Photo: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’
With the release of the anime in 2020, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ has recently become a staple for fans across the globe. From the adaptation of Gege Akutami’s manga, the anime perfectly reflects a world of fantasy through its group of eccentric characters and intricate storylines. The success of ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ continues as the recent release of ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ brings forth a wider take on this realm of curses. Released by both Crunchyroll and Funimation, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ tops the box office in its opening weekend. ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ follows after ‘Demon Slayer-Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train’ in the success of anime films within the US.
As a prequel to the first season, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ gives further background to both the protagonists and the villains. It essentially is an origin story of the secret organization that centers around Jujutsu sorcerers as they try to defeat curses and opposing parties. Although the first season focuses on first-year student Yuji Itadori, who is the vessel of the King of Curses (Ryomen Sukuna), ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ takes a look before Yuji’s arrival and follows exchange student Yuta Okkotsu (voiced in Japanese by Megumi Ogata). Similar to Yuji’s story, Yuta is a vessel for the Queen of Curses, Rika Orimoto (voiced in Japanese by Kana Hanazawa).
The story centers around Yuta’s journey in trying to live a normal life while dealing with the responsibility of carrying the spirit of Rika. Though this story is deeply rooted in the supernatural, the struggle in accepting oneself is a deep exploration of human connection and tragedy that ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ examines. With a post-credit scene at the end, the introduction of Yuta brings further explanation to the entire universe of Jujutsu sorcerers while also preparing fans for the future of these beloved characters.
‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ Showcases Consistent Animation That Continues to Captivate an Audience
‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ has been known for its ability to captivate viewers through the fluidity of the show’s animation. When it comes to fighting scenes specifically, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ excels. Thanks to the animation studio, MAPPA, which has produced shows such as the final season of ‘Attack on Titan’ and ‘Banana Fish’, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ further exhibits the studio’s consistency when it comes to electrifying animation.
Whether or not you have watched all 24 episodes of the first season, the movie extends the unique style that ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ does so well in exhibiting. The fight scenes have a particular finesse that makes it so engaging to watch. Due to the film having a larger scale than the show, it gives the studio the chance to showcase action scenes in a grandiose way that is exciting to watch through the big screen. The characters are able to tackle larger curses in comparison to what we see in the show. Although the magnitude of the scenes was a greater scale, the animation still retains such fluid choreography when focusing on fights between the characters.
What this adaptation does so well in doing, in both the show and the movie, is constantly elevating what is shown within the manga. Not only with the animation but alongside the soundtrack, which consisted of artists such as Hiroaki Tsustumi, Yoshimasa Terui, Alisa Okehazama, etc., it creates a whole experience that fully emerges you in this world of fantasy and the supernatural. MAPPA continues to maintain the beauty of the series by emphasizing the artistry that we have come to know and love. By staying true to the animation style within the film, it further establishes ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ to be a breathtaking visual experience that is enjoyable for fans.
‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ Transcends Both Fantasy and the Supernatural By Examining Human Connection
As previously mentioned, the film centers itself on Yuta and his relationship with the cursed spirit, Rika. To provide some known background on the Queen of Curses, Rika is someone who Yuta had a childhood romance with in the past, with which Yuta vowed to marry in the future. Due to an accident, Rika became a cursed spirit that tied itself onto Yuta. The very essence of the movie centers around this particular relationship and how this character deals with both heartbreak and grief. From the scenes between the two characters, Rika’s spirit is driven by the protection of Yuta.
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This becomes a reflection on relationships and the ultimate human connections as it puts to light the heartbreak of both romance and grief. With various flashbacks to Yuta and Rika as children, it further establishes the tragedy of their relationship as their time together as humans ended so suddenly. This bond is evidently different from the one we see in the series with Yuji and Sukuna because the relationship between the two is driven by love rather than survival. What ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ does so well in terms of writing and characterization, is jumping between a variety of moods while making it feel seamless. Though the movie is based on life or death situations, the examination of Yuta and Rika’s bond brings forth a sentiment of vulnerability during scenes of chaos and destruction.
Although at the heart of ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ is Yuta navigating his way through life with his relationship with Rika, the friends he makes along the way becomes a substantial part of his journey. This allows some excitement for fans as they get to see him interact with other beloved characters from the anime. Their bond develops throughout the movie and becomes an important aspect to his growth as a Jujutsu sorcerer. The examination of friendship further reflects on the movie’s motif of human connection and the ultimate coexistence between love and misfortune. Through these bonds, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ expertly depicts lighthearted moments and how it can coincide with the underlying darkness of the story.
In its entirety, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ reminds us why we fell in love with the anime in the first place. The movie prides itself on the thrill of disgusting curses and intense action scenes, but it also stays true to the emotional vulnerability between characters. Between the vibrancy of the animation and the bonds that are formed, it is a compelling story that will continue to amaze and capture a diversity of viewers.
By Anica Muñoz
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Anica Muñoz is a writer and an aspiring film producer with a passion for media and entertainment. She strongly considers storytelling to be a powerful tool that bridges the divide between communities. Anica enjoys films that showcase a diversity of voices and brings forth empowerment for a wide group of individuals. From her writing, she believes in creating a positive impact with her analysis and reviews of films by exploring the power of human connection within these stories. Her perspective towards consuming entertainment is driven by compassion which aligns itself with the mission of The Hollywood Insider. Anica hopes to share her enthusiasm and love for cinema with others through her work.