In the last chapter of Jujutsu Kaisen, Yuji Itadori and Megumi Fushiguro enter a underground fight club to gain access to Kinji Hakari. The elusive jujutsu sorcerer was suspended by Jujutsu High for unknown reasons. Regardless, he’s leery of the institution and would likely flee if confronted directly by Megumi and Yuji. In Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 154, Yuji meets with Hakari, Panda and Megumi conspire to help Yuji’s meeting. Panda mentions that he was incapable of reaching the door to the roof. When he nears the door the “distance never decreases.” He compares this effect to that of Satoru Gojo’s Infinity curse technique. Panda is unsure whether it’s Kirara or Hakari curse technique. It’s important for Panda and Megumi to avoid arising Hakari’s suspicions. However, his distain for Jujutsu High requires them to sneak around, which makes them more suspicious.
Panda and Megumi’s plan fails
Megumi rises from the shadows, ambushing two guards within the blind spots. Panda takes out the others. The two assume they’re in the clear. However, Kirara notices Panda, and sees Megumi. He correctly concludes that Megumi and Yuji are together and incorrectly assumes they’re a threat to Hakari. Kirara grabs his phone, while Panda jumps down and Megumi releases Divine Dog. Kirara takes a defense position but appears to repel the Divine Dog back towards Megumi. When Kirara rushes to get to the roof, the Divine Dog blocks his path. Suddenly, Megumi crashes into the Divine Dog. Inside, Hakari asks Yuji “would he believe that he can work one hour a day and make a million yen a month?”
I don’t think Yuji’s answer to that question will be relevant. Despite his lack of intellect, Yuji possess the same qualities Gon, from Hunter X Hunter and Luffy from One Piece. Which is an uncanny ability to make friends. That said I predict Hakari will fight either Yuji, Panda or Megumi, especially because we need to see this power everyone’s talking about. It’s now clear that Kirara is the reason for Panda being unable to reach the door. His power seems to resemble the effects of magnets. The mechanism seems to be a “mark” Kirara places on surfaces. It’s a largely defense ability, but it depends on how he uses it.
Jujutsu Kaisen returns after Gege Akutami hiatus due to illness. After the fall of the Zenin Family and the rise of Maki, the Perfect Preparation arc shifts. In Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 153, “Underground Fight Club,” Megumi and Yuji search for Kinji Hakari. According to Master Tengen, Hakari is a bookie for an underground fight club at the abandoned multistory parking garage. Kinji Hakari was first seen in chapter 11 of the manga. Yuji and Megumi change out of their school uniforms so Hakari won’t flee. Kinji Hakari had a falling out with the authorities from Jujutsu High and is suspended. He’s important due to his strength, which Yuta Okkotsu claims is greater than his.
When our duo arrives at the parking garage, they’re meet with hostility from a bouncer. He feints a strike at Megumi’s face but the latter doesn’t even flinch. He asks “who told him about the club,” Megumi lies, claiming that he killed “him” before getting his name. This is obviously a lie, but it lines up with the disappearance of someone named Kondo. Megumi and Yuji are entering into an environment that they’re unfamiliar. There’s so much they don’t know, they risk being exposed as frauds. Regardless, Yuji concludes that he should “keep his lips sealed,” which is the best decision.
The first rule of fight club
The boss takes an instant dislike to Megumi and demands Yuji fight. This obviously works to their advantage, as Yuji is the superior fighter. Megumi hopes to be able to sneak around while Yuji gains Hakari’s trust. Megumi is hoping to get Hakari’s cooperation before his sister, Tsumiki deadline to declare participation passes. Yuji notes they have nine day left. The fight club has two rules. First no cursed techniques (spectators can’t see them), second “no running away, because spectators can’t you if you run. In addition to this, the fight club has two kinds of matches, scripted and unscripted. The scripted ones are fixed by the boss, Yuji will be participating in a unscripted match.
His opponent is Panda. The last time we saw Panda he was weeping over the corpse of Masamichi Yaga. He’s seems to be in good spirits. He and Yuji give a show. They deliver high octane battle, while having a conversation. Panda knows Hakari, but the latter is avoiding him. Yuji “wins” becoming a crowd favorite quickly and Hakari takes notice. He wants Yuji to become a scripted fighter. So far Megumi’s plan is working. Can Yuji keep up the ruse? Panda mentioned Hakari’s partner Third Year Kirara Hoshi is “a problem.” I wonder how strong she is. The authority surrounding Jujutsu High are corrupt, so Hakari coming into conflict with them isn’t actually a sign he’s a bad guy.
Once I stopped calling Jujutsu Kaisen’s Cursed Spirits, “demons,” I was curious what made them different. First, demons are generally living beings, whereas, as their name suggests, Cursed Spirits are spiritual beings. They are born from the negative Cursed Energy in humans. Locations that are hotspots for curses tend to be populated by negative emotions like hospitals and schools. What’s more interesting is anything humans fear collectively can manifest a Cursed Spirit, even famous monsters or ghosts. The amount of fear directly corresponds to the curses intellect. Mahito is a cursed spirit that believes that he’s the manifestation of humans’ hatred of each other.” In my review of episode 9, Young Fish and Reverse Punishment,” I wonder if cursed spirits could come from “anything.” I think the answer is yes. So far cursed spirits have manifested from human fears of natural disasters, volcano (Jojo), forests (Hanami), diseases like smallpox, and infestations like “grasshopper plague.”
