Jujutsu Kaisen is a series about, well, jujutsu. There is a top-secret organization and their shamans and evil lurking in the corner and whatnot. But the entire story revolves around the concept of cursed energy and its various forms.
If the cursed energy and cursed techniques weren’t hard enough to grasp, the story loads us with more information. Psst, do read our guide to all techniques, thank us later. We begin with a mysterious introduction of cursed spirits – and Yuji casually snacking. This occult life is looking different than we thought, huh?
With the huge amount of information at different places about the vast concept of curses and cursed spirits, it might become hard to grasp. And since they play a pivotal role in the story, it is also necessary to know the smallest details about them.
Well, you don’t have to bookmark chapters and go re-read them over and over – this complete guide to cursed spirits has got your back! Let’s begin with the fundamental question:
What are curses or cursed spirits?
When cursed energy from negative emotions gathers or collects at one place, it manifests cursed spirits. As Megumi explains, this usually happens in crowded places like schools, hospitals, etc., where there is a high chance of negative emotions flowing out from humans (it looks like people truly hate schools).
As indicated in the story, the history of curses runs deep, and they have existed alongside humanity since time immemorial.
After two significant events in the Jujutsu world: the death of the king of curses Ryomen Sukuna and the birth of the user of Six-Eyes and Limitless techniques Gojo Satoru, the curses side had gotten significantly weaker. They were in the shadows for a long time, but ever since Itadori Yuuji consumed Sukuna’s finger, there has been an increase in the upheaval in the Jujutsu world.
Only humans can create cursed spirits because they do not control their cursed energy like shamans. However, humans can’t see these spirits under normal circumstances. They can only feel a dark presence of negative energy emanating from where the cursed spirits exist. Usually, when a life or death situation arises in front of them, can they actually see the cursed spirits.
Evidently, from the story so far, cursed spirits vary in their physical form as well as intelligence. While some spirits are intelligent enough to hold conversations, some are just grotesque monsters who linger in their place of origin. Out of all cursed spirits, the strongest ones are usually intelligent curses like Mahito.
So, what is the purpose of their existence? To play the villain or Jujutsu Kaisen won’t exist either– uhm. These curses usually just exist to haunt humanity – kind of like an irony. By doing so, they ensure that even more cursed spirits are created out of fear and hatred. They lead to mysterious deaths and disappearances of ordinary people, which is why shamans fight them. But there are stronger, more malevolent spirits with other motives. More on that later.
We cannot subdue or destroy cursed spirits using normal means or weapons. This is because spirits also have supernatural abilities and use cursed energy and techniques. Thus, the only thing that affects them is the cursed energy that jujutsu sorcerers use to “exorcise” them. Since the spirits have their powers, they can attack and destroy each other as well.
However, in certain special conditions, it turns out that cursed spirits are too powerful for shamans to exorcise. In these cases, the jujutsu society seals them away using charms or talismans imbued with cursed energy. Sukuna is an example of a cursed spirit too strong for shamans to destroy, and hence his soul lies in his fingers. Even Sukuna’s fingers are indestructible, as Gojo kindly demonstrated to us.
It might be a surprise, but even Megumi’s shikigami (and shikigami in general) are cursed spirits. But, these are artificial spirits, unlike the one we talked about previously. Shikigami are like a shaman’s familiars and manifest from the shaman’s cursed energy. They are, quite obviously, under the control of a shaman and act upon their will.
Is there a difference between curse, curses, and cursed spirits?
Jurei and Noroi are perhaps the most used words in Jujutsu Kaisen. Sometimes these terms are also interchanged. Curses (jurei) also refer to the creatures that manifest from the aggregation of cursed energy. Yep, it sounds very similar to cursed spirits. So, is there a difference between them?
We could say that ‘cursed spirit’ is mainly used to refer to the more powerful curses that have manifested and have a soul (a debatable point, no?). On the other hand, curses are mainly used to refer to the formless low-level ones. But, both curses and cursed spirits are called jurei in Jujutsu Kaisen. As stated before, cursed energy can exorcise curses as well. And they are the ones that linger at the place of manifestation.
As for curse or noroi, it is a different story. This term encapsulates everything that is manifested from cursed energy. It includes cursed spirits, curses, cursed objects, curse users, and sometimes even cursed energy and cursed techniques.
How are disaster curses different?
Even if all cursed spirits are made of cursed energy, some of them differ from each other. One point of difference is, of course, intelligence and awareness. Disaster curses are another type of cursed spirit.
