Jujutsu Kaisen, based on the popular manga by Gege Akutami, continues to entice fans as one of the most exciting new anime currently airin. The dark series follows Yuuji Itadori, who becomes the vessel for the infamous Sukuna -- King of Curses -- after swallowing a cursed rotting finger. Now firmly wrapped into the world of Curses and sorcerers, Itadori joins Jujutsu Tech, where he'll train to exorcise the evil spirits.
Along with fellow 1st-year students Megumi Fushiguro and Nobara Kugisaki, Itadori teams up with Satoru Gojou -- an instructor at Jujutsu Tech who happens to be the strongest sorcerer of all. While the series nails some key shonen staples, its foray into dark fantasy and horror set it apart as an exciting journey. Led by director Sunghoo Park and animation studio MAPPA, Jujutsu Kaisen is a Shonen Jump action blockbuster that lives up to the hype.
Voice actors Adam McArthur (Itadori) and Kaiji Tang (Gojou) spoke to CBR about their experience portraying Yuuji Itadori and Satoru Gojou in the hit series.
CBR: Jujutsu Kaisen is an incredibly popular manga. How were you first introduced to the series? What drew you to the role?
AM: I have some friends that turned me on to the series pretty early on. It’s got a lot of hype around it, and that’s really exciting! Yuuji and I have a lot in common, actually - mostly that we both pace when we’re talking on our phone. No, what really excited me about this role was how we get to watch a naturally gifted 15-year-old get thrown into a world where he has to grow up and adapt, almost immediately, to survive. The stakes are high, and that’s very intriguing.
KT: I had heard about the manga a short while before receiving the audition. I'm a huge fan of anything horror-related, so I took to it pretty quickly, and as soon as I started doing research for the audition, I knew I was going to be hooked. It's a chef's kiss.
The series already seems to be resonating with anime fans. How does it feel to be a part of that?
AM: Incredible. I’m ready to give it my all to help keep that momentum going.
KT: I feel extremely lucky to be involved with this field, being an anime fan myself. It's a beautiful show. From the art style to the music, it's a treat. Here's hoping it keeps going for a while longer.
Can you tell us about your first impressions of the characters you play – Itadori and Gojou? They’re two characters at very different points of their Jujutsu journey.
AM: My first impressions of Yuuji were probably similar to lots of people. He’s the best. He’s such a good kid, with a simple motivation. I really like that about him. He values people and that really resonates with me.
KT: Adam's Itadori is, in the beginning, your very definition of a shounen protagonist. Physically strong of body, slightly weak of intellect, but overwhelmingly powerful in the defense of his friends. It's going to be a fun journey to see how the character develops. Gojou, on the other hand, is a child with superpowers. He is as arrogant as he is powerful, which makes him vulnerable. I look forward to seeing where this character trait takes the story.
What is something that sets the roles of Itadori and Gojou apart from other characters you've played before?
AM: The journey Itadori goes on throughout this story is unlike anything I’ve ever had to portray. There are some extremely dark moments, and to see this good boy go through all that will be quite the journey.
KT: I can only speak for Gojou, but aside from pure power level, he is for sure the prettiest character I've ever voiced. Have you seen those eyes? Man.
From sunglasses to bandages, Gojou usually keeps his show-stealing eyes hidden. Kaiji, were you surprised by how intensely fans reacted to their early debut?
KT: Heck no! Roll the clip, watch that scene. He's beautiful, my goodness.
Itadori shares a body with Sukuna, who is played by another actor. Adam, how does that influence your approach?
AM: This is a tough question to answer, actually. Especially because of covid, all of us actors don’t get to record at the same time. So, for right now, I don’t even get to hear Ray until I’m watching the episodes upon release. It’s been one of the challenges of recording during the quarantine. The good news is, they really are completely different characters, despite sharing a body, so I don’t think it’s super important (at least for right now) for us to find influence from each other.
Jujutsu Kaisen's first season began October 2nd. New episodes premiere every Friday on Crunchyroll.