Episode 17 – “Kyoto Sister School Goodwill Event – Team Battle, Part 3”
Jujutsu Kaisen continues to get better. Episode 17 is by far the best. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 17 balances the complex and emotional relationship between Mai and Maki while giving us wall to wall action with the highest animation quality. The episode opens with Kasumi recalling how Mai belittled the abilities of her sister. She claims Maki “was weak and forever a grade 4 sorcerer.” This false impression backfires on Kasumi. Faced with the actual Maki, she knows Mai was wrong. Maki overpowers her, forcing Kasumi into a defensive position. She tries to use her Simple Domain ability. However, Maki counters the stance by snapping her spear in half and throwing the non-cursed half. She also throws a kunai, forcing Kasumi to move, deactivating the Simple Domain. Maki disarms Kasumi, taking her sword for herself.
Where introduced to a new character, Mei Mei. A pretty sorcerer with pale blue hair in a long braid covering one eye, Mei Mei can see through the eyes of crows. She remarks on the ability of Maki and tells Satoru to promote her. He agrees he should, but the Zenin Family interferes.
I’m Nobara Kugisaki
Elsewhere, Nobara is chasing Momo through the woods. Momo uses a cursed energy wind that keeps Nobara at a distance. Momo explains that “female sorcerers have it harder.” She specifically acknowledges that Mai is under tremendous pressure from the Zenin Family. She explains that she’s considered a “failure” by her family’s standards. Nobara doesn’t care. From her perspective, having a hard life isn’t an excuse for destructive behavior. She notes she hates Mai but loves Maki, both of whom had the same upbringing. Nobara rejects Momo’s sexist ideology, unwilling to limit herself to the gender standards of society.
Nobara attacks Momo with Straw Doll Technique: Hairpin which results in the nails exploding with cursed energy. These explosions cause the trees to fall, allowing Nobara to grab a bristle from Momo’s broom. Using her Straw Doll Technique: Resonance, Nobara dispels the control Momo has over her broom. She crashes to the ground. Nobara approaches Momo and strikes her with a squeaky hammer to avoid killing her. Before she can “finish” Momo, Mai shoots her in the temple with a cursed infused rubber bullet.
Why wouldn’t you stay at the bottom with me?
Like most characters in Jujutsu Kaisen, Mai is more complicated than first assumed. We believed Maki was unfortunate because she couldn’t see curses naturally. Jujutsu Kaisen asks us to consider how it might be a blessing. As a child, Mai was burdened with the ability to see cursed spirits. She was afraid of them. Maki’s inability to see them became a kind of privilege. Maki didn’t fear the cursed spirit, freeing her to pursue her dreams. Mai hated her for it. As Maki moved forward, she left her sister behind. This is at the core of Mai’s bitterness.
During her fight with her sister, she uses her technique, construction. In Jujutsu Kaisen, one can use their cursed energy to “create matter from nothing.” Mai uses this to create a bullet. The matter produced in this way doesn’t disappear after the technique ends. The technique seems to cost Mai as she bleeds from her nose. Regardless, Maki catches the bullet. Mai believes Maki was born with a “Heavenly Restriction” that gave her physical power for a lack of cursed energy. Mai attacks Maki with her revolver but is bested by her sister once again. She hates her sister’s ambition, forcing her to follow. Maki has a talent that Mai lacks, and their clan won’t even acknowledge it (Maki’s talent). Where does this place Mai?