When it comes to the anime Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s not just about the flashy battles and supernatural elements. What makes this series truly captivating is its well crafted characters, each with their own unique personality and backstory. One such character who has left a significant impact on fans is Naoya Zenin. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the enigmatic persona of Naoya Zenin, exploring his role, personality, and contributions to the Jujutsu Kaisen storyline.
All about Naoya Zenin
- Kanji: 禪院直哉
- Rōmaji: Zen’in Naoya
- Species: Human (Former)-Vengeful Curse
- Age: 27
- Gender: Male
Naoya Zenin’s Appearance
Naoya is a relatively tall young man with a fit build. He has sharp brown eyes and dyed blonde hair accented with his black roots.
He almost always has an arrogant grin plastered across his face and believes himself to have an appearance befitting a clan head, implying he’s much better looking than other members like Jinichi. He has three piercings in his left ear, one in his ear lobe, and two more toward the top.
Naoya wears a traditional attire that resembles most of his clan members. He sports a white long sleeved shirt that buttons at the color underneath his dark blue kimono. He completes his outfit with light colored hakama bottoms and sandals.
Following his reincarnation as a vengeful cursed spirit, Naoya has a much more monstrous appearance befitting a curse. He no longer has a human shape, instead, his body is large and long like a caterpillar.
He retains human-like arms but the face of the worm like body is covered in a mask shaped like a star with six holes. Although barely recognizable, Naoya’s human face can protrude from one of these holes. This form was only Naoya’s cursed womb state, and he soon evolved.
His fully realized cursed form resembles a chrysalis with a skull-shaped face capable of extending tendrils that band together to function like humanoid limbs.
Naoya Zenin’s Personality
From a young age Naoya was always praised told by others that he was a genius. He was severely spoiled as the youngest and most promising of the Naobito’s children, conditioned to view himself as his father’s successor.
As a result, Naoya’s arrogance grew to unbridled levels even as a small child. He looked down on all those he views as weaker than him, which is the vast majority of the people Naoya came across.
The only person Naoya ever appeared to have any respect for was Toji. He went to visit him as a child to mock the pitiful man without cursed energy but was instantly able to recognize Toji was extremely strong in spite of that.
This led Naoya to embrace the ideology that the sin of the insignificant is the ignorance of true strength. Naoya felt he was one of the only ones who understood Toji and strived to be as exceptional as he was.
Naoya confidently pursued strength to the point where he viewed everyone else as inferior to himself. He refused to acknowledge anyone’s talent, referring to his elders, Jinichi and Ogi, as weaklings despite their experience as senior members of the clan.
Naoya’s reckless and conceited attitude irritates even his fellow clansmen, to the point where Ogi and Jinichi attacked him for being excessively pompous.
Raised in an environment that breeds superiority, Naoya developed several sociopathic and narcissistic tendencies and strongly embodied all the stigma about the Zenin clan. He has no family values whatsoever other than trying to outdo everyone to become head of the clan.
He didn’t express any amount of concern for Naobito, his father, on his death bed and has said more than once that he hates all his older brothers as well. Naoya views women only as wives and casually told Maki and Mai’s mother that a woman who can’t walk three paces behind a man should be stabbed in the back.
Upon learning that Megumi usurped him for the head of the clan, “Naoya” didn’t hesitate to plot a way to kill him. Naoya was well aware that his clansmen might prefer Megumi to himself but didn’t care at all for their approval. He had no issues attacking Megumi’s allies in an attempt to draw him out and was willing to kill them in order to do so.
Naoya set his pride aside momentarily to work alongside Yuta Okkotsu, but only did so to achieve his own self-serving goals. Even after Yuta checked on him after his loss to Choso, Naoya was irritated with the young man for looking down on him.
Dissatisfied with his plans going awry, Naoya took out his irritation with Maki and mocked her repeatedly upon her return to the Zenin clan’s property. He called her scum, taunted her for her scars, and devalued her as a person not only for her appearance but her inability to use jujutsu as well.
He called her a lapdog for following Yuta and Megumi, and threatened to abuse his own cousin in the same manner that he used to bully her in the past.
Upon learning of the Jinichi and Ogi’s refusal to leave Megumi the family fortune, it was confirmed that Naoya was not the clan’s first choice. This irritated Naoya, but he was fine with the conspiracy to get rid of Megumi, Maki, and Mai so long as it served him in the end.
Mai sacrificed herself in exchange for granting Maki a body with power comparable to Toji’s. As Maki massacred her way through the Zenin clan, Naoya didn’t show the slightest hint of distress for his family members. In fact, he was amused by Maki’s power and simply teased her for being so ruthless.
Naoya refused to acknowledge Maki as being in the same realm of strength as Toji. That is a title that Naoya desired and he fought Maki to deny her that more than he did to avenge his own clan. Up until the moment he was defeated, Naoya remained in denial and referred to Maki as nothing more than an imposter.
Even after being brutally bested by Maki, Naoya mocked her for not finishing him off. However, fate’s sense of irony came for Naoya in the form of Maki’s mother stabbing him in the back, just as he said women deserved. As Naoya was losing his life in such a pitiful manner, all he could do was use his last words to insult his assailant.
Naoya Zenin’s Abilities and Powers
Overall Skill Level: Naoya was a special grade 1 sorcerer and head of the Hei, the Zenin clan’s most powerful collective of sorcerers. He was considered to be amongst the pinnacle of talent within one of Big Three Families with strength comparable to his father’s. Naoya considers other strong sorcerers within the clan such as Ogi and Jinichi weak compared to himself.
