(she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.
I think I’m both terrified and in complete awe of the power of Satoru Gojo fans.
On Tuesday, the popular R&B and pop singer Usher shared a TikTok of himself dressed up as Gojo from the popular anime Jujutsu Kaisen. Usher cosplayed the character not because he’s voiced a particular love of the series before, but because Gojo fans decided to make one of his songs the unofficial theme of the character. For months, fans have been using the track, “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home),” to make viral fan edits of the character and have pled for a Gojo shout-out at Usher’s upcoming Super Bowl halftime performance. Apparently all the internet chatter worked, because we now live in a world where Usher has cosplayed Gojo from Jujutsu Kaisen.
You can view the video below. It shows a clip of Gojo using one of his powers and then an image of Usher dressed up like him and posed in a similar way. (Here is where I warn you that Usher actually spoiled a plot point of the manga, so please avoid the video if you care about that.)
Since its anime release in 2020, Jujutsu Kaisen has become a major culture force in the world of anime and beyond. The manga the show is based on became a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and one of its characters, Satoru Gojo, managed to wiggle his way into nearly every facet of various internet trends. He inspired several viral meme trends and even has had his voice become a viral audio. A lot of people like to share shitposts with the character, but fans also just love to thirst over him. A simple clip showing a video of him breathing in a season 2 trailer got more than 20.4 million views on TikTok.
Gojo is just really, really loved. So much so that people have even built monuments dedicated to him.
So when Gojo fans decided to make Usher’s song, “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home),” the unofficial theme of Gojo, it almost felt like a matter of time until the musician took note of the fandom. Popular fan edits of Gojo set to this song have gotten more than 4.7 million and 8.7 million views. Once Usher was announced to be the headlining performer at the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show, fans begged for a Gojo acknowledgment in the comments of Usher’s videos and even started a petition asking the singer to perform “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)” at the event.
Fan obsession with Gojo and Usher has only intensified. Fans scoured Usher’s new work for any and all possible Gojo references. In one instance, some people noted a moment in the music video for “Standing Next to You” with K-pop idol Jungkook where it sounds like Usher says the name “Gojo.” We don’t know for sure if that moment was a nod to Jujutsu Kaisen fans, but at least we know now that the musician has noticed such fans. It has only fueled further speculation that Usher could include some sort of nod to the character during the Super Bowl performance.
It’s not all that uncommon for internet fandoms to latch onto specific songs and associate them with particular characters. In another case, the Banana Fish and Jujutsu Kaisen fandoms decided to “claim” songs by musician Ricky Montgomery and used them to make edits featuring their favorite character ships. The viral clips had a tangible effect on Montgomery’s career and anime fans helped contribute to the viral success of their music. In the case of Usher, the anime trends were enough to get one of America’s most beloved R&B and pop artists to notice a bunch of feral fans.