4. Power Levels (Grades)
Jujutsu Kaisen has a power scaling system that ranks jujutsu sorcerers, cursed spirits, cursed objects, and cursed tools. The ranks range from grades one through four and special grades. It can be confusing at first, as most of us associate larger numbers with higher values. Generally, sorcerers are graded from Grade 4 to Grade 1. The scale for cursed spirits isn’t exact, Grade 2 sorcerers are slightly stronger than Grade 2 curses as their abilities put them closer to Grade 1 curses.
If traditional weapons were used against curses and sorcerers measured their effectiveness as a gauge:
Grade 4: “A wooden bat is enough.”
Grade 3: “If you have a handgun, you can rest easy.”
Coming up with a unique power system has to be difficult. At this point what hasn’t been done. It’s not always necessary to invent new techniques, like fire, but you can invent how those abilities manifest. The series power system focuses on limitations. Binding Vows, Heavenly Restriction, and Domain Expansions are some limits placed on techniques. By deliberately placing limitations on one’s self, a jujutsu sorcerer can increase their power. For example, Nanami limits his power during work hours. This puts him at disadvantage for hours, when Nanami has to work “overtime” his cursed energy increases.
2. Satoru Gojo
Satoru Gojo was instantly appealing when he was first introduced in Jujutsu Kaisen. He loves to show off, enjoying fights with cursed spirits. When he fights he shows his enemies no mercy, he’ll happily decapitate them without any apprehension. Gojo is more complex than he initially seemed. He’s playful with his students but disrespectful towards the sorcerer executives to the point of suggesting he was willing to kill them. He’s arrogant, becoming judgmental of those he deems “weak.” He claimed that “throughout the Heavens and earth, he alone is the honored one.” He’s the strongest, everyone knows it, and he’s not afraid to remind people.
1. Deconstruction of shōnen tropes
When deconstructing tropes, a writer will often compare how tropes appear in one work and how they might play out in real life. Or at least apply more realistic consequences for the trope. This series deconstructs many tropes common to shōnen anime and manga. For example, Yuji Itadori is possessed by the evil cursed spirit Sukuna. In many shōnen series, like Yugioh, Bleach, and Naruto the evil entity is befriended, and the host gain power. So far in the series, Sukuna is completely unhelpful and even roots against Yuri.
Shōnen series like My Hero Academia and Naruto have massive casts of characters, Jujutsu Kaisen on the other hand only has small classes. This is due to Jujutsu sorcerers being picky and sorcerers being rare. Deconstruction is not intended as a criticism and according to TV Trope, can be thought of as taking work more seriously on its own terms than even the work itself does, for the purpose of laying barely hidden meanings in the text.” Regardless, Jujutsu Kaisen’s deconstruction of some shōnen tropes is welcomed.
Jujutsu Kaisen, episode 24, ends the Death Painting Arc. They executed the last episode of season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen perfectly. I always fear the marginalization of female characters in Shonen series (trauma from Naruto). Often they fall by the waist side and become cheerleaders and damsels. Nobara was heading in that direction. I’m grateful that they did not regulate her to “sakura” status (I love Sakura, but she’s not a great female character). Anyway, Nobara and Yuji face the Death Painting brothers, Eso and Kechizu. The episode opens with high-speed action. Yuji and Nobara attempt to avoid the “poisonous” blood from Eso’s Rot Technique Maximum: Wing King. Nobara isn’t fast enough to avoid the technique’s so Yuji carries her while sprinting. It impressed both Nobara and Eso.
Most Evil Sorcerer in History
Kechizu ambushes them, spraying Yuji with his acidic blood. Eso explains that their blood is painful but not lethal. He activates his Rot Technique Decay. Floral patterns appear across the face and arm of Yuji and Nobara. In a flashback, we learn the history of the Death Painting Wombs. During the Meiji Era, they ostracized a woman because of her child being born with a mixed of cursed spirit and human blood. Afterward, she found herself the victim of the “most evil sorcerer in history,” Noritoshi Kamo. He impregnates her nine times and aborts each pregnancy, creating the Death Wombs. Jujutsu Kaisen doesn’t state that there are nine wombs, but it seems like it would make sense. Death Wombs 1-3, Eso, Kechizu, and the introduced Choso side with Mahito.
Choso argues the world Mahito wishes to create is more favorable to them. The three brothers agreed to live for each other. The creation of the wombs is tragic but their relationship with each other is touching. Being trapped for 150 years with only each other has left them alone. With very little time, Jujutsu Kaisen made men like Eso and Kechizu. In the present, Nobara admits the curses are strong but a “matchup” for her. She activates her Straw Doll Technique: Resonance and stabs herself, injuring both Eso and Kechizu. By “linking” them with their Decay ability, Nobara can harm both brothers. Despite this, Eso is certain that they’ll win.
