particularly intense moments.
If you’re looking for a stylish action anime that’ll keep that adrenaline spike you feel while watching Jujutsu Kaisen pumping, The God of High School is a sure bet. —TE
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
If after Jujutsu Kaisen, you’re looking for a show with strong and complex female characters, gorgeous animation, monstrous adversaries, and smokin’ hot mentor figures (that is a pun), then Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood might just hit all those itches. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows alchemist prodigy Edward Elric and his brother Al, whose soul has been trapped in a suit of armor, as they look for a way to recover Als’ body. But their search leads to darker secrets about alchemy and the country they live in, uncovering a sinister plot that threatens the whole world. Unlike a lot of shonen anime, which take viewers on a “let’s learn about curses/demons/Nen along with the protagonist!” arc, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood kicks off without much explanation, trusting viewers to keep up. This allows the show to jump start immediately, diving right into the action and complexities of worldbuilding. The plot is brilliantly executed, but never once sacrifices the character development along the way.
Fair warning: once you watch this show, every other anime you watch will pale in comparison. Just putting that out there right now. —Petrana Radulovic
My Hero Academia
One of the most endearing elements of Jujutsu Kaisen’s story is watching Itadori come to terms with his newfound powers. We get to see him struggle to grow into his role as a sorcerer while he is helped along by some experienced partners. His unique approach to combat adds an uncommon dynamic to the established norms of his story’s universe.
The same holds true for the main character of the superhero anime My Hero Academia. The story’s lead, Izuku Midoriya, also starts his tale as a powerless nobody and eventually gains unfamiliar powers he must learn how to wield. While he’s intelligent enough to grow on his own merits, his acceleration as a world-class hero is helped along by his classmates and mentors.
Both tales mirror what it’s like to cross a threshold into an unfamiliar world. Each story follows a headstrong lead character who uses their outsider’s perspective to create a style of combat that’s all their own. While both characters gain powers with limitless potential, their journey from an inexperienced beginner to a reliable force of nature is what carries the series. Witnessing their growth and how their burgeoning power affects the stakes of their individual stories is also key to their adventures. —Jeff Ramos
Mob Psycho 100
If you dig anime with dorky protagonists using seemingly unlimited supernatural abilities to trounce would-be evil spirits, then Mob Psycho 100 is a solid recommendation. The anime follows the story of Mob, a introverted young boy with a kind heart with immense psychic abilities who works alongside his mentor Reigen, a con artist posing as a powerful psychic himself, to take on assignments exorcising apparitions for cash. While the action in Mob Psycho 100 is thoroughly stunning and the animation itself is electrifying and inventive, the heart of the series rests on Mob’s emotional development and he grows less dependent on relying on Reigen to be his moral compass, becoming more confident in forming and maintaining healthy relationships with others.
With the third and likely final season of the anime is set to premiere in the near future, now’s as perfect a time as any to hop aboard the Mob Psycho 100 hype train if you haven’t already, especially if you’re antsy while waiting for the forthcoming Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie to come out stateside. —TE
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