I have to confess, I’ve been a bad weeb. The things I’ve been actively following is One Piece, One Punch Man and Chainsaw Man (I recently added Kaiju #8 after New York Comic Con…I’m sure you can guess why). I’ve managed to let shows that blew up with the normies like My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer and of course Jujutsu Kaisen pass me by. Sure I could spend a day going through the Shonen Jump App or binge for hours on end at Crunchyroll, but my trump card is usually a 3rd path…VIDEO GAMES. Thankfully Bandai Namco has always aided me when I needed to catch up on series and soon they will be putting out a title that will make sure I don’t sound like a moron if approached about Jujutsu Kaisen.
Jujutsu Kaisen for the uninitiated (and to obviously inflate the word count of this article), it is a property created by Gege Akutami, currently being serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. It takes place in a world where negative energy coalesces into being called Curses. These malevolent entities seek to do harm to humanity and it’s up to a subset of humans who can manipulate this cursed energy to protect humanity. The story follows a young man named Yuji who unwittingly entered the world of sorcerers by consuming a cursed object which transformed him into a vessel of the King of Curses. After receiving a stay of execution, he goes to a school for sorcerers to hone his abilities and hopes to seal the King of Curses permanently.
Cursed Clash is developed by Byking who previously developed the My Hero One’s Justice games based on My Hero Academia, so Cursed Clash is an arena fighter. It’s a primarily 2 on 2 fighter where damage can only be done via cursed techniques only, so think of it as a weird mashup of Power Stone and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I opted to pick the character I’ve seen most whenever JJK is involved…Satoru Gojo. He’s an instructor at the Tokyo Jujutsu High School who is responsible for Yuji’s temporary clemency and honestly…he feels somewhat of an analog to Naruto’s Kakashi Hatake…although Gojo tends to cover both eyes with his blindfold.
My bout took place on the grounds of a school where Gojo, Yuji Itadori took on Megumi Fushiguro, Nobara Kugisaki. I started the fight charging at the character that I was auto-locked to doing melee attacks for about 30 seconds before I was informed I needed to use Cursed Techniques to do any actual damage. Melee attacks do help build Curse Energy and when it reaches a certain level it would open up my arsenal. Controls were relatively similar with simple combinations being able to execute Cursed Techniques. The handler who watched my demo was definitely a fan of the franchise and did beam with delight when I somehow managed to use Gojo’s Hollow Technique: Purple which melds two techniques (Red and Blue) to produce a destructive wave of energy. The pace is somewhat frantic with projectiles flying everywhere, dashes generating exaggerated wind effects. I mentally remarked how similar the gameplay is to the gameplay of Psychic Force. My CPU partner accounted for most of the KOs that won the match for us, and I generally had a neutral contribution match as I knocked out Megumi, but also was knocked out.
With a victory I didn’t quite earn, I queried the handler to see what portion of the manga would the game’s story cover. Cursed Clash would cover the first season of the anime, which covers manga chapters 1 – 63, and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 which is a movie which depicts the manga’s prequel which was previously named Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School. Given the manga is only up to Chapter 239 the game will cover about 1/4th of the series as of writing (as of 10/22), but it will be quite a primer for those who would like a more interactive way to consume the series.
Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash is set for a 2/2/2024 release on PC, Switch, the PlayStation and Xbox platforms. Hopefully after playing it, I’ll be able to excise the thoughts that Gojo is just a cheap Kakashi ripoff…cause the last thing I need is to get into fights at anime conventions, Bandai Namco…you’re my last hope!