The highly anticipated Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie hit theaters in the USA on the third weekend of March 2022. The film covers the events that take place in the prequel volume of the manga, which predates the beginning of Itadori Yuji's adventure into the world of curses.
Fans around the globe have been anxiously waiting to see an animated rendition of Okkotsu Yuta, the character that Gege Akutami originally intended to be the protagonist of the wildly popular series.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Movie review
Despite being a Japanese film, there is no shortage of American fans lining up to see Jujutsu Kaisen 0. I purchased tickets to see the movie with a small group of friends online. Even five days before the Saturday night showing that we sought, seats were sold out in venues all around. We ended up choosing a theater 30 minutes away just to get decent seats. Before the film started and the lights went off, almost every single seat was taken. From my spot in the top row, I spotted a teenager scouring the room for an open recliner. He ended up sitting on the stairs!
As the opening scene ended and Gojo's voice (Yuichi Nakamura) came through the speakers, a quiet excitement rumbled over the crowd. For the first time in a year, we were watching fresh Jujutsu Kaisen animation. I was extremely pleased to see Okkotsu Yuta animated alongside his fellow first-year students, Maki, Panda, and Toge.
The scenes are fluid and engaging. One of my favorite moments was when Yuta was introduced to his fellow first-years. The shy, vulnerable young man takes one step into the class, and the presence of his cursed energy overwhelms the room. This scene (shown above) was nicely done in the manga. The movie, however, does it better.
Watching Yuta and his classmates fight was quite satisfying. Additionally, it was great to see Gojo, Mei Mei, Nanami, Takuma, and the antagonist Geto in action. I wish that I could watch the animation of Gojo using Reversed Cursed Technique: Red on repeat.
Viewers were also treated to quick cameos from the Kyoto School's characters who appeared in the Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc. Everybody (including me) shamelessly clapped and cheered when Todo appeared on screen.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 follows a pace comparable to Season 1 of the anime. It was disappointing to sit through flashbacks that referenced scenes that had happened just 10 minutes prior. Considering that most Jujutsu Kaisen 0 moviegoers are fans of the series, it felt wildly unnecessary to spoonfeed the audience information that they had already learned, most likely before even stepping into the theater. I feel that the time spent on flashbacks could have been better used to provide us with more of the top-tier fight scenes that made us fall in love with the series.
Redundancy aside, the story moved along at about the same speed as the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 manga.
Every time that I watched Season 1 of the anime, I was taken over by an eerie feeling of ominous hopelessness. The scene shown above is one example of a moment where the situation looked grim.
Such feelings are a reality for any sorcerer (other than Gojo) when coming into contact with a cursed spirit. The world of Jujutsu is supposed to be malicious and unforgiving. Yet, many times throughout Jujutsu Kaisen 0, I felt oddly at ease. Even when the Tokyo School's first-year students were backed into a corner by Geto, the feeling of impending doom was largely absent.
I can't quite put my finger on why this film lacked the creepy presence that many of us love about Jujutsu Kaisen. However, this detail was troubling to me because Yuta's tale is one of the darker origin stories of the JJK cast.
The story of Yuta and Rika was beautifully depicted in Jujutsu Kaisen 0. The contrast between the unwilling sorcerer and his terrifying cursed spirit is captured perfectly by studio MAPPA and director Sunghoo Park. Everyone involved in this production did well to deliver a satisfying experience for anime fans worldwide. For those who have watched and read all the series' published content, there is nothing new to learn from watching Jujutsu Kaisen 0. However, there is a reason why so many manga are adapted into anime: Nothing beats a well-animated fight scene written by a top-tier mangaka like Gege Akutami.
With a number already in mind, I walked out of the theater and asked my friends how they would rate Jujutsu Kaisen 0. The responses ranged from seven to eight. One of my friends had already seen the movie and was back to enjoy it a second time. At the time, I felt that the film deserved a six out of ten. Satisfying and enjoyable, but leaving something to be desired. After a night's sleep, I think that a seven out of ten is more appropriate.
Perhaps I am being very critical because I am such a huge fan of the series. I wanted my mind to be blown, and it wasn't. That being said, I highly recommend that every Jujutsu Kaisen fan watch this movie. You don't want to miss out on the expertly animated fight scenes.
If you are reading this before seeing the film, I am here to tell you that there is indeed a brief post-credit scene. Without giving away too much, the moment depicts Yuta meeting with another sorcerer in a foreign country preparing to train. This should give fans hope of seeing more of the character when Season 2 of the anime releases in 2023.
Q. Who do you prefer as a protagonist?
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