Junya Enoki’s rapid progress is unstoppable. Since his debut, he has steadily increased his appearances in works and continues to take new steps. In “Jujutsu Kaisen,” he plays Yuuji Itadori, a high school boy who becomes embroiled in a battle over the curse after breaking the seal of a powerful curse. Judging from how the fans got excited after the first episode was aired, it will undoubtedly become one of his masterpieces. What supports Enoki-san steady steps is his insatiable quest for his own ideal play. What kind of voice actor will we witness?
“Jujutsu Kaisen” is an action anime that uses sorcery, a unique style for a shounen manga, and has become a hot topic among readers since the first serialization. How did you feel when you read it? Enoki: I thought it was a work in a special position even within “Weekly Shounen Jump.” There are friendships, growth, and battles, but there is also a frightening feeling. He also has an unexpectedly thoughtful side, and he’s not perfect, but he’s a life-sized human being that you probably encountered in your class.
In the scene where he talks with his grandfather in the hospital room, he speaks harshly, and the edgy feeling of a teenager often comes out. Enoki: I’m sure it’s his usual way of communicating. Nurse Coco told him that his grandpa passed away on his bed.
In the scene where he drops to the floor after the nurse informs him, he tries to be strong and not to cry as much as possible. It’s a situation where he can cry, but he doesn’t. Enoki: Even hiding his weak heart shows his humanity.
Was there anything you were careful about when performing? Enoki: It’s a lively role, so of course I valued that aspect. I thought it would be good if I could do it on the premise of a boy during his everyday life.
He’s usually a normal boy, but his life changes completely when he eats the finger of a special class sorcerer, Ryoumen Sukuna. What do you think about playing a character like him? Enoki: I’m very conscious of the feelings of resistance there so that he won’t lose to the curse that dwells in him. While the curse gives him great power, it is also very dangerous and treacherous. For humans, foreign things that are not friends are double-faced. I try to express that kind of tension.
Please tell us about a scene that has left an impression on you, Enoki-san. Enoki: This is the scene where the headmaster asks, “There is no such thing as a death without regrets for a magician” and “Why did you come to the Magic College?” “I don’t know when I die, but I don’t want to regret my way of life.” I think he’s set his direction here.
He chose his way of life with his own will for a moment. Enoki: Rather than looking at Grandpa, I feel like I’m moving forward with my own heart. I thought it was a turning point in the early stages.
It was a scene that stood out. Enoki: I think the charm of this work is that there are exchanges that make you laugh in the midst of a serious flow. Gojou and Kugisaki, who realized they couldn’t get out of it, were dancing. “What should I do?” That was also interesting.
Speaking of magical technical college first graders, there are many scenes with Fushiguro. Enoki: At the juvenile detention centre, a tiger cane was replaced with Ryoumen Sukuna’s finger. When Fushiguro couldn’t regain consciousness, the scene where he said, “I help people unequally,” showed his humanity, and I sympathized with him. In addition, I could see a glimpse of the feeling that he can’t lie, maybe I should call it genuine selfishness. It is honourable to help everyone equally, but in fact there is also a very emotional side.
Fushiguro is the complete opposite. Enoki: That’s right. If there is life, who is he. The type that helps. The reason why he acts like that is because of his personality, and the influence of his grandfather’s must be great. Although Fushiguro is the exact opposite, I think they are strangely compatible. It’s a good team that gets along well in battle.
Has your impression of Itadori changed before the dubbing and now? Enoki: He was surprisingly calm during the battle. Why? Because he analyses who he fights against. He’s a healthy fighting character, it looks like he’s rushing in with momentum, but behind the scenes, I can see that he’s thinking about understanding the battle situation and tactics, and it’s fun for me. That was one side.
In the work, there are not only students such as Fushiguro and Kugisaki, but also many working adults such as sorcerers and assistant directors who support them. Who are you interested in? Enoki: Kento Nanami. Graduated from Technical College with witchcraft. It’s nice that he chose the path of an office worker instead of becoming a sorcerer, before he became a sorcerer. It’s very rational to choose a job that’s more apt for you after having a lot of experience, and I like that. I think I will be able to enjoy my work even more.
Nanami is also very popular with fans. What about female characters? Enoki: I have the impression that there are many cool female characters. In particular, Zenin Maki’s way of life itself is cool. I’m sure she’s female character that both men and women will love.
She’s the type to look at her own weaknesses and move forward without getting discouraged. Enoki: I like how she turns major weaknesses into strengths and works hard in her own way.
In “Jujutsu Kaisen”, there are challenges. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas. Enoki: Since I was selected for the role after going through an audition, I believe in myself who was selected, and I steadily incorporate things that I think will benefit the production. I want to change something every time. I always want to be the power of the work. However, it is not something that I can do by myself. I can do it through interaction with the actors around me. I am happy if the characters I have in my life reach the fans in a lively manner.
So, every work, every role, is a challenge every time. You said earlier that you were conscious of “natural acting,” but when you did you become conscious of it? Enoki: While working as a voice actor, I think I was influenced by various actors. But for now, I feel that this is a story about someone fighting for someone else.
The appearance of various new characters will become more and more unmissable. Please tell us what you would like to see in the future. Enoki: So far, it’s been pretty tough, but we are waiting for an even more merciless development that will surprise the fans watching. But I will do my best to feel that moment.
Enoki-san, how do you feel about the appeal of “Jujutsu Kaisen?” Enoki: The story revolves around Itadori, but an ensemble side that pushes forward to achieve a target is also attractive, what will they end up with I don’t know, so it’s hard to put together. The quality of the action, even when it’s going to be amazing, and it’s going to be amazing, and it’s something that raises expectations. I would like you to please look forward to powerful battle scenes.