Fair Warning: This is going to be a lengthy post as I’ll be looking into multiple possibilities and also listing out references I took from multiple places. So grab something to munch on while you read this.
Ok, so ever since Sukuna’s fire arrow, or the Flame Technique if you may, appeared in the Shibuya arc, the fandom has been trying very hard to figure out what the king of curses’ real cursed technique could be.
Until then, everyone was under the assumption that Sukuna’s technique revolved around the slashing attacks – Cleave and Dismantle. However, the introduction of the fire arrow completely changed the game.
It’s been over a 100 chapters since we first saw Sukuna’s fire arrow and open technique, and even now, there is no conclusive answer or evidence as to how he was able to pull it off. But there are some very subtle ones.
So keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the various possibilities as to why he was able to use flames.
But before we get into speculating, let’s lay out some basic groundwork.
Read More: Why did Sukuna take over Megumi?
- Cursed Techniques and a sorcerer’s relation:
- Sukuna’s fire arrow and the open technique:
- Sukuna’s Cursed Technique: Based on cooking?
- The Shrine and storage:
- Other possibilities:
Cursed Techniques and a sorcerer’s relation:
In JJK chapter 230, we finally get confirmation that the Cursed Technique of a sorcerer is indeed engraved on their brains. According to what Sukuna says, cursed techniques are engraved in the right prefrontal cortex of the brain.
Sorcerers, in general, only possess one innate cursed technique. That’s how their brains are wired. However, there are two people in particular in the JJK manga, who have defied this logic.
The first sorcerer is Kenjaku, who switches bodies by brain hopping. He is shown to have not two, but multiple cursed techniques in his arsenal. One is the cursed technique which allows him to switch his body. The second one is the cursed technique of the host he took over; which in this case is Cursed Spirit Manipulation.
However, in the fight against Yuki Tsukumo and Choso, we see Kenjaku use Anti-Gravity, which belonged to Kaori Itadori. This suggests that Kenjaku has a way of storing cursed techniques too.
Now, the second sorcerer who is shown to have multiple cursed techniques is none other than this article’s person of interest, Sukuna.
Along with his Cleave and Dismantle (or the Shrine as it is commonly called), he is also shown to use the Fire Arrow.
Sukuna’s fire arrow and the open technique:
During his fight against Jogo in Shibuya, Sukuna chants to open “something”. And by doing so he is suddenly able to use flames, akin to Jogo.
Let me make this clear. The black box that we see in the manga is actually a redacted word. The black box is there to censor what Sukuna said.
Gege Akutami probably did not want to give away the secret to Sukuna’s cursed technique that early in the manga, which would explain what he did.
So, theories about the “black box” open (the tattoo theory) didn’t really seem too plausible to me. But I’ll talk about them in a different post.
Coming back to our discussion – once Sukuna opens whatever it is that he opens, he performs hand signs and then goes on to draw a fire arrow.
Based on the hand signs alone, I’d wager that the fire arrow is certainly a cursed technique. And now that all the basic details are out of the way, we can now begin our speculation part!
Sukuna’s Cursed Technique: Based on cooking?
There’s a popular theory running around in the fandom that Sukuna’s cursed technique, which is often called Shrine by the people who are acquainted with him (like Yorozu), is actually based on cooking.
It’s not cooking per se, it’s just that the technicalities are based off of it. And no, this is not a tinfoil theory. In fact, there are enough hints in the manga that actually convinced me that a cooking based CT was a plausible assumption.
To begin with, let’s take a look at the wordings surrounding Sukuna’s Shrine in detail.
The Shrine’s kanji and cooking:
Malevolent Shrine is spelt as 伏魔御厨子. The kanji 廚 (kuriya),used in it is actually an old-style kanji used for kitchen in Japanese. Also the latter part of the name – 廚子 (tzushi), which can once again be translated as “cook” or a “chef”.
Now take a look at Sukuna’s attacks, the cleave and dismantle and also the fire.
The kanji that is used for Cleave – 捌 – can be translated to English as “to prepare” or “to dress”. It refers to the process of cleaning, cutting, and trimming a piece of meat, fish, or vegetable in preparation for cooking.
This sits very well with what Sukuna uses Cleave for. In Shibuya, when he opened his domain, the Cleave was used to cut down anything with cursed energy – meaning humans and sorcerers.
Why is that detail important? Well, Sukuna’s appetite for humans needs no introduction. In fact, Uraume, who is Sukuna’s loyal servant, has a talent for cooking humans. When you look at it that way, it all kinda ties in well.
