Is Yuji Itadori a Villain?

by Hazel

In the world of “Jujutsu Kaisen,” a popular manga and anime series, characters often grapple with complex moral dilemmas and multifaceted roles. One of the most intriguing characters is Yuji Itadori, the series’ protagonist. As the vessel for the ancient and malevolent curse Ryomen Sukuna, Yuji’s character frequently raises questions about heroism and villainy. This article delves into the intricacies of Yuji Itadori’s character to explore whether Yuji Itadori can be classified as a villain or if his actions align more closely with those of a hero struggling against overwhelming odds.

Understanding Yuji Itadori: The Reluctant Protagonist

Yuji Itadori is introduced as a high school student with extraordinary physical abilities and a compassionate heart. Despite his innate strength, he is more interested in living a normal life and caring for his friends and family than in using his abilities for personal gain. This initial portrayal establishes Yuji as a fundamentally good person who values the well-being of others over his own.


Encounter with the Occult: Becoming Sukuna’s Vessel

The turning point in Yuji’s life occurs when he and his friends from the Occult Research Club discover a cursed object, a finger belonging to the powerful Curse Ryomen Sukuna. In a desperate attempt to save his friends from a dangerous curse, Yuji consumes the finger, becoming Sukuna’s vessel. This act of self-sacrifice is pivotal in understanding Yuji’s character; it shows his willingness to risk his own life to protect others, a hallmark of a hero rather than a villain.


The Duality of Yuji and Sukuna

Yuji’s transformation into Sukuna’s vessel introduces a complex dynamic where two distinct personalities coexist within one body. Sukuna, often referred to as the “King of Curses,” is undeniably evil, delighting in causing pain and chaos. In contrast, Yuji remains committed to using his newfound abilities to save lives and fight curses. This duality is central to the debate about Yuji’s morality.


Sukuna’s Influence: While Sukuna occasionally takes control of Yuji’s body, leading to acts of violence and destruction, these actions are not reflective of Yuji’s will or intentions. Yuji often battles for control, striving to prevent Sukuna from causing harm.


Yuji’s Resolve: Despite the immense power he wields through Sukuna, Yuji consistently uses his abilities to fight against curses and protect the innocent. His resolve to ensure Sukuna’s power is not misused highlights his inherent goodness.

Moral Ambiguities and Ethical Dilemmas

Yuji’s journey is fraught with moral ambiguities and ethical dilemmas that challenge his perception of right and wrong. His role as Sukuna’s vessel forces him into situations where he must make difficult decisions, often with no clear-cut answer.

Killing to Protect: One of the most significant ethical dilemmas Yuji faces is the necessity of killing humans who have been transformed into curses. While he initially struggles with this, understanding that these beings pose a greater threat to humanity helps him reconcile his actions as a necessary evil.

Sacrifice and Responsibility: Yuji grapples with the responsibility of containing Sukuna’s power, knowing that he could be executed by the Jujutsu society to prevent potential catastrophes. His willingness to bear this burden underscores his dedication to protecting others, even at the cost of his own life.

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Yuji’s Allies and Their Perspectives

The perspectives of Yuji’s allies provide further insight into his character and the perception of his morality. Characters such as Megumi Fushiguro, Nobara Kugisaki, and Satoru Gojo play crucial roles in shaping Yuji’s journey and the audience’s understanding of his actions.

Megumi Fushiguro: Megumi, Yuji’s closest ally, recognizes Yuji’s inherent goodness and supports him in his struggle against Sukuna. His unwavering faith in Yuji’s character reinforces the idea that Yuji is fundamentally a hero, not a villain.

Nobara Kugisaki: Nobara’s fierce loyalty and camaraderie with Yuji further emphasize his positive traits. Her trust in Yuji’s intentions and abilities underscores the bond they share as allies fighting against curses.

Satoru Gojo: As Yuji’s mentor, Gojo acknowledges the danger Sukuna poses but also sees the potential for good in Yuji. Gojo’s decision to protect and train Yuji rather than condemn him speaks volumes about his belief in Yuji’s capacity for heroism.

Public Perception and Jujutsu Society

Yuji’s status as Sukuna’s vessel complicates his relationship with the Jujutsu society and the broader public. While his actions often align with the goals of protecting humanity, the inherent danger of Sukuna’s power casts a shadow over his heroism.

Jujutsu Society’s Stance: The Jujutsu society views Yuji as both an asset and a potential threat. Their willingness to execute him if necessary reflects the fear and mistrust surrounding Sukuna’s power. However, their continued reliance on Yuji in battles against powerful curses indicates recognition of his value and intentions.

Public Opinion: The general public is largely unaware of the intricacies of Yuji’s situation, often perceiving him through the lens of his association with Sukuna. This disconnect between perception and reality adds another layer of complexity to his character.

Key Battles and Character Development

Yuji’s development as a character is deeply influenced by the key battles and encounters he faces throughout the series. These moments of conflict and growth are crucial in understanding his evolving morality and role within the story.

Battle Against Mahito: Yuji’s encounters with the curse Mahito are particularly significant in shaping his understanding of the curse world and his place within it. Mahito’s ability to manipulate souls and his disregard for human life present Yuji with profound challenges and moral questions.

The Shibuya Incident: The Shibuya Incident arc is a turning point for Yuji, where he faces immense loss and the darker aspects of the Jujutsu world. His resilience and determination during this arc highlight his commitment to fighting for what is right, despite overwhelming odds and personal suffering.

Yuji’s Growth and Heroic Traits

Throughout the series, Yuji’s growth as a character is marked by his increasing understanding of the complexities of good and evil, as well as his unwavering resolve to protect others. Several key traits define his heroism:

Empathy and Compassion: Yuji’s deep empathy for others drives many of his actions. He consistently prioritizes the well-being of his friends and innocent people, even at great personal risk.

Moral Courage: Yuji’s willingness to face difficult moral choices and take responsibility for his actions demonstrates his moral courage. He does not shy away from the darker aspects of his role but confronts them head-on.

Self-Sacrifice: Time and again, Yuji exhibits a willingness to sacrifice his own life and happiness for the greater good. This selflessness is a hallmark of his character and solidifies his status as a hero.

The Complexity of Villainy and Heroism

The question of whether Yuji Itadori is a villain cannot be answered without considering the broader themes of “Jujutsu Kaisen.” The series itself delves deeply into the complexities of villainy and heroism, often blurring the lines between the two.

Context and Perspective: Villainy and heroism in “Jujutsu Kaisen” are often contextual, dependent on perspective. While Sukuna embodies pure evil, Yuji’s struggle to contain and control this power while maintaining his own moral integrity is a central theme.

Redemption and Forgiveness: The series explores themes of redemption and forgiveness, suggesting that characters are not defined solely by their past actions or circumstances but by their ongoing choices and growth.

Conclusion: Yuji Itadori’s True Nature

In conclusion, Yuji Itadori cannot be classified as a villain. Despite the malevolent presence of Sukuna within him, Yuji’s actions, motivations, and moral compass align with those of a hero. His journey is characterized by an unwavering commitment to protecting others, grappling with ethical dilemmas, and striving to use his power for good. The complexity of his character and the challenges he faces highlight the nuanced nature of heroism in “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

Yuji’s story is one of resilience, empathy, and moral courage, qualities that define him as a hero rather than a villain. His ongoing battle against Sukuna’s influence and his dedication to the well-being of his friends and the innocent underscore his fundamental goodness. As “Jujutsu Kaisen” continues to unfold, Yuji Itadori’s character will undoubtedly evolve further, but his core values and heroic traits will remain central to his journey.


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