Movie Review: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ – A film for the fans
We know it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but what if you loved, lost, and was cursed with the violent ghost of your lost loved one? That’s the plight of one Yuta Okkotsu, whose deceased girlfriend emerges to protect him from anyone who would think to do him harm. It wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that he ends up hurting a lot more people than he intends.
His curse is out of control. Luckily for Yuta, there’s a school that specialises in understanding and defeating curses that volunteers to help him out. From there Yuta meets the eclectic band known as Tokyo Jujutsu Technical High, featuring a weapon wielding woman with anger management issues, a turtleneck sporting young man who speaks only in rice ball ingredients, and a walking talking panda bear.
All this may sound completely inaccessible, but what’s astounding is that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is anything but. The film introduces complex mythos and challenging concepts, but does so with relative ease of entry. That’s thanks to its relatable characters, who are endearing to anyone meeting them for the first time. That’s impressive for any adaptation, much less a film based on an anime.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 makes no concessions about its source material, and wears it with pride. The movie feels less like a film and more like a collection of episodes, each with their own three act structure. While there’s an overall story told, the film’s episodic nature makes things feel a little disjointed.
Despite the odd pacing, the content of these episodes are wildly compelling. The movie has a tragic story for its main character, and leans into some horrific imagery, yet will turn on a dime to show you a completely different tone. Offbeat slapstick combined with action and horror sounds like a mix that should be a mess, yet the movie plays it with such confidence you can’t help but be engaged.
If the audience was any indication, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is sure to be a celebration for fans of the anime, and a definite big screen watch. For everyone else, you’d probably be comfortable seeing it at home where you can dip in and out of the narrative like you would a short series. Yet the way the film does its main story justice and delivers on a visually inventive and touching tale makes it worth seeing in the cinema.
Rating: Half Price
Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies.