Jujutsu Kaisen is the gift that keeps on giving. Volume 1 knocked my socks off, and volume 2 followed up on all my lingering niggles so well that I barely had time to grab new socks before they were knocked off again. Now Jujutsu Kaisen volume 3 has arrived, and the stage is set for my socks to have a bad day. After wrapping up with a cliffhanger, the last volume was so wacky you would swear you’re reading Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I’m very intrigued to see where Akutami takes us next. So, is Jujutsu Kaisen volume 3 worth reading?
Is the inside of your head also a pineapple?
At the start of Jujutsu Kaisen volume 3, we’re thrown right back into the thick of it with our other two favourite 1st year Jujutsu High students. Fushiguro and Kugisaki are squaring off against the students from their sister school in Kyoto. It doesn’t go very well for them. However, we’ve seen that these two can hold their own in previous volumes. Still, these Kyoto students are on another level, grounding our plucky junior sorcerers in less than a chapter. While we do get a little bit of background on the cursed techniques of the Sister school students, Todo and Mai, the specifics on their fighting styles are kept secret. Presumably, so we can see them properly in the upcoming Goodwill Event.
Still, it’s clear both Todo and Mai are forces to be reckoned with. Especially the third year Todo, who seems to be quite the powerhouse. It takes the arrival of our quirky trio of second years we met in volume 2 to smooth things over. We also get more tantalizing hints of their cursed techniques while they’re at it. It’s all setting the stage for quite a bombastic tournament. I’m hoping we get to see them in action in the chapters to come! Disappointingly, this is also the last we see of Fushiguro and Kugisaki for the volume. But the shift in focus does pay off later on. At least we get to see more of Fushiguro’s shinigami’s in action. Battle toads!
Let’s do this
The action takes a breather for a bit as we shift gears to Itadori, who’s swapped mentors out from Gojo to new character Kento Nanami. We do get to see a brief glimpse of what Gojo’s up to in the meantime, and he’s just as much of a charming renegade as ever. Nanami, on the other hand, is a much more by-the-books Sorcerer. With a serious nature and blunt tone. Nanami is a far cry from the playfulness of Gojo that Itadori (and we as the reader) are accustomed to. However, the result is quite a refreshing change of pace.
As a grade one Sorcerer, Nanami is tasked with investigating a particularly grizzly case involving three disfigured high-schoolers. Being the rookie, Itadori tags along to watch and learn. After witnessing Gojo’s fast and loose teaching style, it’s nice to see a mentor figure take a more active hand in guiding Yuji. Even if that hand happens to be a little aloof. Nanami isn’t exactly buddy-buddy with our formerly deceased first year. This doesn’t stop Itadori from chiselling away at that icy exterior with his friendly charisma.
When they inevitably run into trouble in the form of a couple of curses, both sorcerers strut their stuff in a solid action scene. Yuji gets a new cursed technique of his own that suits him to a T. However, the real treat is witnessing Kento in action. His cursed technique is just as precise and tactical as his personality. Yet another unique powerset to add to the already impressive roster. Itadori and Nanami are going to need all the power they can muster because their investigation soon takes a sinister turn.
Jujutsu Kaisen volume 3 spoilers
Nanami is stopped dead in his tracks when he realizes the curses they are dispatching are in fact human. Gruesomely transmogrified in a manner similar to that of the three high-schoolers that prompted the investigation. And the culprit? None other than the mysterious leader of the curses from last volume, Mahito. Bumping into an intrigued bystander called Junpei following his macabre proceedings. The high-school victims coincidentally happened to be bullies of Junpei,). Sensing a kindred spirit in the disenfranchised Junpei, Mahito decides to take him back to his home base. Spill quite a significant amount of beans in the process.
It turns out Mahito is a Cursed Spirit of the Special Grade Potential level. Those of Special Grade are created from that which humans fear most, as we saw with the likes of Jogo last volume. In Mahito’s case, it is the hatred emanating from humans that gave birth to him.
Fittingly, Mahito’s cursed technique allows him to reshape and remould humans through their soul contained within. He’s keen to experiment and expand his power, which we see plenty of examples. The Mahito sees it; life has no particular meaning or value. So he’s decided to do what he wants with his and encourages the impressionable Junpei to do the same. I’m sure nothing bad will come from that mentality, right?
I’m now… working overtime
As the investigation picks up the pace, Nanami and Itadori split up to handle separate leads. While Nanami goes after the big fish in charge solo, Itadori tracks down Junpei. As he was a bystander at the scene of the crime, so the Sorcerers want to question him, especially considering this connection with the victims. They aren’t sure if he’s necessarily a curse user himself, so Itadori has to approach with caution. As you can imagine, that’s not Itadori’s style. Itadori’s quickly befriends Junpei in a couple of comedic scenes, which lighten the mood. The moody discontent that we saw from the boy earlier quickly evaporates thanks to Itadori’s relentless good nature towards him, so much so that he even winds up hanging out at his place for dinner.
Meanwhile, we get a very satisfying duel between Nanami and Mahito. We’ve seen the mindset and capabilities of these two building throughout the volume, and to see it culminate in this face-off is quite exciting. In particular, Nanami showcases a simply inspiring Nine-to-Five mentality that allows him to get serious when it’s time to get down to business! Just as frantic and intense as previous battles, this was probably the highlight of the Jujutsu Kaisen volume 3 for me. Though, you’ll have to check it out for yourself if you want to see the outcome! No way am I spoiling this!
Things then take a turn for the tragic towards the end of the volume. While we are left in the dark about the specifics, I’m pretty sure Mahito has certain evil machinations up his sleeve. Poor Junpei really does go off the deep end following a death that was a bit too close to home. Causing a long-standing grudge, to boil over. Junpei brings all his pain and anger with him to school to deliver a heaping helping of revenge. Circumstances end up involving Itadori in the process. From their closing standoff that wraps this volume, it’s clear that their burgeoning friendship might have just become a thing of the past.
Is Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 3 worth reading?
You bet your bottom dollar it is! At three volumes I’m sure I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but I really can’t get enough of this series. This time around, we did get a lot more exposition and explanation resulting in a somewhat slower pace. But, it resulted in a thoroughly satisfying read. The time Akutami spends building a fast friendship between Yuji and Junpei is quite endearing and adds an extra level of tragedy to the final pages of the volume.
Meanwhile, Nanami strides onto the main stage and quickly steals the show. Seeing his frosty demeanour melt away and his obvious concern for Itadori is another example of the heart Akutami infuses all his characters with. If that wasn’t enough to keep me coming back for more, the rip-roaring action and brutal battles we also get would definitely do the trick! Three volumes in and Jujutsu Kaisen proves it’s here to stay with all the other Shōnen big-leaguers, and that’s just fine by me!
You can enrol in Jujutsu Highschool yourself by purchasing this volume physically via the links above. If digital is more your style, and if you’re a member of Shonen Jump, you can also read the series through the Jump Vault. Get in on the ground floor before the Jujutsu Kaisen anime drops!