The Jujutsu Kaisen manga’s ending is coming faster than many fans may have expected. In an interview with Mando Kobayashi on February 27, 2021, manga creator Gege Akutami stated that he intends on finishing the manga in less than 2 years, which means the final chapter should be released in 2023.
Akutami has been discussing his plans for the manga series for a long time. In a 2020 interview, Akutami said he had already planned out the Jujutsu Kaisen manga’s ending.
He’d even mapped out the major plot points of the story, although he admits that the “path between the two remains fairly free.”
In the February 2021 interview, Akutami updated his progress by saying that was he was more than halfway done with the manga series as planned. He is estimating he is about 60 to 70 percent done at this point, hence why he will be done by 2023.
In making these statements, Akutami was careful to say that he will “probably” finish in 2023, indicating that he’s not 100 percent confident in his own estimate. He also compared his progress to the Mt. Fuji summit trail, stating that he’s around station 6 or 7 out of the nine station checkpoints that lead to the mountain’s summit.
The overall ending is still going as planned, but the only question is how to handle ending the individual character arcs. He’s already decided on the endings for Yuji Itadori and Megumi Fushiguro, but he’s not sure yet what he’s going to do with the primary antagonist, the King of Curses Sukuna.
Satoru Gojo and Suguru Geto’s respective past histories were planned out from the very beginning.
(More detailed spoilers from the interview are contained near the ending of this news story.)
Akutami Gege’s health problems a factor
The elephant in the room is that Akutami has not been healthy in 2021. Early in the year, the JJK author took a short break from an unspecified sudden illness.
In March 2021, a second week-long break was announced. Then in June 2021 a longer Jujutsu Kaisen hiatus was announced.
In the past, Akutami did not have a history of taking breaks and this was the first time any health issues were mentioned publicly.
It was revealed that Akutami was asked by the Weekly Shonen Jump editorial department to take a break from the manga series. But the creator didn’t want to slow down the weekly serialization so that the Jujutsu Kaisen manga’s ending could be drawn as soon as possible.
Hopefully, the JJK hiatus schedule won’t be too bad. But if history is any guide then it’s likely the mangaka could be taking a series of breaks into the future, which will of course impact the creator’s plans for releasing the ending.
Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 25 ending the manga series?
Note: This news story will be updated over time with new information and analysis.
Akutami has not mentioned the number of volumes or chapters that he’s targeting for the ending. (VIZ Media published an “interview” where he said it was approximately 21 volumes/200 chapters, but that was an April Fool’s joke.)
However, we can estimate the approximate ending based on his recent progress.
As of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 12, 2021 (February 22, 2021), he was only several chapters into the next major story arc, with Chapter 139 being the latest. Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 140 should be published shortly after this news story was initially written.
On January 25, 2021, Akutami finally finished the long-running Shibuya Incident story arc with Chapter 136, which will be released as part of Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 16 (Chapters 134 through 142). After Volume 2, each book has consistently contained 9 chapters.
Assuming Akutami reaches the ending within two years that’s less than 100 chapters, which brings the total to less than Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 240. That means Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 27 could contain the final chapter if the manga lasts longer than expected
Since Akutami is talking about ending the series in less than 2 years, it’s possible Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 25 could contain the final chapter.
How the manga’s ending impacts the Jujutsu Kaisen anime sequel(s)
The Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 anime TV series seems inevitable considering how popular Studio MAPPA’s first season has been around the world. It won Crunchyroll’s Anime of the Year award so it’s a matter of when, not if.
When Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 24 releases on March 26, 2021, it’s predicted the anime’s first season will find an ending somewhere near Chapter 64 of Volume 8.
Based on the pacing of the manga’s story arcs, it’s predicted that Studio MAPPA could take two approaches to adapting the story. The first is to combine the manga prequel Jujutsu Kaisen 0 with the next flashback story arc into a single cour season that sets up the very long Shibuya Incident arc to be adapted as a third anime season with two cours. Adapting these two story arcs together makes sense since Suguru Geto is in both of them.
The second option is to adapt the next two story arcs with two cours and 26 episodes. It’s probably not the best option since the flashback and prequel tie into the Shibuya Incident arc.
In any case, based on the anime’s adaptation pacing it seems like there will be five to six more cours at most. If the entire manga is adapted, that could mean Jujutsu Kaisen Season 4 will contain the final episode.
Gege Akutami interview continued: The aftermath of the Shibuya Incident
Warning: The following five paragraphs contain spoilers. Names were redacted to prevent major spoilers for anime-only fans.
In the interview, Akutami also dived down into explaining recent story events in the manga. The author says that the Shibuya Incident event was so serious that there’s absolutely no way that the characters can return to their daily lives.
He even explained why Sukuna didn’t kill a certain major character, but that’s getting into major spoiler territory. The suffering of this character, including the loss of an eye, was intended to drive Yuji to despair. Whether this character is alive or dead now remains to be seen.
Akutami also explained that he had originally only planned for a different character to lose an arm, but decided to follow a different path and kill off that character. Needless to say, this character isn’t coming back.
Akutami wants to reveal a 3rd Year character and he expects his plans for the character will cause a backlash related to the character’s name.
The creator decided on a love story between Mechamaru and Kasumi Miwa because she is the only female character where a romantic storyline made sense.
Jujutsu Kaisen manga sequel likely?
Thanks to the Jujutsu Kaisen anime TV series, the manga’s popularity skyrocketed, with manga sales jumping several hundred percent in several months. By October 4, 2021, the manga had reached 55 million copies in circulation. The anime’s premiere in October 2020 caused the manga’s circulation to increase by 650 percent.
If the Jujutsu Kaisen manga remains popular by the time Akutami reaches his original planned stopping point it’s possible he’ll figure out a way to continue the story. On the other hand, Akutami may choose to go the route of the Demon Slayer manga and end in such a way that a continuation is unlikely.
But the jujutsu world is much more open-ended in comparison to Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, which relied on the villain’s existence in order to maintain a plausible continuity. So, even if the first series ends in 2023, let’s hope Akutami plans out a Jujutsu Kaisen sequel.