The second season of Jujutsu Kaisen is finally here with Gojo’s Past Arc, which will reveal a lot of the series’ history and some tragedies that shaped both Gojo and Geto in the future. One of these stories is related to Master Tengen, a mysterious centuries-old entity who keeps the jujutsu world in balance but who needs to be cared for as, while immortal, Master Tengen have to regenerate their bodies every 500 years using the Star Plasma Vessel as to prevent their transformation into a curse and thus, potentially, an enemy of humanity. Riko Amanai was the Star Plasma Vessel during the small arc, and in this article, we will tell you whether she merged with Master Tengen or not.
No, Riko Amanai did not merge with Master Tengen, and the transformation was not avoided, although Master Tengen managed to stabilize themselves somehow. Riko Amanai was initially proud to be the Star Plasma Vessel and looked forward to the merger, but she ultimately realized that she wanted to live, seeing what life offered her, both good and bad. Sadly, she was killed by Toji Fushiguro with a gunshot to the head, which was one of the series’ saddest moments.
The rest of this article will discuss Riko Amanai and the fate of her merger with Master Tengen in Gojo’s Past Arc. We will explain Riko’s role in the series and tell you what happened to her and how it all ended, expanding on the answer we have given above. Riko’s importance cannot be overstated, which is why this article was written. Of course, we must warn you that there will be a significant amount of spoilers, so be careful how you approach the text.
Riko’s role was crucial in Gojo’s Past Arc, but not only did she not fulfill it, but she also met a tragic end
Riko Amanai is the female protagonist of Gojo’s Past Arc and the current Star Plasma Vessel for Master Tengen. We meet her as Gojo and Geto go to save her from the terrorist organization Q. She is actually a 14-year-old girl who lives with her caretaker, and while she cannot use jujutsu or curses, she is able to see them, which makes her quite special. Initially, she is quite proud of her role as the Star Plasma Vessel in the series.
But as the story progresses, she begins to enjoy life more and ultimately breaks down, crying that she does not want to merge with Master Tengen, despite the potential danger.
But what does she have to do exactly, and why? This part of the story is actually related to Master Tengen themselves. Tengen, also known as Master Tengen and referred to as “they” in the story, are an immortal jujutsu sorcerer who stays hidden in the Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College’s Tombs of the Star Corridor.
They can reinforce the defenses of jujutsu colleges thanks to a cursed technique that gives them immortality. Since their method does not stop aging, it only slows it down. They must change their bodies every 500 years. Tengen doesn’t change the fundamental rules of reality other than when they use their barriers to stabilize the jujutsu society.
Now, for this stability to remain, Master Tengen needs to merge with a compatible Star Plasma Vessel. According to what is known, the Star Plasma Vessel is always a human and can restore Immortality and begin the process all over again. They do not have to be active jujutsu sorcerers, as demonstrated in Riko’s case, but it is hinted that they can see curses.
There have been a number of Star Plasma Vessels throughout history, but not much is known about them. Apart from the Star Plasma Vessel’s function, not much else has been revealed; in fact, we don’t even know what unique characteristics a Star Plasma Vessel must possess to be a Star Plasma Vessel, but as far as we know, the Star Plasma Vessel is always a young woman, as no evidence of anyone else ever being a Star Plasma Vessel was provided.
As we have said, if Master Tengen do not merge with a Star Plasma Vessel, after 500 years, they will evolve. Now, this evolution might be a problem, but it might not. In the first scenario, Master Tengen’s evolution might be advantageous for humanity because they would continue to be an ally; in the second, the evolution might be horrifying because Master Tengen might turn into a mindless foe of humanity.
And while the chances are not that high, Master Tengen becoming a mindless curse is too much of a risk, so the Jujutsu Sorcerers are doing everything they can to initiate the merger.
In 2006, the time for another merger came, and Riko was scheduled to be taken to Tengen and merge with them. While she was being taken there, the group was attacked by Toji Fushiguro, himself not a jujutsu sorcerer but powerful enough to defeat Geto and Gojo (albeit, the latter only once).
Before merging, though, the conviction from the beginning of Riko’s story disappeared, and she burst into tears, crying that she wanted to live and not be turned into someone’s vessel. And while it seemed that the conviction would result in something, a bullet burst through Riko’s head and killed her.
The bullet was fired by Toji Fushiguro, who would ultimately be killed by Satoru Gojo, who was devastated by Riko’s tragic death. So, no, Riko Amanai did not merge with Master Tengen, and she did not fulfill her role as the Star Plasma Vessel. But, while she did avoid that, she still met a very tragic end, as she died from a bullet fired by the villainous Toji Fushiguro.
As it stands, Tengen couldn’t have even saved Riko
A big issue related to Master Tengen’s role in their own fate was whether they could have actually done anything to protect Riko and to, in that aspect, save themselves from evolving into a monster. Namely, as we have established, Master Tengen were not a villain, and they willingly actually helped the jujutsu society by erecting and maintaining the barriers, and even after the merger failed, they managed to stabilize themselves somehow and in a very curse-like form still remained an ally of the jujutsu sorcerers, which goes to show that despite the notoriety surrounding their name and appearance, Master Tengen were never a villain nor a conscious threat.
So, knowing that, and combining it with the fact that they were, indeed, one of the most powerful entities in the whole series, you cannot but ask yourselves, why did Master Tengen do next to nothing to actually help Riko and themselves? Did they not care for Riko?
Possibly, but Riko’s death was also bad for them as well, so even if they did not care for Riko, Riko’s survival was in their best interest. Could they have found out that Riko refused to merge with them, so they abandoned her? No, this is basically impossible, as Master Tengen are not an omniscient being. They are simply good at creating barriers. And in this fact, actually, lies the truth behind the sad fact that Master Tengen did absolutely nothing to help Riko or themselves.
Namely, Master Tengen are known as the best barrier creator in the jujutsu society, but aside from that, they are pretty much useless. They can create and balance powerful barriers, but they cannot fight. This is a disadvantage that Kenjaku exploits later in the story, as Master Tengen were helpless against him in that aspect; Kenjaku is the second-best barrier creator in the world and, on top of that, he is also a great fighter, which is thy Tengen were afraid of him and asked for protection. Tengen couldn’t battle Toji. They couldn’t actually battle anyone as their fighting skills were non-existent.
They put up the barriers, but as Toji penetrated them thanks to his unique ability, Tengen were helpless in this situation, and there was no way they could do anything about Riko. This is why she was assigned guards in the first place and not simply sent to Tengen’s place where she would be safe. So no, Tengen did not abandon Riko, nor did they let the poor girl die. They were simply helpless to do anything under the circumstances, as they wouldn’t have been able to even protect themselves had it come down to that.