As Sukuna’s vessel, Yuji is afforded several perks. One is that he’s immune to poisons. This permits him to continue moving while under the curses technique and he dominates Kechizu. Yuji and Nobara switch places. Eso attempts to reach his brother before he’s killed. However, Nobara kills Kechizu with Straw Doll Technique: Hairpin. Witnessing his brother die cause Eso to cry. Nobara notices that Kechizu’s corpse didn’t disappear, meaning it’s not just a curse spirit but flesh and blood. When a truck comes barreling out of the tunnel, Eso hops on and takes the passenger hostage. Yuji pursues him, while Nobara uses her Resonance technique, piercing Eso through the chest. As he falls off the truck, Yuji apologizes before killing him with a Divergent Fist through the chest.
What does it mean to take a life
After killing Eso and Kechizu, Nobara and Yuji discuss what’s it like to kill someone. We understand Yuji hates killing any living, even if it’s no longer human. Nobara on the other doesn’t care. She’s self aware enough to know how she sounds, but I like her attitude. However, neither are wrong. Yuji knows why the brothers had to die, but still regrets having to kill them. I would expect they will test both of their morals in the future. Megumi wakes up, and it relieves Yuji and Nobara.
Still, they have to do something with Sukuna’s finger. Megumi gives it to Yuji mainly because he has the most strength, but not so he can eat it. Suddenly, Sukuna manifests a mouth in Yuji’s hand and swallows the finger. It’s one of the subtle comedic moments in this episode. Yuji notes that not only didn’t Sukuna help them, he hasn’t even lead them to fingers like Gojo thought. It’s odd that Sukuna doesn’t appear preoccupied with getting his limbs back.
Later, Megumi tells Nobara that Sukuna’s “incarnation triggered the Yasohachi Bridge curse,” and she should tell Yuji. Elsewhere, Sukuna taunts Yuji for “killing all those people,” Yuji warns Sukuna “not to tell Megumi.” He remembers Megumi asking him “what are you going to do when someone you saved kills someone else?” Yuji saved Megumi by eating Sukuna’s finger and triggered the activation of the bridge curse. From Megumi’s perspective, he’s the person who Yuji saved that caused innocent people to die. He doesn’t want Yuji to feel guilty, and Yuji doesn’t want Megumi to either. Finally, after killing a special grade each, Nobara, Megumi, and Yuji, along with Panda and Maki, are recommended by Aoi Todo and Mei Mei for Grade 1 status. Jujutsu Kaisen’s first season ends with an action pact, emotionally touching, and occasionally funny episode. It’s the perfect ending for an amazing first season.
Jujutsu Kaisen’s final arc of the season is fleshing out Megumi Fushiguro’s character. Megumi and Nobara are underdeveloped compared to Yuji. As we head towards the last episode, the trio realize that they’re in the presence of another Sukuna finger. Unfortunately, so are the newly resurrected Death Painting Wombs, Kechizu and Eso. A Cursed Womb: Death Painting are “Special Grade Cursed Objects created with the mixed blood of both Cursed Spirit and human.” There are nine. In the previous episode, Mahito stole Death Paintings 1-3 that Jujutsu High possessed. Kechizu attacks Yuji with acidic blood. It surprised the curse that Yuji is so strong. Meanwhile, Nobara and Megumi play a creepy game of “whack-a-mole.” Suddenly, Eso pulls Nobara out of the domain. Kechizu rushes out the domain to join with his “older brother.” Yuji chases them to help Nobara.
A Special Grade Curse Appears
After Megumi crushes the last curse with his Divine Dog: Totality, he notices the domain doesn’t disappear. A new tunnel appears and a curse similar to the one they fought in the detention center falls. This version of the curse is stronger. It snaps his cursed sword and then knocks him unconscious. In a flashback, we see Megumi and Gojo training. Gojo suggests that Megumi “doesn’t know how to bring out his best.” He reminds Megumi that jujutsu sorcerers fight alone. Gojo says “no matter how many allies a sorcerer has they always die alone.” That’s a very dark claim. It also conflicts with the message that Jujutsu Kaisen is trying to send. In this arc especially, they have emphasized that friendship matters. Is Gojo wrong? Or is the trio going to change what’s possible? It’s likely that Gojo is bitter or cynical after experiencing a tragedy. We’ll find out.
Domain Expansion: Chimera Shadow Garden
Jujutsu Kaisen has been teasing us regarding Megumi’s power. We finally get a glimpse. Picturing himself as a future Megumi that has surpassed his limits, he activates his incomplete Domain. He covers the floor with a shadow that releases darker version’s of his summons. The curse escapes by using a powerful explosion of cursed energy. It’s exorcised by Megumi’s Divine Dog: Totality. With Sukuna’s finger in hand, Megumi falls asleep. Elsewhere, Nobara and Eso sense Sukuna’s finger. Eso goes to get the finger, while Nobara gives chase. The Death Paintings are a weird pair. Their design reminded me of the mech’s from Gurren Lagann. Anyway, the rest of this episode sets up the next battles, Nobara vs Eso and Yuji vs Kechizu. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 23 adds important details to Megumi’s character. He’s steps out of his comfort zone and it pays off.