Warning: This article contains spoilers for Jujutsu Kaisen manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Eight-Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General Mahoraga (that was a mouthful) is the strongest Shikigami that a Ten Shadows Technique user can summon. In fact, it is so strong that no previous Ten Shadows user has been able to tame him according to Megumi.
Till now, we have only seen Mahoraga’s powers in bits and pieces, with most of its display coming during its fight with Sukuna at Shibuya in Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 118. The second time it was summoned, it finished off the opponent (Yorozu) with a single blow.
The way Mahoraga fought with Sukuna in Shibuya, and the ease with which it was able to destroy Yorozu’s perfect sphere has led a lot of people to assume that the shikigami might be one of the strongest out there after the likes of Sukuna and Gojo.
However, before we come to that conclusion, we need to get a better understanding of Mahoraga’s powers. And that is where the difficult part comes in.
Till now Akutami has not set any rules in stone when it comes to Mahoraga’s technique. There is an overall rule governing the shikigami’s strength, but rest all is very subjective. And so, while we take a look at what we know, we’ll also try to get a better grasp of Mahoraga’s powers!
What are Mahoraga’s powers in Jujutsu Kaisen:
There are two defining attributes of Mahoraga’s powers that make it so strong- the eight spoke wheel and the “Sword of Extermination”. While we don’t know the specifics of the cursed technique, the fight with Sukuna gave us enough information.
The Wheel and the ability to adapt:
Attached to its head, the wheel is crucial to this shikigami.
The wheel is said to be inspired by the Dharmachakra from Buddhism; because symbolically, when the Dharmachakra turns (known as turning of the wheel), a great and revolutionary change with universal consequences is said to have taken place.
This is very similar to how the turning of the wheel on Mahoraga’s head allows it to adapt to any sort of situation.
This means that not only can the Mahoraga easily adapt to whatever situation or scene you put it in, but also learn the opponent’s moves and counter it. Each time the wheel turned, Mahoraga adapted to the situation and is now only stronger.
The first time the wheel on Mahoraga’s head turned, the shikigami healed itself. And the second time it is able to adapt to Sukuna’s dismantle and even counter it.
Dismantle is Sukuna’s basic technique of slashing the opponent. With his power and energy, it is impressive that Mahoraga not only dodged it but learnt how to deflect it. Sukuna notices that Mahoraga can “see” his cursed technique and where the slashes will manifest.
However, there are some information gaps when it comes to this ability to adapt. We don’t know for sure if it adapts to a particular attack/cursed technique or the phenomenon itself. For instance, when Mahoraga adapted to Dismantle, did it adapt to slashing attacks in general?
Considering how the Divine General came out alive from Sukuna’s Malevolent Shrine, which used Cleave on anything inside the domain with cursed energy, many assumed it had adapted to slashing attacks in general rather than just Dismantle.
To top it off, the official translation of chapter 118, also quotes Sukuna saying it adapts to phenomena, and not a particular Cursed Technique.
Mahoraga can only adapt to a phenomena when it is completely done facing it. Both times the wheel on Mahoraga’s head turned, it was after the shikigami was done facing Sukuna’s attack.
However, questions are raised once again as to how it survived Malevolent Shrine, was it healing itself while being cut down incessantly, or did it tank the damage and then adapt to the scenario.
Sukuna turning the wheel:
In chapter 217, Sukuna summons just the wheel from Mahoraga, and uses it during the fight with Yorozu. By doing so, I’m pretty sure he was testing if he could make the Mahoraga adapt to Yorozu’s cursed technique, even without it being summoned completely.
And based on what we saw, Mahoraga had adapted to Yorozu’s cursed technique and domain. If the Shikigami can be used in such ways, then the Ten Shadows will indeed be a technique that is hard to take down. No wonder Sukuna went for Megumi’s body!
However, an important question remains. By partially summoning just the wheel and placing it on top of his head, did Sukuna too adapt to Yorozu’s technique, or does this power belong to just Mahoraga?
That said, let’s move on to the next major aspect of Mahoraga’s powers, which is the sword attached to its hand.
The Sword of Extermination:
The Sword of Extermination is a blade that is attached to Mahoraga’s right hand and generally covered in positive energy. Against a normal cursed spirit, the weapon would prove fatal. The sword seems useful in close ranged combats which managed to give the King of Curses trouble!
However, Mahoraga’s powers also allow it to imbue the Sword of Extermination with cursed energy instead of positive energy. This is tied in with the shikigami’s ability to adapt to a particular scenario. Seeing that Sukuna was not affected by the positive energy imbued sword, it adapted to the situation and decided to go ahead with cursed energy.
Now, I mentioned above that the wheel on Mahoraga’s head could be inspired by the Dharmachakra in Buddhism, however, it could also be Akutami’s way of depicting the wheel in the Eight-Handled-Sword, which is the sacred treasure (of Japan) on which Mahoraga is based.
It’s an amalgamation of sorts.
The Eight-handled-sword, or the Kusanagi no Tsurugi, is one of the three imperial regalia of Japan. The sword was obtained in the fourth tail of Yamata No Orochi, which it was being slaughtered by Susanoo.
In some myths and legends the sword is believed to be able to cut through the heavens. After the sword was passed on to Yamato Takeru, a legendary prince from the Yamato Dynasty, he is said to have used it to cut blades of flaming grass, and direct the fire towards his enemies during an assassination attempt.
Going by the mythology angle, it is possible that there is more to the Sword of Extermination than what meets the eye.
If I were to put on a tinfoil hat, then I’d theorize that the Blade of Extermination (退魔 literally translates to exorcism or conquering evil) could also nullify cursed techniques. But then, it probably would not work like Angel’s innate technique, which ‘extinguishes’ other cursed techniques. Maybe Mahoraga being able to exterminate/exorcise techniques is what completes it’s adapting process to any phenomena!
For instance, take how Mahoraga destroyed Yorozu’s perfect sphere. He struck it with the Sword of Extermination, once Sukuna had used the wheel to adapt to her technique.
However, if you were to consider the fact that Mahoraga (Makora-Taisho) in mythology is one of the twelve divine generals who were guarding the Medicine Buddha (Bhaisajyaguru), so could it mean that its attack are primarily positive energy based? I’m just ranting here, don’t mind me!
What are your thoughts on Mahoraga’s powers in Jujutsu Kaisen? Let me know in the comments below!