“Jujutsu Kaisen 0”: an explosive first film with neat animation for the manga-event

The phenomenon manga Jujutsu Kaisen arrives on the big screen, with the adaptation of a prequel written by the mangaka Gege Akutami upstream of the famous saga. Jujutsu Kaisen follows the adventures of young exorcists fighting plagues: monsters born from the negative emotions of men. These creatures are usually invisible to humans, only exorcists can see them and destroy them. A universe in which high school student Yuji is immersed, led to become an exorcist when he absorbs the powerful scourge Sukuna.

The film Jujutsu Kaisen 0 takes place a year before the adventures of the original saga. It is Yuta Okkotsu, a promising young exorcist, who occupies the central role for nearly two hours. The latter is also linked to a scourge: Rika, a childhood friend who died in an accident years before. The famous professor of Tokyo’s exorcism school, Satoru Gojo, takes him under his wing to teach him how to control and free Rika’s soul. But that’s without counting the involvement of Suguru Geto, a master of plagues and former comrade of Gojo, who wishes to seize in the power of Rika to annihilate the humans.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 will delight fans of its manga version. The film is very faithful to the narration of the paper version. But it is clear that the temporal ellipses present in the manga are less digestible on the big screen. The spectator remains a little unsatisfied, with these leaps in time which could have finally been explained in this film. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 still allows itself some deviations from the original version, by further exploring the old friendship between Gojo and Geto in exclusive scenes, just like the unhealthy romantic relationship between the hero Yuta and his childhood friend Rika, transformed into a plague.

The film fits perfectly into the genre shōnen, an initiatory adventure in which a character progresses until reaching his goal, while gaining power. Yuta, the main character begins as a defeatist, before finding a reason to live and fight thanks to the school of exorcism. This progression of the character makes it possible to create a solid common thread throughout the film. The tragic relationship between Yuta and his childhood friend Rika, turned into a plague, saves the film from falling into superficial heroic adventure. This element of drama balances the narrative with the action phases and the comic passages, a hallmark of Jujutsu Kaisen.

One of the biggest fan expectations for this film is the adaptation of the fight scenes. Jujutsu Kaisen accustomed its public to spectacular battles, mixing occult force (the energy of exorcists) and complex techniques. The scenes of confrontations are at the rendezvous throughout this film, with animation mastered by the studio Mappa (The attack of the Titans, Dorohedoro). The final battle is particularly impressive for its duration and explosiveness. We are witnessing a surge of plagues, invocations and spells on a background of electric guitar, enough to satisfy the expectations of fans.

Rika, a young girl who became a plague when she died, forever linked to her childhood friend Yuta by an engagement ring. (Crunchyroll)

This feature film is above all intended for regulars of the franchise. They will be delighted to find characters present in the rest of the saga, such as the students of the school of exorcism: Panda, Maki, Toge and their teacher Gojo. But for the uninitiated, the functioning of exorcism and the different types of plagues are evoked too succinctly to be fully understood.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 makes it possible to bridge the story of Yuta and the anime, by explaining the origins of the conflict with Geto while revealing a little more the past of the secondary characters (Maki, Toge…). A post-credits scene – which is not present in the manga – suggests that Yuta will return soon. We will have to wait until 2023, the year of release of season 2 of the anime Jujutsu Kaisen, to get to the bottom of it. Until then, fans will be able to devour volume 14 of the saga expected in France on April 7 and even dive into a mobile video game dedicated to the world of manga, during 2022.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0March 16 at the cinema

"Jujutsu Kaisen 0", the prequel to the hit manga, in theaters on March 16. (Crunchyroll)

Gender: animation, adventure, fantasy
Director: Park Sung Ho
Country : Japan
Duration : 1h45
Exit in France : March 16, 2022
Distributer : Crunchyroll and CGR Events

Summary:

When he was a child, Yuta Okkotsu watched his friend Rika Orimoto die in a terrible accident. Since then, Rika comes to haunt Yuta who even wished his own death after suffering years from this curse. Until the day when the most powerful of exorcists, Satoru Gojo, welcomed him into the school of exorcism in Tokyo. As Yuta finally finds new meaning in his life, a threat hangs over the world. Indeed, someone plans to unleash a thousand curses on Shinjuku and Kyoto to exterminate all non-exorcists…