The following article contains major spoilers from the vs. Mahito arc of Jujutsu Kaisen. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Ever since we saw them in action, we knew for sure that Mahito and Getou Suguru are people who cannot be trusted. When a traumatised Junpei stumbles upon Mahito after witnessing his actions in the movie theatre, the latter takes him under his wing. Though our insides screamed that Mahito was upto no good, Junpei seemed to trust him completely. In fact, the cursed spirit played him so well that at times it felt that Mahito actually cared for him. That is, till Junpei would be mercilessly disposed off.
And it was not just Mahito who was involved in this plan, but Getou as well. Just what were these two planning?
Getou and Mahito’s plan using Junpei:
Mahito and Getou intended to use Junpei as a pawn in order to make Itadori form a binding contract or a vow with Sukuna. Junpei was not the person in focus, but it was Itadori, or rather Sukuna.
Seeing Mahito’s actions initially, it felt as if he planned to make Junpei the next big villain in the series. He fanned the flames of hatred and revenge in the youngster and asked him to follow his heart. He also taught Junpei how to summon a Shikigami using cursed energy. Having someone understand and support him made Junpei confident enough to go after the ones who had bullied him.
And Junpei would have gone down a dark path if not for his encounter with Itadori.
Itadori and Junpei quickly became friends. Even Junpei’s mother was probably happy to see her son getting along with someone. However, this happiness was short-lived as Mahito would enact a sinister plan to make Junpei go berserk again. It is later shown that Junpei’s mom was killed by curses attracted to the Sukuna’s finger that was planted at his home.
While Mahito was the one who planted the Sukuna finger, he redirects Junpei’s doubt and hatred towards the people who bullied him.
This move again felt like Mahito wanting to push the youngster down a path of hatred and revenge, ultimately turning him into a fitting antagonist for Yuji. This even seemed plausible for as long as the two of them faced off.
However, the true intentions of Mahito and even Getou come to picture when Junpei is killed.
Why did Mahito kill Junpei?
By killing Junpei, Mahito hoped to break Itadori’s soul. Junpei’s death was supposed to fill Itadori with intense hatred and a desire to kill Mahito. As Mahito was the stronger one, Itadori would require Sukuna’s help to defeat him. And if this happens, Itadori will have no option but to form a binding vow or contract with Sukuna.
This was in line with what Getou had planned earlier in the series. The cursed spirits were looking for a way to exterminate humans and take their place in the world.
However, Mahito’s plan did not succeed. Sukuna chose not to help Itadori in saving Junpei, even though the cursed spirit was capable of doing so. Instead, he had a good laugh at the situation Itadori found himself in. Sukuna’s response made Mahito question if he should have tried something different in order to get the cursed spirit involved.
While everything might seem pre-planned, that does not seem to be the case. It was by chance that Mahito stumbled upon Junpei. And he decided to use this opportunity to the fullest in order to achieve his goals. This only reaffirms the cursed spirit’s lack of consideration for any human emotions.
Killing Junpei also seemed something that Mahito decided on the spot. Maybe he saw the youngster’s soul and resolve waver after losing the fight to Itadori. Junpei was almost convinced to join the Jujutsu High and start a new life surrounded by friends and people who cared for him. Did Mahito see this as the right opportunity to kill him and break Itadori’s resolve? Or was it because he did not want Junpei going over to the good side? That is a debate for another time.
Sukuna’s refusal to help only made Itadori strengthen his resolve. While he was doubtful about whether he could kill people before, this time he focused all his hatred and went after Mahito. It was after this encounter that Mahito named Itadori his mortal enemy.