MHA vs. Jujutsu Kaisen: Failing and Exceeding Expectations

My Hero Academia and Jujutsu Kaisen are two of the most popular anime franchises in recent years. While both series are a part of the action-packed shonen demographic of anime, these shows do have some notable differences.

With one series being focused on more Western-inspired superheroes and the other on the more traditional concept of spirits and curses, these two series also differ in how each of their respective studios handle the anime adaptation of their original manga source materials.

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Jujutsu Kaisen Prepares Fans for Season Two

Jujutsu Kaisen has had its fan-base raving since the first episode of the series for its phenomenal animation, addicting soundtrack and stellar voice talents. Animation studio MAPPA continued to deliver and exceed fan expectations with the addition of Jujutsu Kaisen’s first full-length feature film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0. However, MAPPA’s continued efforts to deliver quality content from television to film were not the only contributing factor toward Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s success with the audience base.

In order to prepare viewers for upcoming events happening in season two of the anime series, MAPPA decided to animate the prequel events of the series as their first film of the franchise. By creating a film with relevance to the overarching plot line of the series, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 allowed fans to build a sense of attachment to the character of Yuta Okkotsu before his formal introduction within the main timeline of the anime.

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My Hero Academia’s Underwhelming Reveal

While other studios have also decided to create movies for their series that push the plot of the main franchise, such as Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, shows like My Hero Academia seem to be stuck in the time of creating low-stakes filler plotlines that do not affect the overall franchise. While movies with no overarching impact on the franchise plotlines are enjoyable, My Hero Academia could have benefited from an animated adaptation of their spinoff manga series My Hero Academia:Vigilantes.

In particular, the franchise could have benefited from an animated adaptation of Shota Aizawa’s tragic experiences as a new hero. Within the course of the My Hero Academia:Vigilantes manga, it is shown that Eraserhead was a part of a trio of friends. One of those friends was Hizashi Yamada, better known as the hero Present Mic, and another boy named Oboro Shirokumo, another UA student who went by the hero name Loud Cloud. During their hero work study program, then-students Aizawa and Shirokumo experienced a lethal incident with a villain that they were unprepared to handle, which resulted in Aizawa witnessing the latter’s death.

Little did Aizawa know at the time, but Shirokumo’s body was recovered by All for One’s doctor and made into the mist-covered nomu from the League of Villians known as Kurogiri. However, the lack of buildup to this reveal felt like a disservice to the characters, making Eraserhead and Present Mic’s heart-wrenching reactions to seeing what had become of their friend seem a little underwhelming to anime-only fans.

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Due to Studio Bones’ reliance on animating brand-new unconnected plot lines for My Hero Academia’s feature films, it is unlikely that My Hero Academia:Vigilantes would just be a movie; it’s more likely to be a full anime series like the main story. The My Hero Academia anime may have failed its anime-only viewers who watch the show by its weekly episode release, but there is still hope that the spinoff My Hero Academia:Vigilantes can be animated in the future. If this is the case, anime-only fans will finally have the chance to understand the full extent of what motivates characters like Eraserhead and Present Mic in the present timeline of the series.

Animation studio MAPPA, however, might have its work cut out to animate more feature films for Jujutsu Kaisen that are canon-compliant with the current plot line of the series. At the moment, fans can only speculate whether the studio will create a film like Demon Slayer: Mugen Train to insert within the series or if it will simply continue with the anime as normal.

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