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Maki Zenin's Powers From Jujutsu Kaisen Explained

In the pilot episode of "Jujutsu Kaisen," which is widely considered one of the best anime series of 2020, series protagonist Yuji Itadori — a relatively normal high schooler upon its opening — meets Megumi Fushiguro, a powerful Jujutsu Sorcerer. Megumi and his teacher Satoru Gojo end up enlisting Yuji as a student at Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School, where teenagers like Megumi study Jujutsu Sorcery — the series' term for magic certain gifted humans can use to battle villainous Cursed Spirits, sometimes referred to simply as Curses.

Since Yuji is a newcomer to the supernatural world of Jujutsu Sorcerers and Curses, he acts as something of an audience surrogate for much of "Jujutsu Kaisen" Season 1. During the process of getting to better know his classmates at Jujutsu High, Yuji learns, alongside the series' audience, that Megumi is a member of the Zenin family, which is one of three of the most powerful families in the world of Jujutsu Sorcery. Also enrolled at Jujutsu High is upperclassman Maki Zenin, who is likewise descended from the Zenin bloodline. That said, whereas Megumi relies heavily on supernatural abilities in battle, Maki is a predominately physical fighter due to her unique relationship to a resource called Cursed Energy.

Maki is unable to manifest large amounts of Cursed Energy

Through various flashbacks and conversations over the course of "Jujutsu Kaisen" Season 1, viewers learn that, though Maki was born into the Zenin family, she's something of a black sheep due to her inability to manifest large amounts of Cursed Energy. In other words, Cursed Energy is a force humans sensitive to the supernatural can use to power Jujutsu Sorcery, which can differ in form depending on its user's competencies. Maki, meanwhile, is unable to even see Cursed Spirits on her own, requiring an enchanted pair of glasses to merely perceive their physical forms.

The Zenin family essentially relies on its members' powerful Jujutsu Sorcery to remain one of the Big Three Sorcerer Families. A series of flashbacks reveal that, since Maki can only ever manifest meager amounts of Cursed Energy, her elder family members view her as something of a lost cause. She enrolls in Jujutsu High to train as a Sorcerer in spite of her natural lack of Cursed Energy, while the family she abandoned in order to do so asserts their influence to prevent Jujutsu High's governance from promoting Maki in rank — a grade Jujutsu Sorcerers are assigned to battle Curses appropriate to their power level.

Maki makes up for her magical deficiencies with physical strength

Though Maki isn't proficient at wielding Cursed Energy, she remains a formidable fighter in large part thanks to her raw strength. In fact, Megumi references Maki's physical prowess as early as the very first episode of "Jujutsu Kaisen" after he notices that Yuji is physically gifted himself. Maki is his first point of comparison as someone possessing a similar amount of base power.

Maki first showcases her proficiency in combat in a scuffle with her twin sister Mai upon the introduction of some of the members of the Kyoto branch of Jujutsu High School. She next appears in battle again during the Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc, in which members of the Tokyo and Kyoto branches of Jujutsu High first fight one another and later alongside each other. All the while, Mai proves herself capable of going toe-to-toe with and even overpowering supernaturally-powered humans and Curses alike.

At the Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event's conclusion, members of both schools compete against one another in a baseball game. Fittingly, Maki is Team Tokyo's pitcher, suggesting that her throwing arm is more powerful than her classmates'.

Maki's primary weapon is a polearm

In addition to magic and Curses, combat within the world of Jujutsu Sorcery oftentimes necessitates the use of Cursed Tools. Yuji learns of their existence when Gojo gifts him a knife called Slaughter Demon in the series' third episode. Gojo explains that Slaughter Demon, and Cursed Tools at large, are imbued with Cursed Energy, rendering them effective in combat against Curses. Yuji promptly breaks the knife, only to learn upon returning from his mission (and his own near-death in its wake) that it didn't belong to Gojo in the first place, but was on loan from Maki, a weapons expert.

Because of her focus on physical fitness over magic, Maki is particularly proficient in weaponry. That said, Slaughter Demon was never Maki's primary weapon. Maki, rather, defaults to wielding a long polearm with a curved blade at its end. Upon her introduction in Episode 5, Maki is wearing a backpack that appears to house her polearm, linking her to the weapon upon her debut. She then wields it in combat properly versus Jujutsu High in Kyoto's Kasumi Miwa during the Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event.

Maki can fight with many different kinds of weapons

While Maki seems to prefer wielding her signature polearm, given that it's the weapon with which she's most often depicted, over the course of the Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc she demonstrates proficiencies with at least two additional weapons.

First, Maki strategically breaks her polearm in the battle against Kasumi as part of a tactical gambit, through which she ultimately wins their one-on-one. As a replacement, she commandeers Kasumi's katana. She then wields that sword as her primary weapon as the Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event continues first against her sister Mai Zenin, and then later against the powerful cursed spirit Hanami. Kasumi's katana breaks in an attack on Hanami early on in their battle, however. So as a replacement, Maki begins wielding the Cursed Tool Playful Cloud, a staff divided into three nunchaku-like sections. This weapon proves much sturdier than her prior two, remaining intact through the end of the battle against Hanami.

Maki relies on Megumi to store her weapons in a shadow dimension

Though it technically doesn't constitute a power of her own, Maki has a unique, synergistic relationship with Megumi, such that when the two of them fight alongside each other in battle — as they do against Hanami in the Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc — Maki benefits from a tactical boost from Megumi's presence at her side.

This is due to the fact that Megumi's signature ability, called the Ten Shadows Technique, can essentially store objects in a pocket dimension. Megumi can compel them to appear at will from a shadow he commands in battle for that — and a few other purposes. Because of Maki's ability to wield a variety of weaponry, she takes advantage of Megumi's Ten Shadows Technique by storing weapons within its associated shadow dimension that he can then call upon in battle at will. Playful Cloud, perhaps most notably, appears in action against Hanami through one of Megumi's shadows.

Even though Maki may not possess significant amounts of Cursed Energy herself, she holds her own in combat thanks to virtually every other factor she can control, be it her physique, the ability to wield powerful weaponry, and even a unique relationship with Megumi, an ally along whom she receives a boost in combat.