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Gorilla Warfare – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Sixteen) – Season’s Writings

Stronger than the av-er-age bear.

Panda isn’t a panda. Just thought you should know that, you know, in case you paid no attention to the dialogue in this episode. On account of it reiterating that point. A lot. Also, Panda transforms into a gorilla/panda hybrid—which is a pretty big clue that he isn’t a regular panda. Well, that and the whole able-to-speak thing. Regardless, Panda ain’t no joke; pummelling Mechamaru up and down the forest, before finishing the bout on some (now busted up) rooftops. In addition to learning just how powerful Panda is, this fight also grants us insight into him as a character. Born through sorcery, Panda houses three cores within himself—“siblings” who lend him power and the ability to alter his form—unlike the singular core found within other cursed corpses (that being the blanket term for all beings constructed through sorcery). Panda is also unique in that he has emotions and the ability to to act on them, such as when he shielded Kugisaki from Mechamaru’s attack and also got sad when Mechamaru likened him to a puppet. Speaking of Mechamaru…

That guy has…complex issues surrounding his person. Apparently beset by a pact forced upon him at birth, Mechamaru (which is the only name we know him by) is blessed with tremendous cursed energy and the ability to control false bodies over tremendous distances. However, said power came at the cost of his right arm, all feeling below his waist, and skin so frail that it burns in moonlight and constantly feels as if needles are piercing it. So…yeah. A bit of a darker turn than “being a panda”, but still a rather interesting story beat. It was also rather nice to see Panda befriend his opponent and attempt to open Mechamaru’s eyes to the better aspects of his life—namely his comrades who treat him just as they do each other. I mean, I totally get why the guy in constant pain isn’t the happiest guy on the planet, but I hope Panda’s words help the guy. I also hope that the irony of Panda trying to help Mechamaru’s true self whilst simultaneously tearing his false body into pieces doesn’t negatively effect anything. ‘Cause, like, Mechamaru did all that explaining about his ravaged body…then Panda ripped his arm off…then slapped him out of commission. Though, Mechamaru did shoot Panda’s siblings in their souls; maybe they’re even? Regardless, I know two things for sure: Panda isn’t a panda, and anime is weird as heck.

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