Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese franchise that started out with a manga but has since expanded to include an anime, a prequel manga, and a prequel movie. In its setting, every single living being emanates something called Cursed Energy, which can come together to create hostile spirits called Curses. However, there are people called Jujutsu Sorcerers who are capable of controlling the flow of Cursed Energy through their bodies, thus enabling them to use various kinds of magic for various purposes. Jujutsu Kaisen is very much a fight-focused shonen series. Something that has had a huge influence on which of its characters do what.
10. Kugisaki Nobara
Kugisaki Nobara has been called the tritagonist. As a result, she can be considered a very important character in her own right. However, narrative importance has never been enough to sell a character. Instead, it is who they are as well as what they do that make them interesting from the audience’s perspective. In that regard, Nobara can be considered quite decent. On the whole, Nobara is one of those people who can be said to have a very solid head on her shoulders. She isn’t some kind of perfect individual. However, Nobara is someone with a strong sense of conviction when it comes to her chosen path while retaining no illusions about what that means for her. Something that became very clear when she was more-or-less unphased after she and Yuji managed to kill two of the Death Paintings. Besides this, Nobara also gets points for her toolkit that includes nails, a hammer, and a straw doll. The idea of attacking someone by attacking a representation of them is something that shows up a lot in the magical traditions of the real world, so it is always nice to see it come up in fiction.
Generally speaking, people aren’t going to find Jogo to be the most physically-intimidating Cursed Spirit in Jujutsu Kaisen. After all, he has the shape of a hunchbacked old man, which isn’t exactly the scariest thing imaginable for most interested individuals. Furthermore, while Jogo’s head is very inhuman-looking, it is inhuman-looking in a way that can seem goofy rather than scary. To an extent, this is unfair. It is clear that the character took inspiration from a number of one-eyed youkai. However, even when one realizes the cultural context in which Jogo was created, he doesn’t become that much more impressive because the best-known one-eyed youkai just aren’t that scary. For example, a paper lantern with a single eye as well as a single lolling tongue might offer a momentary fright but no more than that. Similarly, the hitotsume-kozo are effectively just small children with a single eye who are rather mischievous but not particularly malicious. Having said that, Jogo still manages to stand out because of his personality rather than his look. He is one of those characters whose pride and whose hatred are intertwined with one another, which is that much more uncomfortable because it isn’t as uncommon as it should be. On top of that, Jogo is an excellent example of why that particular combination of characteristics is as bad for an individual as it is for everyone around that individual, seeing as how it led him into an overwhelming match-up that he had no chance of winning. One might say that there is a lesson to be learned there.
Speaking of which, Mahito is another Cursed Spirit of note. He is more impressive-looking than Jogo. In part, this is because Mahito looks like a human with a fair amount of power packed into him. However, it should also be mentioned that he has various physical characteristics that make him look off in various ways. One excellent example would be the stitching that makes him look as though he was pieced together using disparate parts. Another excellent example would be his smile, which is a rather uncomfortable reminder that said expression can be very unpleasant under the wrong circumstances. Indeed, it is worth mentioning that a smile can just straight-up be an aggression display in other apes. Something that is strangely relevant when Cursed Spirits are both so very close to humans and so very far from humans. Of course, it is Mahito’s personality that makes him the most memorable. As Cursed Spirits go, he is a young one. Thanks to this, it makes sense that Mahito’s personality would be disturbingly child-like in certain respects. He plays with his victims in much the same way that a child would play with something weaker that has fallen under their power. Simultaneously, while he talks a good game about his lack of concern for his personal well-being so long as his cause is achieved in the end, events make it very clear that his talk is nothing but talk. When everything has been said and done, Mahito is a cruel child who revels in his power but lacks the conviction when the consequences start catching up to him.
7. Fushiguro Megumi
If Nobara is the tritagonist, then Fushiguro Megumi is the deuteragonist. He is another example of a character who has a strong enough sense of conviction that he shows no regret even when he is confronted by the potential consequences of his choices. Something that is quite respectable in his case even if he has a very black-and-white take on things. As for Megumi’s power, he makes a fair amount of use of shikigami, which are another concept with real world roots. This one is particularly common in anime and animesque media because it comes from Japanese magical traditions, being minor spiritual entities for the most part that were nonetheless supposedly capable of providing a wide range of useful services.
