Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Jujutsu Kaisen: Sukuna's Domain Expansion, Explained

Since debuting in 2018, Jujutsu Kaisen has become one of the most popular anime franchises of the 21st century. The series' feature-length film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, did almost $200 million at the international box office, and thanks to this success, as well as many other factors, Jujutsu Kaisen was the best-selling manga in both 2021 and 2022. However, none of this would have been possible were it not for the series' iconic antagonist, Ryomen Sukuna. After becoming the world's strongest jujutsu sorcerer many centuries before the events of Jujutsu Kaisen, Sukuna transformed himself into a cursed object, allowing him to be reincarnated inside the body of the series' protagonist, Yuji Itadori. While Yuji's body is usually able to resist Sukuna's will, the villain is still extremely dangerous at all times.

As the strongest jujutsu sorcerer in history, Ryomen Sukuna is capable of performing incredible displays of cursed energy usage. His strength is evident as early as the Fearsome Womb Arc when he effortlessly defeats a Special Grade-level Curse, during which he reveals his powerful technique — his Domain Expansion, Malevolent Shrine. Domain Expansions are said to be the pinnacle of Jujutsu Sorcery, and Sukuna's beautiful usage of the technique perfectly demonstrates its potential.

Updated on October 13, 2023 by Kennedy King: The Jujutsu Kaisen manga seems firmly prepared to enter its final saga, and with the world of jujutsu sorcery on the verge of collapse, Ryomen Sukuna is poised to reassume his place at the top of the food chain. His Domain Expansion, Malevolent Shrine, will undoubtedly be a dangerous weapon as he fights the series' protagonists, making it even more important that fans understand how it is used.

Who Is Ryomen Sukuna?

Jujutsu Kaisen: Sukuna's Domain Expansion, Explained

To fully understand Ryomen Sukuna's powers, one first must delve into the vague history of Jujutsu Kaisen. Roughly a thousand years before the events of the series, Sukuna rose to prominence as a Jujutsu Sorcerer, beginning his reign of terror. At this point in history, jujutsu sorcery was significantly more common than in the modern day; as a result, the sorcerers from this era are thought to have been even stronger than most of those seen in Jujutsu Kaisen. However, despite the strength of the jujutsu sorcerer in this Golden Age, Sukuna stood head and shoulders above his peers, earning the sorcerer a unique title: the King of Curses. While every jujutsu sorcerer utilizes cursed energy, Sukuna has a preternatural ability to understand it, which allows him to perform techniques unlike any seen in the jujutsu world.

Eventually, Sukuna obtained a form with four arms, four eyes, and an incredible amount of power, initiating a devastating period in which he killed the era's greatest sorcerers. For some unknown reason, Sukuna ultimately relinquished his vice grip on the jujutsu world and transformed himself into twenty cursed objects — these objects survived until the events of Jujutsu Kaisen, at which point they are consumed by none other than Yuji Itadori. Reinvigorated by a second chance at conquering the jujutsu world, Ryomen Sukuna has now set his sights on modern Japan, putting the fate of the entire world at significant risk. While Yuji's strong will briefly prevents the King of Curses from acting on his own, this prison is only capable of housing the villain for so long.

What Is A Domain Expansion?

Jujutsu Kaisen: Sukuna's Domain Expansion, Explained

Domain Expansions are the most advanced technique in Jujutsu Kaisen, and on multiple occasions, they're stated to be the pinnacle of jujutsu sorcery. In essence, this technique manifests a barrier around their user and their target(s), making it extremely difficult to escape from inside the area contained by the barrier. Inside this space, users are able to literally change physical matter to reflect their own Innate Domain (a term referring to an individual's natural mental landscape), which is why the visual appearance of Domain Expansions varies from sorcerer to sorcerer. In addition to this, any attacks made by the user of a Domain Expansion is guaranteed to land, although this can be circumnavigated by a few special abilities.

Since Domain Expansions are only used by the highest-level sorcerers, they start to play an increasingly large role as the Jujutsu Kaisen manga continues. Because of this trend, it's inevitable that multiple clashes between Domain Expansions erupt, at which point the stronger of the two Domain Expansions will win out and manifest. This is why Satoru Gojo's Domain Expansion easily dominated Jogo's in the Fearsome Womb Arc — the same Special Grade Curse who avoids using his Domain Expansion against Sukuna during the Shibuya Incident. However, whereas Gojo's Domain Expansion still takes the form of a sphere, Ryomen Sukuna's is the most unique in the entire series.

Ryomen Sukuna's Domain Expansion: Malevolent Shrine

Jujutsu Kaisen: Sukuna's Domain Expansion, Explained

Rather than creating a spherical barrier like every other Domain Expansion, Ryomen Sukuna's Malevolent Shrine manifests into reality with no separation between it and the outside world. Jujutsu Kaisen compares this to painting a masterpiece on air, and as far as jujutsu sorcery goes, it is the most advanced technique in the entire series. True to its name, Malevolent Shrine takes the form of a demonic Buddhist shrine that is adorned with a variety of ghastly decorations. The Domain Expansion's cursed technique allows Sukuna to Cleave and Dismantle any living or non-living object within its area of effect, which the King of Curses can increase by using a Binding Vow. Although the technique's lack of a barrier makes it easier to escape, few can survive Sukuna's onslaught long enough to take advantage of this weakness.

Malevolent Shrine is first shown during the Fearsome Womb Arc when Ryomen Sukuna takes control of Yuji Itadori's body in order to combat the Cursed Womb. The newly born Special-Grade Curse is sliced into several pieces and burned to ashes in a matter of seconds, immediately establishing that Sukuna is a force to be reckoned with. At that time, Yuji had only consumed a fraction of Sukuna's powers, so it's safe to say that the technique even poses a threat to characters like Satoru Gojo, Yuta Okkotsu, and the rest of Jujutsu Kaisen's heroes.