Emma Rickett, Contributor
Two years after the release of the first season of hit anime, Jujutsu Kaisen, the highly anticipated prequel has come out on the big screen. The film is sort of a stand-alone, as you do not have to watch the anime to understand the plot. If you have yet to see the movie, beware of spoilers below!
Animated by popular animation studio, MAPPA (Attack on Titan, Chainsaw Man), Jujutsu Kaisen 0 follows Yuta Okkotsu, a young man who has been “cursed” by his childhood friend, Rika, whom he promised to marry. Her cursed spirit is a powerful “special grade” curse who protects Yuta in quite a violent way. Satoru Gojo, a teacher at the Tokyo School of Jujutsu, takes Yuta under his wing after Rika violently kills four of Yuta’s classmates. Gojo is attempting to help Yuta get a hold of his curse to prevent Yuta’s execution by the higher-ups in the jujutsu world. Accompanied by other first-year students at the school such as Panda, Toge Inumaki and Maki Zen’in, Yuta finds a fierce sense of importance in this new realm.
From here, the story gets a little deeper. In the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen, viewers are introduced to Suguru Geto, the main antagonist, riddled with scars across his forehead. In the movie, we get a little bit of Geto’s backstory, lacking his trademark scars. He was once a student at the sorcery school and bestfriend to Gojo. Geto was banned from the school, as he felt that regular humans are not deserving of the protection offered from the sorcerers and believes the world would be best if he killed all non-sorcerers. Geto is aware of Rika and her special grade abilities and has an interest in taking her powers to use for his gain. After failed attempts to have Yuta join his growing army of curses, Geto sets up an elaborate plan to get Yuta alone and kill him to obtain Rika. This plan is foiled, as Gojo is able to see through his scheme. The final fight scene is a brilliant and gruesome animation against the powerful Geto and unwavering students. At the end of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Gojo is burdened with the task of finishing off his former best friend to save the world.
The film also does an excellent job of staying true to the manga storyline, but makes sure to add some cameos for those who have watched the first season of the anime. Fan-favorite sorcerer Kento Nanami makes a surprise appearance, along with the students from the Kyoto branch of the sorcery school. These characters are a sweet inclusion because it is rumored that the second season of Jujutsu Kaisen will be Gojo and Geto’s backstory, meaning these characters from season one will not be making an appearance.
The movie is a wonderful blend of realism combined with fantasy, all animated beautifully. There is a whimsical element to the film, with colors and characters alike. Though the film is undoubtedly visually appealing, the messages associated with it are truly the shining star. Yuta discovers that it is not Rika who cursed him when she died, but the other way around. Viewers also discover the profound bond between Gojo and Geto when Geto requests that Gojo “at least curse him a little at the very end” before he dies. In the Jujutsu Kaisen world, huge emphases are placed on the importance of human emotion such as regret, grief and love among all of its story lines. Fans of anime have argued that Jujutsu Kaisen has the potential to go down as one of the greats and the film adaptation is no exception.