6. Zen’in Maki
Zen’in Maki has a very notable personality, being someone who is simple and straightforward but very much not stupid. However, she stands out because of her powers. In short, it isn’t uncommon for shonen series to have characters who are special because they aren’t special. In Maki’s case, she isn’t a very good Jujutsu Sorcerer because she has low Cursed Energy. Even so, she is actually a formidable fighter because she has exceptional physical stats even by the standards of her peers, which goes quite well with her general nature. Often-times, these characters can be obnoxious because of poor execution and poor justification. Maki manages to sell it better than most.
For a narrative, antagonists can be as important as protagonists. This is particularly true for fight-focused shonen series because the clash between protagonists and antagonists is so fundamental to them. So far, Kenjaku seems to be one of the more promising antagonists in Jujutsu Kaisen. If nothing else, he possesses a huge amount of hype, being a monster of a Jujutsu Sorcerer who has managed to live for more than a thousand years by transferring his brain from one body to the next. Something that is particularly impressive because he wasn’t exactly going out of his way to avoid conflict during that period. Indeed, Kenjaku committed plenty of dark deeds, which have further contributed to his reputation.
4. Ryomen Sukuna
Ryomen Sukuna is another example of a character who possesses a huge amount of hype. However, he isn’t like Kenjaku who has managed to remain human. Instead, Ryomen Sukuna is someone who was once human but has become a Cursed Spirit upon death. In any case, he has much more of a personal presence than his counterparts. This is because he exists inside of Yuji, which was made possible because one of his fingers was eaten by Yuji. Personality-wise, Ryomen Sukuna isn’t much of a stand-out. He is powerful and proud of being powerful, so much so that he is very dismissive towards others. Unfortunately for everyone else, Ryomen Sukuna also happens to be both cunning and manipulative, which explains much about how he managed to become as feared as he is within the series.
3. Geto Suguru
Of course, it should come as no surprise to see Geto Suguru on this list as well. He is another antagonist who has a very personal relationship with the main cast, seeing as how he was once Satoru’s best friend before going down a very dark path. Besides that, Suguru is also notable for having a very big ambition. After all, he is the one who wants to kill everyone who isn’t a Jujutsu Sorcerer. People who can’t become Jujutsu Sorcerers can’t control their Cursed Energy. As a result, when that Cursed Energy leaks into the environment, that creates Cursed Spirits. In Suguru’s opinion, killing everyone who isn’t a Jujutsu Sorcerer is the only way to free Jujutsu Sorcerers from their duty of fighting Cursed Spirits, thus providing him with the justification for his genocidal intentions.
2. Itadori Yuji
Itadori Yuji would be the protagonist to Megumi’s deuteragonist and Nobara’s tritagonist. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that he possesses a lot of the characteristics that one would expect from a character in his position. For example, Yuji is a newcomer to the world in which he finds himself, thus making his lack of knowledge a very useful way to introduce elements of the setting to the audience without being too artificial in the process. Similarly, he is self-sacrificial to an unusual extent, which is a very common characteristic for heroes in not just anime and animesque media but also beyond. Something that can be explained by how it is near-universally seen as a good if not necessarily very wise thing. Having said this, Yuji does have some things that make him more relatable as well. To name some examples, he can be eager about things that he enjoys and enthusiastic about random things that can seem normal to others. On top of that, Yuji’s general good nature isn’t unlimited, as shown by his reaction to the cruelty that Cursed Spirits can exhibit.
1. Gojo Satoru
Often-times, adults are either useless or next-to-useless in shonen franchises. After all, if the adults are responsible, that raises the question of why teenagers or even children are getting into all sorts of exciting but life-threatening adventures. Fortunately, that isn’t a hard rule. There are plenty of shonen series that have capable adults that co-exist with the much younger protagonists. What makes Gojo Satoru stand out is that he happens to be a rather complicated individual in his own right while holding the somewhat cliched position of the powerful mentor figure.
Personality-wise, Satoru isn’t what most people would consider to be a particularly good person. In fact, he has some characteristics that most people would consider to be rather bad, which in some ways, makes him more relatable rather than less relatable because most people don’t stick to either extreme of the moral spectrum. For instance, Satoru possesses an immense though warranted belief in his own overwhelming power. Something that is paired with a lack of interest in those who lack the same. Even so, Satoru isn’t void of empathy and sympathy because he is capable of showing compassion towards those that he tends to be apathetic towards. Similarly, he will prioritize the elimination of his enemies over the saving of innocent lives, though he himself will never go as far as to harm those innocent lives on a permanent basis for the sake of his personal benefit. Having said that, Satoru’s reason for being a teacher might be his interesting characteristic because he wants to bring about a bottom-up reformation of his society through education. A process that will hopefully bring about a new generation of Jujutsu Sorcerers that can match up to him.