Moving on, the kanji for Dismantle – 解 – too has a specific meaning when it comes to cooking. In cooking, 解, pronounced kai, can refer to the process of breaking down a food item into smaller, more manageable pieces.
This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to make it easier to cook, to remove bones or other unwanted parts, or to expose more surface area to the heat.
The kitchen and the chef:
In chapter 118, when Sukuna opened his domain expansion, the editor’s comment went like this – “The Kitchen of Death Appears”.
So, if we are considering the Malevolent Shrine as the kitchen – where the food is prepared. Then Sukuna is the chef in this scenario. He is the one preparing the dishes, the artist running the show.
A chef is basically an artist (if you don’t mind me saying that) putting together an assortment of ingredients to come up with something very tasty.
Now, who else has been described as an artist in the manga by none other than Akutami himself? YES! SUKUNA! And that too when he opened the Shrine. Don’t gimme that look c’mon.
The slashing attacks of the shrine – cleave and dismantle – can be categorized into the preparation part of cooking. It’s where the chef, Sukuna, cuts up all the ingredients before plunging it into the pan to cook.
But, if Sukuna’s cursed Technique is indeed based on cooking, there needs to be a part where he can actually cook food. And that cannot be done without some fire. This would explain why Sukuna is able to use the flame cursed technique.
Based on the hints that we have gotten in the manga, I feel there is a very high possibility that this Sukuna’s cooking technique theory would turn out to be true.
So, to answer in short Sukuna is able to use the fire arrow because his cursed technique, the Shrine, is based on cooking/kitchen. So along with the slashing attacks, there needs to be fire, to cook the ingredients.
However, it still doesn’t completely explain why Akutami had to redact a certain word, and why Sukuna had to open something to get the flames.
In order to understand that better there is a slight variation of Sukuna’s cooking cursed technique assumption that I’d like to elaborate on.
Eating people to get cursed techniques:
Remember how I pointed out that Sukuna’s cursed technique seems to have a basis in cooking and in the kitchen. Well, a possible reason for that could be Sukuna’s interest in eating.
Oh yes, if you didn’t know this already, Sukuna is a certified foodie. More real than some of the influencers we see on instagram nowadays.
According to the official JJK fanbook, Sukuna’s hobby is eating. Akutami described that he found a “great pleasure” in eating. To add to it, a lot of the phrases that he uses in normal situations are often food related. Remember how he likened Gojo to a fish on the cutting board?
Lighting has made a great thread about this on twitter, make sure to check it out!
In the JJK verse, there are instances when the worldview/hobbies/traits of a person and their cursed techniques resemble each other.
Consider this – Hakari’s cursed technique turned out to be related to gambling, and that guy himself had a thing for living on the edge (I meant gambling, obviously). Going by that logic, what if Sukuna’s cursed technique too has a relation to his love for eating.
And because of this, he is also able to do something that others normally couldn’t. What I am getting to here is slightly tricky.
I did say Sukuna’s cursed technique could be based on cooking. But what if, Sukuna acquired the fire, and maybe even the slashing, to construct his own kitchen like environment.
What if, Sukuna’s real cursed technique allowed him to consume others and somehow extract cursed energy/techniques out of them.
If you check out the illustration of Sukuna’s real form, then you’d notice that he has a mouth in his stomach. Not just that, his Malevolent Shrine too has humongous mouths on all four sides.
What’s so special about the stomach when it comes to Jujutsu? Well, it is believed by many that the cursed energy originates from the gut. It has been stated multiple times in the manga from Todo to Kashimo (while fighting Hakari).
So, if that is indeed true, then the reason Sukuna has a mouth in his stomach could be for him to consume the people and then their cursed energy/technique?
Uraume the cook:
I mentioned previously that Uraume was a cook who had a “talent” for cooking humans and that only a very few had this particular talent. What if the cooking Uraume did had something to do with consuming the cursed energy of a human?
Well, once again, Akutami has given us subtle hints regarding this.
In chapter 216 we saw them preparing a bath for Sukuna, suppressing the soul of Megumi. But that was a re-imagined bath that Uraume had created based on the real one.
Instead of using venomous creatures in a kodoku ritual, or as Viz translated it – crushing them – Uraume used cursed spirits to prepare this bath.
What if, in a similar way, Uraume used humans to create a concoction of cursed energy which was then fed to Sukuna from the mouth in his stomach.
However, the major catch here would be this: by eating the humans/sorcerers that Uraume cooked for him, Sukuna also gains their cursed technique.
