Why did Mahito Attack Kenjaku In JJK?

I have said this before, but Mahito’s ending moments were the most satisfying for me as a JJK fan. However, there are some things about those moments that need more clarification, like, that part where Mahito attacked Kenjaku without any warning.

After being battered by Itadori, with the help of Todo, Mahito resorted to running as a means of escape. As if that would have worked against the Tiger of West Junior High.

Right in the nick of time, Kenjaku appeared as a guardian angel, asking Mahito if he wanted to be saved. But it didn’t take long for Kenny to show his true colors. He absorbed Mahito, revealing that the cursed spirits were always lackeys in his large scheme.

However, right before that happened, Mahito seemingly attacked Kenjaku. He didn’t succeed though, but the cursed spirit did make an attempt.

What prompted Mahito to take the extreme step? Is that why Kenjaku decided to absorb him? Well, no. Let’s take a look at what happened.

Why did Mahito attack Kenjaku?

To answer in short, Mahito attacked Kenjaku because he realized Kenjaku was going to betray him to further his own plans.

Related: Why did Kenjaku start the Culling Game? What is his plan?

Mahito’s motivation for attacking Kenjaku was never specified in the manga. It’s ambiguous to say the least. 

There are some arguments that Mahito’s attack was more instinctive and self-serving. That he simply saw Kenjaku as a means to an end, and was willing to kill him and turn him into one of his toys in order to escape from a dangerous situation.

However, there are some hints that Akutami has left behind to help us get to the answer.

The panel from chapter 93:

The first one comes in chapter 93, when Mahito and Jogo were busy arguing whether to kill Itadori or not. At one point in the argument, Mahito asks Geto/Kenjaku whether he was going to join them.

Kenjaku refuses the offer, saying that he will stay back and keep an eye on the prison realm. 

This is where we get a panel of Mahito eyeing Kenjaku suspiciously. While it was easy to miss it, this moment might have planted some doubts in the cursed spirit’s mind as to what Kenjaku’s actual motives were.

Mahito eyes Kenjaku suspiciously, after the latter refused to join them.
Sus eye right there!

In hindsight we know that Kenjaku was lying to Mahito then. The real reason he wanted to stay back was to make sure Mahito fought and grew during Shibuya, so that he could eventually absorb him.

Mahito is a cursed spirit who can perceive the shape of the soul. What’s to say he can’t spot a lie. 

He does tell Junpei that a person’s emotions stem from their soul. So, it would have been very easy for him to understand what kind of emotions Geto/Kenjaku was going through at that point!

“..I was born of humans” Mahito’s dialogue:

The second hint which suggests that Mahito was aware of Kenjaku’s real intentions, came in chapter 133.

When Kenjaku was absorbing Mahito, the cursed spirit said “I knew that, after all…I was born…of humans.”

Mahito's words to Kenjaku about being born from humans

Curses are born out of the fear that humans experience about a certain thing. Jogo represented humanity’s collective fear towards volcanoes, while Hanami was the collective fear towards forests. Their persona and their powers are in line with what they represent.

In chapter 20, we come to know that Mahito was a cursed spirit born out of hatred that was spewn between humans. It would be safe to assume that Mahito understood what humans would do at their worst, and how evil they could be.

So it wasn’t a surprise that Mahito could sense a betrayal coming. Combining it with the fact that he sensed Kenjaku lying back in chapter 93, it leaves no room for doubt.

Mahito’s words to Kenjaku essentially confirmed that he knew Kenjaku would betray and kill him eventually in order to move forward with his plan. That could be why Mahito chose to attack him, before he became a pokeball which tasted like a rag used to wipe vomit!

Sure, it was a last ditch attempt. Mahito probably did not want to go down without a fight. But, it didn’t amount to much in the end.

Also, let’s not forget that panel from chapter 132, which depicts Mahito as a rabbit and Itadori as a wolf. However, Akutami also depicts Kenjaku as a black wolf here, meaning he too was out on a hunt.

It could just be Akutami’s way of showing some predator-prey symbolism. However, if we take it as how Mahito was perceiving that situation, then there shouldn’t be any doubts left in our minds.

Why do you think Mahito attacked Kenjaku? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or you can reach out to me on Reddit/Twitter!

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