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Mahito's Powers From Jujutsu Kaisen Explained

In the world of "Jujutsu Kaisen," Jujutsu Sorcerers and Cursed Spirits — Curses for short — are two opposing forces in a supernatural war. Jujutsu Sorcerers are humans trained to battle Curses by wielding a manifestation of negative emotion called Cursed Energy. Curses, meanwhile, are living, monstrous personifications of human ills. Episode 5 introduces viewers to an evil Jujutsu Sorcerer named Geto and his cohort of Cursed Spirits, including the volcano-headed Jogo and plantlike Hanami. In that episode and subsequent appearances, Geto and company discuss their desire to reshape the world such that Curses are the default life form on Earth rather than humans.

Mahito, a Curse specifically manifested from the hatred humans can harbor for one another, is one such individual. He becomes the antagonist of a story arc midway into the first season of "Jujutsu Kaisen" Season 1, fittingly known as the Vs. Mahito Arc. While Mahito appears predominately behind the scenes before and after, it's during the Vs. Mahito Arc that he truly showcases the many facets of his power in combat, which is substantial enough to position him as one of the series' most formidable villains to date.

Mahito can distort bodies to death

The first time Mahito uses his powers technically occurs offscreen, at least at first. At the end of Episode 8, series protagonist Yuji Itadori and mentor Kento Nanami set off to investigate the murder of three high schoolers at a movie theater. Based on the way their bodies are disfigured, the staff at Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School — which is both a school for students like Yuji and a sort of administrative body for dispatching Curses — suspects a Cursed Spirit might have been responsible.

The next episode reveals that those high schoolers were killed by Mahito in order to garner favor with a boy named Junpei whom they had bullied. Mahito, it turns out, killed the three kids by holding a hand to their heads, instantly causing them to distort and explode. This is the first instance in which viewers witness Mahito exhibiting his signature technique, called Idle Transfiguration, which, in this case, he uses to disfigure those three humans to death.

Mahito's Idle Transfiguration ability reshapes the soul

Partway into Jujutsu High School's investigation into the movie theater murder, Nanami tracks Mahito down to an underground sewer tunnel and challenges him in battle. Before long, Nanami notices that some of his normal combat tactics have little effect against his foe. In what at first seems like a nonsequitur, Mahito asks Nanami which he thinks is more intrinsic to human existence: the body or the soul. Nanami replies that he believes the body precedes the soul. In response, Mahito essentially reveals that in "Jujutsu Kaisen" canon, it's the other way around.

Because Mahito is somehow privy to the fact that the soul, and not the body, is the essential component of all life, he can use his resultant magical powers to reshape the soul, thus reconfiguring its attached body. Mahito murdered the three high schoolers by altering their souls so that their heads would change in shape. Their heads would then explode from a seeming inability to maintain their changed form.

Mahito can transform humans into Curses

Murder is far from the only way Mahito's ability to change the shape of a living thing's soul at will proves useful. Rather than killing them outright, Mahito can likewise reconfigure the souls of humans such that they transform into Cursed Spirits. This ability is first revealed during Yuji and Nanami's investigation into Mahito's movie theater murders, during which they encounter a pair of Curses on the theater's roof. While the two Jujutsu Sorcerers defeat them with relative ease, Nanami figures out after the fact that both of their opponents were once human.

Mahito later shows off his power to reconfigure the human body to Junpei in his sewer lair, demonstrating an affinity for toying alternately with how big and small in size he can make humans. Then, during his fight with Nanami, Mahito reveals that he keeps Curses rendered pocket-sized on his person, that he can then reshape to their natural size to fight alongside him. Finally, the most sinister use of this technique occurs when Mahito transforms Junpei into a Cursed Spirit in front of Yuji just shortly after the two had befriended one another, both ending Junpei's life as a human being and inflicting psychological damage on Yuji mid-fight.

Mahito can alter his own body too

Mahito's Idle Transfiguration ability can furthermore be applied to his own body as well. Mahito first demonstrates this ability in battle against Nanami, whose fighting style is based around creating and exploiting weak points on his enemies' bodies. After Nanami uses this formidable skill to cut off one of Mahito's hands, the latter is able to bounce back by regenerating that hand almost instantly.

Then, during the final battle of the Vs. Mahito Arc between Mahito on one side and Yuji and Nanami on the other, Mahito frequently changes the shape of his body to adapt strategically to changing battle conditions. First, before Nanami shows up, Mahito turns his arms into long blades to wield as weapons. Then later, after some additional mid-fight transformations, Mahito makes himself tiny and childlike in order to escape once he learns of the power of Yuji's Divergent Fist ability to counteract his Idle Transfiguration skill.

Mahito is a master manipulator

While Mahito's abilities in combat, centered around his Idle Transfiguration ability, provide the foundation for what makes him powerful, he's also an influential presence within the group of Curses attempting to reshape the Earth such that Cursed Spirits become its dominant lifeform. Even before his proper introduction as the villain of the Vs. Mahito Arc, Geto mentions in Episode 7 that they plan to seal Satoru Gojo's powers on October 31. Mahito promises to approach that plan, which has yet to be undertaken in the "Jujutsu Kaisen" anime, with human-like cunning.

He later demonstrates some of that cunning when manipulating Junpei into befriending and then fighting Yuji. Then, following the Vs. Mahito Arc, Mahito continues to lead the group of Curses from the shadows. Notably, during the Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc, while representatives from the Tokyo and Kyoto branches of Jujutsu High School are battling some of his powerful Cursed Spirit allies, Mahito successfully conducts a stealth mission to recover some powerful Cursed Objects from Tokyo's Jujutsu High. He succeeds, whereas most of his allies fall in battle, demonstrating that on top of his power as a fighter, Mahito's strategic intelligence is key to the Cursed Spirit team's plans moving forward.