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During our experience of watching anime and reading manga, or consuming any other kind of media, we can find all sorts of interesting characters that all have their individual flair. Often enough, we adapt or relate to their mannerism and look deeper into how they act to see a piece of ourselves in that story.
Sometimes we even want to see something that is inherently different from what we are, we may be inspired by a character that can act differently than we do in our current life, seeking to see what it would look like to have a different perspective.
We’ve already looked at some aspects of Jujutsu Kaisen, but now we will explicitly examine the abundant relationships that we can see in this anime..
Before we delve into it, let me issue a spoiler warning for the first season of the anime Jujutsu Kaisen, manga contents will not be discussed, proceed with caution my friend!
Dynamics are something that we can observe anywhere and at any time, it encompasses the behaviour of two or more people who interact with each other and can say a lot about their relationship. That relationship doesn’t have to be romantic or platonic, but can also be legally binding or for work arrangements.
With a very original and individual story it’s no surprise that the characters of Jujutsu Kaisen are just as special. We encounter some characters that have immense depth in them, especially since the anime loves to switch up from very heartfelt and comedic moments to dark and suspenseful ones very quickly. So we can find a lot of interesting dynamics to look at, all of them representing something distinct.
From students to teachers, workplace colleagues or power-dynamics with a huge divide, every single one of those dynamics had a different significance and showed us a small part of how interactions can be realistically represented.
Now then, let’s jump in!
In this case, we’re looking at two people who might have a similar position in the world of Jujutsu Sorcerers, hence having to spend a lot of time together on missions and such but both of these characters are very different in how they approach life.
Gojo is incredibly carefree and reckless, always has a joke on his lips and does not like to see immense strictness instead he enjoys a good mood and to be challenged. As it couldn’t be more different for Nanami, he cares very much about order and rules, even basing his fighting style on the fact that he doesn’t like overtime and therefore prefers a rigorous schedule. This duo shows us polar opposites that work together and might clash in any other way but are connected through their mutual respect.
Even though Nanàmi might not like the way Gojo almost plays with everything around him, he learns a bit of spontaneity and so does Gojo in a matter where he can benefit from a bit more planning in his life. It’s a dynamic that is rooted in being on the other end of a spectrum, which is often a very complementary relationship.
If we not only look at the trio as a whole but also mind the dynamics in between that, Nobara and Yuuji are more reckless and emotionally tied to their ideals. Although Itadori might be more on the introverted side, he quickly feels at home with new people, and Megumi and Nobara are especially part of that. Nobara rounds that excitement off very easily, as she is just as excited about trying out new things and traveling.
Looking at Nobara and Itadori as the side which represents more emotion and instability, Megumi balances that out with his rather stoic personality. He keeps both of them calm and at bay, even though it doesn’t always help since they are both forces to be reckoned with, especially Nobara. Should we look at Megumi and Yuuji on the other hand we will find another variation of a precious friendship.
They met before they encountered Nobara later, which made it possible for us to see them interact on their own. Itadori is inherently hyperactive during the first missions with Megumi and does not listen to him, but feels the need to support and protect him anyways. Megumi on the other hand looks annoyed by his friend’s antics, but ultimately cares for him deeply as we see in the first fight between him and Ryomen Sukuna. This also demonstrated that Megumi isn’t emotionless, but just feels differently than others and internalizes it. He is distraught by Itadori ‘dying’ the first time and bonds with Nobara over that as they both grieve in silence but at least share their grievance.
Between the three, although they all balance each other out, Itadori connects both Nobara and Megumi as the glue of the group as they grow to become even better companions, which is a beautiful representation on how friendships can build quickly and healthily with the right environment and the correct people. It all boils down to trust and support.
A bond that bloomed so quickly and beautifully, yet was cut so fast is the relationship between Itadori and Junpei.
Itadori has the innate ability to bring out the good in people, instead of being prejudiced by appearances he makes his own judgements by communicating with new people in his life. His emotional intelligence is hence extremely high, we see it as he easily befriends all sorts of characters in the anime and thinks deeply about all sorts of emotions and troubles others could be going through.
He meets Junpei during a mission and is instructed to check if he could be involved in Mahito’s transformation of his classmates. After finding out that he technically has nothing to do with it, Itadori makes another friend by staying at his side and releasing that Junpei and him could become very close.
