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‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ review: “Hidden Inventory 3” bruises upon impact

By July 21, 2023No Comments4 min read
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 Episode 3 “Hidden Inventory 3”

Through its silliness and larger-than-life characters, it’s sometimes easy to forget the tangible sadness that permeates Jujutsu Kaisen. This is by design, of course, because how else could the series deliver such a shocking gut punch as it does in “Hidden Inventory 3” if not for that ability to disguise the pain through dizzying fight sequences and Gojo being a delightful attention-seeking pest? Enough of that charade though, because this week comes thundering in during the last few moments of the episode to remind viewers that no matter the distractions, Jujutsu Kaisen can be equally as heartbreaking – and it will take pleasure in that bruising. 

Riko, poor, sweet, Riko whose life had only just now been shown a promise of something more than her long-accepted fate, is killed by Toji the Sorcerer Killer. Geto, whose compassion just last week had already announced itself, is stunned by the moment. That compassion, along with Gojo’s more hidden sense of right and wrong, had just extended a hand to Riko to offer her an out to go back home, to engage in a life of a teenage girl without the weight of becoming a vessel for an unknowable source of power hanging over her. Consequences be damned, the two were ready to face them, and Riko had accepted them before she was gunned down.

Jujutsu Kaisen loves itself some grotesque imagery, so often manifested in the creatures produced by cursed energy, or, Mahito’s entire being in season one. And yet the single most crushing, morbid image so far on the show now might be the moment Geto watches the bullet enter Riko’s skull. We’ve gotten used to the horror that stems from the power sorcerers wielding to the point where it’s an expectation more than a surprise. But a gun? That’s human-made, human-wielded, and because of that and the lack of cursed energy behind that makes it is such a brutal kill in a world built on fantasy. 

Of course, there’s plenty more that happens throughout the episode, with the narrative trying to throw us off its depressive scent by squeezing in an abbreviated Beach Episode in the midst of such violence. These moments, like the OP, create moments of levity for the characters, still just students at this point, as they continue their “babysitting” (in the words of Gojo) job to keep Riko safe. In a hilarious move, Kuori’s rescue is treated as an afterthought, the task so easily accomplished by Geto and Gojo that it hardly warrants any screen time. 

But we know thanks to Geto that Gojo has been spreading himself thin to keep barriers in place, the bags behind his eyes the only brief giveaway. That is, until he’s struck through with a blade in the split second he begins to let his guard down due to the believed safety of being within the school’s gates. He’s not so easily thwarted though, having been able to use his skills for defense even if Toji momentarily got the jump on him. They launch into a kinetic, and action packed battle as the others race Riko to the inner depths of the school for her planned assimilation with Tengen.

While we know that Gojo lives, it’s still the closest we’ve seen the character pushed to death on the show thus far. He’s left so bloodied and broken, in fact, that Toji believes that he is dead, and uses the news to taunt Geto in a setup for what has to be an enormous incoming battle between the two. Geto’s response to the news of Gojo’s “death”, someone he very clearly holds dear, is clear. 

To Toji, he says “die,” as a fissure tears across the screen behind him, hellish, cursed spirits appearing behind him ready to fight. The ending works because of all of that buildup, the slow mounting sense of unease that happens the moment Gojo begins to lose his fight, transforming into the striking horror of Riko’s demise. Gojo’s defeat, however, brief it ends up, works because of his considerable, near-godlike skill. Riko’s death hurts because like she did, we got a moment of hope that her fate would be rewritten. Such is a wonderful balance of Jujutsu Kaisen, a series that possesses a keen understanding of how best to structure a story to best deliver a searing payoff. 

Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is available now on Crunchyroll

Featured Image © Gege Akutami/Shueisha, JUJUTSU KAISEN Project

  • ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ Season 2 - “Hidden Inventory 3” - 8.5/10
Allyson Johnson

Based in New England, Allyson is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of InBetweenDrafts. Former Editor-in-Chief at TheYoungFolks, she is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Boston Online Film Critics Association. Her writing has also appeared at CambridgeDay, ThePlaylist, Pajiba, VagueVisages, RogerEbert, TheBostonGlobe, Inverse, Bustle, her Substack, and every scrap of paper within her reach.

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