Anime lovers, specifically Jujutsu Kaisen fanatics, long anticipated the showing of the prequel to the beloved series.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (JJK) is part of the manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami.
Despite the established love and following the series already holds, first time viewers wanting an introduction to the anime series can feel comfortable and confident in attending a showing and following along and cheering on protagonist Yuta Okkotsu.
Reviewer Michael Odorña (2022) commented, “My experience is proof you don’t have to know the show to enjoy the movie; [my daughter] is proof followers will get plenty of the bloody, weirdo fan service they crave,” in his article, “Review: If imaginative and extreme violence is your thing, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ is for you.”
The film follows the story of a young 16-year-old boy who tries to navigate how to isolate himself from others in order to protect and shield them from his cursed spirit that attacks aggressors despite his wishes and avoidance.
The film conveys the concept that negative emotions have a lot of power.
With this understanding, viewers can see how Yuta’s cursed spirit comes out to hurt his aggressors after he is bullied and mistreated.
Writer Vernieda Vergara in her article, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Dives into the Past to Prepare for the Future” commented, “In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, negative emotions give rise to cursed energy in humans. Normal people can’t control this energy… But some people do and can. These people are known as jujutsu sorcerers.”
Through the mentorship of sorcerer Saturo Gojo, he is enrolled in Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu Highschool to learn how to control Rika Onmoto.
His presumed curse is named after his best friend, who he watched die tragically when they were only kids.
Yuta believes she sticks around to haunt him because of the promise they made to one another about marrying each other when they grew up.
As he navigates how to control his powers and advance in his training, he relies on his sorcerer classmates to support and guide him; however, most of his motivation comes from his desire to do good, so he can learn to accept his existence.
The repeated flashbacks of himself making the promise to marry Rika after she gives him an engagement ring functions as motivation to honor her as well as prove to himself that he can do something beautiful, like saving lives, out of something so unfortunate and tragic.
During a quarrel with Maki, his classmate, he stated, “I want to have a connection with someone. I want to be needed by someone. I want the confidence to feel like it’s ok to live.”
The film balances the previously mentioned darker and more tragic themes of violence with lighthearted and funny scenes.
For instance, it illustrates one of the bad guys in the battle with hearts for nipples and Panda, Yuta’s sorcerer classmate, trying to play matchmaker between him and Maki.
The prequel allows new viewers to enjoy the film and want to continue to follow along while allowing established fans to better understand the series they know and love.