Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie [No Spoiler Review]
I’ve been following Jujutsu Kaisen for quite a long time now, first the manga and then the anime. However, I only knew about the prequel after the announcement of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie. Immediately then, I read the prequel manga. Reading the manga made me looked forward to watch the movie even more. I had high expectation for the movie as Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train, which was also adapted from Shonen Jump manga like Jujutsu Kaisen, was a big success.
When the movie was finally released last week at my country, I didn’t waste any time to watch it on the first day, and sure the movie went beyond my expectation, leaving me a sense of satisfaction as well as desire to watch the movie for the second time and perhaps more. For those who had read the manga of which the movie was adapted from, you’ll know the story of the movie. But, since there are anime-only viewers, I’ll go with non-spoiler review for this post. Perhaps I’ll update it once the movie made it to DVD and Blu-Ray.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 focused on a new protagonist, Yuta Okkotsu, who in the original series was first mentioned by Megumi as one of the second-year seniors of Tokyo Jujutsu High and the only person whom Megumi could openly respect. The movie took place a year before the start of the original series. The premise of the movie revolved around Yuta, who was still a first-year high school student, was having trouble living a normal life due to being haunted by the cursed spirit of his childhood sweetheart, Rika Orimoto, who died due to accident six years before the movie.
However, what set Yuta apart from other victims of cursed spirit in general was, Yuta wasn’t actually a victim, rather, Rika always protected Yuta from being bullied. The problem was, Rika’s action to protect Yuta caused severe harm to the people who attempted to hurt Yuta and he was powerless to stop her. To make it worse, Rika was classified as a high-grade cursed spirit, which was seen as a threat. While Yuta has no qualms in ending his life if it means it’ll stop Rika from hurting anybody for his sake, he was given a chance to change his situation by the strongest Jujutsu sorcerer and teacher of Tokyo Jujutsu High, Satoru Gojo. Yuta didn’t need a long time to think to accept Gojo’s offer, hoping to break Rika’s curse.
Being a prequel to the original anime series, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was more accessible to new viewers without having to watch the original series, though it was still recommended to watch the TV series to know the full story better as there were characters from the TV series who appeared in the movie as supporting characters. For the fans who watched the series, they’ll be pleased to see the returning characters, specifically Gojo, Maki, Panda, and Inumaki, who were part of the main cast in the movie. While it’s good to see the characters from the series, what made the movie shines were the protagonist, Yuta, and the antagonist, Suguru Geto.
Yuta’s growth and his relationship with Rika was the aspect that I enjoyed the most in the movie. Throughout my whole life reading and watching shonen manga, it’s very rare to see a protagonist like Yuta, who didn’t give a vibe of shonen protagonist in general, especially coming from the fact that Jujutsu Kaisen was a Shonen Jump manga. In this regard, the original protagonist, Yuji Itadori, was closer to the standard Shonen Jump protagonist. This was a good thing as it gave a refreshing breath of air, having a different kind of protagonist in a shonen anime. What’s more, Yuta’s pure childhood romance with Rika that still carried out even to his teenage years was not a common thing in shonen manga and anime.
The movie successfully delivered the pure feeling of love between Yuta and Rika with morbid sense of beauty, making every moment Yuta interact with Rika or remembering their childhood memories all the more touching and bittersweet. Even a drastic change in Rika’s appearance into such monstrous form never lessened Yuta’s love for her. For anime-only viewer, the movie built up their romance with unpredictability, making viewers wondering how the story between Yuta and Rika would end. Megumi Ogata, Yuta’s voice actress, also deserved every praise for wonderfully bringing life into Yuta’s character.
The antagonist, Geto, was an appealing antagonist for the movie. Not only he caused the conflict that would define the climax of the movie, his presence also affected Gojo’s character due to the history they both shared, pushing Gojo to show a different side of himself. Geto wasn’t so different from several shonen antagonists that I know, particularly Hao Asakura from Shaman King. Still, he has his own characteristic that made him different from other antagonists.
There’s no need to doubt the quality of visual and music of the movie. While the quality was not so different from the TV series, there’s still improvement. MAPPA has done a great job in maintaining the consistency of the animation and music throughout the whole movie. The action scenes were eye-catching and gave a rush of adrenaline, especially the final battle. Maybe it wasn’t on par with Kimetsu no Yaiba movie’s action scenes, but it’s still exciting to watch. And I also love the theme songs at the beginning and the end of the movie.
It’s not without its downside. Being an anime adapted from a shonen manga, it followed the same pattern as shonen manga story: a weak character began training at a school while forming friendship with his classmates, making the middle part of the movie and Yuta’s “power up” predictable.
Overall, I enjoyed watching Jujutsu Kaisen 0. In terms of plot, character development, and relationships, I personally like this movie more than Kimetsu no Yaiba movie. Maybe it’s because I’m very weak against such tragic love story between Yuta and Rika. The plot is not stand-alone enough for newcomers and leans more for fans, but I’d still recommend this movie to anyone who loves romantic horror or action anime.