The story’s Naoya Zen’in appearance was the most emotional rollercoaster ride the fandom had ever experienced. Although he looked good, his words shattered every illusion. This aspiring leader of clan was treated more favorably than he deserved.
Naoya, the embodiment of misogyny and the symbol of the Zen’in clan’s underbelly, is Naoya. He wasn’t the only one who was rotten. There were many. Although there are many vices that we could list, Naoya was irredeemably arrogant and power-hungry. He was so determined to pursue his happiness, that he didn’t mind killing one or two of his relatives.
We all wanted Maki and Mai to share the floor with him, his conspirators. Mai’s death happened earlier than we anticipated, but not without consequences. Maki was entrusted with the curse. She pulverized one clan and Naoya.
Wait a second? Wait a second. It happened in just a few panels. Naoya’s sudden death was shocking and a shocker. Although I was shocked at the time, I now think about this amazing occurrence.
Naoya’s premature death was disappointing
First, I thought, “Oh crap! What just happened?” and then I began to grieve. Naoya certainly deserved to die. That was the way it was since he first made his existence known. Hear me. Naoya’s suicide was so shocking that I had to question the plot and Akutami. This is the problem.
We were led to believe that he could be a difficult obstacle to overcome by his emphasis after the Shibuya arch. This shaman wasn’t just the symbol of greed, arrogance, and misogyny. He was also undisputedly the Zen’in clan leader and leader. He also led the Hei squad.
Naoya, unlike Jinichi and Ougi, was the focal point for revenge at the hands of important characters. We all expected a more satisfying end to his life with this level of attention. We expected a fight that lived up to his title as clan leader candidate.
Naoya, a villain with a great buildup and belonging to the creamy layer the Zen’ins was certain to die an easy death. Naoya was more than a foe, he was also a character that I had high expectations of. Naoya is undoubtedly a villain you don’t like to the bone but want to see the potential. He died, but I can cope with it (I can’t). He died because of Maki’s mother, a wild card that we didn’t see coming.
I understand the poetic side. Chapter 138: Naoya directed his opening words of derogation at Maki and Mai. They probably hurt her more than they did us. We don’t know how long she was subject to the same insults as her daughters. She felt resentment towards Naoya, the Zen’ins, and her daughters. This is completely acceptable.
She was also a character, who never showed any affection for her daughters. Maki’s brief encounter was fraught with disappointment. Maki was disappointed by the words she spoke to Maki, even though the parent was waiting to kill them.
Then, suddenly, she felt the need to revenge her daughter in her final moments. It was absurd. Was it a sudden change of heart? We also never saw Maki’s mom in Mai’s flashback. Where was Maki’s mother when Mai flashbacked? Despite the fact that the sisters were in pain, it appeared like their mother didn’t try to understand them. It was a complete letdown.
Although I hate to say this, Shigemo’s passing seemed more justifiable than Naoya. This is because I was a fan of Naoya’s character.
What made Naoya such a formidable villain?
Jujutsu Kaisen’s short story about Naoya is very poetic. If that makes sense, Naoya was an antagonist from whom I had high expectations. The plot was made more interesting by his presence. He reminded me of Hisoka from Hunter-x Hunter, to an extent.
Naoya represented the conservative and flawed ideals not only of the Zen’in clan, but also of the jujutsu community in general. He was arrogant and misogynistic as well as power-mad, which made him the worst vice of all. Yuji and his friends couldn’t afford to have him as an internal enemy. This is not goodantagonist material to Jujutsu Kaisen.
If I had to pick one thing that set Naoya apart from other Zen’in “villains”, it would be strength. Akutami was careful to explain the Projection Technique concept and its scale to Naoya, making him a powerful shaman. Naoya could not surpass his father, who was the fastest shaman in the world. However, Naoya was not only strong in his technique.
His attitude was his strength as a character. He was not one to be taken lightly; he was proud and chauvinistic until his final days. His attitude and response to things was interesting throughout his entire life. He was a child who witnessed the extraordinary strength of Gojo and Toji. Naoya was a witness to such an explosive phenomenon and revered them for being the peak of power.
He was in for another shock after blindly following these bearers strength, Two people suddenly ran at the same speed as him, and they had never seen what he saw. He could have blinked for another second, and they were almost as close to him. Maki and Megumi, he called them “fakes”, and threatened everything Naoya had done over the years. Ironically, Maki and Megumi were the ones he loathed as much as Toji and Gojo.
It was amazing to see the number of options Naoya had as an antagonist. His story could have been one of two things: a path that would hinder Team Yuji, or one of redemption. If Naoya opposed Yuji and Co, his presence would have been detrimental. On the other hand, if Naoya had known that Maki was stronger than he thought, his reluctant cooperation might have been more interesting.
Naoya’s suicide ruined all of these possibilities and ruined a lot of narrative potential. If we are talking about potential, it is impossible not to refer to the entire Zen’in arc.
Let’s discuss Naoya’s death in the Zen’in arc.
Jujutsu Kaisen is known for its brutal and uncompromising pace. Akutami doesn’t spend much time on connectors and slice of life moments. Everything builds up quickly and then falls down faster.
The Zen’in clan continued the same work pattern. Jujutsu Kaisen was built on the idea of “death”, so it was only natural to see a corrupt clan collapse. This arc felt a bit rushed, particularly in the last few chapters. This is not the first time I’ve said it, but we went from a reunion to a death match to sacrifice to annihilation and then to an artless murder. This was all within four chapters.
