Naobito Zenin holds the head of a cursed spirit in "Jujutsu Kaisen"

Who Is Jujutsu Kaisen’s Naobito Zenin?

Seriously, whose grandpa is this? I’ve been watching Jujutsu Kaisen and … is this old man okay? Naobito Zenin has been wandering around Shibuya talking about “cursed spirits” and “sorcery.” It sounds… absurd.

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Almost as absurd as new House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to stop gun violence with prayer. Almost as absurd as I looked holed up in my room for weeks on end crying about the Big Sad Thing that happened to some fictional pirates in Our Flag Means Death. But seriously, does this old man need some help?

Naobito Zenin: Head of The Zenin Clan

Naobito Zenin is what we like to call a god-tier badass. He currently serves at the 26th head of the Zenin Clan, one of the most powerful families of jujutsu sorcerers in all of Japan. He may look like your average 71-year-old man on the outside, but underneath his clothes is the muscular body of a man a quarter of his age. Seriously. Naobito Zenin is both swole and brolic. Man has some serious abs.

This is surprising considering his rather intemperate way of living. Naobito Zenin has one great joy in life: booze—well, two great joys in life: roasting people and booze. The man drinks like a fish. At least he does it in style by drinking from a cool-looking gourd, and not a bottle of liquor in a brown paper bag. He also loves throwing insults at both his friends and his comrades alike. It’s all part of his “Sukana may care” attitude. He’s old. He’s over it.

He often jokes around about how he would be fine if the entire Zenin clan fell to ruin. In fact, some members of the clan believe that Naobito is only dragging the family name down. Would you want to take orders from a guy who is drunk 25 out of 24 hours in a day? Unless those orders are “let’s party,” I don’t think you would.

What are his powers?

Naobito Zenin’s liver is perhaps the most superhuman thing about him. As far as processing alcohol goes, his liver is practically special grade 1. Like his drinking talents, his talent for jujustu sorcery is equally formidable. Naobito Zenin is a special grade 1 jujutsu sorcerer, but what did you expect from the patriarch of the Zenin family? What makes him so powerful? Let’s take a look-see.

Projection Sorcery

Naobito is a master of projection sorcery, which is a genetically inherited technique from the Zenin Clan (much like a kekkei genkai from Naruto). Projection sorcery is allows a user to divide a second into 24 frames of animation (how self-referential to the anime medium!) determined by their field of vision. They are then able to predetermine 24 separate movements in each one of those frames, and then perform them all in a single second. This allows the user to move faster than the eye can see, too fast for even special grade cursed spirits to follow. The sorcery also allows the user to “freeze” targets inside of the animation frames for a second second by touching them with their palm. Naobito’s projection sorcery skills make him one of the fastest characters in Jujutsu Kaisen, second only to Satoru Gojo.

Massive Stores of Cursed Energy

When it comes to negativity, this man’s got bucketfuls. The Zenin clan members have nearly limitless wellsprings of cursed energy, and Naobito Zenin’s cursed energy stores eclipse many of the other members of his clan. His cursed energy is so potent that he is easily able to damage special grade cursed spirts.

Master Hand To Hand Combatant

Naobito Zenin knows how to throw hands. Period. His martial arts prowess and super speed allow him to launch a bevy of lightning-fast punches and kicks at opponents. His strikes are so powerful that he was even able to knock the powerful cursed spirit Dagon around. He basically boxed Cthulu and won.

Master Tactician

It takes more than brawn to become the finest sorcerer in the Zenin clan. Naobito is basically Bobby Fischer on the battlefield, always staying twelve moves ahead of his opponents. During battle, he occupies his mind by taking mental notes of his foe’s strengths and weaknesses. While fighting Dagon, Naobito was able to develop a counter strategy against the powerful cursed spirit in only a few minutes. He was even able to avoid being hit inside Dagon’s domain expansion using a split-second judgement call. Considering it’s normally impossible to avoid being hit in a foe’s domain, this is pretty damn impressive.

Unarmed Combat

After Dagon released his Death Swarm (basically a swarm of man-eating ghost fish) against Naobito, Naobito was able to survive the onslaught and only lost an arm. While many of us would tap out with our good hand after something like that happened, Naobito continued to fight while unarmed. Ba-dum-tss! Still, the fact that he didn’t immediately die of shock of blood loss is testament to his ability.

Anti-Domain Abilities

Unlike other high level sorcerers, Naobito does not posses any sort of domain expansion abilities. Do you think he cares? Nope. He does not. Naobito is able to use a technique called Falling Blossom Emotion in order to effectively counter a domain user’s guaranteed hit. When caught in an enemy domain, a victim is generally powerless to stop an enemy attack from making contact. Using Falling Blossom Emotion, however, Naobito is able to cloak himself in cursed energy, which instantly counteracts the cursed energy of his opponent with equal and opposite force the moment it makes contact. It’s basically the world’s greatest Uno Reverse card.

So where is Naobito Zenin now?


In the ground.

While he was able to defeat Dagon (with a little help) during the Shibuya Incident, Naobito Zenin was mortally injured by Jogo after the cursed spirited immolated him with its fire attacks. Naobito was rescued and taken to the Zenin house, where he later died. Rest in peace, grumpy drunk ninja wizard grandpa. We’ll make sure to pour one out for you.

(featured image: MAPPA)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.