Naoya employed the cursed technique he inherited from Naobito with elite proficiency. It granted him incredible speed that Naoya prided himself on. He combined his strategic intellect with his close combat prowess to quickly overwhelm his enemies without suffering any damage.
Naoya had the same knack for timing as his father and prioritized gathering speed even more than the former head did.
In his first encounter with Yuji and Choso, Naoya was able blitz right past the defenses of the two exceptional fighters and landed a hard hit before parrying a counterattack and escaping without suffering a blow.
It happened so fast that Yuji and Choso weren’t even sure what happened, but they immediately associated this with a cursed technique.
Naoya expected to take Yuji out in one hit and admitted Sukuna’s vessel was tougher than expected. He followed up by confidently adding that he could increase his speed even further.
Fighting Choso one-on-one, Naoya was quickly able to overpower the special grade Death Painting Womb. Thanks to information on the other sorcerer clans, Naoya was familiar with Blood Manipulation and focused on preventing Choso from controlling blood outside his body.
His high speed attacks put Choso at such a disadvantage that Naoya didn’t even need to divulge how Projection Sorcerery works.
Naoya believed that his speed could prevent Choso from charging up Convergence and releasing Piercing Blood, Blood Manipulation’s most fearsome move, leaving him assured of victory.
Naoya generally doesn’t fight with weapons because he prides himself on being a sorcerer that uses jujutsu over armed combat. He finds sorcerers that rely on weapons to be shameful and hides the only knife he uses to keep it a secret.
Naoya only resorted to cutting Choso with the knife because he proved to be highly resilient to unarmed blows. Naoya believed there was nothing to fear after Choso’s injury and this compiling overconfidence lead to his downfall.
Naoya was unaware that Choso is essentially a fully fleshed curse and has the ability to bleed far more than a normal human. This caught him off guard and Naoya accidentally turned the tables on himself.
Despite being soaked in Choso’s blood and weighed down by its weight, Naoya still believed he could win with speed alone.
However, he relied too heavily on his familiarity with Blood Manipulation and walked right into Choso’s Supernova attack, a technique unique only to him. Naoya proved to be a fighter on par with Choso’s level of power but suffered on account of his own boundless overconfidence.
Once Maki attained a body that escaped cursed energy, Naoya was the only member of the Hei who could contend with her for more than a few moments.
Naoya’s continuously growing speed paired with his relentless physical attacks proved to be a problem even for Maki’s immensely enhanced physical prowess.
He was able to barrage her with one high-impact combo after another, destroying the terrain around them with each consecutive attack.
Naoya learned from his mistake against Choso and didn’t stop accelerating against Maki no matter what. He planned to punch through her body using strength forged from his weight and his subsonic speed together.
Maki attempted to take on the full force of Naoya’s attack to get him to stop moving but he didn’t take the bait. He tried to trap her inside an animation frame with Projection Sorcery to capitalize, but her body was able to obey its 24FPS rule.
This allowed Maki to counter Naoya and turn his own speed against him, causing him to ram his face right into her fist before she smashed him into the ground and defeated him.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Like his father, Naoya employed the speed granted by his innate technique in combination with his martial arts skills as his main combat style.
He did so with masterful skill, striking his opponents with powerful blows before disappearing and then hitting them again before they react.
Naoya demonstrated elite-level hand-to-hand combat skills by mainly throwing different types of punches such as chops, backfists, elbows, uppercuts, or combinations of the like in quick succession.
His defensive discipline was sharp as well, allowing him to predict his opponent’s attacks and parry them with precision.
Amplified by the speed of his cursed technique, a single body shot from Naoya slammed Choso into a stone pillar with enough force to crack it. Naoya prided himself on defeating his opponents unarmed and relied on inforcing his physical attacks with jujutsu instead.
High Tactical Intellect: Naoya was always been considered to have a genius-level intellect, even as a child. He shared the same talent for strategic timing that Naobito possessed, allowing Naoya to calculate his opponent’s moves into each approach he takes.
While working together with Yuta to kill Yuji, Naoya accurately foresaw Choso attempting to block their path. As soon as Yuji began to run away, Naoya prevented Choso from blocking off Yuta and engaged him one-on-one.
Naoya saw Choso use Blood Manipulation before their fight and knew his best course of action was to counter Piercing Blood from the start.
Even while obeying Projection Sorcery’s 24 FPS rule, Naoya takes into account the possibility of his opponent countering. When Choso adapted to Naoya’s speed using Flowing Red Scale: Stack, Naoya quickly recognized this was able to avoid Choso’s counteroffensive by accurately predicting his moves.
Against Maki’s Shiranui-Gata, Naoya deduced it was a trap and wisely decided to avoid a direct confrontation, choosing to continue gaining speed and hold on to his advantage.
In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, characters like Naoya Zenin are the beating heart of the narrative. His unwavering loyalty to the Zenin Clan, his formidable abilities, and his complex moral stance make him a character worth examining. As the series continues to unfold, it will be fascinating to see how Naoya Zenin’s character evolves and the impact he has on the fate of the Jujutsu world. In a story filled with perplexity and burstiness, Naoya Zenin stands out as a character who challenges our perceptions and keeps us hooked to the world of Jujutsu Kaisen.