The release of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 on November 30, 2023, showcases a highly emotional moment in the series. Entitled Right and Wrong, Part 2, the episode centers on Noraba Kugisaki, her confrontation with Mahito, a glimpse into her past, her close friendship with Fumi and Saori, and her apparent demise at the hands of a powerful curse.
The apparent death of Noraba has elicited strong emotions from fans, who are anxiously awaiting to see if this is truly the fate that mangaka Gege Akutami has chosen for one of the main trio. Regrettably, this episode does not provide the answer to that question.
Season 2 episode 19 of Jujutsu Kaisen closely follows the manga storyline, encompassing events from chapters 123 to 125 with the exception of the portrayal of Nobara's flashback scenes. This raises the question of whether MAPPA's pacing of the narrative is negatively impacting the impact of character deaths. Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are subjective.
How does MAPPA’s pacing impact the anime’s narrative? Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19: Review and explanation
MAPPA’s approach to the flashback scenes vs. the manga
The emotional impact of key character deaths is certainly heightened by Studio MAPPA's pacing. The anime's storytelling technique appears to focus on extending the flashback sequences or characters' dreams right before their demise, adding to the emotional weight for the audience.
The manga briefly explores the dying characters' contemplations on their past, unfulfilled desires, and unkept promises. However, these moments are portrayed more swiftly in the original material.
In a scene just before her presumed demise, Nobara reminisces about her past through visions that occur as Mahito detonates the left side of her face. In the manga, these events are condensed into a single chapter, chapter 125, along with a few concluding pages from chapter 124.
The intense battle between Yuji and Mahito in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 (Image via MAPPA)
A prime illustration of such a prolonged flashback occurs at Saori’s residence, where she meticulously prepares black tea for Nobara and Fumi. While the manga simply narrates this moment in Saori’s subsequent dialogue, the anime integrates it into Nobara’s flashback.
In Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19, Nobara's flashbacks begin at 9:40 and last for almost eight minutes, ending at 17:40. The episode also features scenes of present-day Saori, taking up a significant portion of the runtime, comprising nearly half of the total episode length. This mirrors the approach taken with Nanami Kento in the previous episode, where his final moments were depicted in a similar way to his dreams of Malaysia as described in the manga. In the manga, Nanami's dreams of Malaysia were mostly described in text, with just a single panel depicting a beachside scene in chapter 120.
Nobara bidding farewell to Fumi in a scene from episode 19 of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 (Image via MAPPA)
Conversely, the anime portrayed Nanami visualizing himself in Malaysia, albeit only in his final moments. The emotional resonance with the fanbase was so significant that certain fans established a tribute for Kento Nanami in Malaysia.
This doesn't indicate a negative result, as it provides fans with a deeper understanding of the characters and their backstories, which fans often request. Delving into their history, uncovering their unrealized aspirations, and witnessing their regrets undoubtedly amplifies the impact of Nobara's supposed death on fans.
MAPPA seems to have acknowledged and possibly aimed to intensify the emotional impact of character deaths, making them more significant for the audience.
How the changes influence the anime's flow
Nobara's flashback in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 (Image via MAPPA)
The fanbase values the added scenes that explore the characters' backstories, offering an opportunity to delve into their emotional depths. However, this does pose challenges for the show's overall flow.
In addition, these scenes inject a sense of freshness into the episode amidst the unfolding tragic events in the series. They almost serve as a brief break to lighten the mood before the narrative takes a darker turn.
While fans enjoy learning more about the characters before their death (as they may only be seen in flashbacks after that), it could slow down the pace of the story. With only four episodes left in the second season after episode 19.
Nobara, as seen in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 (Image via MAPPA)
In order to cover more manga events and conclude the Shibuya Arc, MAPPA will need to increase the pace of the plot in the anime. The Shibuya Arc wraps up in chapter 136 of the manga, and Yuta Okkotsu is officially introduced in the following chapter, meaning that there are at least 10 chapters to cover in four episodes.
However, some viewers may be content with the current pacing and could be unhappy if the studio chooses to speed things up, given the potential backlash that shows experience when they rush the story.
Pacing preferences can differ among different sections of the audience
Manga enthusiasts may find the current pacing of the studio suitable, as they are already familiar with the story. They eagerly anticipate seeing the in-depth backstories of major characters who met their end, as well as their unfulfilled hopes and dreams, brought to life in the anime.
On the other hand, for fans who only watch the anime, a slower pace could increase their anxiety, especially when faced with cliffhangers and without prior knowledge of the story's progression. This places significant pressure on the studio to find the right balance in the pacing of the narrative, in order to satisfy both manga readers and anime-only viewers.
Mahito makes an appearance in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 (Image via MAPPA)
It is crucial for MAPPA to be cautious and refrain from excessively dragging out these backstories, as it could be seen as filler content. The anime community has a reputation for disliking excessive filler (look at the Boruto anime as an example).
This sentiment is especially applicable in high-stakes scenarios, like the current events unfolding in Shibuya during season 2 of the anime. It is essential to capture the audience's attention during these intense moments, as failing to strike the right balance could lead to negative consequences.
Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19: Narrative and animation
The highly-anticipated showdown between Yuji and Mahito in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 (Image via MAPPA)
Jujutsu Kaisen currently enjoys a distinguished status as one of the most eagerly awaited shows in the anime community, and for good reason. Mangaka Gege Akitami’s storyline is already beloved in both the manga and anime communities. Moreover, the production of season 2 has consistently maintained an exceptional standard.
Season 2 episode 19 of Jujutsu Kaisen maintains its high standard, featuring well-executed action sequences and evocative flashbacks of Nobara's past. The animation is stunning, providing a mix of nostalgia and excitement for viewers. The carefully crafted scenes effectively convey the characters' emotions, creating a deeper connection between the audience and the story.
The portrayal of emotional depth and the handling of character deaths by Studio MAPPA has set a new standard, as seen in the final seasons of Attack on Titan. Nobara's presumed death is another example of their exceptional animation, leaving a profound impact on fans.
The deaths of Nanami in the previous episode and now Nobara have left the anime-only fans speculating about who might be next. Witnessing the demise of two cherished characters in successive episodes has led some fans to consider dropping the show, citing the emotional toll as too much for their hearts.
Despite this, the story also includes some light-hearted moments, albeit few. Scenes of Mahito behaving comically and fleeing from Nobara after her Resonance Cursed Technique injures him (possibly a reference to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) add a touch of humor to an otherwise dark episode.
Nobara's playful moments from her childhood also bring moments of joy and charm, but even these flashbacks take a somber turn as Saori, Nobara, and Fumi part ways.
Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19: Voice acting
Despite the exceptional work of the animators, it is crucial to prioritize their well-being. Recent issues raised by MAPPA animators regarding poor working conditions and production plans at the studio have been a concern for fans of the series. It is hoped that the recent criticism will lead to necessary changes, as this is essential for maintaining the show's current standards.
The final visions of Nobara in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 are truly captivating (Image via MAPPA)
In addition to MAPPA’s stunning animation, as previously mentioned, the show features a talented ensemble of voice actors. Once again, their skills shine in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19. Seto Asami's portrayal of Nobara Kugisaki is particularly remarkable in this episode.
The voice actor who brought Raphtalia in Rising of the Shield Hero to life also delivers a powerful performance as Nobara Kugisaki, adding emotional depth to Nobara's apology to Fumi before her presumed demise. Seto Asami's portrayal of Nobara, from her intense showdown with the curse Mahito to her touching final words, resonates deeply with fans and moves the audience to tears as she speaks to Yuji.
"Life was actually not that terrible," she said, not just for Yuji but for all their friends too. Even though the scene ended there, her parting words were sure to leave a lasting impression on the fans' hearts.
Shimazaki Nobunaga does it again in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19, displaying Mahito's seamless transition from comical to hauntingly villainous. Nobunaga's exceptional talent is on full display as he perfectly captures the shift in tone, delivering a phenomenal performance once more. (Image via MAPPA)
In Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19, Yuji Itadori undergoes a series of emotional changes. Still reeling from the horrors of Sukuna’s massacre in Shibuya and the death of his mentor Kento Nanami in the previous episode, Yuji grapples with feelings of helplessness and self-blame for his inability to save others. However, a turning point comes when Nobara injures Mahito’s original body, providing Yuji with newfound strength and resolve. Grateful for her support, Yuji feels a renewed sense of purpose and determination to defeat Mahito.
In Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19, Nobara and Yuji are faced with a chilling moment. When Mahito touches her face and causes it to explode in front of Yuji, it serves as a brutal reminder that he is unable to protect those close to him. The shock and despair in his voice are palpable as he calls out Kugisaki’s name in the aftermath.
Enoki Junya captures the change in Yuji's character with remarkable skill. His exceptional performance vividly brings to life the shift from hope to helplessness and desperation.
The latest episode of Jujutsu Kaisen season 2, episode 19, featured stunning animation from MAPPA. Packed with a mix of action, emotions, and heartwarming elements that showcase the theme of friendship and promises, it undoubtedly left a strong impression. The episode also sets the stage for Yuji's character development, particularly after the devastating loss of his mentor and close friend at the hands of Mahito.
Nobara Kugisaki's last appearance in the series is a mystery at the time of writing this article, leaving her life status unknown even in the manga.
However, Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 is a pivotal moment for Yuji Itadori, keeping the audience captivated as it builds up to a final emotional blow, leaving viewers to wonder about Nobara’s fate.
Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 20 release date and time
List of Shibuya Arc locations
Shibuya Incident Timeline
All Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 deaths
Shibuya Arc opening theme Easter Eggs
As a long-time fan of the Jujutsu Kaisen series, I have mixed feelings about MAPPA's pacing choices in season 2 episode 19. On the one hand, I appreciate the studio's efforts to flesh out the characters and give them more depth. The extended flashback sequences provide valuable insight into Nobara's past and her relationships with Fumi and Saori. This added character development makes her death all the more tragic and impactful.
On the other hand, I worry that MAPPA's pacing choices may be detracting from the overall narrative. The anime is now adapting the manga at a much slower pace than the first season did. This is resulting in some episodes feeling slow and meandering. I am concerned that this pacing will make it difficult for new fans to get into the series.
Overall, I think MAPPA's pacing choices in Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 episode 19 are a mixed bag. The added character development is appreciated, but the slower pacing is a bit of a concern. I hope that the studio can find a way to balance these two elements in the future episodes.