Yuji Itadori from Jujutsu Kaisen's second OP

Who Is Yuji? Everything You Need To Know About ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’s Protagonist

People are always asking, “Hey, who’s that main character guy in Jujutsu Kaisen?” That’s easy, it’s Naruto.

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Right? Spiky hair? Can-do attitude? Kind of an idiot? Totally OP for no reason? Hangs out with a dark-haired emo frenemy and a girl who is not above getting violent when he’s being annoying? Oh, and he’s being trained by a hot white-haired fan-favorite character who likes to keep part of his face covered? Uses weird sources of magic internal energy, including a literal demon inside him to augment his physical powers in order to face both human and non-human threats and protect the ones he loves? C’mon. It’s totally Naruto. Serious Big Three energy right here. Just you wait, he’s gonna say “believe it” and start riffing about his “ninja way” any second now!

Any second now …

Any … second …. now.

Um … guys?

I’m starting to think that isn’t Naruto.

What do you mean he’s not Naruto? THEN WHO THE %&*^ IS HE?!

Okay, okay, okay … so after a bit of soul searching, binge watching, and countless hours on Reddit, I learned that the main character of Jujutsu Kaisen is NOT actually Naruto. The guy’s name is Yuji Itadori, and his story is actually slightly more contrived than that of Naruto Uzumaki himself. So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Turns out that Yuji Itadori is not ACTUALLY from the Hidden Leaf Village in the Land of Fire but INSTEAD is from modern day Tokyo! When we first meet him in Jujutsu Kaisen, we find out that he is simply a junior high-schooler who was raised by his grandfather. Oh, and he’s an Olympic-level athlete for absolutely no reason at all. He doesn’t compete. He doesn’t even train. He crushes school athletics records simply because he’s all juiced up on Main Character Syndrome. Kid is a menace. Could be one of the greatest athletes in the world if he applied himself. But he’s not interested in the mundane world of sports, he’s interested in the world beyond.

Yuji is a member of his school’s Occult Club, which has recently come into possession of a legitimately cursed object: a dried-up finger cut from the hand of one of the most powerful beings to ever live—a demonic sorcerer named Sukuna. When a swarm of Cursed Spirits drawn to the malevolent energy coming from the cursed finger attack the school, Yuji does what anyone would do to defend his friends: he eats the finger.

Okay, maybe not anyone. In fact, no one in their right mind would eat a dead guy’s finger in order to gain spiritual power. But that’s why Yuji is the protagonist! Because he does batshit insane things like that! After eating the finger, Yuji gains incredible spiritual powers, but at a heavy cost. He becomes possessed by the reincarnated spirit of the long dead Sukuna, who intends to use Yuji’s body to wreak havoc upon the world.

Yuji is then taken into custody by Satoru Gojo, an exceptionally powerful sorcerer who belongs to a secret society of magic users who defend the world against malevolent spirits. After restraining Yuju, Satoru tells the boy that he has two options: One, be immediately executed in order to keep Sukuna at bay, or two, eat all of Sukuna’s remaining 19 fingers (dude had four hands) and THEN get executed so the world can be rid of the dark sorcerer once and for all. Yuji opts for option number two and begins training to become a sorcerer at the secret Jujutsu Sorcerer Academy.

And what does he learn there?

After learning the power of friendship upon meeting classmates Megumi Fushiguro and Nobara Kugisaki, Yuji then learns actually USEFUL skills to defeat cursed spirits. A whole lot of them! Yuji learns to manifest and control “cursed energy,” a spiritual energy that stems from a person’s negative emotions of fear and rage and which allows them to do all sorts of magical things! Yuji can use his naturally high levels of cursed energy to gaze upon the horrifying true forms of cursed spirits. Through training, he is able to manipulate his cursed energy in order to perform spirit-slaying techniques called jujutsu. Yuji is also able to use his already astronomical levels of speed and strength to augment his jujutsu in order to become a spirit-killing machine.

How, you ask?

