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Anime prequel brings humor, horror, action


Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie (2021)

Photo credit: Gekijouban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021) published at IMBd

By Liam Chavez

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is a prequel to the popular anime and manga series that opened in japan in

December selling over a million tickets and reaping 1 billion yen, according to

The film is about a young isolated high school student named Yuta who’s cursed by his late girlfriend who follows him everywhere and seems to lash out whenever Yuta is in trouble but once Yuta meets Gojo he takes him under his wing and teaches him how to control the power of the curse.

A diehard fan of Jujutsu Kaisen would agree that any show where the main protagonist is exclusively trained by watching a ton of movies will find this right up their alley. Interestingly, the filmmakers chose to make the first film be a prequel that does feature some characters from the show but for the most part, it doesn’t feel too connected with the show.

There are Easter eggs in this film you can appreciate if you’re a fan and perhaps some references that could be experienced in a more meaningful way if you had seen the show or read the manga. Regardless, moviegoers unfamiliar with the genre can go to this one and get caught up very quickly.

There’s a lot more horror in this film which is surprising because there were younger kids who ran into the theater all excited, and then all of the sudden blood was flying everywhere and people’s faces are getting ripped off. It is more violent than the Demon Slayer movie which was rated R.

The actual curse, the affliction that this boy is under is brilliant. The idea that these two young kids made an engagement/pinky promise that they were going to get married one day and got killed tragically and attached herself to him as this cursed monster that comes out whenever he’s threatened, that in itself could be an entire movie.

When the production was like “Hey we have an entire film just in our hero's backstory” you know that they are really serious about this story. They’re not just making a throwaway film because they can capitalize on the success of the show.

Just like the show, the movie is equal in its humor, horrific, action-packed, and extremely dramatic also to a comedic extent. That’s what I love about the show and that’s what I loved about the movie.

It would be pointless for me to not mention the animation because it is as stunning it is spectacular. Frame by frame there is so much movement there are so many three-dimensional shots that don’t utilize CG that have Maki spinning around with her blade cutting up curses or even just tracking around Gojo 360 and his body is 2D but it’s continuing to move in a three-dimensional space.

It’s kind of mind-blowing the amount of work that went into this film and it looks incredible on a big screen. The film also did something really tough to do and that is essentially introducing a brand new protagonist into a series where your focus is on someone else.

They decided to put in a new guy and make it a prequel where you may have an idea of some things you’re seeing but just “trust us.” I soon found myself very interested in Yuta’s storyline and I cared about him as a character and it was a very unique way to endear us to somebody.

In some ways, he’s partially at fault for things that happened to him and in other ways, it’s completely out of his control. That makes him a very interesting character but you also care about his journey because you recognize how much he’s willing to sacrifice, even for people he doesn’t know very well.

There are aspects of the storytelling that isn’t quite as fluid as they could be. Sometimes major time jumps happen- a few month even - and you only really get the sense of that because one character said that it has been three months since he arrived at the school, but it doesn’t feel like three.

The progression of the character isn’t quite as smooth as it could’ve been, and the third act kind of rampus up all of a sudden. A villain shows up and has to be a villain and there isn’t a lot of emphasis put on his character.

The villain has a very “Frieza-like” mentality in that he views other people as monkeys. He says monkeys which is how Frieza refers to all the Saiyans as, so as a villain he served his purpose but he’s not particularly interesting.

I didn’t care as much about his battle but it didn’t matter to me because the movie was just so entertaining from an action standpoint, from a comedic standpoint and I think that’s what most fans of the show are going to want to see. Moviegoers that love the show or the manga are going to have a great time with this movie.

JUJUTSU KAISEN: 0 (2022) is playing locally at Bow Tie Ultimate Regent 8 in South Norwalk and Bow Tie Ultimate Landmark 9 in Stamford.

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