A new demon action series is out this week from Viz Media and its anime counterpart is announced. In a field of manga with so many demon centric series can yet another capture your heart and mind? How about your monster and horror needs? I’d wager it sure can based on how good Gege Akutami’s series is right off the bat.
This series is a strong one, but you might not think so when you read the first chapter. It’s a slower start as it introduces the Occult Research club and its members. One of those members is a kid named Yuji Itadori who wanted to get out of track and field club. He also happens to be the main character, but soon he finds himself eating ancient fingers, gaining the powers of a demon, and getting drawn into an entire secret culture of jujutsu sorcerers. It’s a whole thing. This is a manga that doesn’t decompress the story one bit quickly moving from introductions to all-out war with demons that look like monsters from your worst nightmares. Akutami does a great job characterizing Yuji so that you’ll relate to him by the end of this first chapter.
It’s not until Yuji is admitted into a new school to learn the ways of the jujutsu sorcerers that things get a lot more complex and interesting. Quickly we’re introduced to other young demon fighters like him, the various rules of eating cursed body parts, and eventually even a graded threat system when facing demons. The world introduced here feels quite well thought out and complex and you’ll soon be wishing for more details to emerge. It’s also quite clever how the characters are basically fighters clad in black. I wondered if there were deeper Matrix vibes in its inspiration, but given there are a few pop culture references dropped in I’m sure there are various ideas that inspired this.
The art is quite good, especially with the monsters. The monster design is incredibly creepy and may even stick with you when you turn out for bed. Panel work can sometimes feel stiff, especially in the first chapter, and that might be attributed to the smaller size of the manga. The pages are quite jam-packed with dialogue and panels. The pro to this is there is more content to be had; it took me longer than usual to finish this manga, but the art could use some space to breath better.
Translated by Stefan Koza this series uses dialogue and captions in new ways putting the language in focus at times over art. Koza does a good job with scenes between action while the dialogue reads well too. There’s also some lettering that captions characters here and there that read well too.
I had a blast with this series and can’t wait for more. Akutami has crafted a rich world and characters well worth exploring and its mix of fighting and edgy monster design keeps your interest up.