This evaluate of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 initially ran in reference to the movie’s theatrical debut in Japan. It has been up to date and republished to coincide with its huge launch in American theaters.
When Jujutsu Kaisen 0 opened in Japan in December 2022, it bought greater than 1 million tickets and earned greater than 1 billion yen. Over the course of opening weekend, the prequel to the favored anime sequence Jujutsu Kaisen, based mostly on Gege Akutami’s manga, almost tripled its box-office take, giving the record-breaking Demon Slayer movie a run for its cash. That was no Christmas miracle. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 earns its success by doing one thing many prequels fail at: It tells a satisfying standalone story that connects to the primary sequence and enhances its story, whereas additionally welcoming newcomers to the franchise.
Set in a world the place people emanate Cursed Vitality that may create eldritch creatures often called Curses or Cursed Spirits, the Jujutsu Kaisen anime focuses on Yuji Itadori, a high-schooler who turns into a vessel for Ryomen Sukuna, some of the highly effective Curses in existence. Following this, a bunch of Jujutsu Sorcerers — individuals who can management their Cursed Vitality to struggle evil spirits — enroll Yuji within the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu Excessive College to assist him management his energy whereas keeping track of him. That fundamental synopsis of the 2020 sequence can also be the synopsis for Jujutsu Kaisen 0, which walks a unique high-schooler by way of the identical induction course of.
Protagonist Yuta Okkotsu could be very completely different from Yuji — the previous begins out as a timid, gloomy, bullied child, whereas the latter is a hyper-energetic extrovert with the form of power and stamina that may make Batman jealous. Nonetheless, the similarities between the setups of the TV sequence and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 can’t be missed. It’s nearly just like the film is each a prequel and a remake. A premake? Requel? No matter you need to name it, this 105-minute film hits lots of the identical notes because the present by utilizing a living-weapon outsider character to introduce the viewers to the world of Jujutsu sorcery and Cursed Spirits and many others.
There’s loads right here for longtime followers to get pleasure from. For one, Yuta Okkotsu isn’t a brand new character — he’s been talked about within the sequence just a few occasions, however that is his first display screen look. He’s given a superbly tragic backstory, because it seems that the highly effective Curse that latched on to Yuta is his childhood love, Rika. After dying in a visitors accident, the mild, caring woman reworked right into a snake-haired, fang-faced monstrosity that won’t have probably the most disturbing design on the market, however makes up for it by the way in which she acts. When the cursed Rika talks to Yuta in a toddler’s voice about how a lot she loves him, or kills individuals who bully him with out seemingly feeling unhealthy about it, the juxtaposition of her horrifying look along with her candy however generally additionally capricious, childlike demeanor leads to some of the memorable Jujutsu Kaisen cursed spirits ever.
The film additionally provides extra display screen time to its villain, Suguru Geto, who has been a relentless presence on Jujutsu Kaisen, although principally driving backseat to the resident Huge Unhealthy Mahito. In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, although, Geto is given heart stage, which he proceeds to eat up with gusto. Geto is a particularly enjoyable antagonist with a larger-than-life persona that’s lastly on full show within the film. It’s apparent why Curses and different sorcerers would gravitate towards him, and the way his happy-go-lucky angle whereas making an attempt to commit atrocities would infuriate the movie’s primary characters.
This leads to a terrific struggle between him and Yuta. With the digital camera motion making an attempt to copy the sensation of a regular-sized character transferring with lightning pace in opposition to Geto’s gigantic Curses — together with a Blob kaiju made up of fats demon infants — the battle is moreover enhanced by Yuta’s sudden rage, including a complete further layer to the expertise. However that’s to be anticipated from struggle scenes overseen by director Sunghoo Park, memorable from the God of Excessive College anime sequence and its spectacular battles. It’s greater than sufficient to maintain Jujutsu-heads glad in the course of the 105-minute run of the film.
However newcomers will get probably the most out of Jujutsu Kaisen 0. The prequel is principally the essence of Jujutsu Kaisen trimmed all the way down to its most accessible components, which isn’t stunning provided that the film is predicated on a manga that really precedes the Jujutsu Kaisen comedian. First revealed as Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College within the 2017 challenge of Bounce GIGA, this standalone quick sequence about Curses and Jujutsu Sorcerers was meant to conclude after simply 4 chapters. However it quickly gained sufficient recognition for Gege Akutami to increase its premise and the world he solely hinted at within the unique comedian, finally culminating within the creation of Yuji Itadori and the story that took the world by storm.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 could be very easy, focusing totally on Yuta, his trainer Satoru Gojo, Suguru Geto, and the second-year college students of the Tokyo Jujutsu Excessive College that followers know from the TV sequence: Maki Zenin, Toge Inumaki, and Panda. Most of them get a ample clarification that permits whole novices to comply with the story, and which can persuade them to later plunge into the deep waters of the anime. For these much less acquainted, Jujutsu Kaisen issues itself with Yuji making an attempt to present individuals a “correct demise.” To first decide what a correct demise is, although, the anime spends loads of time determining what a correct life means. By way of the characters of Kento Nanami, the present explores the worth of serving to others over cash, whereas Maki’s arc is the story of going in opposition to the movement and the consolation of being a part of a bunch or household and doing your individual factor. Even the cursed wombs from the final episode of the TV sequence discover the “correct” technique to reside, because the characters are literally touching examples of the significance of household.
There are traces of this theme within the film; Yuta’s arc is arguably a lesson about letting go and transferring on. His decisions round Rika are stirring, however longtime followers are more likely to discover loads of satisfaction within the methods the movie sticks to a compact, environment friendly model of the franchise’s concepts, the place the anime sequence goes a lot deeper into its philosophical messages. And by preserving issues easy, the film invitations followers to need extra, and gently leads them towards the TV present. It’s the uncommon film form of that really has one thing (superior) for everybody.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 arrives in theaters in America and Canada on March 18.