The general consensus among Jujutsu Kaisen fans revolves around a character who hasn’t been seen in the story for around 2 years. Nobara Kugisaki was last seen getting her eye blown out by Mahito, before being carted out of Shibuya, half dead.
Since then, not a word of the girl was said. The only few times her name is said is in passing, and in the two years she was gone, it wasn’t very often. This brings out the question; what truly happened to Nobara Kugisaki?
Is she dead? Is she alive? What happened to one of anime’s best shonen girls?
The consensus as of right now is that she is very much alive. Whether it is because fans do not want to lose one of their favorite characters, or because there is much logic behind her “death,” we do not know.
But there is a lot of evidence behind the fact that she is not indeed dead. Quite a bit.
So, here let’s start at the beginning.
I am not going to run through the entirety of the Shibuya arc because it’s quite long and kind of confusing, even for me. So let’s start right after Nanami’s death. Rest in Peace to that dear soul.
We watch Itadori see the final few moments of Kentaro Nanami’s life before he is blasted apart of Mahito.
And from here, we watch Itadori being the sole opponent of Mahito, that is until Nobara arrives. Nobara, who was told by Nanami not to engage the enemy, decided to ignore his orders anyways. Stating that she cannot leave her friends alone fighting such deadly adversaries. So she rushes back in and comes across Mahito engaged in a fight with Itadori. She quickly joins in, using her cursed energy to take advantage of the situation. Effectively catching Mahito off guard.
Thinking he is no longer a threat, she lets her guard down, a mistake that proved to be… well I can’t quite say it was fatal. But it was a dire mistake nevertheless.
Mahito, all of a sudden, begins to run away. His double (a clone of himself he made) runs away too. One is chased by Itadori, and the next is chased by Nobara. When suddenly, they run past each other. Having her guard down, Mahito runs towards Nobara and slaps her in the face with his hand. His cursed energy flowed into her face. We then get a flashback, the kind that makes most manga readers go “oh shoot, they are dead now.” All before we see her eyes get blasted from her face.
That’s the synopsis.
Why Nobara Kugisaki will return
But let’s stop for a second. And rewind to her flashback. This is the first major flashback we receive for the character. Why would Akutami suddenly give us her flashback just as he “kills off” Nobara? He gave us a motive for her coming to Tokyo and so many unanswered questions. Why give us all these questions if he didn’t plan to answer them? A half-baked backstory for a character as beloved as Nobara would never work nicely with fans. So it must mean that Akutami has an idea of what to do about her backstory, an idea that would most likely include Nobara. Owing to the fact no one else but her knows about Saori.
Now, let’s quickly fast-forward to chapter 127 shortly after Arata and Todo arrive. Arata uses her technique to heal his injuries. She then says that she did the same thing for Nobara, saying, and I quote:
“I’ve done the same for the girl over there. Let’s just say it’s not a 0 percent chance she’ll survive. It’s not a 0 percent chance ok?! But please don’t get your hopes up.”
It would be unlikely for Akutami to give us this piece of information like this after we had just witnessed the death of a beloved character. It could quite be that he is bringing up our hopes for a return of the character. Why else would he do something… so cruel. Then again, this is JJK we are talking about. Part of the “Dark Shonen Trio.” But Akutami seems to be the kind of guy to do things for a particular reason. So I highly doubt he included it to mock us.
But there is also the fact that we haven’t heard anything about the girl in around 2 years now. We have no confirmation of her death or any other word of her. She seems to disappear into the void as the story progresses. We are around 100 chapters later and very few mentions of her by any of the characters were said.
Her disappearance and lack of presence in the story in any way by itself would be odd. But the same thing happened to another character.
Gojo Satoru was imprisoned in the prison realm, coincidentally having been released only a few weeks ago. Fans have waited just as long for Gojo’s reappearance as they have Nobara’s. Now he is back, but Nobara is not. During the time he was gone, much like Nobara, not much was said about the man. Save for other characters mentioning his power and the fact he is missing in battle. No real word of what happened to him in the manga for a few years, and then he returned. What’s the say the same cannot be said for Nobara.
Let’s take all of this evidence together and ask the question. Why would we be introduced to Nobara’s backstory, given a sense of hope at the words of the Kyoto girl if she were not to return? Why would two characters be missing for long periods of time if there is no ulterior motive?