Jujutsu Kaisen Staff Panel – Anime Expo 2022

Panels as industry Q&As with no new announcements are a pattern at this year’s Anime Expo. Unfortunately, there was nothing surprising for fans who were hoping for a more solid date on season two’s release. The Jujutsu Kaisen panel included some behind the scenes insight with Manabu Ohtsuka (CEO of MAPPA), Hiroshi Seko (scriptwriter), and Hiroaki Matsutani (TOHO producer). They greeted the crowd and were glad to see fans again after such a long time.

Jumping into the Q&A, each studio member dove into their specific role in how they make Jujutsu Kaisen happen. While Ohtsuka is the glue that helps the blend the team’s talent into the finished product, Seko takes the manga and adapts it into an episode script. Masutani’s role revolves around coordinating with the production committee to move the series along. When asked about adapting the manga into anime, Seko answered, “Pictures and text to convey meaning. In animation you have sound, music and other considerations when making the music.” There’s context missing in the text that they have to provide an extra layer for in animation.

From a marketing perspective, Matsutani chimed in that his day to day involves thinking about how they make the anime one that MAPPA can market well. “We also act as a bridge between Gege Akutani and the fans.” Ohtsuka clarifies that the staff had an expectation that Jujutsu Kaisen would be popular because they saw it as the next Demon Slayer. Although they were not making Jujutsu Kaisen popular for the sake of popularity; it just became a hit on its own.

After promising to show a behind the scenes look, they played a video with director Sunghoo Park. He talked about the challenges during production, but the support from around the world is what he made Jujutsu Kaisen 0 a great movie at the end. Park shared that he’s aware Todo is apparently very popular in the US, which was met with cheers from the crowd. “We’re all brothers,” he said as he flexed his arm. He’s still hard at work on season two, and hopes fans will continue to support them.

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Just for the crowd, the studio staff put together a special video running through clips of the opening theme of each cour overlapping key scenes. The packed Main Hall cheered over and over with key fights on screen. During a clip from the Jujutsu Kaisen movie, Seko revealed the fight between Geto and Yuta where Geto is knocked down and coughs out a “not bad” was an original anime scene.

When asked about the reception of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Ohtsuka admitted they were surprised as the box office sales in Japan and the US “were very impressive.” Matsutani mentioned they were encouraged by how Todo is so popular overseas and that the staff are “really into that.” Not to say Todo isn’t popular in Japan, but because he’s on a similar level to Gojo abroad is “great” for the staff.

As much as he wanted to, Ohtsuka couldn’t share anything yet. However, the JJK staff are all hard at work to bring the next season soon. “Our animation producer wasn’t able to come, but we wanted to convey the team’s collective hard effort to get us to this point,” said Matsutani.

Ending the panel, the guests each shared their favorite characters. Ohtsuka admitted he haven’t really thought about it but said Toge. Seiko’s favorite is Megumi Fushiguro and Matsutani answered Nanami after a short deliberation. The guests waved the crowd goodbye and hoped to see them next year with more surprises.

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