This weekend, MAPPA studios wows audiences worldwide with Jujutsu Kaisen 0, a prequel film from the widely popular Jujutsu Kaisen series. Fans of the series will be pleased to see familiar faces along with a couple new ones combined with a slightly different vibe from the anime and let me tell you, you will LOVE it!
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 follows Yuta Okkotsu, a nervous high school student, who enrolls in the mysterious Tokyo Jujutsu High School under the guidance of Satoru Gojo. Gojo encourages Yuta’s enrollment because he is being haunted by the curse of his childhood friend Rika Orimoto, who died in a car accident when they were children. At Jujutsu High School, Yuta meets his classmates, Maki Zen’in, Toge Inumaki, and Panda, as well as finally finding his own determination.
Meanwhile, the vile curse user, Suguru Geto, who was expelled from the school for massacring ordinary people, appears before Yuta and the others. He unleashes a thousand curses upon Shinjuku and Kyoto to exterminate all non-sorcerers. As Yuta continues his own training and self-discovery, he and the others need to find a way to stop Geto before irreparable damage is done and countless lives are lost.
The opening scene of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 sets the tone of this story with a morbid and disturbing sequence. Yuta is being bullied and cornered by thugs in a classroom and we hear him telling them not to come closer. He calls out Rika’s name and the next thing you know, a supernatural monster comes up behind the bully and attacks him. Immediately following that, we see Yuta sitting in the fetal position constantly repeating “I’m sorry”, with a look of shock across his eyes.
The bullies suffered grave injuries and were stuffed in a locker as their blood begins pooling out of it. The locker slowly opens, revealing a nasty cursed being, who we find out is Rika. So far this is pretty much the same vibe as those familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen are used to. It begins to change up a little when we are introduced to Yuta and Rika and their relationship.
For six years, Yuta has been followed by Rika’s curse like a dark cloud hovering over him. Every time someone attempts to hurt him though, Rika comes out to attack them. It shows how much she loved (loves?) him even in this state of being. Because of this, however, many people have gotten hurt/killed and Yuta himself wanted to die from the guilt. As we see later, Gojo finds Yuta’s bent knife, which Yuta used to try and kill himself with but was stopped by Rika.
Gojo convinces him to come to Jujutsu High and at first, he’s afraid and not confident. Gojo encourages him to use his curse for good and the way he learns how to do it was great in and of itself. As his training progresses he becomes a lot stronger mentally and physically, with a better understanding of his situation, which helps him greatly in the end. The sheer power of the love between him and Yuta is what sets Jujutsu Kaisen 0 apart from the series. I believe this added a great mix of romance and “sci-fi” (for lack of a better word…) successfully.
Yuta’s character design gave me major L vibes from Death Note, what with the spiky black hair, bags under his eyes, and the way he crouches. But the two are quite different personality-wise. I couldn’t help but sympathize with Yuta the entire movie, especially in the beginning. As someone who has also struggled with finding their purpose and navigating trauma, it struck a chord.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 did a great job with character development as we see Yuta come into his own and protect those he cares about. I did feel like a couple of things were left ambiguous with the final battle sequence. But the four-chapter manga most likely filled in those holes. The other battle sequences were incredible as well, especially whenever you saw Gojo (whistle!) in action.
MAPPA studios really flexed with Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and I’m sure anyone who watches this film would agree. Among other things, we see some gorgeously animated flashbacks showing Yuta and Rika having fun with each other and playing at the park. Simultaneously, some battle sequences had some really epic close-up shots of the characters that really gave it that extra impact. Panda’s epic fight is already worth the ticket price.
One specific flashback scene grabbed my attention because of just how crisp and clean it was. It was something so simple as two kids having fun and laughing as they throw water balloons at each other. Thanks to the use of slow-motion, the general fluidity of the characters and the water particles, and the use of a shallow depth of field, it was so visually stunning to me. It was heartbreaking to see the characters’ parallels of what used to be and what unfortunately has become. With the ending as touching and bittersweet as it was, it made me want to see more.
I am 100% satisfied after watching Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and I know that hardcore fans of the series will enjoy it just as much! I can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts about it. Be sure to check out Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in theaters on March 18th, 2022! Tickets are available now.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Official Trailer
Are you excited for Jujutsu Kaisen 0? Do you watch the anime or read the manga as well? Will you watch subbed or dubbed? Let us know in the comments below and share your reactions with us after you watch the movie on Twitter.