Jujutsu Kaisen 0 delves into the past to prepare for the future

However, don’t expect someone like Yuji Itadori, the main series protagonist. Unlike the gregarious Yuji, Yuta is dark and withdrawn. There are reasons for his self-imposed isolation. He once promised his childhood best friend Rika that they would get married when they were older. Alas, Rika died in a tragic accident. And even more tragically, his spirit did not pass into the afterlife. Instead, she transformed into a monstrous cursed spirit that haunts Yuta and attacks anyone who threatens him, whether they like it or not.

In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, negative emotions give rise to cursed energy in humans. Normal people cannot control this energy. In fact, most people don’t even know it exists. But some people do and can. These people are known as Jujutsu Sorcerers. Yuta, bonded to an unpredictably violent Rika, eventually catches their eye.

To free Rika from her existence as a cursed spirit, Yuta enrolls in Tokyo Jujutsu High School. There, he practices various sorcery techniques, strengthens his abilities and learns more about the world of jujutsu. This last point becomes important when a former Tokyo Jujutsu High School student comes calling.

If the structure sounds familiar to fans of the main series, it should. A teenager meets the supernatural; a teenager enrolls in a high school specializing in the supernatural; A teenager finds himself stalked by people who covet his power – this is the fundamental dilemma facing Yuji. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 maybe a prequel movie, but why does it seem to be retreading existing material, just with a different protagonist?

There is a reason for this. Like the main series, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is based on a manga by Gege Akutami. And while this manga is currently billed as a prequel to the main series, it didn’t start out that way. Original title Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical Schoolthe prequel we now know as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was intended to be a four-chapter standalone oneshot. When the oneshot proved popular, however, Akutami used the themes and concepts he explored in a new series to Weekly Shonen Jump. This series, of course, was Jujutsu Kaisen.

In many ways you might think of the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 manga as a pilot. And, for better or for worse, that pilot sensibility carries over to the film adaptation. The story is self-contained, for the most part. He could stand on his own. But while we learn a lot about Yuta and his struggles, less space is given to his relationships with his new classmates: Maki, Inumaki, and Panda.

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