The Cast of ¡®Jujutsu Kaisen¡¯ Talks Demons & Secrets at Crunchyroll Expo!

Kevin Wright
Anime
Anime

While we don¡¯t yet have a hard release date for the second season of Jujutsu Kaisen, it hasn¡¯t hampered fans¡¯ spirits about the hit anime in the slightest. After the slam-dunk prequel movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0?premiered stateside in March, audiences are still clamoring for more content from studio MAPPA.

In an effort to slake some of our cursed thirst, we sat down at CRX with some of the top-billed cast for JJK¡¯s English dub: Adam McArthur, who plays cocksure protagonist Yuji Itadori; Anne Yatco, the voice of the hammer-wielding country girl Nobara Kugisaki; and, of course, Kaiji Tang, the man behind everyone¡¯s favorite narcissistic senpai, Satoru Gojo.

Worlds Not Our Own

JJK is an urban fantasy, a tale of spirits and sorcery set against the backdrop of modern-day Tokyo. While it isn¡¯t the first anime to use a real-world setting, it¡¯s a notable departure from many famous stories in the medium which spend more time firmly planted in mystical realms and ancient times.

The cast thinks that¡¯s one of the strengths of its storytelling. Says McArthur, ¡°A contemporary setting ¡­ makes the characters more relatable to the audience. You can see yourself in high school like, ¡®I could go to Jujutsu Tech.¡¯ I think it automatically gets people on your side, or gets them invested.¡±

Yatco agrees. ¡°It¡¯s easier for that suspension of disbelief,¡± she says. ¡°It¡¯s a little closer to your reality, so it¡¯s easier for people to buy in, to really immerse themselves in the world ¡­ People can see themselves more easily in the characters because they¡¯re closer to reality.¡±

Character Study

Of course the action scenes in JJK are legendary, but it really is the characters that seem to have resonated most with fans. McArthur talks about his favorite moments voicing Yuji: ¡°I really love the stuff with Todo. I think all of that is hilarious ¡­? The moment where Yuji introduces himself to the principal for the first time and randomly tells him that he¡¯s into ¡®girls like Jennifer Lawrence¡¯ and then realizes, ¡®What the heck did I just say?¡¯ is super fun. But then you get these amazingly heartfelt moments, these really grounded, soul-searching moments, like in episode 24 when he¡¯s walking through the forest with Nobara. There¡¯s all of that stuff.¡±

Tang has less sympathy for his character Gojo than for his adversaries. ¡°I really enjoyed the Jogo/Gojo fight,¡± he says, referring to a midseason arc where the two clash, ¡°but in a way where I felt really bad for Jogo. Like, here¡¯s this guy and he¡¯s one of the most powerful cursed spirits in the world¡­ and then there¡¯s this dick.¡± Not exactly glowing praise for The (self-proclaimed) Strongest, but fortunately Gojo¡¯s got plenty of self-praise to spare.

Immortal Techniques

When asked what their go-to sorcerer powers would be, the cast doesn¡¯t extend its reach to the same extremes as some of the fantastical limits we see in the show.

¡°The ability to create a bed anywhere,¡± says Yatco with confidence. ¡°I love sleep.¡±

¡°If we¡¯re talking about JJK, though,¡± says Tang, ¡°I would love to send cursed memes to people. And that¡¯s my combat ability. Like ¡®We¡¯re getting into a fight. Check your phone.¡¯ ¡®What are you talking about? Ah!¡¯ And then I win.¡±

¡°That could actually, legitimately be in the series,¡± says McArthur.

¡°I feel like Gojo would wish that was his power,¡± says Yatco.

Chibi Kaisen

Outside of these acclaimed roles, the actors do have other aspirations for parts they¡¯d like to play. Interviewer Emma Fyffe asks if they prefer to play teen or adult characters, and whether there¡¯s a character type they wish to voice someday. ¡°Are you looking to voice a middle schooler?¡± she summarizes.

¡°I think I¡¯m rapidly aging out of that one,¡± says Tang, sporting a thick beard because he’s an adult man.

¡°What¡¯s really funny though,¡± says McArthur, ¡°is every time we hang out, Kaiji¡¯s like ¡®Man, when am I gonna have the opportunity to voice a middle schooler?¡¯ Tears have been shed.¡±

With that option ruled out, Tang and Yatco find some common ground in a shared dream role. Says Tang: ¡°It¡¯s on my bucket list to voice a magical girl. I just think magical girls are great.¡±

¡°I also wanna voice a magical girl,¡± says Yatco. ¡°Let¡¯s be a magical girl squad.¡±

Casting directors: take notes. We¡¯ll see if that one hits Crunchyroll any time soon.

This One Time At Jujutsu Camp

Despite its meteoric success, Jujutsu Kaisen still has only one season under its belt. Its wiki is extensive, but it doesn¡¯t quite boast all the niche trivia compiled by some of the more senior anime communities. Emma offers the actors a chance to fill out their pages¡¯ trivia sections with some personal anecdotes.

¡°I¡¯ve been kicked out of the Kremlin in Moscow by the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church,¡± says McArthur, launching into a story almost too wild to be believed. ¡°He found out I was American. I was hosting a documentary on martial arts and I was there with Xiaolin monks from China¡ªit¡¯s getting crazier, right?¡ªand we were in the Kremlin, and I was supposed to do an interview with him.¡± Once he was identified as an American, he was ejected from the building like it was a Domain Expansion.

Tang¡¯s story is similarly harrowing, though its antagonist isn¡¯t so much a Russian religious leader as gravity itself:

¡°I almost fell off the Great Wall of China and died. I was doing a pilot for a travel food kind of show. My thing was wrapped so the rest of the crew was going off to get B-roll of the wall, like you do, and then I was arrogantly like, ¡®I¡¯ll find my way down myself. It¡¯s fine. I was born here.¡¯ I failed. I failed really hard. When you get off the Great Wall ¡­ there¡¯s several signs that point you down to the bottom, but they¡¯re all in Chinese, and I can¡¯t read Chinese. I walked off a cliff accidentally ¡­ There was a lot of lush green foliage, it was really hard to see.¡±

Things ended up okay, though. ¡°A very nice janitor saved my life. Very strong-gripped individual. And he assured me that this happens all the time for some reason,¡± he adds dishonestly.

¡°Now I wanna know what the interview process is to be a janitor on the Great Wall of China,¡± says Emma.

If Yuji ever gets out of the Cursed Energy business, he just might have a job prospect in China.

Yatco certainly does. ¡°I performed in a musical in Beijing,¡± she says. ¡°It was a show called Cinnamon Girls. It was a local LA production but we got this weirdly cool hookup to perform at a musical theatre festival in Beijing. And I was like, sure.¡±

¡°Tell them what you used to do for a living!¡± goads McArthur.

A lightbulb goes off for Yatco. ¡°That¡¯s right! Two for one. I spent seven-and-a-half years as a forensic scientist.¡±

¡°Anne brings a black light and solves cold cases that happened in whatever room she¡¯s staying in,¡± says McArthur proudly.

Die Surrounded By People

What¡¯s fame been like for the cast? With fans of the show in every corner of the globe, they¡¯re bound to have a few final stories to tell about some memorable ones. McArthur knows his immediately:

¡°I always go for heartfelt answers for questions that are similar ¡­ People telling you you¡¯ve had an impact on their life is amazing ¡­ but my answer today is, I was at a convention, and an entire college friend group came up, all dressed as different characters, and they didn¡¯t have somebody cosplaying as Mechamaru, so they brought their air fryer from home with a printed Mechamaru face taped on ¡­ and they had me sign their air fryer.¡±

Yatco¡¯s is a bit more emotional, telling of a bonding moment she had with someone who also related to her character. ¡°Exactly a year ago at Otakon ¡­ it was my first time meeting fans ever in real life, and this girl walks up to my table and starts crying. And then I start crying in sympathy, and then we¡¯re just crying together about how much we love Nobara.¡±

Tang knows who his #1 fan is right off the bat. ¡°My dad, who doesn¡¯t watch anime at all, will now walk into a store and be like, ¡®That¡¯s my son.¡¯¡±

Who says name dropping has to be subtle?

An announcement regarding JJK¡¯s second season will be broadcast on September 18th. Hopefully, it¡¯ll tell us exactly when to expect the return of our favorite Jujutsu Sorcerers.

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Kevin Wright
Freelance writer by day and sleeper by night. Thoughts contain mostly high fantasy, open-world survival games, and movie musicals. Sidon stan. The world needs more queer genre fiction and by golly I'm gonna give it to 'em!