One of Yuji’s foundational techniques is known as “Divergent Fist,” which allows him to channel this cursed energy into his fists to augment his already powerful punches. After landing a punch, the Divergent Fist technique allows Yuji to create a secondary shockwave of cursed energy at the point of contact that devastates his foes. He later hones this technique into an ability called “Black Flash,” which creates a small spatial distortion of cursed energy within 0.000001 seconds of a physical hit. The ability causes the cursed energy to flash black, creating an attack that hits at nearly triple the power of a regular hit. This ability serves as Yuji’s ultimate attack, and he is only able to perform it four times in a row. While other sorcerers augment mystic weapons with cursed energy or use their powers to summon spirit allies, Yuji adheres to a much simpler maxim in combat: punch it till it dies.

So he’s a real killer, huh?

Surprisingly, not at all! Yuji is a happy-go-lucky guy who is hesitant to use violence to achieve his goals. Yuji believes in the innate value of all living things, and would never deprive a being of life unless as an absolute last resort. Yuji’s stance on life comes from his dying grandfather’s list wish: that Yuji himself be surrounded by friends and loved ones on his own deathbed. His grandfather’s words inspire Yuji to become devoted to loving and protecting those around him, and abstaining from harming other human beings. However, Yuji often dives into the darker parts of his personality to fuel his cursed energy, tapping into his hatred of cursed spirits in order to totally murderize them.

Long story short: Yuji is 99% good side, but if you find yourself on his bad side, you better run quick.

But wait! There’s more!

In the beginning of the series, we knew almost nothing of Yuji’s parentage, or if he has any other family besides his grandfather. While it was long assumed that Yuki – like Naruto – was just another unfortunate anime orphan with no one to care for him, the newest episodes reveal that Yuji Itadori has a few surviving relatives! And l like most families, Yuji’s comes with drama. A lot of drama.

During the Shibuya Incident Arc, it is revealed that Yuji actually has a brother! Hooray, right? Wrong! His brother is actually pretty evil. Yuji’s brother Choso is one of nine Cursed Womb: Death Paintings, which are special grade curses born from a human womb. Icky, right? We actually met two of Choso’s siblings Eso and Kechizu earlier during the Shibuya Incident, where they challenge Yuji and his comrade Nobara Kugisaki to battle. Eso and Kechizu are killed in the confrontation, leading Choso to swear vengeance on Yuji. After Yuji and Choso face off, Yuji is nearly killed by the more powerful Choso. However, before Choso lands a killing blow, he has a vision of himself and his brothers. And in his vision, one of his brothers is revealed to be Yuji himself!

WHAAAAAT? But Yuji Itadori isn’t a cursed spirit like Choso! He’s human! How could he possibly be related to Choso?

Well you see… Yuji and Choso were born in very different ways. However, there is one similarity. They have the same father.

Ke­njaku – one of the most powerful and evil sorcerers to ever live – combined his blood with Choso’s mother in order to create the nine Cursed Womb: Death Paintings in order to further his own ends. It is later revealed that Kenjaku also possessed Yuji’s mother Kaori Itadori, leading Yuji to be born under mysterious circumstances.

Now this is where it gets complicated: while Choso has a flashback vision of Yuji Itadori as his younger brother, it’s likely that this was actually a false memory. But if it’s a false memory where did it come from? And how did it end up affecting Choso? While it has yet to be confirmed, fans speculate that Yuji (consciously or unconsciously) might actually be able to plant false memories in people’s heads, causing his targets to feel that they have an emotional or fraternal connection to Yuji. Weird, right? We don’t exactly know how this happens – or why – but I’m sure we’re gonna find out!

So while Choso and Yuji are not related by blood necessarily, we can think of them as brothers not in a biological way, but in an emotional way. After all, they both owe their existences to the meddling of their nefarious father, and both are charged with the burden of their father’s sinful legacy. To make things even more complicated, Yuji’s relationship to Choso means that Choso’s Cursed Womb: Death Paintings siblings are ALSO Yuji’s siblings. Which means that Yuji is somewhat responsible for the death of two of his own siblings already! Oh how tragic! This could all have been avoided if Kenjaku had the good sense to keep it in his spiritual pants. His descendants will be dealing with daddy issues for generations.

(featured image: MAPPA)


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Author
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.