The Jujutsu Kaisen manga and anime have introduced us to many individual, standalone concepts that form part of the series’ lore. And while some of them were completely original, a lot have been taken from Western or Oriental folklore or mythology but adapted to fit the lore. In this article, we will examine and compare two such concepts, as they are quite similar, and based on what we’ve seen in the second season, they also caused some confusion among the characters. The concepts that we are about to explain are the Shikigami and the clones, both of which were seen in the second episode of the second season of Jujutsu Kaisen.
In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, the Shikigami are familiars of Jujutsu users that serve them and are summoned by them using some special objects in most cases. They are not actually cursed spirits but creatures similar to cursed spirits, which is why they are different from the curses summoned via curse manipulation techniques. Their appearance and strength vary. On the other hand, clones are literally that – copies of the original body that can be used for a variety of purposes. Only one curse user in the series has been revealed to possess this specific technique.
The rest of this article will, naturally, expand on what we’ve told you above. We will provide you with a more detailed explanation of each of the two concepts and how different they are; some other similar concepts might also be mentioned. As this article is actually going to explain some concepts, we don’t think that there will be too many spoilers present, but you never know, so just watch out in case you’re not fully up-to-date with everything that is going on in the series.
The Shikigami and the clones might seem similar, but they couldn’t be more different
Returning to Season 2, Episode 2 of Jujutsu Kaisen, we will stop at the scene where Misato Kuroi is fighting the Bag-Man Curse User, also known as the Cloning Curse User. He is physically stronger than her, but she can defeat him, and when she beats him to the ground, Geto arrives and uses his curse manipulation technique to suck the guy in.
As he does that, the body begins to melt… in a way, and disappears, revealing that it was just a fake body all along, despite how authentic it seemed. And while Misato suggested that it might be a Shikigami, Geto deduced that it was actually a clone, which was soon confirmed as the same curse user attacked Gojo.
So, knowing that Misato Kuroi is able to see curses and is knowledgeable about the jujutsu society, how was she mistaken? In her defense, even Geto initially did not suspect anything, and only later did he deduce that they were dealing with a clone. So, what is the difference between a Shikigami and a clone?
Shikigami are familiars that jujutsu sorcerers call upon for assistance. Those who can summon and use them in fights are called Shikigami-shi. Ill-tempered deities known as Shikigami are summoned to battle by their master and are connected to ancient cosmology and Japanese divination.
To those who are not jujutsu sorcerers, the Shikigami are invisible, like curses. No special powers are needed to summon a Shikigami. However, to summon a Shikigami, the summoner must first make it their slave. Additionally, summoning a Shikigami is frequently done via a talisman. But other, marginally more original approaches rely on the summoner’s skills. Last but not least, the Shikigami summoned release the same energy as the summoner because they are materialized from their cursed energy.
The Shikigami and their users revealed so far are:
|Simple poison jellyfish Shigikami that
can emit poison from their tendrils.
|Old Curse User
|Two simple Shikigami that have a
mouth and one hand they are standing
on. Their powers are unknown.
|Powerful Shikigami that can be
summoned by Dagon and are able to
devour their targets almost in an instant.
|An intriguing Shikigami that actually
serves as the judge of the Domain
Expansion: Deadly Sentencing Domain
|Garuda is a weapon-like Shikigami that
actually serves Yuki and becomes
stronger when she activates her other techniques.
|Ten Shadows Technique
1. Divine Dogs
3. Great Serpent
5. Max Elephant
6. Divine Dog: Totality
7. Rabbit Escape
8. Round Deer
9. Piercing Ox
10. Eight-Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General Mahoraga
|A complex technique that allows Megumi
Fushiguro to summon a total of ten
Shikigami, each of whom has a
different ability and appearance.
All of them, save for the final none,
are animal-related Shikigami.
On the other hand, cloning is a relatively rare ability, even in the jujutsu world, as only one curse user able to use this technique has been identified: the Cloning Curse User or the Bag-Man Curse User. Clones are actually copies of the main body that are completely identical to the main body in every way.
We don’t know much about the process behind cloning, but we know that the user could create only a limited amount of clones (between 5 and 10) and that he could not exceed that number. And while the clones were under the control of the main body fully, only one of them was actually the “original,” but the user could, as Gojo deduced, change between the clones so you never actually knew which body was the “original.”
The main body could share information with the clones, but he wasn’t really hurt when they suffered injuries, which s why this was a very useful technique, especially because the user can exchange bodies at any time. But, if the main body is defeated, the clones also fall defeated.
So, as you can see, there is a big difference between a Shikigami and a clone. A Shikigami is a familiar creature, a sentient being that is an ally of the summoner but unrelated to his body; sure, they emit the same cursed energy, but that’s about it. On the other hand, clones are literal copies of the user, which is why they are so closely related to the user themselves and why they are so important to them in that aspect. The difference is, as you can see, quite large.
These two concepts are also quite different from Geto’s curse manipulation technique, as Geto is literally able to utilize curses he’s “collected,” as well as from Mei Mei’s technique, which allows her to imbue live crows with her energy and then control them like they are part of her. As you can see, there are many similar techniques here, but they are all very different.