The most sinister curse and the natural nemesis of Yuji Itadori: Mahito! While he started off as just another menace for the sorcerers, Mahito turned into the deadliest cursed spirit at a terrifying rate, all because of his fatal powers and his obsession with destroying Yuji.
Yes, Mahito, referred to as the mirror for humans in Jujutsu Kaisen, forced Yuji over and over to lose parts of his old self until he faced the ultimate truth…
“I am you.”
To understand how exactly Mahito broke down and built Yuji while going through a journey of self-discovery himself, we need to go through their interactions from the very beginning. Right from his first appearance in chapter 19, Mahito is shown to be a unique cursed spirit, even when he’s among his own.
Mahito: Born from Human Hate
Whilst his friends were also curses manifested from fears and negative emotions, there was a huge difference between them. The others were created by the dread of natural disasters like volcanoes, he was the personification of human resentment.
Humans have hatred residing deep within their hearts over a plethora of things like politics, religion, money, sex, and desire. In fact, such emotions have only become more polarized over time, which is why Nanami states that Mahito only received a human form recently and became a special grade.
Meaning that he is a young curse who is the embodiment of the worst of humankind, the species that takes too much pride in itself.
It is ironic that his name itself translates to “true human,” and he has an appearance quite eerily resembling a human. However, with all his stitches, he also reminds us of Frankenstein’s Monster. Mahito is stitched together with bits and pieces of what makes “humans”, but he’s not truly one.
Moreover, just like the monster who ended up hating Frankenstein, he too thoroughly despises humans.
In chapter 21, we learn that Mahito has a very skewed outlook on humanity. He believes that humans don’t have a heart; instead, they just have a soul. Everything that is living can be attributed to the soul, so a curse and a human are not very different because they both exist as an outcome of nature.
This philosophy of his arises from his lethal power, Idle Transfiguration. It is the ability to manipulate and reshape the souls of anyone he chooses with just a touch, allowing him to completely disfigure the body of his victim. His technique is also how he postulated that “the shape of the body is defined by the shape of the soul,” an important theme of Jujutsu Kaisen.
This explains Mahito’s fixation on souls, as he further explains to Junpei that the reason he follows his instincts is because he can see the shape of the soul.
He finds that there is no worth in “life” because, just like the universe exists and all the other things in it, like rivers, exist for no reason, so does life.
This means that, in a full circle manner, the pain and suffering of humans are not only Mahito’s origin but also his purpose. After all, since he can acknowledge the existence of millions of souls, all of them are practically the same to him, leading him to conclude that there is no life worth protecting, especially not that of humans.
He also finds it amusing how hypocritical humans are. As Mahito puts it, “the so-called dignity obtained by human reason” because humans assume their lives are more worthwhile and dignified than everything else.
What gives humans the right to place themselves on such a pedestal? Simply put, we consider ourselves a superior race because of our intelligence and morality.
This is why a human killing a curse is considered “right” and “heroic” but if a curse kills a human, simply following its instincts, it is deemed to be an atrocity, completely wrong. Thus, humans are good while curses are evil.
However, Mahito forces us to think of a crucial flaw in this logic. Morals do not exist as laws of nature, humans make them up by acting on their own sense of reasoning.
But does the same morality apply to curses when, in fact, some of them also possess the same level of intelligence and logic that humans do? Mahito’s only question is, what really is good or evil? Just because he is a curse, he deserves to die, unlike Yuji, who is a human?
Even though they both exist in the world as living beings, why does Mahito not deserve the freedom to act as he wants or receive a natural death Yuji aspires to provide everyone with?
This dichotomy is what fuels Mahito’s desire to play around with humans’ emotions and manipulate them for his own enjoyment.
Of course, his prey that began his fateful enmity with Yuji was Junpei, a kid bullied just for the heck of it.
In a poetic way, his power morphs humans into an ugly and deformed mass, just as hatred and envy can turn any human terrifying and unrecognizable beyond saving.
Junpei was also too consumed by his hatred, which made him completely opposite to who he was as his mother’s son, until the very last moment when it was too late for him.
But what really makes Mahito an even more interesting villain is his own bigotry. Despite coming across as a nihilist who doesn’t believe in the value of life, he uses this ideology to justify his murders.
In his eyes, nihilism gives him moral permission to excuse his actions and instincts. At the end of the day, however, he is doing the same thing as Yuji without admitting it, meaning he isn’t actually indifferent; he just likes to think he is.
After all, if he was truly indifferent, he wouldn’t care about curses taking over the place of humans, even at the cost of his own life, because no matter who is superior, it should have been all the same to him.
The Shibuya Incident is when the story of these two mortal enemies culminates as we learn why Mahito is the mirror that ultimately turns every logic into a chance for people to look at their most undesirable side that they cannot acknowledge as being a part of themselves.