Love and sorcery; a “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” review


Dominik Perez

This past Thursday, March 17, fans saw the U.S. theatrical release of “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”. The anime movie made $17.6 million in the box office during its opening weekend and received outstanding reviews from fans and critics alike. The film serves as an excellent prequel to the anime and will help viewers cope with the lack of animated Jujutsu Kaisen content until 2023. JJK Logo: Shonen Jump

Dominik Perez, Entertainment Editor

Jujutsu Kaisen 0” brings the globally acclaimed franchise to the big screen in an action-packed prequel with themes of love, loss and tragedy. This prequel film will assuredly serve as a great way to tide over fans of the series until the second anime season’s release in 2023, a grueling three years after the first season aired. Fans of “Jujutsu Kaisen” have come to expect nothing but the most emotionally engaging and action-packed storytelling from the anime, and this movie feels no different.

Based on the manga of the same name, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” takes place a full year before the start of the anime. It follows Yuta, a timid student cursed by the spirit of his first love, as he struggles to protect those around him from his curse while diving headfirst into the secret society of Jujutsu Sorcerers at the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School. His curse, Rika, manifests as a monstrous creature that delivers devastating harm to anyone intending to hurt Yuta. While its protective nature seems beneficial, it has resulted in the unintentional harm and deaths of numerous people up until the start of the film.

Keeping true to the series, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” does not shy away from morbid themes and story beats. The magic system: cursed energy, functions entirely off people’s suffering and deepest most personal fears, which obviously requires dark moments to see effective use. This movie’s protagonist has lived most of his life in fear of himself, and when given the opportunity to gain control over the power which has haunted him things only become more difficult. While themes of friendship remain overarching in the film, Yuta finally finding a home amongst the eccentric cast of characters at Jujutsu High, at the heart of the story lies a tale of how not processing grief leads to the suffering of one’s self and those around them.

While the dark nature of the story grabs the viewers’ attention, it’s the intense action that keeps it. Admittedly, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” starts off slowly, taking its time to build the characters and the terrifying world around them, but by the third act things have kicked into high gear and the film treats fans to thirty minutes straight of nonstop combat. The animators put their best work on display for these scenes by creating a fluid sense of movement and impacts that hit so hard you can almost feel them. The utilization of color and lighting pair phenomenally with frayed yet crisp linework to show increased speed and intensity in the countless fights that take place. The viewer will surely become invested in the battle to protect Kyoto from an onslaught of hundreds of powerful curses while a powerful antagonist from the anime series makes his move against Yuta and friends at Jujutsu High.

“The animation was clean with great choreography. It started a little slow but by the end, things started going crazy. You can watch it without having ever seen the anime and it would still be just a great movie,” senior Stan Alalof said.

Fans will appreciate the attention that characters like Maki, Panda, and Inumaki receive in this film, as each one receives their own scene alongside Yuta where their motivations and relationships get put on full display. Speaking of scenes, the director added additional scenes to the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons, the film’s climax, in order to feature moments only heard of in the anime like Nanami’s record-breaking four sequential Black Flashes and Todo’s impressive dismantling of powerful demons.

“‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ helps recontextualize the main series by expanding on some of the characters while also serving as a good entrance point for new viewers. It’s connected enough to the main series to enhance it but separate enough that it can be enjoyed with no prior knowledge,” NC alumni Darren Godfrey said.

The movie makes its place amongst anime films as a must-watch, especially for Jujutsu Kaisen fans. Its hard-hitting emotional beats combined with loveable characters and stand out fight scenes will engage any viewer, and enhance their understanding of the plots and motives slowly unraveling in the anime. While the film struggles with pacing early on and suffers from an uninspired and sometimes even jarring soundtrack, it remains a modern classic of shounen anime media.

The Chant’s Rating: A-