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Why Jujutsu Kaisen Fans Feel So Strongly About Junpei

From the outside, it might seem as if there's not much of a reason for "Jujutsu Kaisen" fans to care about Junpei Yoshino. He's a relatively minor character within the shonen franchise, only appearing for four episodes in its first season. He does appear in the show's first opening theme — which is something — however, he doesn't have any particularly interesting powers, only gets into one important battle, and spends a lot of his on-screen time getting manipulated by the bad guy, Mahito.

Even so, fans of the series feel very strongly about Junpei. Heck, fans have taken to him so much that a single Reddit post discussing Junpei got almost six thousand upvotes on the r/JuJutsuKaisen Subreddit. 

Why would fans find themselves so obsessed with such a minor character? Well, the answer is actually very simple. Like many of the characters in "Jujutsu Kaisen," Junpei is extremely well written. What his character arc lacks in length, it totally makes up for in quality and emotional weight.

How fans feel about Junpei's story

Junpei is first introduced to us in Episode 8 of the series, and from there it becomes pretty clear that he is a kid with a lot of issues. The target of ruthless bullying, Junpei has pretty much lost his faith in the goodness of humanity, such that "if there was a button that made everyone who hated [him] die, [he'd] push it without hesitation." At first, it seems like his budding friendship with Yuji will spark a positive change in his outlook. However, Mahito manipulates Junpei to work against Yuji before betraying and killing him. The end result is a character whose life was tragically cut short before he could find true happiness.

"His interactions with Mahito were brilliant," wrote Reddit user u/Tarkik_Vasta in the aforementioned post. "He was indeed a really well written character and I wasn't actually expecting him to die."

"I have never been lied to by an opening this much," wrote u/marumarumon. "I honestly thought he was gonna join the gang."

In general, it seems like the emotional responses which many fans have had to Junpei's death have everything to do with his unfulfilled potential. His arc definitely seemed like it was leading towards a happier place for Junpei, and the series' opening seemed to indicate that he could've been a central character. In the end, however, he and his family die at the hands of a villain, and Yuji's sense of loss as a result is palpable, even to the viewer.