It is no surprise that humans fear natural disasters. Disaster cursed spirits are made out of the collective fear or hatred humans have for natural disasters. Jogo and his companions are examples of disaster curses. Jogo, Hanami, and Dagon are respectively manifested from the fear of volcanoes, forests, and the ocean. Even immense hatred or fear for plagues can manifest a curse like the Grasshopper Curse.
However, Mahito is different. He is the manifestation of humans’ negative emotions about each other. He is not a disaster curse but is still an intelligent one.
These disaster curses are usually intelligent spirits. Moreover, if they are not already special grade spirits, they have the ability to turn into one. Take Dagon, for example. He was a cursed womb, but he developed into a full-fledged special grade in the Shibuya arc.
Since the story placed emphasis on disaster curses, there is something more to them. When we carefully read the manga, a question arises:
Do curses have a life cycle?
We can’t deny that LOT happened in the Shibuya Incident arc. There are small things that are easy to miss, and one of them is a panel from chapter 116. After fighting tooth and nail against Sukuna (he has our respect), Jogo said a very peculiar thing.
This small part of the telepathic (?) conversation between the curses is quite possibly a hint. So, we came up with a theory for it. We think that disaster curses have a life cycle. As we saw earlier, disaster curses are manifested from the fear of natural disasters. This fear is something that is perennial and will continue to exist in humans’ minds. We, as a species, always fear what threatens our well-being.
So, connecting how these spirits are made to this perennial fear, disaster curses should never completely disappear, right? Thus, we arrive at the theory that some cursed spirits are reborn over a certain period of time. Since cursed energy gathers at one place to create spirits, it surely takes time for that to happen. And especially for spirits that possess immense energy, it would take quite some time.
And hence, we think that disaster curses take new appearances over time. But, as long as humans have a fear of disasters, these spirits will always exist too. However, from what Jogo said, it seems like they don’t retain memories from their past forms.
This life cycle also entails that as long as humans exist, curses will exist too. And the cycle of shamans exorcising curses will continue as well. Is that why Geto wanted to get rid of all non-shamans, we wonder?
Grades of curses
This article and even the characters in Jujutsu Kaisen refer to curses with their grades quite often. What is a curse grade, and what does it mean? Ijichi explained curse grades in the Cursed Womb incident, comparing them to the firepower shamans would need.
Simply put, grades are ranks that the Jujutsu High assigns to curses. These ranks help them (and us) in power scaling and estimating how powerful a cursed spirit is. Even shamans have their own ranks for ease of allotment of missions to exorcise curses. Special Grade curses are the most powerful curses, and the closer a grade is to the special grade, the more powerful the curse is.
Grade 4 are the weakest curses, and an inexperienced shaman can beat them. A wooden bat is enough for them.
Grade 3 curses are average curses, and student sorcerers can defeat them. A handgun is effective against them.
Grade 2 curses are powerful. From this grade onwards, a shaman’s ranking matters quite a bit. A shaman can defeat a curse less than or equal to their own grade. So, for a Grade 2 curse, the exorcising shaman has to be Grade 2 or higher as well. In Ijichi’s example, one would have a close call with Grade 2 using a shotgun.
From the ordinary curses, Grade 1 curses are the most powerful. They can also be Special Grade 1 sometimes, and Jujutsu High declares them dangerous on many occasions. For Grade 1, even a tank might be insufficient.
And lastly, the Special Grades. These are incredibly strong and are different cases altogether. During the Parade of a Hundred Curses, 16 curses owned the title of Special Grade Imaginary Vengeful Spirits. In fact, most of the Special Grades are Vengeful Spirits.
Jujutsu High has some of the Special Grades registered. But, many Special Grade curses appeared after Sukuna’s revival, but Jujutsu High does not have a record of them. Sukuna is an example of a registered Special Grade, whilst Jogo and Co. are examples of unregistered Special Grades. For Special Grades, even using cluster bombs is doubtful.
Cursed objects usually lead to the creation of Special Grade curses. Other than Sukuna himself, the finger-bearers from Cursed Wombs are also Special Grades. Another type of Cursed Wombs, the Death Paintings, are Special Grades too. Thus, Choso, Eso, and Kechizu come from the Death Painting fetuses but are Special Grades.
Besides these, there are also ‘semi’ grades like semi-Grade 2 and 1. However, there are unclear boundaries for the assignment of semi- and proper grades. Grade 1, Special Grade 1, and Special Grade curses are usually intelligent curses that can talk too. Moreover, from Grade 1 onwards, the spirits also have and can use cursed techniques.
Common powers of curses
Do these different levels of curses have something in common? So far, we have established that cursed spirits are made of cursed energy. But there are a few powers that are common between them too.
