Chapter 160: How much of Yuji’s life has been orchestrated? + Megumi the stage-five clinger
If I had to describe chapter 160 with as few words as possible, I would say: Oh f*ck...
My favorite moment was, of course, Megumi acting like a stage-five clinger. His interaction with Yuji in this chapter is especially ominous in light of Yuji being adamant of protecting Megumi from Sukuna.
A second favorite was Sasaki showing up in this chapter because of the implications moving forward.
Let’s jump right in.
How much of Yuji’s life has been orchestrated by Kenjaku?
We start the chapter with Kenjaku talking to none other than Sasaki, one of the members of the Occult Club at the high school in Sendai that Yuji used to attend.
Of course, the bomb that Gege dropped on us in this chapter is when Kenjaku thanks Sasaki “for getting along with my son”.
Like... excuse you?
Not only does this 100% confirm that Kenjaku used Yuji’s mother’s body to give birth to him, but this specific moment + some foreshadowing from previous chapters also opens an interesting can of worms about Yuji’s life: just how much of Yuji’s life has Kenjaku orchestrated?
For me, the implication is that Sasaki had an assigned role to play in Yuji’s life that would inevitably lead to him eating Sukuna’s finger.
I am assuming this because although we don’t see Kenjaku’s interactions with the other people in Sendai, we get to see that, in addition for thanking her for getting along with Yuji, Kenjaku is incredibly kind to Sasaki. We also learn that she’s the only one who has received a special message from him (thanking her).
Ready to make this whole interaction more ominous? Someone pointed out that the kanji in Sasaki’s name means assistant.
All of this brings us right back to Yuji’s free will--or lack thereof?
We already know that Kenjaku claims he made Yuji “ingest” Sukuna’s finger and that Megumi is rightfully concerned with this idea because he witnessed Yuji eat Sukuna’s finger “of his own free will.”
It’s also becoming increasingly obvious that Yuji was "created” solely for the purpose of becoming Sukuna’s vessel.
What this new reveal about Sasaki does is that it makes everything feel like certain events have been part of Kenjaku’s master plan all along. While this still feels a little farfetched, it will come down to how Gege works this idea into the story moving forward.
Come to think of it, even Yuji’s grandfather’s dying words to Yuji take on a new meaning since we know Wasuke knew something was definitively up with Yuji’s mother.
Another possible bit of foreshadowing all the way in chapter 1: While the intersection in the second panel below could be ANY intersection in Japan, it sure looks like the Shibuya crossing:
A quick note on the importance of kanji meanings in JJK before moving onto the next section: knowing the meaning of Sasaki’s name tells us that names are important in JJK. If you haven’t, I recommend you read my break down on the meaning of Megumi’s FULL NAME. His first name is important, but so is his last name.
The plans moving forward
Going off to Tokyo Colony #2 are Panda and Hakari.
As the strongest, Hakari feels like he should take on Hajime. As for Panda, it looks like his focus will be on hunting down Angel.
Side note: I love that Hakari is still calling Megumi names. Guess Senpai can’t help himself.
I must admit I was disappointed to find that Kirara will stay behind to report, but it is what it is. I am assuming Gege could see no use for Kirara and decided to leave the character out of the action for the time being.
As for Megumi and Yuji, they’ll be heading to Tokyo Colony #1 to target Higuruma, everybody’s new favorite Law & Order boss.
This brings us to Megumi’s current state of mind...
Megumi the stage-five clinger
I had a hard time coming up with the title for this section because what I see happening is that Megumi is starting to feel the pressure of the looming deadline for Tsumiki joining the Culling Game. What his behavior shows, however, is that he needs Yuji with him and is clinging onto him but won’t come out and say it--opting instead for aggression towards Yuji, the very same person he needs most.
His behavior reminded me of how Megumi could be mean to Tsumiki even though he clearly adores her. Apparently that’s the meaning of being tsundere. I’ve read about the term tsundere before but it never “clicked” until this moment and I just love Gege’s interpretation of the trope through Megumi’s character.
It goes without saying that it was REALLY interesting to me to see Megumi’s dynamic and interaction with Yuji in this chapter because it looks like Gege is letting us know Megumi’s state of mind continues to be one of desperation--remember that dogeza bow from chapter 157?
The thing about Megumi is that he looks stoic on the outside, but he’s actually an incredibly emotional person who doesn’t often show how he’s feeling.
I hadn’t caught on, but in chatting with @justafrenchlondoner about the chapter, they pointed out Megumi’s behavior in his dynamic with Yuji appears nervous and aggressive.
