Ever since his debut in Jujutsu Kaisen, Sukuna scored hearts and soared to popularity despite being a villain. This (in)famous once-shaman is a sign of menace in the jujutsu world and invokes fear in all alike. Except Gojo Satoru, but that is a discussion for another day. Sukuna has made Itadori’s body his home (talk about bodies being temples) and taken some suspicious actions, like a binding vow. A fearful entity as a dweller in a best boy’s body is an old trope as they come.
Take Naruto and Kurama, for example. Kurama, an abominable creature, was an agent of destruction. Naruto, however, is an incredibly kind person with compassion for all. They were at loggerheads for a long time until Madara showed up. Naruto’s uniform goodness to Kurama moves his heart. And we all know what happens at the end. They become friends and vanquish Madara. Banzai for friendship no chikara!
It is not a surprise that the anime community has compared Jujutsu Kaisen to Naruto on many occasions. Even Black Clover has the duo of Asta and Liebe that follow a similar trope. But the question we have is if Sukuna and Itadori also be friends at the end of this road? To answer our big question (and to some of us, a dreaded fear), we need first to analyze Sukuna’s character a bit. Well, what we know of him from the story yet, that is.
Will Sukuna become good? What sets him apart?
For some reason, a lot of people ask if Sukuna will become good. Jujutsu Kaisen has given us ample evidence to believe that, no, Sukuna will not become good. In fact, what sets him apart from other villains is that he is thoroughly evil. And from what we saw of Sukuna until now, he is evil simply for the heck of it. The best instance that displayed Sukuna’s deep wickedness is what other than the Shibuya Incident?
As soon as Sukuna revived with 15 fingers, he overpowered Nanako, Mimiko, and Jogo. He is so brutish that he almost immediately killed all three of them because their heads were held high in front of him. And when Jogo asked him to leverage Itadori’s friends against a binding vow, Sukuna said he had his own plans. These ‘plans’ definitely did not involve killing all humans in Shibuya other than Megumi. But for the fun of it, Sukuna decided to do that.
From this scene, we also realize that Sukuna’s contempt extends not just to humans but also to curses alike. He thinks humans and curses are desperate and weak – flocking together. The curses are foolish enough to go so far as to pin all their hopes on Sukuna. However, the King of Curses is a fully self-actualized being of immense power. He doesn’t need anyone, nor does he want to help anyone.
Perhaps what makes Sukuna greatly scary is how in touch with his instincts and desires he is. He is the epitome of selfishness that comes at the cost of everyone around him. This single-mindedness might also be why he does not have any subordinates other than Uraume. In all likeliness, you could even call Sukuna a fully realized Gojo. Now you’d say that “oh, Gojo already has had his awakening,” but hear me out.
Gojo is bound by rationality and worldly attachments, even after his awakening. When he fought Toji, for a moment, he lost that rationality too. He even voiced that feeling:
Remember how Geto said that if Gojo wanted to realize Geto’s ideal world, he could? Sure, Gojo could wake up one day and decide to kill everyone, and he could do it. If Gojo wanted to, he could kill the higher-ups in one go. Both Sukuna and Gojo, these epitomes of power, are united by the fact that if they want something, they can have it.
But, Gojo consciously chooses rationality, while Sukuna is the antithesis. If the latter wants a massacre, he will without batting an eyelid. And if he sees someone as a tool to his goal, he will save them. Sukuna is unbridled, his existence in Itadori is a special circumstance – but even if the Sukuna in him dies, his soul’s five other parts will still live.
Gojo and Itadori both work towards a goal largely unrelated to themselves. But Sukuna is also different because not only he knows how powerful he is, he also wields that power solely for himself. I can even say that Sukuna’s uncaring pursuit (and realization) of his desires is envious to some degree too. And all this does not arise out of an external factor. It is all Sukuna’s selfishness and self-actualization, even if that is “villainous” for the world.
Yuji, an atypical shounen MC
Well, we talked about Sukuna. But what about Itadori? Is our favorite Togepi going to use talk no jutsu and turn Sukuna into a new leaf? I think not. Just like Sukuna, Itadori is also different from other shounen MCs.
Unlike other MCs, Itadori has a strict line of separation between curses and humans. He wants humans to have a proper or natural death. At the same time, he would brutally end all curses without caring of the same principle. I think he was, however, largely ignorant of how vile the curses are before Junpei’s death. Itadori was naïve enough to ask for help from Sukuna, only to be met with part of the true horror of cursed spirits.
