Art by @a-zebra-was-here on tumblr
Every person on this earth is unique. We individually walk through this life, making our own decisions depending on our environment and how we were raised.
Our behaviour stems from patterns we have observed in our youth and experience we have accumulated, while we slowly built up who we inherently are. Our identity is not just one character trait, but a set of small puzzle pieces that makes us complete. We can of course boil a person down to one of their hobbies, or a joke we might hear about them, their gender or their accomplishments.
Albeit in the end, no one can know better who you are except for yourself, and sometimes not even you know who you might be.
On that note, making characters that are relatable and just as complex as we are in this world is not easy, yet we find many media in which interesting characters emerge for us to look into.
This time we shall look at the fighting-shounen anime Jujutsu Kaisen, to which Makii has already made a Quote Time to here.
With an occult and mystery flair and emphasis on the intense lore and fights, Jujutsu Kaisen tackles some real-life problems and societal ideas that are worth to mention. With these troubling times in which injustice and inequality rise in almost every aspect of our lives, it’s refreshing to see parts of our world in a new context.
The Jujutsu Sorcerers in Jujutsu Kaisen, serve the purpose of ridding the world of curses that befall humanity. At the end of the day it is very noble work, the kind of work that would mean to inhabit the quality of helping others and being empathetic to others’needs.
Just as much as the motive can be important, we find ourselves observing a system for the sorcerers that is not just about the personal qualities you possess, but also about what is expected by elderly committees and elite families.
The Zen’in clan is the example that is shown to us in the anime. A Family that is ruthless when it comes to its members if they do not inherit powerful cursed techniques or show an incredible amount of skill. Influence plays a huge role in the career of Jujutsu Sorcerer, since one can only climb up the ladder of higher ranks with a good reputation and experience in your tool belt.
The Zen’in twins are the perfect example for someone who was held up in their rank despite their performance and skill, yet needed a huge impact in the exchange program to get the promotion.
Meaning, that strength might be a huge part of being a Jujutsu Sorcerer but it isn’t everything.
Not because something else is needed, but because the elderly and the elite at the top who seek to control the sorcerers with their traditions want it differently. We also see this in the director of the Kyoto school Yoshinobu Gakuganji, who represents what we experience as the elderly in a power dynamic. Although to be fair, this only applies to his views of the Jujutsu sorcerers, since he pulled out an e-guitar which is not what we would consider traditional for the elderly.
Now the problem that Jujutsu Kaisen brings up here is no other than the unequal terms that female Jujustu Sorcerers have to face in order to become successful in their careers. This doesn’t apply for every female character here, since one of our main characters Nobara seems to have a different outlook on this situation.
“What makes us obligated to meet such perfection or such absurd standards?”
Nobara refuses to let others live by the notion of misery, her own strength stems from the fact that she worked hard and never let anyone tell her what to do, which let’s her sympathise with Maki and adore her strength. Why should one care about any standards that weren’t set by herself?
To her regard, a bad environment doesn’t give the right to treat others badly, which is her retaliation to Momo Nishimiya’s taunts at the Kyoto Goodwill Event.
Nishimiya explains what a female member of the Zen’in clan, and generally a female sorcerer, has to accomplish to become recognized by the higher-ups.
Strength, a beautiful appearance, perfection.
Still, Nobara doesn’t let any of her talk get to her, firmly believing that one does not get a ‘free pass’ after being treated badly. It represents her own fierce attitude towards hardship, a philosophy that looks to what lies in front instead of grieving the past.
She is extremely strong but not just ability-wise, her morals are dead set on a goal that we don’t know yet but her resolve to achieve is just as strong. Nobara doesn’t have time to think about a system that is making it hard for her, she merely wants to see the people who come out of misery stronger than before.
With her words “I don’t give a damn about ‘women’ this ‘men’ that”, Nobara represents a strong female character that doesn’t care about gender norms nor what other people think of her. She believes in herself, not making a distinction between the part of herself where she likes cute dresses or the one where she is a cutthroat Jujutsu Sorcerer.
Because why should one make a distinction between the two?
“I like myself when I’m dolled up and I like myself when I’m strong!”
She is both and therefore as she states herself, Nobara Kugisaki.
A force that has to be reckoned with, a toughness that we can all learn from. Confidence in oneself that is not tied to being ‘one thing’ but accepting that every person is full of different things.