Disclaimer: Spoilers for the Jujutsu Kaisen anime and manga.
The Jujutsu Kaisen manga is well into the culling game arc, which many manga readers have suspected would be the penultimate arc of the series. Considering the manga’s pacing and creator Akutami Gege’s admission at an interview in February 2021, Jujutsu Kaisen might very well reach its conclusion by 2023. Which brings us to the inevitable question plaguing the whole series: will Itadori Yuuji die?
ITADORI YUUJI’S FATE IN JUJUTSU KAISEN
THE JUJUTSU WORLD’S VERDICT
From the moment he swallowed Ryomen Sukuna’s first finger, Yuuji’s fate was sealed. Itadori Yuuji had to die. While Gojou could not save him from this death sentence, he did offer him the choice of indefinitely postponing his execution. Yuuji accepted the proposal, less for living for a few more days, and more because it would make the world a safer place for people.
As such, Yuuji is drenched in death through and through, and his future even more so. Towards the end of the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen, when Kyoto school’s Kamo asks Yuuji why he wants to be a jujutsu sorcerer, to which he replies that he wants to save lots of people and have them watch over him when he dies. While it is interesting that Yuuji says “when” and not “if”, what is more, important is that Yuuji develops mentality even before he starts living on borrowed time.
By the end of the Shibuya arc of the Jujutsu Kaisen manga, Yuuji has already consumed fifteen of Sukuna’s fingers, leaving him with just five more fingers and a lot less time than if he had to find and consume them all, one by one. After Sukuna’s rampage in Shibuya and with Gojo out of the picture, the jujutsu world has already issued an order against Yuuji.
But it is doubtful if even Gojo would be able to prevent Yuuji’s death in the end. Gojo has the capacity to do what needs to be done even if it causes him severe pain and sorrow after he killed his best friend Getou Suguru with his own hands at the end of Jujutsu Kaisen 0. If Yuuji eats all twenty fingers and Sukuna regains his full strength, it might be up to Gojo again to have to kill one of his treasured students.
DOES YUUJI WANT TO DIE?
Since his grandfather’s death, Yuuji has shown a morbid obsession with death and what constitutes a proper or even “good” death for other people and for himself. He even accepts his death sentence with a surprising amount of nonchalance after only questioning it once. His disregard for his life causes him to die once in just the fifth episode of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime. His revival is only at the expense of a disadvantageous contract with Sukuna, who develops an unusual interest in Fushiguro Megumi.
As the Jujutsu Kaisen manga progresses, we see Yuuji’s mental health crumbling more and more. His inability to protect Junpei from Mahito, and later on, seeing Nanami, and possibly Nobara dying in front of his eyes in Shibuya, takes a major toll on him. Witnessing the extent of the destruction that Sukuna’s rampage caused is the final nail on the coffin, convincing him that his life isn’t something that ought to be allowed.
Moreover, Yuuji is shown in the Jujutsu Kaisen anime to suffer from the dilemma of killing human beings who had been disfigured into curse-like existences or had become death paintings. When Kenjaku reveals his true nature to them, Yuuji’s memories of his parents explain his relationship with Choso but shatter his sense of identity.
The only reason Yuuji is still forging on is possible because of his promise to Nanami and Fushiguro and his determination to save as many people as he can.
In the February 2021 interview, Akutami reveals that he is almost sixty per cent done with the Jujutsu Kaisen manga and that he already has an ending in mind. While Fushiguro Megumi and Itadori Yuuji’s end have been decided, Akutami admits that he isn’t completely sure what to do with the King of Curses, Sukuna, yet. But unless Sukuna can somehow separate himself from Yuuji’s body, it can be assumed that their fates are intertwined.
However, Akutami is a master of his craft and infamous for his plot twists, so all that is left to do is wait for weekly updates on the Jujutsu Kaisen manga with bated breath.