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After a rapid and rousing worldwide reception, JUJUTSU KAISEN becomes the latest anime series to receive the feature film treatment.  Our man with his finger on the pulse of the anime world, Leo Au-Yeung, spells out all the Curses and sorcery in his review of JUJUTSU KAISEN: 0.

Following the success of the 2021 anime series adaptation of JUJUTSU KAISEN, studio MAPPA capitalizes on the hype with the prequel movie, JUJUTSU KAISEN: 0. 

Created by author, Gege Akutami, in the world of JUJUTSU KAISEN, Cursed Energy, which is derived from negative emotions, flows from all living people. Normal people can’t control this energy and gradually develop Curses, which are spiritual creatures that want to harm humanity. Those who can control this energy are strong Curses themselves, and Jujutsu Sorcerers, who take on requests to exorcise them.

We are immediately roped in with an ominous scene about the movie’s main character, Yuta Okkotsu, and the curse of Rika Orimoto. The voice acting of the characters by Ogata Megumi and Hanazawa Kana did this opening scene justice, as we get to see what Yuta’s relationship with Rika is really like. We then cut to Yuta talking to Gojo Satoru, the self-proclaimed “strongest Jujutsu Sorcerer,” and a teacher at Tokyo Metropolitan Jujutsu Technical School (Jujutsu High). Gojo sees the potential that Yuta has to become a powerful Jujutsu sorcerer, and proposes that Yuta become a student at Jujutsu High.

The resemblance of this recruitment is uncanny to how he recruited Yuji Itadori, the main character in the main JUJUTSU KAISEN television series, and they’re both even locked in the same weird room filled with talisman seals. This was both a thrilling and touching opening sequence to give us some backstory on Yuta, and the overall direction the story is heading, coupled with Gojo’s carefree self, living for his own interests.

At this point in time, the only students at Jujutsu High’s Tokyo branch are the first-years, Panda, Maki Zenin, and Toge Inumaki (Who are second-years in the anime series). All of the characters, including Gojo, have slightly different character designs, which I found was a nice touch to show the slightly different moment in time this movie takes place in.

As much potential as Yuta has, he is still subjected to rigorous training to catch up to his peers to learn how to control his cursed energy. Before long, he starts going on missions with them to really learn how to control his cursed powers. We get a first taste of some clean JUJUTSU KAISEN fighting sequences of Yuta, Rika, and the other first-years as they take on a variety of curses in the real world. We also get to see more of Maki’s backstory, which wasn’t talked about much in the series, and this made her an even more relatable and likable character. From these fights and character interactions, the audience gets to see a side of the second years that we don’t see in the main series.

As we learn more about Yuta and Rika, we are also introduced to the antagonist, Geto Suguru, a special-grade Jujutsu sorcerer who rivals even Gojo on paper. We learn about his plan to instill chaos in the Jujutsu world with the “Night Parade of a Hundred Demons,” a threat to release tons of violent curses to attack the people of Japan. Being top-notch Jujutsu sorcerers, both Geto and Gojo’s threats to each other make their scenes that much more intense, because everyone else around them knows how strong they both are.

Fast forward to the eventual clash between the Jujutsu High sorcerers and Geto’s, we see a bunch of characters from the TV series show up, and get some unexpected action screen time, which is a nice touch for appreciative fans of JUJUTSU KAISEN. This certainly includes Gojo himself showing off his combat skills and cursed techniques for good measure, and we also see what Yuta is capable of after all his training.

The movie did a good job of creating a constant feeling that something was going on; whether directly in a fighting scene, or during downtime conversations. The movie gave nods to a bunch of characters from the series both directly and indirectly, which I liked.

Both casual and hardcore JUJUTSU KAISEN fans will love that no expense was spared to animate Gojo when he fights seriously with his cursed techniques and his combat skills, all while capturing the magnificent expressions in his eyes. A smaller intriguing detail comes in a hint that there is a potential way to disrupt Gojo’s cursed techniques, which is very interesting because he’s always claimed that he’s the strongest Jujutsu sorcerer there is. The two end credit songs by King Gnu both fit really well; with one being more hype, and one more emotional, which fit the overall themes of the film.

As action packed and emotional as the movie was, there are still points that could use some improvement. For one, Yuta seems like a pretty generic anime main character: He has a tragic past, is a prodigy coming from a mysterious family, and very quickly taps into his potential through hard work and friendship. I feel like there could have been more depth added to his character to make him more unique, such as including more scenes about how his connection with Rika’s cursed spirit was ravaging the lives of people he knew, and how that affected him. There was only one scene right when the movie began that showed his anguish, and then most of Yuta’s backstory scenes were just happy ones he spent with Rika during their childhood.

Another is with the chronology of the story, which isn’t necessarily the fault of the film. Since this movie is a prequel to the anime television series, which aired last year; as you’re watching you can kind of guess what’s going to happen based on which characters show up here that are also from the show.

Overall, JUJUTSU KAISEN: 0 is a good watch! It’s enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the JUJUTSU KAISEN television episodes, since it’s a prequel, after all, but watching the series does give a lot more context to the movie. JUJUTSU KAISEN: 0 showcases Jujutsu techniques from new characters and characters we’ve seen before, all while providing apt context of the stakes at hand for the parties that are fighting. It has a great mix of character building, plot progression, and fighting sequences, while keeping it casual, funny, and emotional for the audience.

The animation and soundtrack is also very fitting, though perhaps not as great as studio Ufotable’s KIMETSU NO YAIBA: MUGEN TRAIN from last year. This prequel movie is a great time if you enjoyed the main JUJUTSU KAISEN anime, and if you haven’t seen the series it just might encourage you to go watch it.


~ Leo Au-Yeung for The Diva Review
March 15th, 2022



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