Jujutsu Kaisen almost had a Tournament arc, and Akutami considers it his failure

The longest arc of Jujutsu Kaisen, known as the Culling Games, follows the protagonists as they battle against sorcerers who have been reincarnated from the past. Their goal is to stop Kenjaku from carrying out the Great Merger, which would merge Tengen with humanity.

The arc featured individual battles between each sorcerer and a reincarnated one, but as they did not occur in a specific order, it could not be classified as a ‘tournament arc.’ However, according to the author, it had the potential to be one.

During the recent Jujutsu Kaisen exhibition, Gege Akutami shared that the Culling Game arc could have potentially been a tournament arc. This would have included a separate arc for the rescue of Gojo Satoru, but the author ultimately decided against it due to already introducing all the main characters on the protagonist’s side.

Please note: This article contains potential spoilers from the Jujutsu Kaisen manga series and includes the author’s personal opinions.

Jujutsu Kaiseni: Why the Culling Game Arc wouldn’t work as a Tournament Arc

One of the best tournament arcs: Tournament of Power (Image via Toei Animation)
One of the best tournament arcs: Tournament of Power (Image via Toei Animation)

The tournament arc is a widely used trope in media, particularly in anime, and is highly enjoyable. It involves a structured battle between two opposing sides, with one fighter from each side taking turns to fight. The side that emerges victorious in the majority of the battles is declared the overall winner.

Some of the most well-known tournament arcs in anime come from beloved classics such as the Dark Tournament arc in Yu Yu Hakusho, the Tournament of Power arc in Dragon Ball Super, the Holy Grail War arc in Fate, and the Chunin Exam arc in Naruto.

Yuta's battle during the Culling Game (Image via Shueisha)
Yuta’s battle during the Culling Game (Image via Shueisha)

The Culling Game arc from Jujutsu Kaisen could have been another remarkable addition to the list of tournament arcs. In a recent interview at the series’ exhibition, author Gege Akutami disclosed his intention for the Culling Game arc to be structured as a tournament-style arc.

This opportunity could have allowed the author to create a separate arc titled Gojo’s Rescue, expanding on Gojo’s escape. Additionally, it would have provided Tsumiki Fushigoro, a significant character, with necessary development.

Tsumiki as seen in the anime (Image via MAPPA)
Tsumiki as seen in the anime (Image via MAPPA)

She appeared without a proper introduction and was soon revealed as the host of Yorozu, the ancient sorcerer. Due to the lack of information about her character, she was perceived as underwhelming by the majority of the fandom.

However, the author acknowledged that turning this arc into a tournament was not feasible and considered it a failure on his part. Despite this admission, the author did provide hints on why a tournament-style arc would not be successful.

Hakari Kinji as seen in the manga (Image via Shueisha)
Hakari Kinji as seen in the manga (Image via Shueisha)

Initially, the author met with his editors to discuss the matter and sought their advice. He was open to modifying the established regulations for the Culling Games and altering the direction of the arc’s conflicts.

Despite this, the main problem was that the author had already introduced all of the characters before the Culling arc. Hakari Kinji had been introduced earlier, along with most of the other characters. As a result, the possibility of turning the Culling Game arc into a tournament was dismissed.


Despite the addition of a new character, it was evident that the Culling Game arc was not suitable for a tournament format. This was primarily due to its focus on fights, which are the central element of a tournament arc.

The battles within the Culling Game appeared to be unfairly matched, with inexplicable ratios. Additionally, participants were allowed to join the fray even after the start of the games, such as when Naoya’s cursed spirit joined in seeking revenge against Maki. This clearly goes against the traditional trope of a tournament arc.

  • MAPPA reveals Culling Game arc trailer after Jujutsu Kaisen season
  • 5 Jujutsu Kaisen fights from the Culling Game that didn’t deliver
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Every new rule added in the Culling Game, explained
  • Gege Akutami’s latest comment drowns all hope of Gojo’s return to Jujutsu Kaisen

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