As a big Jujutsu Kaisen anime fan, I had to see this movie after enjoying the show immensely. While the film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is a prequel to the show and does not follow the upbeat protagonist from the show, Yuji Itadori, it still helped answer some questions pertaining to certain mysterious characters while expanding more on characters we already love. Even though I have already read the one manga volume the movie is based on, it still offered a lot of excitement that amplified the black-and-white pages to a stunning, action-filled thriller.
The story revolves around a shy 16-year-old boy named Yuta Okkutsu who is plagued by Rika Orimoto’s cursed spirit—his close childhood friend who died in a tragic accident six years prior. Rika defends Yuta but viciously harmed his attackers, which is where the jujutsu sorcerer, Satoru Gojo steps in to bring Yuta to learn to control Rika at Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School. Other student sorcerers at the school, Panda, Maki Zenin, and Toge Inumaki try to train and help Yuta develop his skills as well—while Satoru protects Yuta from an evil sorcerer named Suguru Geto who wants Yuta’s hidden power.
This is one of the rare cases where the movie has given its audiences a lot more than the novel’s contents—particularly with the action sequences. For a film adaptation that only has one volume to get reference material, the action scenes were limited in the books, whereas the film expanded and filled in the gaps that the readers missed in between the two final fight scenes. It also played very well for those who have finished the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen with some special cameo appearances, not shown in the book.
The music in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 hit on another level, especially with the final fight scene between Yuta and Suguru. The intro music was a nice balance of rock and sombre moods which really summed up the film well, as the mystery behind Rika’s cursed was revealed progressively, and as Yuta levelled up his skills with training with the other Jujutsu High team members.
“This is one of the rare cases where the movie has given its audiences a lot more than the novel’s contents—particularly with the action sequences.”
More on the fight scenes, I felt like the camera work was phenomenal in both finale fight environments. I think MAPPA has found their footing with the experience of multidimensional fights as they have shown in the final season of Attack on Titan. While there are softer animation tones in fights like in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 presented an edgier, rougher style that I believe blends the muddiness of this film with both happy tones and really bloody ones.
For example, whenever Yuta remembered his time with Rika as kids, the animation was crystal clear, very bright and vivid with a rainbow of colours versus the present time that was animated drearier with lots of dark undertones and crimson red and heavy black shading. I thought the storytelling through colours helped these scenes contrast with one another and displayed a lot of the human psyche for Yuta’s character as we saw his past through his mind.
One of the biggest questions I had was, how does this story fit into the TV show’s plot as the protagonist in this film had not appeared in Season 1 (or Cour 1 and 2)? While I cannot say for certain, I hope to see some reference to Yuta in some way in the anime series as his jujutsu power level was around the same as Yuji’s, minus the athletic prowess. Definitely stick around to the post-credits for a nice potential tease for a hint at Season 2 though.
“Jujutsu Kaisen 0 presented an edgier, rougher style that I believe blends the muddiness of this film with both happy tones and really bloody ones.”
As I have mentioned briefly on my opinion of dubbed anime from the Crunchyroll and Funimation merger news, the dubbed version of this film did not disappoint. I thought Kayleigh McKee (Genshin Impact) did a great job bringing out Yuta’s playful and fighting voice out. And Kaiji Tang (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba), who voiced Satoru did an awesome job nailing the sarcasm and comedic notes for the film. Those two voice actors stood out to me as they are two important characters for the film—some lines were a bit corny, but it still made me chuckle.
Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 brought the same fighting, action levels the anime had delivered and ratcheted it up a couple notches. I would have loved to see more development of Yuta’s powers as he showed off some spells that the audience did not learn he could do from the training scenes. I was really hoping the film could expand the Jujutsu High School members training with Yuta more as the book also glossed over this and then Yuta suddenly does something out of the blue.
Otherwise, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 did a lot of things to keep the pacing upbeat. Even when there were no fights on-screen, the jokes and teases were there to keep me interested and laughing. While Jujutsu Kaisen 0 served as a prequel story to the show after the fact, I think audiences who have not seen the show can watch this as great entry point and for those who have followed the anime will be in for a treat. If you love action, gore, and heartwarming moments, this anime film could be for you. I cannot wait to rewatch this movie over and over when it will eventually be available on Crunchyroll!