Movie Reviews

Has [SPOILER] Really Returned In Jujutsu Kaisen?

sukuna from jujutsu kaisen with his hand on a skull smiling and sticking his tongue out with gojo s eye s in the background

Warning: Contains major spoilers for chapter #260 of Jujutsu Kaisen.

Jujutsu Kaisen‘s latest chapter teases the potential return of Sukuna’s strongest adversary, Gojo Satoru, who may have returned to get the last laugh. Gojo’s return in Jujutsu Kaisen has been a highly debated topic among fans of the series ever since his tragic demise in chapter #236. While some have been highly dismissive of the possibility, others have been patiently awaiting Gojo’s eventual resurrection, and the latest chapter has effectively fueled these hopes with one singular panel.

Chapter #260 of Jujutsu Kaisen teases Gojo Satoru may have returned to make one last stand against Sukuna or to save Megumi. In the chapter, Sukuna is momentarily overpowered by Yuji and Todo’s tag team duo when he sees a faint silhouette in the distance which the narrator describes as a vision of the man Sukuna had buried with his own hands and the departed spirit of ” the strongest.”

While it is more likely that Sukuna is simply hallucinating while on the edge of defeat, Gojo’s return may have been foreshadowed through clever symbolism ever since the chapter of his death. Chapter #260 also ends with a hazy close-up of what appears to be Gojo’s face with one of his eyes cast in shadow, resurrecting a popular theory that Gojo may return re-enlightened much like he did after initially losing to Toji.

Other than the face at the end looking eerily similar to Gojo, the narrator’s description of the figure as “the strongest”, which is even highlighted with quotation marks, can only refer to Gojo Satoru, who is famously known as the Strongest Sorcerer. Considering the lengths Sukuna had to go to in order to defeat him, only Gojo could truly unnerve Sukuna at this point. Gojo even managed to make Sukuna uneasy once before in chapter #230, and his return now would surely spell trouble for the King of Curses.

That said, Yuji can be seen trying to claw out Sukuna’s heart right before the King of Curses sees the image of Gojo, hinting that Sukuna may simply be seeing a mirage as he teeters on the edge of death. The fact that the chapter refers to it as a vision also supports the idea that Sukuna may be delirious and that Gege Akutami may simply be toying with fans.

One ridiculous yet not entirely impossible alternative is that Takaba may have something to do with the vision as part of a cruel joke on Sukuna and readers alike. The comedian hasn’t been seen or heard from ever since the battle against Kenjaku concluded, but even though Takaba may still be fit to enter the fray against Sukuna, it does not make sense for him to enter the fray and get in Todo and Yuji’s way.

It is also not possible for Gojo to return as a cursed spirit like Naoya Zenin as he was killed using jujutsu. Chapter #236 also makes it quite clear that Gojo has died without any regrets, which closes the door on him returning as a vengeful spirit for good. If Kenjaku had still been alive, one might have argued the possibility of Kenjaku taking over Gojo’s body, but seeing as Kenjaku was defeated not long after Gojo and the injuries that Gojo suffered, this too seems unlikely. Having said that, considering the various hints scattered across the manga and other media, it is difficult to entirely dismiss the idea that Gojo may have truly returned.

In chapter #236, Nanami relates a peculiar conversation with Mei Mei wherein she advised Nanami on leaving the country by telling him to go south to remain his old self and head north to start anew. The meaning of Nanami’s words is twofold and supposedly presents Gojo with a choice of whether he wants to embrace death and pass on; satisfied with the person he was during his life, or return and become a new person.

The concept of “going north” has interesting connotations in Buddhism, as Buddha is said to have taken seven steps facing north after his birth, with a lotus flower blooming wherever he stepped. Interestingly, exactly seven lotus flowers make an appearance in chapter #236. The flowers appear in the background as Gojo explains how his status as the strongest meant that no one could truly understand him, but only admire him for his strength, just as people admire flowers for their beauty.

A promotional video posted by Sh┼Źnen Jump for the release of Volume #26 also prominently featured the lotus flower in the thumbnail before it premiered. The lotus is heavily associated with rebirth and enlightenment, so the panel featuring the seven flowers together with Nanami’s talk about going north may hint at Gojo going through the seven stages of enlightenment and returning to Jujutsu Kaisen re-enlightened.

The promotional video posted by Shonen Jump drops many more hints about Gojo’s rebirth and enlightenment by expanding on the airport scene from chapter #236 in the post-credits. The video shows the empty airport and the plane seen in the final panel of the airport scene in the manga. Firstly, it is important to note that the airport itself does not represent the afterlife but a limbo between life and death much like King’s Cross Station in Harry Potter.

Having established that, according to an interpretation by YouTuber @ManganimistYT, the empty airport which was not shown in the manga may signify that Gojo has already made his choice of whether to go north or south. This is further evidenced by the fact that Gojo is seen waving goodbye to Geto towards the end of the scene in the manga. As such, the fact that the plane hasn’t yet taken off at the end of the scene might also symbolize that Gojo hasn’t passed on to the other side yet.

Granted, chapter #236 is titled “Go South” and Gojo expresses both his satisfaction and his lack of regret quite clearly. However, as Gojo reiterates in the chapter using the analogy of flowers, Gojo has spent his entire life wondering whether it is his strength that defines his identity.

As Geto puts it, he has never been sure whether he is Gojo Satoru because he is the strongest or whether he is the strongest because he is Gojo Satoru. Now that Gojo has lost to Sukuna, his identity as the strongest has been stripped away. Gojo can now let go of his old self that was defined by his strength, head north, as Nanami explained, and be born anew.

Overall, it is still unclear how Gojo may have returned after being cut in half by Sukuna’s slash that cuts the world. Subtle hints in the manga currently point to Gojo sacrificing the Six Eyes or at least one of his eyes in a binding vow. Gojo’s right eye in particular may be the one he sacrifices, seeing as his right eye is cast in shadow in chapter #235 as well as the latest chapter. An odd illustration featured in Volume #26 also focuses heavily on Gojo’s right eye, and no context is provided for the illustration at any point in the volume, leaving things up to speculation. Nonetheless, only the upcoming chapters will be able to shed light on whether Jujutsu Kaisen‘s beloved hero has truly returned or not.

Jujutsu Kaisen is available from Manga Plus and Viz Media.