Upon a second look I have to agree that Megumi is acting out of character and aggressive with Yuji when all that Yuji really wants is to protect Megumi from Sukuna.
And yes, let me go ahead and sound like a broken record as I remind you of Yuji’s rather ominous words from chapter 143 yet again:
And this is the part of the chapter that knocked the air out of me: Megumi telling Yuji to stfu about Sukuna but Yuji thinking to himself “as long as I’m around you will suffer” back in ch143 is so damn ominous.
But this is what REALLY gets me about this whole interaction and why I’m calling Megumi a stage-five clinger...
Even though Megumi is calling Yuji selfish, in reality, the one being selfish is Megumi.
This is, of course, my own interpretation of the situation, but to me it feels as though Megumi is clinging onto Yuji’s strength for dear life.
It’s almost like Megumi needs not just Yuji’s physical strength, but also his unwavering conviction or mental strength.
If you think about it, Megumi has only recently started fighting to win. Remember how unsure he was of himself when fighting Sukuna for the first time? It wasn’t until he went up against the Cursed Spirit from the Yasohachi bridge that he let go of his inhibitions.
Megumi’s battles during Shibuya were the pinnacle of his growth as a character in that moment. If I remember correctly, according to the timeline of events, the Shibuya incident happened around two weeks prior to the current chapter. You could say that although he is more comfortable in his strength than before, Megumi is still growing into his strength at this point.
The thing about Megumi is that everybody and their Divine Dog believes in him and sees his potential except for him. As Gojo tells him “you undervalue yourself.”
Looking back, the way Megumi asks begs Yuji for help in chapter 143 is very enlightening of how Megumi needs Yuji’s strength:
I initially had read this to mean Megumi needed Yuji’s physical strength. Upon second look, however, Megumi has always seemed to have admiration for Yuji’s conviction.
With the looming deadline for Tsumiki’s vow to join the Culling Game, as Megumi starts to feel the pressure to make his plan work, who better to keep around than the person who will always go for the home run and whose strength he admires?
In other words, like hell he’s going to let Yuji leave his side. Which, again, only makes it more heartbreaking to think Sukuna is up to no good regarding Megumi and Yuji wants to protect him from that.
The panel below feels like a bit of a lighthearted and comical moment, but it’s also interesting to note that this is the second time they “fight”.
The first “fight” having taken place during the Cursed Womb Arc.
If you will remember, Gege used the Cursed Womb Arc and the Origin of Obedience Arc to show us how much our favorite trio had grown.
Not sure Gege is going to parallel something here again, but just interesting to note.
Ya, please excuse the French.
Despite the many words I’ve shared here, this chapter left me mostly speechless.
I feel like I’ve been trapped in Gojo’s limitless domain expansion and all I can think is “oh f*ck” or “halloween” (if you catch my drift).
Chapter 160 was incredible because it looks like Gege has finally finished putting all his pieces into place and is ready to go for the kill by:
Starting to unravel the story bit by bit, giving us all of the twists we both saw and did not see coming, and
Ramping up the stakes. Taking into consideration the estimates that JJK is somewhere around 60-70% done at this point, It’s not a matter of whether some of our beloved characters will die, but about who, when and how they will die
One last detail
I love the last four panels of the chapter showing Panda, Hakari, Yuji and Megumi all wearing their uniforms (barring Panda) and getting ready to become official participants of the Culling Game by entering their respective barriers.
Knowing that Gege is a very talented artist capable of showing and expressing emotions through his art, I feel like these panels tell us a lot about what the characters might be thinking and I thought I’d expand on that.
Bear in mind this is my personal interpretation as an artist:
Panda looks excited and ready to fight, perhaps even confident. Panda is saying “bring it!” with his body language
There’s a hint of something I can’t describe in Hakari’s face. It’s almost like he’s coming face to face against how big of a challenge this is going to be and yet he’s resolved to walk straight into “the depths of hell itself”
Yuji looks focused, determined to go in and give it his best no matter what comes his way--that’s just who he is
And then there’s Megumi. I’ve been drawing Megumi recently, and one thing I noticed is that he has very specific micro-expressions. In his panel, he’s warming up his wrists as though he’s getting ready to fight, he has a focused look on his face, but the shadows around his eyes say he might be feeling like he is carrying the heavy burden of the uncertainty surrounding the situation he’s going through
With all that being said... the Culling Game is officially starting and we’re in for a one-way ride straight to hell.
Thank you for reading and happy JJK-Sunday!
What about you? What did you enjoy most about chapter 160?
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