Jujutsu Kaisen’s Nobara & Maki CRUSH Society’s Expectations

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 17 of Jujutsu Kaisen, "Kyoto Sister School Exchange Event - Group Battle 3," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

There are few things better in anime than when a character gets to prove the world wrong -- and Jujutsu Kaisen's Episode 17 delivers that for two standout sorcerers. As Jujutsu Tech's Exchange Event continues to pit its Tokyo students against those from Kyoto, the action doesn't disappoint. Featuring two fights -- Nobara vs. Nishimiya and Maki vs. Mai -- both sorcerers from Tokyo demonstrate their fearsome abilities while disproving some of Jujutsu society's unfair expectations.

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While the results in their respective fights don't go the same way, Nobara and Maki showed fans exactly what you could expect to see from them in the future, and it's exciting.

Nobara Kugisaki's Infectious Confidence

As Nobara uses her hammer to launch Cursed Energy infused nails at Nishimiya Momo, it seems as though the agile Kyoto sorcerer is in control of the fight. While Nobara continues firing, Nishimiya critiques her for believing that the essential aspect of being a Jujutsu Sorcerer is strength. She explains that women in Jujutsu society are expected to strive for perfection, saying, "Even if they are strong, women have to be cute, or they'll be undervalued."

The tide turns in Nobara's favor after she starts detonating all the nails she had been firing at Nishimiya, which gives her the chance to use her Straw Doll Technique to gain the upper hand fully. Nobara rebukes the expectations Nishimiya says they work under, exclaiming, "I love myself when I'm being strong." Nobara's confidence, technique and desire to stick up for her friends all prove she's an exciting sorcerer and character to keep an eye on. Unfortunately, Mai Zenin interferes at the last moment, knocking Nobara out before she can finish Nishimiya.

A Zenin Sister Reunion

While Maki's clash with her twin sister Mai takes the lion's share of attention for its emotional ramifications, she also fought Miwa in an incredibly entertaining brawl. Her superhuman strength, fighting style and prowess with weapons put Maki in an entirely different league than Miwa. After defeating Miwa -- and taking her sword -- Maki confronts her sister Mai, and we see why there is such animosity between them.

As kids, Maki and Mai were unfairly judged by their family for a perceived lack of talent since neither of them inherited the Zenin family Jujutsu Technique. Maki's inability to see Curses without glasses or use Cursed Energy and Mai's fear and complete disinterest in being a sorcerer left them as outsiders in their own family. However, the two went in different directions, with Maki aiming to prove her strength and worth, while Mai was dragged into doing the same and resented her sister for leaving.

Maki's Determination Against Her Family

With years of pent up frustration, Mai looks to take her sister on and calls her out for leading them both down the path of Jujutsu sorcery. Armed with a gun, Mai fires shots at Maki and uses her Construction technique to create an additional bullet to catch her sister by surprise. Still, Maki catches the bullet and defeats Mai, who tearily asks her why she left. While they promised always to stay together, Maki reveals that she would have hated herself if she let the Zenin family continue putting her down.

Sadly, it seems like there will need to be a few more family feuds before Jujutsu Kaisen's Maki and Mai can make amends, but the twin sisters each proved themselves capable fighters. And with the Cursed Spirits' sights set on Jujutsu Tech, all the students -- from both Tokyo & Kyoto -- will need to put aside their difference if they hope to stand a chance.

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