Following the massive success of 2020/2021’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is the next anime movie to make a big splash on the international stage. The movie has been released in theaters westside to critical acclaim as well, with praises largely going to its exceptional animation, charming characters, and genuinely emotional story.
Expectedly, viewers online have been thrilled with the movie, with Redditors sharing several high points that made them happy with this prequel movie. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 satisfied both longtime fans and newcomers thanks to its clever and tasteful callbacks to the main series, as well as being an incredibly beginner-friendly starting point for everyone else. There’s a lot to love, which could hopefully bode well for the future of anime movie releases internationally.
The Most Accessible Anime Movie Yet
The genre can admittedly be jarring and/or intimidating for those looking from the outside in, but Jujutsu Kaisen 0 proved itself to be great for newcomers to both the series and anime beginners in general. This movie is based on series creator Gege Akutami’s one-shot prequel manga of the same name, which naturally makes it welcome new ground for those coming in fresh. Though, part of that accessibility applies on a literal level as well. Redditor WumpaFP applauded the movie for several things, one of which was “worth noting this has been the most easily accessible anime movie near me.”
The critical success of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 has a part to play in that approachability, and having the movie be widely distributed internationally shows the massive progress that anime movies have made in decades past. TV shows were hard enough for fans to get their hands on — subbed or dubbed — years ago, which made movies an even rarer sight. With this movie’s success, along with Demon Slayerthe future looks bright for anime movie distribution going forward.
Seeing Nanami’s Black Flash
Despite being a recognizably shonen anime, Jujutsu Kaisen has been applauded for avoiding egregious tropes. That being said, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 certainly does contain the anime movie trope of bringing in the “greatest hits” cast of characters in the final act. New fans might be lost, but the movie generally does a good job of making these supporting characters’ appearances unimportant to appreciating the movie’s strong standalone story. For longtime fans, though, there were several delightful cameos and Easter eggs that satisfied those coming from the show and/or manga.
The same Redditor exclaims that they “really enjoyed it and got really hyped whenever Nanami would be shown! Then it even shows the black flash record? Hype.” Nanami is a fan-favorite character in the franchise, and the Night Parade in the movie’s last act gave fans a look at his famous Black Flash record referenced in the main series. The move is a rarely executed technique where the jujutsu sorcerer applies cursed energy to their physical attack within one millionth of a second. Nanami set the initial record here of four consecutive Black Flashes.
Anime Original Scenes
Similar to Ufotable’s aforementioned Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movies, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was adapting a small piece of the series overall. Both Ufotable and MAPPA thought that instead of slowing down the TV series with a brief arc, they expanded on it in a movie format to start the following season after those events. Akutami’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 manga is fairly short, so padding out a movie with original scenes was inevitable.
In terms of this original material, Redditor genesis1v9 was impressed with the creative team, saying “MAPPA did great with what they were given. I always found volume 0 to be the weakest part of JJK,” and that “anime original moments definitely elevated the movie.” Anime “filler” is dreaded among the community, as it was excessively used in several series years ago to middling effect. However, the movie made its anime-original scenes feel supplementary to the source material.
MAPPA’s Exceptional Animation
This high point comes as no surprise to veteran fans, as MAPPA animators stand among the elite anime studios. Their various series — like Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack on Titan season 4, Hajime no Ippo season 3, and Dorohedoro — are dripping with visual quality, and a theatrical movie brings an even higher expectation.
Thankfully, fans by and large agreed that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 met and exceeded those expectations. Redditor CyberJokerWTF commended the studio, saying “I think Mappa went crazy on the animation and they really can do well when given enough time and money.” There were several great showcases of their animating talents, with practically every major fight scene included. The Night Parade of 100 Demons and Yuta’s fight with Geto were noteworthy shows.
Gojo & Geto
Even on top of Nanami, Gojo Satoru is perhaps the undisputed fan-favorite character in the franchise. His simple yet sleek design in addition to his amusing charm, general aloofness, and genuine compassion easily make him a hit among the fan base. And when it comes to Jujutsu Kaisen 0‘s supporting cast, Gojo was one of the standouts.
It was entertaining seeing him be one step ahead of everyone else at almost all times, with Redditor OjiikunVII saying “The mastermind of Gojo is something to witness. He had everything calculated to bring out the best in Yuta,” and that “Geto feels like a great ex-best-friend-turned-villain to have in the show.” Aside from Yuta’s emotionally resonant character arc, the movie gave an engrossing look into Gojo and Geto’s dynamic and history together. It’s the best look yet, and it will surely serve as a great piece of added context to the show’s second season.
Yuta & Expanding On Maki
Yuta eventually appears in the mainline Jujutsu Kaisen manga series, goal 0 brings his origins front and center. It’s part of what made this movie adaptation a good move before the inevitable second season premieres. High school anime series are a dime a dozen, but this franchise manages to be one of the most polished shonen of this style, with even Yuta being a worthy protagonist despite only being one in a prequel.
He’s effectively sympathetic and working Maki into his origins proved to be a strong dynamic. Redditor FierceAlchemist said that “Yuta is a great protagonist and I like that Maki got a lot of focus.” This also falls into the “original anime” point as well, as her partnered mission with Yuta wasn’t in the source material. On top of supplementing the young protagonist with this scene by getting him to know more of his classmates, he also did so while maintaining Maki as a fully-realized character in her own right.
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