Fans of Jujutsu Kaisen know that negative emotions like fear, grief, and anger can turn into cursed energy, which sorcerers and spirits can then use to power their jujutsu.
Even though the idea of cursed energy and jujutsu is complicated, it’s pretty easy to understand.
However, new fans and people who watched the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie without knowing anything about it found it a little hard to grasp.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 tells the story of Yuta Okkotsu, also known as the Cursed Child, who thinks that a Special Grade Cursed Spirit named Rika has cursed him.
Rika Orimoto was Yuta’s childhood girlfriend. She died in a terrible car accident when they were young, and now her ghost keeps following him.
Later in the movie, it turns out that Yuta isn’t the Cursed Child at all. Instead, Rika has cursed Yuta, not the other way around.
Yuta put a bad spell on Rika. Yuta’s love and grief for Rika after she died turned her into a cursed spirit.
She is just the physical form of his cursed energy, which came from the bad feelings that came out of him as he watched her die.
How was Rika cursed and become so powerful in Jujutsu Kaisen 0?
In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Satoru Gojo wonders how Rika, who isn’t related to any Jujutsu sorcerers, could become such a powerful curse.
Yuta, like Gojo, is a descendant of Sugawara Michizane, who is one of the 3 Vengeful Spirits and a big deal in the world of Jujutsu.
When the car hits Rika, Yuta yells “Don’t die!” over and over, which accidentally binds her spirit to his. Yuta’s pain and sadness make Rika’s spirit, who was 10 years old at the time, cursed and tied to him because he can’t let her go.
Rika becomes a Special Grade Vengeful Cursed Spirit with a lot of power, but she is only that powerful because Yuta, who is a descendant of Michizane, is Special Grade.
In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, only Yuki, Gojo, Geto, and Yuta are special-grade sorcerers.
Yuta’s curse makes Rika and himself suffer for years because not letting Rika go makes her spirit evil and causes death and destruction wherever she goes.
Yuta tells Gojo that he will find a way to break the curse in Jujutsu Kaisen 0.
How did Yuta break her curse in Jujutsu Kaisen 0?
Gojo says that Rika’s curse is too strong for a single exorcism to break. Yuta will have to untangle each knot of cursed energy that makes up her cursed spirit.
Gojo gives Yuta a katana and tells him that the only way to break the curse is to slowly put her cursed energy into the cursed tool, which is the katana.
At this point, they both think that Rika has cursed Yuta instead of the other way around. Gojo says that Yuta can get rid of the cursed spirit by putting it in the katana, which he can then control.
But we know that Rika, not Yuta, is cursed.
Geto breaks the katana during Yuta’s fight with Geto.
This is when Yuta makes a Binding Vow to give up his own life in exchange for Rika’s full power and freedom. He tells Rika that he will always be with her if she lets him use her cursed energy one last time to defeat Geto for good.
A curse like this can only be broken if the person who put it on breaks the bond and the person who was cursed forgives the person who put it on them and doesn’t want to get back at them.
When Yuta gives up his life for Rika and promises to go beyond her power in exchange for his life, he breaks the cursed bond that tied Rika to him. Rika doesn’t want to punish him because she loves him, so the curse is broken.
Yuta finally accepts that his lover has died and lets her go. Rika knows this and forgives him. She also thanked him for letting her stay with him for another six years.
She finally gets out of her curse after telling Yuta not to follow her to the other side too quickly.
Yuta lets go of his grief and guilt, and Rika realizes that the reason she was cursed was because of love. In the end, it’s their pure love that wins over Geto, who wanted to use cursed energy to make himself stronger.
Does Rika return?
After seeing Jujutsu Kaisen 0, manga readers had some important questions: If Rika Orimoto goes to the afterlife and Yuta no longer has a Special Grade Cursed Spirit companion, how does Yuta still have access to her power later in the story?
Yuta comes back to the main story in the Itadori’s Extermination arc. Yuta talks to Rika in Chapter 137. He tells her not to kill too many people while saving a little girl from a cursed spirit.
After what happened in chapter 0, Rika has stayed with Yuta, as shown in chapter 178. (Or, the events of the film Jujutsu Kaisen 0). Yuta can still use Rika as his cursed technique, and it can also be used to store cursed energy.
Some fans thought that Yuta made a copy of Rika by using his ability to copy cursed techniques. During the fight with Geto, Yuta’s power was shown when he copied the cursed speech technique.
But this cursed Rika technique is neither a copy nor a new Rika made from his memories.
Chapter 178 says that he can keep in touch with Rika Orimoto through the ring she gave him before she died. He can stay connected to Rika for a total of 5 minutes. During that time, he can 1) use Rika as a cursed technique, 2) fully manifest Rika, and 3) use Rika to get cursed energy.
This explains why Yuta and Rika still have the same relationship they had in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and why Rika still acts as Yuta’s guardian as she did back then.