Digimon Reference in ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ Explained!

Digimon Reference in 'Jujutsu Kaisen' Explained!

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Gege Akutami, the author of Jujutsu Kaisen, is known for putting in a lot of pop-culture references in his magnum opus. We’ve already talked about the OPP reference here on Fiction Horizon, but the first episode of Season 2 of Jujutsu Kaisen provided us with yet another pop-culture reference. This time one refers to a popular anime and video game franchise – Digimon. Now, Digimon was a major hit about 20 years ago, and while the franchise is still alive, many younger fans of Jujutsu Kaisen might not have understood the Digimon reference in Jujutsu Kaisen, and that is why we have decided to write up this article to explain it properly to you.

When Master Tengen’s evolution was explained, Satoru Gojo commented how it reminded him of a particular scene from the Digimon Adventure anime when Taichi Yagami, the “leader” of the first DigiDestined, forced Greymon to Digivolve to Ultimate and instead of getting MetalGreymon, he got a corrupt Digivolution into SkullGreymon, who became their enemy. Master Tengen’s evolution into a potential enemy of humanity reminded Gojo of this scene, which actually makes a lot of sense, so he suggested that they should simply revert him to an earlier form (i.e., Koromon, while we’re keeping up with the reference) in order to save everyone.

Pop culture references in Jujutsu Kaisen are nothing strange, and in this article, we will elaborate on the most recent one, as far as the anime is concerned. Younger viewers might know nothing about Koromon, MetalGreymon, and SkullGreymon, but that is exactly why we are here, as you are going to find out who they are, why Gojo has mentioned them, and why that particular Digimon scene reminded him of their current situation. Some spoilers will be present, so be careful how you approach the article.

Satoru Gojo likes his pop-culture reference, and from what we can understand, he is a fan of Digimon

Now, before we actually get to the reference itself, allow us to tell you what happened. In the second half of the first episode of Jujutsu Kaisen‘s second season, professor Masamachi Yaga talks to Geto, Gojo, and Ieiri about Master Tengen and his ability.

He mentions that Tengen, who is keeping everything in balance, has a strange ability called Immortality that allows them to, basically, live forever, but it is a process. Namely, each time after a certain number of years have passed, Master Tengen will try to change bodies, i.e., find a new vessel. Aging is not an issue here, but the process simply works like that. So, where’s the catch?

Well, this is exactly what Gojo wondered. Namely, if Master Tengen does, indeed, change bodies by themselves, they will evolve and will enter a higher state of existence, which wouldn’t be an issue per se, but as all will, and reason are lost in that new state, Master Tengen would stop being Master Tengen at that point.

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He would become a completely new entity, and with that, all of the balance that he managed to maintain would disappear, and everything would be ruined. On top of that, there is a possibility that Master Tengen could become an enemy of humanity. So, in order to stop that, every once in a while, Master Tengen needs to merge with a compatible body known as the Star Plasma Vessel.

After merging, the body’s information is rewritten, and there is a sort of refreshment there which also leads to a restart of the cursed technique as well. This is why the Star Plasma Vessel is so important.

Pondering this, Gojo then uses the Digimon reference, stating that MetalGreymon would be fine, but in order to avoid the possibility of getting SkullGreymon, they should simply revert him back from Greymon to Koromon, and that’s it. And while Geto seemingly understood his reference, he was still confused and simply continued.

Now, fans of the Digimon franchise and older viewers of Jujutsu Kaisen have probably immediately recognized the reference. Namely, Koromon, MetalGreymon, and SkullGreymon are all Digivolutions of Agumon, the yellow dinosaur Digimon who serves as Taichi Yagami’s partner in Digimon Adventure and its sequels, as well as in Digimon Adventure. Agumon is also somewhat of a mascot of the Digimon franchise, similar to what Pikachu is for the Pokemon franchise. So, where’s the connection?

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Well, let us go back to the original Digimon Adventure series. Namely, after defeating Devimon on File Island, the DigiDestined made their way to Server Continent, where they would face new threats, first in the form of Etemon. While on the continent, they discovered that their Digimon can Digivolve above Champion level and that with the help of the Crests, their Digimon could Digivolve to Ultimate level. Knowing that Digivolution often happened when the DigiDestined was in trouble, Taichi intentionally got himself in danger to try and force Greymon to Digivolve so that they could defeat Etemon.

But, as Greymon was not yet ready to Digivolve, what happened was a so-called corrupt Digivolution. Greymon did Digivolve, but instead of using positive energy, he used negative emotions and energy to Digivolve, so he became SkullGreymon, a powerful yet mindless beast who did not distinguish friend from foe and simply wanted to destroy everything. SkullGreymon was a monster, and Taichi immediately regretted his actions, especially since SkullGreymon would not listen to anyone. After spending all the energy, SkullGreymon de-Digivolved back to Koromon.

Now, SkullGreymon was not Agumon’s true Ultimate level, it was an evil, corrupt version of his true Ultimate level, MetalGreymon, who would appear later in the series and actually defeat Etemon, but that is a wholly different story. What is important here is to explain the metaphor.

In Gojo’s mind, Master Tengen was Greymon. As the Digimon, Master Tengen also needed to evolve to a new level. Now, this evolution could go two ways. One, it could be good, and the new Master Tengen would be benevolent towards the humans and the jujutsu sorcerers, which would translate to MetalGreymon, and that would be good, as Gojo himself said it.

But Master Tengen could also turn out to be a mindless monster set about to destroy all of humanity, which would translate to SkullGreymon, and that would be horrible. This is why, Gojo concluded, it is best to restart him completely, which corresponds to the de-Digivolution back to Koromon, as that would stop the Ultimate Digivolution completely and give them more than enough time.

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And that makes complete sense, really. As someone who’s seen both Digimon and Jujutsu Kaisen, yours truly has to admit that the metaphor is a truly great one. Akutami inserted is brilliantly, and it coming from Satoru Gojo’s mouth added extra value to the metaphor itself, as well as to Gojo, as we can now confirm that Satoru Gojo is a fan of Digimon, which is a great thing for all those who like Gojo and Digimon at the same time.

So kudos for that, and if more references appear in the future, you can be certain that we will be explaining them here.

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