Akutami’s ability to communicate more with fewer words is something I admire. He is a genius at this. This characteristic can sometimes leave us confused, even if we are reading between the lines. We all knew that the fall of Zen’in clan would happen. Naoya’s passing was the final nail in a coffin that marked the end of the Zen’ins. Why was it so anticlimactic, you ask?
There was clearly politics at work within the clan after Megumi hinted at the clear division. We were able to see the true colors and talents of the Zen’in clan, which has two cursed inherited techniques. However, Akutami’s swift disposal of what could have made Jujutsu Kaisen a wonderful addition was disappointing.
It seems that Akutami has a hard time managing multiple variables at once, as evidenced by Naoya’s passing and the Zen’in clan’s death. The Culling Game is sure to be amazing, and I have no doubt about that. We’ve seen Akutami’s ability to handle large arcs. Maybe this brief arc is just a reminder of how important the next one will be for us readers.
As I mentioned before, Naoya’s passing is the official end of the Zen’ins chapter. We will no longer see or hear from them. There are other situations that we can look at after the conclusion of chapter 152.
A view from the other side
Naoya’s demise was too simple and perfect to believe. Every death in Jujutsu Kaisen has had an impact on the story. However, it is true that many of these deaths have made us long for more. We wanted more. This is why the JJK deaths of Junpei and Riko, Suguru and Nanami broke our hearts.
Each of the deaths had similar likeablecharacters. This instance, however, is the first to involve the death of an antagonist. Some fans believe Naoya’s suicide is justified and plausible because of this ideology. Maki’s mother drove a knife through him, which is more poetic than any other. In hindsight, we see that Naoya had death flags in his opening scene.
Is this our confirmation bias? We can all agree to admire Akutami for his boldness. We must accept that Naoya is indeed dead. However, we can praise Akutami’s ability to not drag out character stories. He only extends it so far as to draw us in, and then keeps us there.
Well. This is a good side of the thought process. However, I think there could have been more building up in this arc, particularly leading to Naoya’s death. But has Naoya finally met his end? Call me crazy, but I believe that Naoya’s demise is still possible. Let us know why.
Naoya is an amazing character with great potential. Yes, it’s true, I have said it before. Surprisingly, he still has incredible potential after his death. From Naoya’s perspective, I have two visions of where Jujutsu Kaisen will go.
One, Naoya has died for realsies. The entire Zen’in clan has been extinguished. Although it would be painful for me, there is another aspect to his death. You remember how fast the Kamo clan and Gojo clans responded at lightning speed to Naoya’s death? This shows how they saved an opportunity from a massacre. And the madness of power does not stop at the Zen’ins. There is still hope for a new angle, even if Akutami has left behind the in-family politics.
Perhaps we will see the power struggle and politics between the three (now two?)? Instead, they chose to jujutsu their families. The Gojo clan was eager to get rid of the Zen’ins for a clan whose head was in a box. The Kamo clan isn’t pure as driven snow. This clan seems to have rotten apples, from the older Noritoshi Kamo to its younger counterpart.
They submitted a proposal to the Jujutsu Society, despite having more pressing problems. We don’t yet know why or how this proposal was beneficial to either of these clans. The real question is: Why did the jujutsu community put off this proposal? The death of Naoya might have set the stage for events that will finally reveal more about the jujutsu high-ups.
Let’s now get to my second thought. Naoya IS NOT dead, but for the moment. Jujutsu Kaisen rarely introduces concepts to us without applying them somewhere. This is evident in Suguru’s explanation of Tengen’s evolution from Hidden Inventory to Gojo (and all of us). Later, after the Shibuya arch, we discover that Tengen has actually become a target for Cursed Spirit Manipulation.
Similar stories were told about vengeful spirits, and how shamans can transform into them after death. This is the right time to bring this mysterious concept to life. After coming to terms with Chapter 152, this Reddit post was exactly what I had in mind. Naoya’s passing is an opportunity to see vengeful spirits in action. His death is all that is required to turn into a vengeful spirit.
- He is a Shaman.
- He possesses resentment – check
- It wasn’t because of cursed energy.
- He is strong.
I found great hope in this small list. We were all still unsure about vengeful spirits. This concept is best understood by Naoya, but it comes with consequences. It is not yet, and it will never be. Although we would probably be able to understand the concept from a monologue, it would be quite psyching to see it in action. Even more so, because THEN Naoya could be a major hindrance to Team Yuji’s mission.
This would be Maki’s repurcussion. Jujutsu Kaisen is very focused on “karma”. Naoya will be back, even worse than before, as the symbol for evil. This would be, my opinion, true poetry in motion. Will Maki be able to fight the consequences of her own actions? I don’t yet know. I do not think she will. However, I still have great hopes for this antagonist that I hate so much.
Before I close this article, I’ll address the Culling Game again. The entire of Japan is in danger as Kenjaku’s game begins. The Zen’in clan was lost to the jujutsu community in such an important situation. This is without a doubt a significant decrease in the power and number of shamans. The majority of Zen’in clan members are Grade 1 shamans, who could have held their weight in this war.
This story, as usual, shows us how flawed the jujutsu system (aka the society) is. The current situation is possible because the system prefers to ignore inner conflicts rather than focus on larger issues. The Zen’ins represent wrong priorities. They chose to fight with their internal enemy rather than looking for an external threat. Do these clans have any sense of righteousness if they are all so power-hungry? There is food for thought!
What was your opinion of Naoya’s death? Did it seem justified? Do you believe he will return? Comment below!