By Clay Thompson | Reporter
When I heard that one of my most recent favorite animes was getting a movie treatment I nearly screamed. When it was announced it was the official prequel to the original story, I will admit I shouted a bit. After a release in December 2021 in Japan, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” finally hit U.S. theaters on March 18, and I was eager to see the film and talk about what I thought of it.
Watching the subtitled version of the film, I first have to commend the voice acting. Seeing as I unfortunately have no knowledge of Japanese, voice acting in anime is a huge factor in my decision making of its quality. Since there are no actual actors on screen, it’s important for voice acting to be authentic and engaging as well as character-driven, and “Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s” cast did not hold off. Every character — from the protagonist Yuta Okkotsu played excellently by Megumi Ogata to extras with little to almost no screen time — did exceedingly well. All of the personality and emotions were captured beautifully and even when reading subtitles, I could feel the greatness and power of the actor’s performance.
The writing and story were incredible to me as well. Even as a reader of the original prequel manga, I was surprisingly pleased by how well the transition of the story and characters were from page to screen. While there is an emotional overarching story, the movie separates itself into three distinct parts as the protagonist learns to adapt to his new “normal,” and grows alongside new comrades and enemies alike. None of the characters or story fell flat or disinterested me as a viewer, and there was a surprising amount of humor that only added to the movie’s quality that never truly distracted me.
Finally, and I saved the best for last, the animation. When I say that the animation in the film, courtesy of the studio MAPPA, was some of the best animation I have ever seen in my life — that is not an understatement. No scene ever felt skipped on in terms of animation. The fight scenes, which there were plenty of, were by far the very best parts of the film. The movements were so smooth, and the blows traded were so perfectly paired with sound effects that I could have sworn I felt them make contact in the theater.
Ultimately, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0,” the prequel to the popular anime series, “Jujutsu Kaisen” is pure, unadulterated hype. Unlike many other anime films, which suffer from undercooked quality, or not being canon to their own series, this film does neither. It balances each amazing film quality with perfect execution. “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” has already cemented its place, in my mind, as one of the best anime films of the year.