Starting from Junpei’s death, Itadori learned a lot of things the hard way. This painful but needed realization showed through the Cursed Womb: Death Painting arc as well. Itadori’s ability to keep his goal clear has been blurring. because what really were those Death Paintings? Curses? Humans? He was yet to learn of acceptance, which he probably realized in the Shibuya Incident. His attitude towards Choso drastically changed post-Shibuya.
Junpei’s death was a crucial character-defining moment for Itadori for one more reason. He realized that he could not change everyone or save someone as much as he wants to. It was a hard fact that Itadori needed to understand before continuing his shamanism. His ultimate goal is not to change Sukuna, rather, he wants to completely control the curse.
Fundamentally speaking, there is no commonality between Itadori and Sukuna. His encounters with Mahito drilled this fact into him – there is no “reconciliation” between curses and humans. And this is further proved by Sukuna’s massacre at Shibuya. Sukuna very well could save the civilians from his domain expansion, but he chose not to. Only because Megumi is a key to his plan did he make that effort.
However, as mentioned before, Itadori is somewhat the opposite of Sukuna. He wants power, just like Sukuna. But his desire for power is not for himself, only to save others. His entire existence now is only dedicated to saving people, not finding a way out. If we go by Sukuna’s raw instincts, Itadori should strive to survive. That is an animal instinct. But, Itadori is okay with dying as long as Sukuna dies with him. Yet even while saying that Itadori is not true to himself. He wants to live, he wants to be with people.
Sukuna’s actualization is a state Itadori should aim to reach. He is terribly worn out – both mentally and emotionally right now. But he has to grow and keep growing towards a point where he is confident in his actions. Itadori and Sukuna are both desirous but only one of them can fulfill that. And so, they can’t possibly be friends. Working together entails compromise. It also involves having common goals.
So, after all this analysis, let’s ask this once again:
Will Sukuna help Itadori?
No, Sukuna will not help Itadori realize his goals. And so, we won’t see Sukuna and Itadori as friends in the near future.
Both Sukuna and Itadori despise each other and want to sabotage each others’ goals. Sukuna wants to reign over the jujutsu world again, which is as ominous as it gets. And Itadori wants to save as many people as he can by getting stronger. Truly reminds me of Gojo saying I can only save those who are prepared to be saved. Both of them would rather kill the other than give up on their goal.
They both want power and strength but for completely different reasons. Not only that, but they are also different in many senses – one true to his desires, while the other barely hanging on. So, while this antagonist in the same body trope is old, Itadori and Sukuna are deeper characters than that. It is very unlikely to see them become friends in the future.
Yes, Akutami uses several old tropes in Jujutsu Kaisen, but it is hardly possible for this trope to follow through. Itadori is level-headed and Sukuna is wicked – there was no reconciliation between them, to begin with. In fact, the only “change” I can envision at this point is Sukuna accidentally making Itadori stronger. He, of course, will never take conscious steps to do so. But, with every passing day, Itadori is increasing his already superhuman strength. Will Sukuna make Itadori reach self-actualization too? We don’t know yet.
But, what can happen is Sukuna getting a sympathetic backstory. Why did he choose to be like a natural calamity? And why did he take the effort to make sure he turns into a curse after death? Was he a victim of circumstances? With even a small story behind him, Sukuna’s character will completely change. That would flip our belief in Sukuna’s purely vile side. And that would be a nightmare.
Sukuna’s excellent characterization until now will be a waste if he turns out to be a sympathetic villain. I, and I think you also, would rather that Sukuna remains evil. It will also add weight to the final battle all of us are visualizing between Gojo and Sukuna. Against an opponent of the top caliber, how will these two fight? I hope Sukuna remains Gojo’s opposite in that manner, invoking his instincts as well.
However, if we REALLY just really want Sukuna and Itadori to be friends, I can only imagine one situation. And that would be thanks to Kenjaku. Kenjaku’s magnificent goals won’t interest Sukuna, that is for sure. As long as Kenjaku isn’t in Sukuna’s way, it is all okay too.
But, if at some point, Kenjaku ends up disturbing Sukuna or his plans? Or actually, even turns into an enemy? Then it is possible that Itadori and Sukuna would collaborate. Hello, there JJK’s Madara? There’s a possibility that they will have to work together unwillingly against the common enemy.
So, what do you think? Will Itadori and Sukuna become friends? Or do you agree with this article? And do you believe Kenjaku would play a Madara here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!