And the open technique? Well, let me go out on a limb and say this, Sukuna was chanting that to open the mouth in his stomach, so that he will be able to use one of the cursed techniques he ingested.
Well, seems a bit out there, but it’s a possibility I won’t ignore. On that note, check out this reddit post, which also talks about the cooking, eating and fire arrow aspects of Sukuna’s cursed technique, but is slightly different!
The Shrine and storage:
And finally, we come to the third biggest possibility of Sukuna’s fire arrow and the open technique. Now, the assumptions I make here will align more and explain better as to why Sukuna had to chant “open” to use the fire arrow.
I am still inclined to see a cooking cursed technique for Sukuna, but okay!
Let’s go back to the part where we dissected the kanji for Sukuna’s Malevolent Shrine. I said that the kanji 廚子 (tzushi) translates to “chef” or a “cook”. However, in the context of Buddhism, 廚子 refers to a specific type of cabinet or a storage space which is used to store items.
What’s more interesting? They are often placed in temples or other sacred spaces, LIKE A SHRINE!!
You get where I am going with this right? Nope?
Okay, we know Sukuna’s cursed technique is called a shrine. What’s the one thing that everyone does at a shrine, other than praying ofcourse? Well, I am referring to making offerings.
An offer he can’t refuse:
Sukuna was a sorcerer who was feared back in the day. And people dreaded finding themselves in his bad books. We quite literally see an exhibition of this behavior during one of Yorozu’s flashbacks in JJK chapter 219.
What if their way of appeasing Sukuna, back during the Heian era, was to make him offerings?
It has been established in the JJK manga that the only thing that Sukuna respects is power. And for someone who appreciates power, or jujutsu to be more precise, what could be a better offering than a cursed technique.
These cursed techniques could be stored in the cabinet at the shrine.
So, for Sukuna to use these cursed techniques that have been offered to him, he’ll have to chant “open”. I mean, this is the closest I could get to Sukuna’s Open technique.
However, I’m just painting a vivid visual picture here. There is technically no literal box that can hold a cursed technique now, is there? I mean even the shrine is the construct of his innate domain.
So where exactly are these cursed techniques getting stored? That brings us back to the brain and the cursed techniques.
Brain as a Black box:
Well, whatever cursed techniques are being offered to Sukuna should be stored in his brain. Because, for sorcerers, that’s where cursed techniques are engraved.
This would be the perfect time to recall what Kusakabe said about the part of the brain which stores the cursed techniques – a black box.
Now you might jump and say that Sukuna literally said Black Box Open. But I’d like to point out that black box is just used to imply that the working of this part of the brain is unknown to a normal sorcerer.
However, Sukuna isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill sorcerer. He is literally described as a God by Kashimo in chapter 225, when it came to cursed energy efficiency and switching between cursed techniques.
While Gojo has Six Eyes to help him with the efficiency of cursed energy expenditure, Sukuna is doing it all on his own, even if it isn’t as effective as Gojo. That speaks volumes about the King of Curses’ skills.
In order to have such mastery over CE and CT, Sukuna should have understood the connection between the brain and cursed techniques in depth. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he knew how this “black box” part of the brain worked.
This knowledge probably allowed him to store multiple cursed techniques other than his own.
What if, by chanting “open” Sukuna is actually opening up a part of the brain in order to extract/use the cursed technique. Another hint that supports this hypothesis is Sukuna’s dialogue with Jogo.
When he uses flames, Sukuna claims that a cursed spirit wouldn’t be aware of it. Now, I am assuming here that Sukuna was referring to the “open” technique, which could be plausible because Akutami had stated in a recent chapter that the brains of a human and cursed spirit are essentially different.
Sukuna could be referring to this because their brains probably don’t have a specific location to engrave cursed techniques.
That aside, there are a couple of other possibilities that I wanted to point out in this article. They are not my ideas, but they certainly do make for an interesting read.
The first theory that I wanna point out suggests that Sukuna pulled the Fire Arrow out of the cursed realm. It is actually a very well written theory, and even received a cog of excellence from the Jujutsushi community on Reddit.
The second post I want you to check out describes how Sukuna’s Shrine could be based on Nuclear Fusion. Now, it might sound a bit reaching, but still, it makes for a good read. So do go through it once.
The last theory which I feel holds some water revolves around his appearance with four hands and two faces and the kodoku ritual. There is a popular assumption in the fandom that Sukuna ate his twin brother, and that his cursed technique could have come from that.
What are your thoughts on Sukuna’s fire arrow and open technique? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!