Higaruma & Junpei’s parallel with Justice.
An analysis of themes centered around two characters within the hit Shonen Manga; Jujutsu Kaisen.
Gege Akutami does a wonderful job of introducing interesting new characters within Jujutsu Kaisen even if their fate may be the ultimate end just chapters later. Junpei is an example of this, being seen a character that may have been a good friend of Yuji’s once he overcame the hardships he faced.
However, Junpei’s life fell short due to devious and playful antics of the humanoid curse Mahito. Even though Junpei is a partial focus to this video, his death isn’t as important as his life, when it comes to explaining the crucial parallel displayed between his and Higaruma’s character.
When it comes to the term “Justice”, both Higaruma and Junpei have ideologies based around it, making their belief in how to live life, based on what is perceived as right and wrong, and what should the consequences be to those that fall on the latter.
Let me not jump ahead of myself though, first let’s look into the backgrounds of both characters, in terms of their known lives before becoming cursed users. Junpei was bullied by kids at his school for absolutely no reason at all and any attempts to defend himself led the the bullying getting worse. Of course this was a heavy burden for Junpei, and he didn’t see any of the teachers at his school as allies because they were not unaware of the situation.
On top of that, Junpei was raised by an only mother whom he was very protective over and based a strong sense of his emotional compass around. He never told her about the bullying situation, and even when she mentioned he did not need to go to school, he felt it was a necessity to act like everything was ok.
I say emotional instead of moral compass, because of Junpei’s habit to get angrier at people on other’s behalf than his own, causing him to seem almost complacent considering only his mother was the one he would get upset over.
He hated school, hated the students and hated the teachers, and also saw adults as liars mostly, and from his conversation with Mahito we know he once believed that those who do wrong to him deserve punishment but he couldn’t harm someone he didn’t like, hence him having no issues with the deaths of his bullies by Mahito’s hands.
This thought process is the perfect segway into Higaruma, who — in his words- wanted to keep his eyes open while fighting for Justice. The power behind Lady Justice being blindfolded in his mental depiction makes it aware that Higaruma sees justice as something more than just the analytical but the emotional, taking into account the emotional awareness necessary to handle being in his career, while also truly discern who is innocent or guilty.
The symbolism of his work as a lawyer, and his desire to see the true justice in his cases made Higaruma the great lawyer he was, yet it also made his losses mean that much more. Higaruma realized where the system of “law and justice” was fraud, while it lead innocent people into prison for the rest of their lives. These losses slowly took a toll on Higaruma’s mental state, until he eventually snapped, literally demanding justice the way he wanted it.
These two are centered in the concept of “right and wrong”, “law and order”, “good and bad” etc, and that makes their sense of reality warped in one way or another. For Junpei, it was his desire to be indifferent, believing it to be wrong to hate people, yet he openly admitted to Mahito that harm to his mother would make him hate others.
This side of Junpei left him to be manipulated by Mahito, taking away his own true philosophies and forming new ones based around the validations Mahito gave him.
Considering Higaruma is a Sorcerer who has gained an ability through Kenjaku’s use of Idle Transfiguration, it’s not far fetched to say that Mahito gave Higaruma his ability, yet in Higaruma’’s case this new found reality is the perfect place to test the possibility of “universal law”.
Junpei found fascination in Mahito’s explanations of the heart and soul, validating his feelings of hate, evil and revenge, While Higaruma has found fascination in the concept of punishment for breaking rules, and how it can be applied permanently.
It is no coincidence to me that Higaruma is being displayed mentally unwell in chapter 163, and that is because he has given up on societal constructs, I mean the man was bathing with his clothes on.
Now he simply follows the Culling Game, sticking to the rules he must follow to stay alive, but he admits that he enjoys killing people who annoy him. This changes for Higaruma though in the same way Junpei was beginning to change, both characters gaining this due to Yuji’s thoughtfulness resonating with them.
Both Higaruma and Junpei were reminded of humanities evils and weaknesses, causing them to use their new found power to reek their definition of “justice”, which truly was their way of trying to gain control over the world that they deem so unfit. For Junpei, it was Yuji’s warm heart and honesty that made him begin to feel as if he could believe in him before he died, while for Higaruma — Yuji’s admittance to his “crimes” on Sukuan’s behalf made him remember why he became a lawyer, and who he wanted to protect.
In the end, Yuji was unable to mend Junpei’s broken heart, but for Higaruma he was able to bring him back to the light, even though Higaruma still believes he must pay for the people he has killed in his time playing the Culling Game. These two characters, and their similarities yet crucial differences makes them two very important sides that must be understood to truly grasp the complex topic of “justice” within both normal society and jujutsu.