Being one of the strongest characters in Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s only natural that Ryomen Sukuna’s Domain Expansion would also be one of the strongest domain expansions ever. And that’s exactly the case!
This sinister domain, named “Malevolent Shrine,” resembling a disfigured Buddhist shrine surrounded by skulls of bulls, ominous water, and grotesque entrances, is a chilling sight to behold! Malevolent Shrine’s appearance perfectly matches its name, exuding a malevolence that sets the stage for its devastating power.
Ryomen Sukuna is one of the most popular Jujutsu Kaisen characters and one of the most powerful characters too. He’s only rivaled by Satoru Gojo. Sukuna remained undefeated in his heyday, going from an ordinary human to a cursed spirit that lived on for millennia, eventually becoming known throughout the Jujutsu world as the “King of the Curses.”
Everyone goes on about how strong Sukuna is – him most of all! And his domain expansion really is the summation of all the power he’s cultivated over the years.
In this article, we’ll dive into the details of Sukuna’s Domain Expansion, the Malevolent Shrine, and everything there is to say about it!
What is a Domain Expansion?
If cursed techniques are abilities fueled by cursed energy, a Domain Expansion is the ultimate form of a cursed technique. You create an area and imbue it with your cursed technique. It’s usually a two-step process:
- You create a barrier to trap your opponents
- Then, you infuse that space with your own cursed technique
Domains come with some serious strengths and limitations. On the plus side, being in a Domain gives the user a massive boost in abilities. All techniques within a Domain are guaranteed to hit their targets, regardless of distance!
But, of course, there’s a catch. Domains demand a lot of cursed energy, so very few characters have their own Domain Expansions. Only high-level cursed spirits like Mahito or Dagon can manage it once a day, and that’s already a big deal. Then there’s the mental skill needed; it takes serious creativity and imagination to shape your technique in such a space.
That’s why not everyone can achieve a Domain Expansion; even strong sorcerers like Kento Nanami or Naobito Zenin struggle to picture what their Domain would even look like.
Plus, it would help if you had a surplus of cursed energy to make it happen. Actually, only two human beings have been shown using a Domain Expansion in the anime so far – Satoru Gojo and Megumi Fushiguro – but other powerful sorcerers who are capable of using domain expansions will appear later in the series.
Some special anti-domain techniques have been developed to counter the Domain Expansions’ tricky trapping effect!
There’s the “Simple Domain,” which expands a field around the caster to negate the auto-hit effect. Then, there is the “Falling Blossom Emotion,” a secret technique from certain clans that automatically counters and destroys auto-hit attacks landing on you.
Also, two users can cast their domain expansions simultaneously, and the more powerful and refined one will be cast, as seen during Gojo’s and Jogo’s battle in Jujutsu Kaisen anime’s first season.
Here’s where Sukuna’s Domain Expansion, the Malevolent Shrine, stands out from the rest. Unlike other domain expansions, he doesn’t need a separate space; he can bring his domain into the physical world!
Sukuna’s domain doesn’t actually have any barriers, so you could theoretically just run away if it wasn’t for the fact that it covers a multi-meter radius. Anything within that area is fair game for his auto-hit effect, but we’ll discuss Sukuna’s domain below.
Sukuna’s Domain Expansion: “Malevolent Shrine”
This malevolent domain, fittingly named, erects an environment resembling a deranged Buddhist shrine enshrouded in darkness and adorned with bull-shaped skulls, ominous horns, and grotesque entrances.
But the real horror lies in its guaranteed hit, relentlessly slashing anything and anyone within its radius with two types of deadly attacks – Cleave and Dismantle.
What’s even more chilling is that Sukuna can tailor these attacks to target specific subjects, making his domain an unmatched force against cursed energy users.
As a master of domain expansion, Sukuna’s Malevolent Shrine stands on equal footing with Satoru Gojo’s Unlimited Void, capable of overpowering the vast majority of domains. Sukuna only needed three fingers to demonstrate his prowess by effortlessly cutting a special-grade cursed spirit to pieces in one of the earlier arcs in the story.
The true devastation of the Malevolent Shrine was unleashed during Sukuna’s battle with Mahoraga during the Shibuya Incident arc, decimating Shibuya and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. It struck not only Mahoraga but also innocent civilians, and it also left Toge Inumaki’s arm severed as a grim result.
What makes Sukuna’s domain expansion even more chilling is its unique manifestation, defying the usual “Domain Expansion” logic. While most domains transfer the target to a different space, Malevolent Shrine can manifest in the physical realm.
Instead of trapping opponents within a forcefield, Sukuna’s domain paints the air with its effects through a “binding vow,” creating a colossal domain that spans several meters. However, due to their being a binding vow, Sukuna can expand his domain without closing the barriers only when he creates an escape route within the domain.
The terrifying reality for anyone caught inside is that there’s no escape from the relentless onslaught of Cleave and Dismantle, relentlessly slashing from all sides. It’s basically like a giant blender, and the only way to survive it would be to teleport away from its range as fast as possible.
The Symbolism of Malevolent Shrine:
Sukuna’s domain expansion, Malevolent Shrine, holds intriguing symbolism related to cooking and the deity Yama. Sukuna’s Jujutsu techniques, Dismantle and Cleave, seem to have a connection with the art of cooking.
The depictions of a kitchen knife when explaining Dismantle and Cleave, along with Sukuna’s comments like “I was going for three slices” and “Let’s start with a little taste,” imply the cursed techniques are intertwined with culinary concepts.
The kanji for Malevolent Shrine (伏魔御厨子) has complex meanings in Japanese. It translates to “the toolbox for subjugating (or cooking) opponents,” indicating Sukuna’s intent to wield his domain as a powerful tool to literally butcher his enemies.
Sukuna’s shrine also features wide-open mouths, and the ceiling resembles a ribcage. His true form also features a second mouth on his stomach, reinforcing this cooking and eating theme.
As he expands the domain, Sukuna uses a hand sign resembling Yama (閻魔天), the king of the underworld who rules over death and determines a person’s fate in the afterlife based on their actions in life. This connection with Yama reinforces Sukuna’s fearsome reputation, similar to how Yama also used to be feared by people.
Additionally, Yama and Śakra (帝釈天) are two of the Twelve Deities and the only two deities depicted in Jujutsu Kaisen so far. Their influence on Sukuna’s and Gojo’s hand signs reflects their prominence as the top two in the world. The buffalo skulls found in the Malevolent Shrine might also be another subtle nod to Yama, as he used to ride a water buffalo.
Sukuna’s Domain Expansion, the Malevolent Shrine, is a truly formidable and unique technique in the world of Jujutsu Kaisen. Unlike conventional domains, Sukuna’s approach doesn’t require a separate space; he directly imbues reality with his cursed technique, creating an awe-inspiring display of power.
What sets Sukuna’s Domain Expansion apart is its vast radius; through the “binding vow,” he dramatically increases the Domain’s reach, making every inch of that space a deadly zone. The auto-hit effect within this immense area can shred anything within range, whether living or non-living.
It’s no wonder why Sukuna is revered as the King of Curses, as his Malevolent Shrine stands as a testament to his dominance and serves as a chilling reminder of his overwhelming power on the battlefield, despite him not even having all 20 fingers yet.
Also Read: Why Does Sukuna Like Megumi Fushiguro?