Comparing anything or anyone to Naruto is a pretty tough task, as only Dragon Ball, Bleach, and One Piece can really measure up to the legacy and importance of Kishimoto’s franchise. In this article, we are not going to compare the remaining “Big Four” titles, but rather a newer title inspired by Bleach – Jujutsu Kaisen. In this article, you are going to find out whether Jujutsu Kaisen is worth comparing to Naruto and which of the two anime series is the better one.
Naruto is clearly the superior series here, as the legacy of Jujutsu Kaisen cannot even be compared to that of Naruto. Naruto is one of the best-known and most popular manga series around the world and, as a member of the “Big Three”, it helped make anime what it is today, preceding Jujutsu Kaisen in that aspect.
The rest of this article is going to explore and explain the reasons behind this decision. You’re going to find out about the two shows and how and when they were originally broadcast. You’re also going to see the main similarities and differences between the two shows, after which we are going to further elaborate on which of them is the better show.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. It began its serialization in Shūeisha’s Shūkan Shōnen Jump magazine on March 5, 2018. The Jujutsu Kaisen chapters are compiled and published by Shūeisha, with seventeen tankōbon volumes published so far.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a sequel to Akutami’s Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, serialized in Shūeisha’s Jump GIGA. It was published from April 28 to July 28, 2017, being compiled into a tankōbon volume as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 on December 4, 2018.
Naruto is a manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It was based on a one-shot that Kishimoto made in August 1996 for Akamaru Jump magazine. Since November 1999, Naruto was published by Shūeisha in the Japanese weekly magazine Shōnen Jump, being compiled since then in seventy-two volumes. On October 6, 2014, with only five chapters remaining, the end for the manga was announced, and it finally concluded on November 10, 2014.
There is absolutely no doubt that Naruto is the winner in this general category. Naruto is such a giant name in the world of anime that Jujutsu Kaisen can’t even be compared realistically, as far as this category is concerned.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Naruto 1
The plot of Jujutsu Kaisen takes place in a world where plagues are created from the negative emotions of Humans. Yūji Itadori, an average high school student with superhuman strength and a member of the spirit club, one day finds in his high school weather shelter an S-rank relic protected by a seal.
Sasaki and Iguchi, his friends at the club, stay in high school for the evening to inspect the relic while Yūji is in the hospital where his grandfather has just passed away. The relic they found is one of the fingers of Ryōmen Sukuna, the mightiest of plagues.
Thus, by releasing the finger from the seal, Sasaki and Iguchi are attacked by many plagues. Yūji, learning of the existence of these, returns as quickly as possible to the high school in the company of an exorcist to save his friends from the clutches of the plagues.
During a confrontation against one of them, he decides to swallow the relic to become more powerful and thus save his friends. By swallowing this relic, Ryōmen Sukuna takes possession of Yūji’s body, but this is only short-lived because the latter surprisingly manages to regain control over Sukuna.
The exorcists first decide to sentence Yūji to death but, thanks to the intervention of the most powerful of the exorcists, Satoru Gojo, they finally decide to use Yūji as Sukuna’s receptacle and to kill him the day he has swallowed all of them. their fingers. Indeed, this is the only way to eliminate Sukuna once and for all.
From there begins an adventure that will lead Yūji to become a powerful exorcist to save the innocent from an unworthy death and to eliminate the plagues of this world to preserve humanity.
The story of Naruto begins during Naruto’s adolescence, around his twelfth birthday. A dunce orphan and a great prankster, he does everything possible to get noticed. His dream: to become the best Hokage in order to be recognized by the inhabitants of his village.
Indeed, the nine-tailed fox demon sealed in him has stirred up the fear and contempt of the other villagers, who, over time, no longer differentiate between Kyûbi and Naruto. Despite this, Naruto trains hard in order to become a genin, the first level among ninjas.
After failing the Genin exam 3 times, he finally manages to receive his Konoha forehead band. He is then included in a team of three apprentice ninjas, with Sakura Haruno and the talented Sasuke Uchiha who wants to avenge the people dear to him, by killing his brother Itachi Uchiha.
Soon after, they meet their jōnin (upper-class ninja), the one who will take care of their training: the mysterious Kakashi Hatake. At first, feared and despised by his peers, Naruto will gradually gain strength and gain the respect and affection of the villagers’ thanks, in particular, to the Dantesque battles that he will win against the most powerful enemies of Konoha.
Now, the difference in the plots of Jujutsu Kaisen and Naruto is very big, so it was a bit difficult to make a proper comparison. Still, Naruto has a much bigger narrative than Jujutsu Kaisen and that is why we gave the point to Kishimoto’s story; had Bleach been here, the division of points wouldn’t have been the same.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Naruto 2
Jujutsu Kaisen is an anime series produced by the MAPPA animation studio. In terms of animation, the show has given us a constantly high production level that is on par with all modern standards. The character design is simply amazing and the dynamic aspects of the fights, as well as the special effects, are also extraordinary.
Jujutsu Kaisen has kept a consistent level of quality when its animation is concerned, and factoring in the fact that its style is closer to that of the “Big Three”, albeit a bit darker, we can fully comprehend just how good it is.
Naruto‘s animation fluctuated over the years, as was the case with other shows animated by Pierrot at the time (most notably Bleach). It was never bad, but seeing how animation standards evolved over the many years of Naruto‘s on-screen time, the show’s animation evolved as well. It was, on a general level, consistently better than that of Bleach for example, but overall, it wasn’t as consistent as that of Jujutsu Kaisen, which explains our decision here.
