Storytelling school

‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ Spoiler Review: “Peak Shonen Storytelling”

When it was first announced volume 0 of the hit series Jujutsu Kaisen would receive a theatrical adaptation, fan expectations were high, especially after the anime’s acclaimed first season. And thankfully, moviegoers will find their expectations exceeded as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 delivers on all levels with a great story, outstanding animation, and stunning action sequences. Not only will fans of the franchise be satisfied, but it also serves as a great entry point for newcomers.

The film follows isolated high school student Yuta Okkotsu (Megumi Ogata and Kayleigh McKee), who is cursed by her childhood sweetheart, Rika Orimoto (Kana Hanazawa and Anairis Quiñones), after her tragic death. When an incident results in Rika’s curse severely injuring a group of teenagers, jujutsu wizard Satoru Gojo (Yuichi Nakamura and Kaiji Tang) recruits Yuta to join Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College (commonly known as Tokyo Jujutsu High), where young Jujutsu wizards learn to harness cursed energy and exorcise curses.

After being recruited by Gojo to join Tokyo Jujutsu High, Yuta is quickly introduced to fellow first-year students Toge Inumaki, Maki Zenin, and Panda. Inumaki (Koki Uchiyama and Xander Mobus) is a cursed speech user who only communicates with onigiri ingredients. Maki (Mikako Komatsu and Allegra Clark) is a member of the powerful Zenin Clan but is unable to use cursed energy on her own, and for this reason is branded a failure by her family. And finally, Panda (Tomokazu Seki and Matthew David Rudd) is a brutally mutated cursed corpse that looks like a panda. For fans of the series, the film offers a glimpse into the beginning of their journey as jujutsu wizards and shows some aspects of them not seen much in the anime. But the film is keen not to alienate newcomers by reintroducing the characters and their abilities.

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Once the key characters and setting are established from the start, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 waste no time jumping right into the action. As soon as Yuta is introduced to his classmates, he and Maki are sent on a mission to exorcise an elementary school of cursed spirits. So far, Yuta has found no reason to be alive and has no real purpose, but after his and Maki’s lives are put in danger, he finds the will to go on. the front, and that’s when viewers have real meaning. of his true power. And as Yuta invokes Rika’s curse for the first time on his own, the extent of his abilities and the burden on Yuta are made clear.

From there, the film spends some time establishing Yuta’s newfound will to prove he has a purpose for living and to deepen his relationships with the other first-years. The characters each have a clear chemistry and work well together. This is shown during Yuta’s second mission when he and Inumaki are tasked with exorcising a curse. And when the task turns out to be a set-up by the film’s antagonist, Suguru Geto, the story goes up a notch. Geto (Takahiro Sakurai and Lex Lang) was a former student at Tokyo Jujutsu High and a friend of Gojo’s but was expelled and deemed the worst of all curse users after slaughtering over a hundred civilians in one night. His character radiates evil but at the same time has a kind of sickening charm that he has used to amass a small army of cult followers. His ultimate goal is to wipe out all non-cursed users and create a world of jujutsu wizards.

When Geto and his army confront Yuta and his classmates at Tokyo Jujutsu High, he reveals that he plans to launch an attack on the cities of Shinjuku and Kyoto with thousands of curses. As the two groups then prepare for battle, viewers get a little moment between Yuta and Maki, showing how far the former has come since joining the school. He got rid of his isolated and lonely personality as he found himself a home where he knows what he is really fighting for.

As the battle between the two sides takes off, MAPPA escalates the action with sequence after sequence of jaw-dropping action. Jujutsu Kaisen is well known for its fantastic animation in the action scenes, but the fights in this film are incredibly cinematic and on a much grander scale. Highlights include Nanami, a fellow jujutsu wizard at school, taking on a number of powerful curses on his own and Gojo one on one with a powerful curse user where the former can show why he is one of the jujutsu wizards the most powerful in the world. And as these battles continue, Yuta has to face Geto alone with the help of Rika, and after an impressive display of ability from both sides, Yuta is able to win. But in doing so, Rika’s curse is broken. So far, it seemed that Rika’s spirit had cursed Yuta, but it was really Yuta’s love for her that kept her bound to him. After an emotional sendoff for Rika’s spirit, Yuta and his classmates resume their work as jujutsu wizards. Which, as fans of the franchise know, picks up in the main animated series where the first years return with the new main cast of college students.

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The film being only based on volume 0 of Jujutsu Kaisen, it is composed of only 4 chapters. Because of this, it can feel like the story is short in some ways, but the movie makes up for it by taking the time to further develop the characters and the world. And the result is cutting-edge shonen storytelling with a cast that viewers can feel and relate to over and over. It also leaves room for the many intense action sequences that allow the animators to showcase their talents and what is possible in this medium. – Jacob Campbell

Rating: 10/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is now playing in subtitled and dubbed theaters.