Jujutsu Kaisen 0, as its name suggests, is a prequel introducing characters like Yuta and offering insight into other allies and enemies. Which it is incredibly effective at accomplishing. It uses Yuta — who comes across here as an entirely new person — as a window into the world of Curses and Sorcerers. As a result, it becomes a perfect introduction to the series while simultaneously offering new insight to people keeping up with the series.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is, without a doubt, Yuta Okkotsu and Rika Orimoto’s story. It begins with us seeing her drive to protect him in action as some bullies come to attack him. They are all killed, and he’s left thinking he’ll isolate himself forever. But instead, following a meeting with the Jujutsu Society elders, Satoru Gojo brings him to Jujutsu High School. There, he joins the same class as Maki Zen’in, Toge Inumaki, and Panda.
In what is honestly quite a wise decision. While Yuta does come up in Jujutsu Kaisen proper, he isn’t an immediate member of the cast. The nature of his Curse means he’s as new to the world of Sorcerers as Yuji Itadori is. This means that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 can effectively introduce its characters and world to newcomers. Yuta is our eyes. When he learns something, we do too.
The structure of the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie initially feels like multiple episodes of a show stitched together, which also helps with accessibility and pacing. There’s Yuta coming to the school and going on a first mission with Maki. We see hints at Yuta and Rika’s backgrounds. We get to watch another mission with Yuta and Toge. It all leads up to a grand battle with the Night Parade of 100 Demons. Everything feels like an easily digestible part, to keep there from being an information overload. At the same time, it all ties together, with the threads becoming more obvious once we reach the end.
But even more important is what Jujutsu Kaisen 0 does for characters we already know. Odds are, someone is coming to the film with some degree of knowledge about the series. In the main series, the first years at the Tokyo branch of the school, Yuji, Megumi Fushiguro, and Nobara Kugisaki, are the focus and stars. This film lets the Maki, Toge, and Panda be in the spotlight. We get to learn more about Maki and Toge’s abilities and backgrounds specifically. The one-on-one moments with Yuta and them allow not only him to identify with them, but the audience to know them better.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is also good at giving supporting characters a few minutes of their own. This mainly comes up during the Night Parade of 100 Demons. Sorcerers and staff from the Tokyo and Kyoto schools show up for cameo appearances. In many cases, it is a chance to offer support for what we already know about them and their abilities.
In short, the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie is effective at fleshing out Yuta and other characters for both newcomers and folks familiar with the series. The pacing gives people a chance to learn more about Yuta, as well as his new classmates. First, it happens via one-on-one settings. But then, once the viewer is assured of everyone’s growth, via a bigger battle that brings in cameos from even more characters. It’s a handy and well-executed supplement.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 will appear in theaters in the United States and Canada on March 18, 2022. It launched in Japan back in December 2022. Viz Media handled the localization of the manga.