The following article contains spoilers for Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 199 "Resentful Names," by Gege Akutami, John Werry and Snir Aharon, available in English from Viz Media.
With how exciting Jujutsu Kaisen’s "Culling Game" arc has been, it’s pretty easy to forget that one of the Tokyo Jujutsu High students’ main aims for the tournament is to free Gojo Satoru from the Prison Realm. After many fierce battles, Itadori Yuji and Megumi Fushiguro finally managed to secure a lead on this front.
Unfortunately, their only method of freeing Gojo seems to come at the cost of Itadori’s life. Although many Jujutsu Kaisen fans -- and Itadori himself -- have accepted that he is in fact the “Disgraced One”, there’s surprisingly little evidence that ties the nickname to him.
Why Do Itadori and Megumi Need The Angel’s Help?
Itadori and Megumi joined the Culling Game in search of a mysterious player known as “The Angel”. Their cursed technique allows them to nullify all other cursed techniques, including barrier abilities like the one keeping Gojo trapped in the prison realm. Even though they’ve finally achieved their objective, celebrations are still premature as the Angel is demanding a high payment in exchange for aid. Before freeing Gojo, they want Itadori and Megumi to defeat and kill a sorcerer known as the Disgraced One.
Once Itadori heard that name, the part of Sukuna’s cursed spirit within him immediately revealed that he was the Disgraced One and advised Itadori to keep this a secret from the Angel. Upon hearing this, Itadori immediately assumed he was the sorcerer the Angel was hunting -- but in his willingness to sacrifice his life for Gojo’s sake, he may have jumped to conclusions.
Before Ryomen Sukuna became the cursed spirit Jujutsu Kaisen fans now recognize, he was a flesh-and-blood sorcerer who lived over a thousand years ago in the golden age of jujutsu. In his lifetime, he fought and killed many-a sorcerer as sport, ever eager to test his strength against worthy opponents. He was reviled and feared enough that in his death, Sukuna respawned as a cursed spirit, part of which currently resides in Itadori.
Why Itadori Might Not Be The Disgraced One in Jujutsu Kaisen
It’s possible that before his death, Sukuna was one of the sorcerers who entered binding contracts with Kenjaku to be revived at a later date. Based on his cursed spirit’s personality, the living Sukuna sorcerer would’ve jumped at the chance to participate in a jujutsu battle royale like the Culling Games. Binding vows are usually unbreakable, so he wouldn’t have feared the vulnerability of entrusting his resurrection to another sorcerer. If this theory holds true, there may well be a reincarnated version of Sukuna our heroes haven’t encountered yet, wreaking havoc elsewhere in the Culling Games.
This theory is further supported by the fact that the Angel specifically said their objective was to wipe out all the sorcerers who had reincarnated to participate in the Culling Games. Being more or less a regular human, Itadori shouldn’t be on their radar, Sukuna’s vessel or no. In fact, his relationship with Sukuna is strikingly similar to the symbiotic one the Angel has with their host, Hana. They also mentioned that the “Disgraced One” was a sorcerer they especially wanted to butcher, implying they already knew the identity of their target. However, the Angel has spent at least two days in Itadori’s company without making any attempts to harm him.
Itadori’s readiness to accept that he has to die as the “Disgraced One” to save Gojo isn’t surprising. Since the series’ beginning, he’s accepted that he’s living on borrowed time and has developed very unhealthy self-sacrificing habits. Despite his friends’ and mentors’ best attempts to restore his self-worth, Itadori continues to view himself as nothing more than an unimportant “cog” in the gears of jujutsu society. His death at the end of Jujutsu Kaisen is an event many fans are dreading -- but hopefully it’s still quite a way off.