Jujutsu Kaisen has, as you could read, a very consistent and high-quality level of animation, while Naruto‘s animation fluctuated over the years, becoming better as the episodes progressed. Due to the show’s consistency, we gave this point to Jujutsu Kaisen.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 1, Naruto 2
As for Jujutsu Kaisen, two light novels, written by Ballad Kitaguni, were published under the Jump J-Books label. The first, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: Soaring Summer and Returning Autumn, was released on May 1, 2019. The second, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: The Path of Roses at Dawn, was released on January 4, 2020.
A television anime has been produced by MAPPA and is directed by Sunghoo Park. The first episode was streamed on YouTube and Twitter on September 19, 2020, while the series was officially broadcast in Japan from October 3 to March 27, 2021. The anime was released on Crunchyroll for streaming outside of Asia.
A film was announced in March 2021 that would adapt volume 0 of the manga and therefore will serve as a prologue to the story. The film premiered in Japanese cinemas on December 24, 2021.
The success of the Naruto manga caused its plot to be adapted into an anime produced by Pierrot and distributed by Aniplex, which was first broadcast on the television network TV Tokyo on October 3, 2002. The first season lasted 220 episodes and a sequel, Naruto: Shippūden, was produced shortly after, which began airing on February 15, 2007.
In addition, Pierrot has produced nine films based on the series, both from the first and second seasons, as well as several original animations. Other pieces of merchandising include a set of light novels, art books, video games, and collectible cards developed by different companies.
Both the manga and the anime have reached notable distribution in other countries: the manga has been published in more than thirty-five countries and the anime has been broadcast in more than sixty.
Do we need to say anything else, here? Naruto has been adapted and re-adapted so many times, and the franchise is so expansive that Jujutsu Kaisen seems almost insignificant. We had no option but to give this point to Naruto as well.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 1, Naruto 3
Popularity and earnings
In December 2018, 600,000 copies of the series were in circulation in Japan, then 770,000 on February 1, 2019, 1.1 million in February 2019, 2.5 million in November 2019, 4.5 million in May 2020, 6.8 million in September 2020, and more than 10 million copies in circulation (including digital copies) in October 2020.
Jujutsu Kaisen was the 5th best-selling manga in 2020 for the period between November 2019 and November 2020, with 6,702,736 copies sold. On January 13, 2021, Shūeisha announced that the circulation of the series in Japan amounted to a total of 20 million copies against the 8.5 million at the beginning of October 2020.
Thirteen days later, the circulation added 5 million additional copies, for a total of 25 million; a progression that persevered, reaching 30 million copies, digital sales included, on February 9. The circulation exceeded 36 million copies at the start of March 2021, 40 million at the end of the month, then 50 million at the end of May 2021.
In September 2021, the circulation reached 55 million copies, an increase of 650% since the circulation from anime. Over the period from November 23, 2020 to November 21, 2021, the series is ranked first in the Oricon ranking of best-selling manga in Japan, with more than 30.9 million copies sold in physical format.
Generally speaking, Naruto has had a good commercial reception both in Japan and the rest of the world. As of volume 36, it has sold more than 71 million copies in its country of origin. During 2008, a figure close to two million copies of volume 43 was sold, which is why it is considered one of the top ten comics in Japan.
Although volumes 41, 42, and 44 were also in the top 20, each of them sold fewer copies than the aforementioned.
In total, the manga has sold 4,261,054 copies in Japan in 2008, becoming the second best-selling series, as well as one of VIZ Media’s most successful, accounting for almost 10% of total industry sales in 2006.
The seventh volume, released by VIZ Media, became the first manga volume to win a Quill Award after claiming the 2006 “Best Graphic Novel” award. The manga also featured on USA Today‘s most-read works list (with volume 11 standing out), until it was overtaken by volume 28 that achieved 17th position in its first week of release, in March 2008.
Volume 28 had the best commercial debut during its first week, being also the best-selling volume in 2008. During its broadcast, volume 29 ranked #57, while volume 28 dropped to #139. In April 2007, volume 14 was recognized as “Manga of the Year” by Diamond Comic Distributors to VIZ Media.
As of 2008, the graphic series became the top manga in the United States, with 31 volumes published up to that period, while the word “Naruto” was one of the ten most searched terms on Yahoo! during 2007 and 2008.
Finally, the last point also went to Naruto. Why? Well, does one really need to explain why one of the most influential and popular franchises in the history of anime wins a point in the popularity category? We think not.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 1, Naruto 4
Jujutsu Kaisen Vs. Naruto: Which Anime Is Better?
Now that we’ve given you all the necessary information, we can also give our final verdict. This decision was a relatively easy one thanks to the influence Naruto has in the world of anime, but we’ll elaborate more on our decision.
Save for the animation category, and we have explained why we gave our point to Jujutsu Kaisen there, Naruto clearly wins in every other category we included. Naruto is simply a mammoth when compared to Jujutsu Kaisen in every aspect, both in terms of plot, and in terms of overall influence.
Naruto‘s legacy is so large that we can openly state that – thanks to the help of the other “Big Three” titles – Naruto made Jujutsu Kaisen possible.
That is why Naruto is the clear winner in this scenario. There was no way that Jujutsu Kaisen could come even close to Naruto and whichever series you might prefer, Naruto is objectively the better show among the two.