Go(jo) back to the movies

A “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” movie review


Mina Jung / Talon

As the curse of the pandemic plagued the world, many turned to the power of anime — its power to transport viewers to a different dimension, to display the imaginative talent of animators and to entertain. It’s no surprise that when the anime TV show “Jujutsu Kaisen” released in Oct. 2020, anime fans and newbies alike fell in love with its unique concept of curses, jujutsu sorcery and beloved characters. This passion was revived with the movie “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” hitting the U.S. theaters on March 17, 2022.

The world of Jujutsu Kaisen lies on the concept of cursed energy, which pools into monster-like curses in areas of common memories — schools and hospitals, for example. Jujutsu sorcerers must manipulate cursed energy to combat these curses, which when left uncontested, can accumulate into dangerous entities that even kill people. Tokyo Jujutsu High is one of two academies for young jujutsu sorcerers to learn how to combat such curses.

The movie, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High”  is a prequel-like extension of the original TV show “Jujutsu Kaisen,” and contains similar faces from season one, as well as including new faces, such as protagonist Yuta Okkotsu. Okkotsu, voiced by Megumi Ogata, is placed in a similar situation as season one protagonist, Yuji Itadori. Both protagonists of their respective tales, they were thrown into the world of jujutsu almost by chance, and have secret executions planned in the future due to their unordinary circumstances. 

Okkotsu has been name-dropped by characters in season one of “Jujutsu Kaisen” on multiple occasions, but has yet to show his face up to this point. From what viewers learn from these quick conversations, Okkotsu is a very powerful character that is deserving of the respect of all the new first year students (this includes protagonist Itadori, and fellow first years, Megumi Fushiguro and Nobara Kugisaki).

Although one of us has caught up with the manga, both of us were still shocked to see how timid Okkotsu was on introduction to the audience. Portrayed as weak and basically scared of life, we were intrigued to learn how he came to be the strong sorcerer he is referred to in season one of “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

According to the author of “Jujutsu Kaisen,” Gege Akutami, originally “Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0” was a mini-series titled “Metropolitan Curse Technical School,” published in 2017 in “Jump GIGA.” At this point Akutami had no intention of doing a long-running series, but after the story gained popularity, the mini-series was gathered into a volume and released as “Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0,” a prequel to the main story line that is focused on in season one of “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

Although only running one hour and 45 minutes, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” is jam-packed with beautiful fight scenes and background on characters we have already met such as Maki Zen’in, voiced by Mikako Komatsu, and Toge Inumaki, voiced by Koki Uchiyama. 

“Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” which was released in 2021 in the USA, is the only movie we could really compare “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” to at this point. While we absolutely love the animation style of the “Demon Slayer” series, we found ourselves in awe of the “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” fight scenes — especially the concluding battle between the evolving Okkotsu and antagonist Suguru Geto, voiced by Takahiro Sakurai.

Although nothing quite compares to the song that was composed for the battle between Akaza and Kyojuro Rengoku in “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” (“Akaza vs Rengoku Theme” by Samuel Kim) we did find the “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” soundtrack to be noteworthy. Hiroaki Tsutsumi, Yoshimasa Terui and Alisa Okehazama, did an amazing job composing the pieces that went into the movie. 

Statistics for both movies are extremely similar, however, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” just passed “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” on first day box office collections, earning $5.8 million on release, while “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” earned $5.7 million. In addition, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” is now the number one highest-earning movie in the Japanese box-office for 2021.

Overall, we definitely recommend the “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Jujutsu High” to old and new fans alike. Since it is a prequel, if you have never been exposed to “Jujutsu Kaisen” this is a great way to start to get involved in the story.