A lot of people think that cliché = bad. And they’re not entirely wrong. When a story is comprised of nothing but clichés, it can get very tedious and boring. But if those clichés are executed well, it doesn’t matter that they’re cliché. Quality is what matters, not originality.
This is part of what makes Jujutsu Kaisen so much fun to watch. The story isn’t especially original or complex, nor are the characters within that story. But the execution is so solid and sharp that diamonds look like wet paper in comparison! Everyone is so likable and fun that it’s hard not to immediately get attached to them, even if they are basically just shounen archetypes.
And king of them all is everyone’s favorite man of culture: Aoi Todo.
This dude is a perfect wild card. In any given scene, he can be fulfilling a different role. He could be an intimidating threat for our heroes. He could be a comforting ally. He could just be a fun moron that makes you crack a smile. The dude can go from one to the other as effortlessly as we breathe.
Everybody loves this dude. If you ask someone who their favorite Jujutsu Kaisen character is, there’s a good chance that they’ll answer with Todo. Which is an odd choice, considering that pretty much every other character in this world hates the dude!
So, what’s the deal? Why do we love this big idiot so much?
First, let’s establish what we know about Todo. He’s a gigantic motherfucker, packing enough power in every muscle to fuck up even the strongest enemies without using cursed energy. The dude has very particular taste in women and uses that as a judge of one’s character. This is where his stupidity and silly attitude shine through the most; depending on one’s answer, he’ll either beat them senseless or start acting like they’ve been best buddies for ages. However, in combat, he’s an absolute genius, one that few are willing to even bother trying to fight. As for his backstory, that’s still mostly a mystery to us (no manga spoilers, please). All we know is that some woman showed up and turned his world upside down.
When Todo is first introduced, he’s got ‘antagonist’ written all over him. He shoves his fist so far up Fushigoro’s ass that the poor kid becomes his sock puppet. Not to mention how everyone is intimidated by his power, even if he himself is a moron.
So, when he first attacks Itadori, you expect that to be the big battle of the arc. And for a few episodes, it is! And it’s awesome!
But then Todo asks a simple question. And Itadori gives an equally simple answer.
From there, Todo’s role shifts from that of an antagonist to something more akin to a mentor. He goes against the others from his school, actively defending and teaching Itadori. Then, when shit gets wild, they team up to face off against one of the most powerful enemies the series has introduced so far.
All because they both like tall girls with a big ass.
It’s hard not to love Todo. He’s basically a more perverted shounen protagonist; as dumb as a brick but a genius of combat. He perfectly balances intimidation with comedy. Plus, from the few hints we got, it’s clear that there’s a hidden depth to him that will undoubtedly be a blast to uncover.
That, or it’ll be a horrifying nightmare. There is no middle ground with Jujutsu Kaisen. It’s one or the other.