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‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ Is A Moving Spectacle That Further Explores The Beloved Jujutsu World – Review

Negative emotions can have lasting consequences. Jujutsu Kaisen takes this idea to a whole new level, with negative energy conjuring up “curses” (apparitions that torment people in shadows). Only a certain amount of people can see these curses and even fewer can control their cursed energy to battle them. This concept is the starting block for the mega-hit anime series created by Gege Akutami. 

The manga quickly flew off the shelves, and the anime, produced by MAPPA, blew audiences away. The first season became an instant classic. The combination of mind-blowing animation and truly captivating storytelling drew in a large audience; many of who only occasionally watch anime. 

This success posed the very important question of “What’s next?” Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was announced right before the season one finale aired. The movie was said to be a prequel to the events of the first season, so no Yuji Itadori. Instead, the story would focus on Yuta Okkotsu, the second-year sorcerer who was teased quite heavily in the first season. Megumi said he was the only second year he openly respected, and the almighty Todo mentioned that he was the only student capable of keeping up with him. The teases were exciting, as audiences hoped to one day meet this game-changing character. As a Jujutsu fan myself, I was all in. Movies based on current popular anime series are more and more successful over these past few years. The My Hero Academia movies always drew in a significant audience, but the real example of this formula working was Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – the Movie, which has become the highest-grossing anime film of all time, surpassing 500 million worldwide. The film also proved a hit with American audiences, becoming the most successful foreign-language debut in U.S. box office history. This goes to show that the idea behind a Jujutsu Kaisen movie comes from a tried and true formula. 

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 follows the spirit of the anime series, but further adds to the intrigue and story. Staying on the same sound wave as the anime, the movie is equal parts moving, dazzling, and riveting. We open the story of Yuta Okkotsu, a young boy haunted by his childhood crush, Rika Orimoto, who has been transformed into a special grade spirit, dedicated to protecting Yuta at all costs. This has led to tragic events at his school, as Yuta remains helpless to control the rage of Rika. The Jujutsu council steps in with a simple solution–execute Yuta and protect the world from the wrath of Rika, but just like in the series, Gojo steps in to save a cursed child. Gojo promises the higher-ups to train Yuta and keep the vengeful spirit in check. Gojo Satoru is a character that truly believes in helping the next generation. He embodies the modern Sensei role, as a mentor who sees the troubled, the lost, and the outsiders, as innocent children who need direction more than correction. He explains to Yuta that he can use his curse to help others if he is willing to put in the work. 

Yuta transfers into Jujutsu High in Tokyo, where fan favourites, Panda, Inumaki, and Maki Zenin, are already enrolled. This becomes Yuta’s core support system and training squad. He learns about all the areas of Jujutsu sorcery with this eccentric crew. He develops the skills of handling a weapon and close combat with Maki and learns about the complexity of cursed energy with Toge Inumaki. Beyond all the power he gains, Yuta gains an understanding of what Jujutsu High truly is- a haven for misfits. The Tokyo class is filled with students stuck in dire personal circumstances. Maki was rejected by her own family and is considered unworthy of holding her family name. Inumaki has had an incredibly difficult life with power causing inadvertent harm to people he loves. Okkotsu realizes that he isn’t the only one facing horrible circumstances and the best he can do is help. Maki mentions to him early on in the film to “find a goal.” She encourages him to motivate himself to accomplish good, and the rest will follow. 

Coinciding with all this is the story of Geto Suguru, a disgraced jujutsu sorcerer who has been banned from Jujutsu High. Geto has amassed a following with a faction of sorcerers dedicated to his supremacist vision. Geto has long been a villain in the anime series but we never really got clarification as to what his true intentions were; here we finally get an answer. Geto wishes for a re-birth of current society, where jujutsu sorcerers run the world. He sees sorcerers as the next step of human evolution, and humans as “monkeys” who have devolved into their chaotic nature. He wishes to eliminate the world of humans and have sorcerers inherit the earth. Any sorcerer willing to join him has the option, but anyone who gets in his way will face the consequences. Geto declares a jujutsu civil war and specifies his first battle, which he calls “The Night Parade of 100 Demons.” He will unleash a thousand curses in Tokyo and Kyoto and command them to cause mayhem. Geto proves to be a formidable villain as he can absorb and control curses, so his threat is taken seriously by the jujutsu community. However, as our favourite sorcerers prepare for battle, Geto reveals that his true plan is to steal Rika from Yuta and use the “Night Parade” as a diversion. This entire jujutsu civil war plot was incredible. Not only with the animated sequences but just knowing that there are jujutsu sorcerers who are willing to battle sorcerers for supremacy is exhilarating. It creates an environment of unpredictability in the Jujutsu Kaisen world; where at any moment sorcerers can switch sides.  

The film concludes with a final battle filled with emotion and stunning moments. All our favourites get time to shine, and the core themes of the story remain strong throughout. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 surpasses expectations with a clear focus on character and story over anything else. It demonstrates quiet confidence in its character development and attached connection to the jujutsu world. It’s able to perfectly balance a new protagonist, fan favourites, and the promise of beautiful action sequences all in one film. The pacing and story structure are all top-notch with a clear direction in the story. From Yuta battling Geto to seeing Gojo go off, this film knows how to place just the proper amount of winks and nods to the fandom without ever sacrificing the plot. Still, what stood out the most is the further expansion of the world we all know and love. 

If you’re a fan of Jujutsu Kaisen this film further explores the world we have already invested in. It adds details and twists to an already riveting story. The sorcerer on sorcerer action is too good of a story beat to not get geeked about. So much so, that the post-credit scene teases even more potential to the inner workings of the ever-expanding jujutsu world. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. The opportunity to watch these dazzling animated sequences in cinemas is worth the price of admission. From the lovable characters to the stunning animation, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 delivers a compelling anime spectacle.

Rating: 10/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 opens in theatres in the US and Canada on March 18

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