Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Perfect Prequel

The highly anticipated adaptation of the volume 0 of “Jujutsu Kaisen” finally hit international theaters on March 18. Although the story does not follow the series’s main character Itadori Yuji, Okkotsu Yuta’s story touched the hearts of audiences regardless.


Via MAPPA Studios

The movie ranks 20 for highest grossing film in Japan, racking up more than 13 billion yen (112.60 million USD) with around 9.28 million tickets sold as of March 21. Total revenue made by the movie after international release is an estimated 143.65 million USD, making it the tenth highest grossing anime film coming short of “Arrietty.”

Harini Kannan, Staff Writer

Contains Spoilers from series and manga.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

 Imagine a world where creatures called curses roam the planet and sorcerers who practice “Jujutsu” are tasked with the job to exorcize, or simply put, eliminate these creatures, at least the ones causing harm. But, what if you were a young child living a normal life, until the death of your childhood sweetheart manifests into a huge monster who follows you everywhere, and kills everyone who imposes a threat to you? That is the story of how Okkotsu Yuta gets caught up in the chaos of the Jujutsu world.

Following the success of the anime series “Jujutsu Kaisen” based on Gege Akutami’s manga, which was released in 2020, the prequel movie “Jujutsu Kaisen: 0” was released in Japan on Dec. 24, 2021. After three months, the movie hit international theaters on March 18 in sub and English dub. Audiences have enjoyed the film, with a rating of 97% Rotten Tomatoes and 99% audience score from the first week of release. The movie had the second most box office sales for its opening weekend, grossing around $14,818,624 USD in the United States with “The Batman” in first place. 

This prequel film is an adaptation of volume 0 of the “Jujutsu Kaisen” manga by Gege Akutami. The story takes place a year before the series starts and follows the story of Okkotsu Yuta and his entry into the sorcerer world. Yuta and Rika were young children in love and vowed to get married but disaster struck as soon as Rika was killed in a hit and run car accident. Since her death, she turns into a curse and protects Yuta through extreme measures. After several incidents of Yuta accidentally hurting people due to Rika’s attempts at defending him, he was ordered to be executed by the Jujutsu Sorcerer higher ups. However, he escapes execution due to the interference of a man named Gojo Satoru. Satoru argues that Yuta is still a young boy and that his execution should not happen. He is then taken to the Tokyo Jujutsu School where he will be able to learn about Jujutsu and break Rika’s curse. There, he meets his other classmates— Zen’in Maki, Inumaki Toge, and a cursed corpse named Panda— and trains with them for his remaining time at Jujutsu high.

The movie does an amazing job at intertwining fragile and emotional scenes amidst the chaos and mysterious tone of the overall story, spanning from heart wrenching scenes of Rika and Yuta’s tragic love story, to the intense fight scenes that eventually lead to the final battle. MAPPA Studios did not disappoint fans with the animation,with beautiful scenery and fight scenes that live up to the series’ reputation. Fans were ecstatic when the final battle featured cameos from other characters that were in “Jujutsu Kasien” season one, such as the Kyoto Jujutsu High students, Kasumi Miwa, Mechamaru, Zen’in Mai, Noritoshi Kamo, and Aoi Todo,  as well as another fan favorite sorcerer, Kento Nanami. The movie has a stellar soundtrack that flows seamlessly with the plot and scenes.

The story does not mention the series’s main character Itadori Yuji and his classmates Kugisaki Nobara and Fushiguro Megumi, as they have not been enrolled in Jujutsu High at the time the movie takes place. Yuta is only mentioned in season one with no official on screen appearance with the other characters. The two main characters will meet later in the story, most likely around the end of season two or the beginning of season three, depending on the overall pacing of the show. A season two for the franchise was announced by MAPPA Studios and is set for release sometime in 2023.

This movie lived up to the hype and was far beyond my expectations. As a fan of the franchise who reads the manga as well, I think the movie is a perfect introduction to the world of “Jujutsu Kaisen” as it explains some of the phenomena of curses, what qualifies a person to be a sorcerer, as well as the power system in the show. The prequel provides an introduction to some of the side characters’ backstories of the series such as Gojo Satoru, Geto Suguru, and Yuta’s classmates who can be seen in the series as well. The movie also provides a hint about a battle that is mentioned again in season one of the series that is significant to the plot.

Despite the movie not mentioning Itadori Yuji at all, Yuta’s backstory is significant to the series in more ways than one.  Not only does he appear later e in the series, but also he serves  as a character of comparison, as both Yuta and Itadori were brought into the jujutsu world unintentionally. If you are fully caught up with the series, you will notice small details that are significant later on in the story, making watching the movie far more enjoyable. However, the movie certainly can be watched before watching “Jujutsu Kaisen” season one and still be just as enjoyable, if not more.

The movie reveals that Yuta is related to a former big shot sorcerer who was one of the three biggest sorcerers. This also makes him distantly related to Gojo Satoru, the strongest sorcerer in the show. For readers of the manga who are caught up, we know that Satoru has been stuck in the prison realm since the Shibuya incident. I do not think Satoru would be released from the prison realm at least for a while, which makes Yuta the current strongest sorcerer. It has been thrilling to see Yuta take on these strong opponents in the manga in his own way and see his development from volume 0 to the present.I hope we can see Yuta continue to fill in the role of the strongest sorcerer and protect the other sorcerers like Satoru has while he remains trapped in the upcoming chapters.

The movie is currently unavailable on streaming platforms but may be available in local movie theaters. Until then, “Jujutsu Kaisen” season one is available to watch on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, and HBO.