“Jujutsu Kaisen 0” is a perfect prequel film

Finley Chapman, Contributing Writer

“Jujutsu Kaisen 0” (JJK 0), the prequel movie to Gege Akutami’s popular anime and manga series “Jujutsu Kaisen,” is a fantastic example of an anime movie done right. The movie, which was released in the U.S. on Mar. 18, follows Yuta Okkotsu, a student who transfers to Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College to exorcise a vengeful curse attached to him named Rika. His journey eventually leads him to fighting a rogue sorcerer in order to save Tokyo, his friends, Rika, and, ultimately, himself.

JJK 0 as a whole is visually stunning. Animated by Mappa, whose other works include “Yuri!!! On Ice” and “Attack on Titan: The Final Season,” the movie features the same fantastic animation as the original anime series. The fight scenes, in particular, are absolutely amazing. The flashy effects and hard-hitting attacks keep you on the edge of your seat, and certain bone-breaking punches can make you wince in sympathy for the main characters or cheer as they take down a particularly tough enemy. Even mundane actions, such as walking down a hallway, are animated smoothly and flow extremely well. Mappa has certainly demonstrated their animation expertise once again.

JJK 0’s story is another highlight of the movie. Learning about the various characters as well as their backstories and motivations allows you to sympathize with them and even gives fans of the original series more knowledge about their favorite characters. Yuta’s story, in particular, is moving, despite following some common tropes. Watching him grow from a meek person who doesn’t stand up for himself to a force to be reckoned with is very rewarding.

One of the main drawbacks of JJK 0 as a whole, is the lack of interconnectedness, due to being based on a manga volume, which are multiple chapters combined into one book. JJK 0’s manga, for instance, consists of four chapters. While there is an obvious overarching plot, the movie feels almost episodic. It is very easy to tell where the original chapters are, and plot beats seem relatively disconnected in between. This issue is something that the Jujutsu Kaisen anime was able to avoid due to its creation in an episodic format. Sadly, as a movie, JJK 0 runs directly into this pitfall.

Another issue directly related to this lack of interconnectivity is the absence of a sense of time passing. In the manga, this passage of time is very easily seen in between the chapter breaks, as Yuta increases his skills in fighting and becomes closer to his classmates. In the movie, you don’t get a sense of time passing until the very end, making it harder to follow the progression of character’s relationships to each other.

Despite these drawbacks, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is, ultimately, a fantastic movie, particularly for fans of the anime. With bombastic action scenes and a heartfelt storyline, despite its cliches, it’s no wonder it has already become one of the top 20 highest grossing movies in Japan, making it a perfect example of an anime movie done well, and definitely worth buying a ticket to see it at a theater near you.