It might be a bit of an exaggeration to claim that there were doubts about Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s success at the box office, but what was even more impressive was its unprecedented triumph. The movie grossed more than $34 million in the United States alone, and for those who haven’t seen it yet and are wondering whether they need to watch the series beforehand: you don’t have to worry about that.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 made its debut in Japanese theaters on December 24, 2021, helmed by then-series director Seong-Hu Park, marking his final stint as the franchise’s director at the time of this writing. It is a prequel to the main storyline, centering on a new protagonist named Yuta Okkotsu, and it does an unexpectedly great job of introducing viewers to the Jujutsu Kaisen universe.
Read More: Chainsaw Man Chapter 132 Spoilers, Release Date: One of the Most Important Chapters Underway
Jujutsu Kaisen 0: A Cursed World
As a child, Yuta Okkotsu’s beloved Rika Orimoto, whom he promised to marry, was killed, but she didn’t depart from this world; instead, she became a curse that followed him around and inflicted harm upon anyone who tried to harm him. When Rika viciously assaults his tormentors, Yuta is presented with an opportunity to enroll at Tokyo Jujutsu High, where he can train to become a sorcerer and employ his cursed abilities for the greater good.
One of the advantages of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is that it functions well as a standalone film and doesn’t presume that the audience has watched the anime series. This is understandable since the 0 manga wasn’t solely a prequel but was actually penned and released before the main series as a trial version. It was designated “0” later on to signify its position in the narrative.
The way curses operate and the duties of jujutsu sorcerers are introduced organically throughout Yuta’s journey, which is quite remarkable considering the film’s fast-paced nature. In fact, within the first 15 minutes, he’s already at his very first exorcism. The narrative is set one year before the primary series and covers that period, portraying Yuta’s transformation from a feeble individual to one of the strongest figures in the franchise.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Story of Yuta Okkotsu
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is a twisted love story that follows Yuta as he comes to grips with the cursed spirit of his lost love that haunts him. The narrative explores the growth of a person who is apprehensive of others and lacks self-assurance due to the risk he poses to their safety, but who ultimately learns to appreciate himself. Although it is a prequel separated from the primary series, many of the supporting characters appear in it.
The strength of this narrative lies in Yuta’s camaraderie with his fellow classmates, who are introduced as second-years in the main series but as first-years in this prequel. Through his training and missions with Maki Zenin, Toge Inumaki, and Panda, viewers become familiar with each character’s backstory, making their bond with Yuta all the more poignant. While anime fans may be familiar with their tales, their interactions with Yuta imbue the story with a unique quality.
Maki’s personal struggles, such as her family conflict and her position as a sorcerer, are revisited in Jujutsu Kaisen 0, this time with a focus on her burgeoning attachment to Yuta. This shift in emphasis results in a fresh perspective that enhances the emotional resonance of her character. Moreover, the dynamic between the four classmates is seamless, with a shared sense of camaraderie and humor that is quintessential to the series’ charm.
Then there is Rika, whose love for Yuta can seem more terrifying than romantic at times, yet their relationship remains at the heart of the film emotionally. The film handles the trauma of Rika’s death, the peculiarities of her continued existence, and Yuta’s journey to break the curse on her with great care. Rika’s incredible power as a curse also provides a reason for Yuta’s increased strength during the climax.
A cinematic masterpiece
Seong-Hu Park concluded his tenure as director of the franchise on a high note with Jujutsu Kaisen 0, a visually stunning film that benefits greatly from a larger budget and a widescreen aspect ratio. The character designs, monster designs, and fight animation that were already impressive in the TV series are taken to the next level in the movie.
While the movie’s letterboxing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it does give the film a more cinematic look that sets it apart from the TV show. It also showcases the stunning animation, character designs, and monster creations that Jujutsu Kaisen is known for, making it a solid introduction to the series for newcomers.
The Night Parade of A Hundred Demons features an abundance of fan service through its numerous cameos. The battle scene showcases a wide range of supporting characters from the TV anime, including both professional sorcerers such as Nanami and Mei Mei, and the students of Kyoto Jujutsu High, among others.
Fans of the series will undoubtedly appreciate the inclusion of characters like Todo or Nanami in these scenes, as their appearances are likely to elicit a strong emotional response. Meanwhile, new viewers will be impressed by the high-quality execution of these scenes and may become interested in exploring the characters further. The scenes are designed to be easy to follow and should not require any prior knowledge, except for the post-credits scene.
While Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is certainly a well-made film, it does not outshine its predecessor. Rather, it serves as a great introduction to the Jujutsu Kaisen series and can help viewers determine if it is something they would enjoy.