Junpei on the other hand, someone who has been bullied and abused is not used to such friendliness and enjoys Itadoris company so much that they bond quickly. As much as Junpei is happy to have a supporting role in his life now next to his mom, it is the carefree nature of Itadori that quickly builds up trust in both directions.
Right when their friendship finds its high, through Mahito’s doing and Junpei’s past their relationship turns sour and as much as Itadori wants to save Junpei, his trust is broken just as much as him which leads to an incredibly tragic ending.
The dynamic between Itadori and Junpei is incredibly sad as Junpei’s death could have definitely been avoided, so it seems cruel and disappointing that Itadori wasn’t able to save what was broken beyond repair.
Again, not all dynamics are naturally good. As good things can’t exist without the bad, there are sadly always relationships out there that stem from a toxic or manipulating route.
Just like Itadori was able to bring support and trust to Junpei after a long time of being lonely, Mahito did just the same thing as he feigned to be Junpei’s ally. The power dynamic that lies beneath the shadows is extremely unbalanced, showing us as the viewer that Mahito only wants to control Junpei and have him as a convenient play-thing, while Junpei is glad to have company and unknowingly becomes manipulated in this relationship.
In getting planted with the idea that all Jujutsu Sorcerers are bad people, he just brings himself to believe it and listens intently to Mahito, whose intentions are not at all in Junpei’s favor. This is what we see as a polar opposite to Junpei’s relationship with Itadori, but since Mahito was there first he built up his trust to Junpei quicker and also catered to his insecurities.
As Junpei sees the negative things in life more than the positive, thinking he should hurt others like he was hurt as well, therefore being more ready to delve into the negativity brought by Mahito. A person that lived in a dark place will find darkness just as comforting, if even more comforting than the light. Just as much as your eyes hurt when someone turns on the light.
It seems unusual, but who wouldn’t keep the premise of friendship tied to your taste in women? The question that Todo often asks is an unsatisfying reply to “What is your taste in women?” hold a very big significance to him. Expecting that Itadori will reply something lame, he is shocked as he hears his ideal woman is something he agrees with.
A brotherly bond ensues, both of them seeing each other eye-to-eye and respecting the other person’s power. Although Todo is older and technically in a superior position, their friendship quickly evolves as they fight each other. On such a simple basis one would think they’re simpletons but Todo actually exhibits a high amount of knowledge and intelligence while helping Itadori to fight off Hanami.
As they continue to call each other brother and best friend, we are shown a healthy and very fun friendship between two males which is not often represented in anime. An unending bond that started with the same taste in women but was built on the foundation of fighting-spirit, intelligence and huge respect for one another.
The sad backstory we learn about the Zen’in twins in Jujutsu Kaisen is one that tells us a lot about the dynamic we’re facing here. If you want a much more detailed analysis on Mai and Maki’s relationship please click here for Makii’s Quote Time Analysis.
The sisters that are both born with low and almost no cursed energy and got ridiculed by their own family after they were born. We know from their flashbacks that their relationship was quite close as they were young, Maki helping her sister as she was afraid of curses lurking around and Mai seeking refuge in her sister’s support. It was a bond that was designed to hold and flourish into a great sisterhood, but was cut short by the Zen’in clan.
Maki who wants to live a life that wasn’t designed for her as she paved her own way and Mai who was pressured into following her, is a relationship that is based on how their family treated them for being “useless” in their eyes. Not only were they mocked for being women and powerless, they were also shattered by the expectations of their clan.
Betrayal and taking matters into their own hands broke a bond that was once so beautiful, and one can only hope for the sisters to reunite in a world that wants to see them apart.
What’s really interesting to see here is the diversity in different relationships that is displayed in Jujutsu Kaisen.
It isn’t just about good people and bad people, but how a good person can resort to violence and hatred, or how a bad person can be understood if their motive is explained. We are looking at a story that shows us the crushing reality that everyone is different and can be understood or hated depending on which perspective you see.
We have a family that is split and people who’ve known each other for moments that develop mesmerizing relationships. It only goes to show that in reality, relationship dynamics can change as quick as the tide.
People vary constantly and become different than they were before or just evolve from something new entirely. The people they surround each other with says most about who they are, and Jujutsu Kaisen has presented beautifully written characters and dynamics throughout the anime for us to appreciate.
What do you guys think? Did you relate to any of the dynamics mentioned? Were there any that you would have added? Please leave it in the comments!
Until then my cursed friends~