All the spirits possess a high amount of cursed energy. Naturally, a higher grade entails higher cursed energy with a curse. The curses can also use this energy to heal themselves. Unlike humans who need Reverse Cursed Energy to heal themselves, curses can use the negative counterpart.
Most of the curses can use techniques, and some of them can even manifest a domain expansion. Just like shamans, a lot of these curses have the potential to grow from their experience. For example, Mahito realized his true form of the soul after his clashes with Yuji. Even Dagon grew from a Cursed Womb to a Special Grade curse because he experienced emotions.
Curses are also quite adept at manipulating cursed energy since it is natural for them to do so. They can easily overpower ordinary humans even with their presence.
Which are the strongest cursed spirits?
Now that we saw some similarities, what sets the individual curses apart? Their power and potency, of course. So, which are the strongest cursed spirits in Jujutsu Kaisen? Undoubtedly, the strongest curses are Special Grades.
We can’t say the strongest and not talk about Sukuna. Ryomen Sukuna is the King of Curses & Poison and a calamity. Not only was he feared when he was alive, but even after his death, he remains the biggest threat to humanity. He is too strong to defeat, even by Megumi’s strongest shikigami, Mahoraga. Moreover, his techniques are still in the dark, but he has a fearful domain expansion.
In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, we came across Rika, and Geto dubbed her the Queen of Curses. Okkotsu accidentally manifested Rika as a curse – but her abilities are unknown too. Naturally, she is extremely strong to defeat not just Geto’s Maximum Uzumaki but also a Vengeful Spirit.
Other than these rulers, Jogo, Hanami, and Dagon are stupidly strong as well. It is unfortunate for Jogo that he just had to face the strongest shaman and curse that made a joke out of him. But, he is equivalent to 8-9 fingers of Sukuna. Similarly, Hanami is a formidable curse too. Dagon nearly wiped out three reputable shamans after his growth.
Mahito probably started weaker than the curses above, but he grew into the strongest among them. As he kept facing off against Itadori, his mortal enemy, he kept growing. His cursed technique is especially fearsome, too; not many people can fight against Idle Transfiguration.
Choso has an honorable mention for being strong because he is the most powerful amongst the Death Paintings. Sasuga onii-chan! In fact, all finger-bearers are also pretty strong because they gain more power as Sukuna grows too. If you’re interested in how these cursed spirits rank among all characters in JJK, check out our list!
Well, well. Now that we are clear about the basic questions, what is the big idea here? Why are the curses in the spotlight? What are they going for?
What is the goal of curses?
The goal of the curses or cursed spirits is to become the real humans and wipe out all the other humans. They want to lay waste to the civilization and bring forth the age of curses. Their reason? Nobody wants the shorter end of the stick.
Curses they might be, but special grade curses can speak, think, and live for themselves. The insurmountable difference in the power of two sides, the curses and shamans, is undoubtedly an eyesore for all the curses alike.
But an even more significant irksome factor that lies deep in their minds is the presence of weak and pathetic humans. Humans who need protection, who are good-for-nothing, and humans who can never compare to the curses.
Humans are by nature cunning creatures who hide their emotions and true feelings behind masks. But their actual feelings and their true nature, which are revealed only behind backs, give birth to these curses. So, the curses represent the truth of human nature and deserve to live as true humans.
To achieve their goal, the curses teamed up together to obliterate and overpower the human world. But they also contracted a fishy character to their side, Geto Suguru. With Geto, the curses had a two-step plan against shamans and humans.
A: Instead of wasting their energy on killing him, they should focus on sealing Gojo Satoru in the special-grade cursed object, Prison Realm. And B: They must get Ryomen Sukuna on their side.
Beware of the major manga spoilers ahead!
The curses carried out the plan devised by Geto at Shibuya on October 31st. They created multiple barriers and diversions, working in teams and sparing none. In the last chapter, the battle seems to have come to a temporary end with several casualties. The biggest losses being Gojo sealed in the Prison Realm and a massacre by Sukuna when he overtook Itadori’s body.
However, the Shibuya Incident revealed that this “Geto Suguru” had plans of his own. The story unveiled the true identity of the Brain possessing Geto and past Noritoshi Kamo. He is Kenjaku, a vile shaman with plans of his own. He simply pretended to be on the curses’ side to make them carry out his will towards his goal.
That was all to know about cursed spirits in Jujutsu Kaisen! We hope we answered all of your questions about them, but if you have more of them, comment below. Also, keep an eye on this guide for future updates from the manga with new information. Jaa ne!