By Clay Thompson | Journalist
When I heard that one of my most recent favorite anime was getting a cinematic treatment, I almost cried. When it was announced that this was the official prequel to the original story, I admit I cried a little. Following a December 2021 release in Japan, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0finally hit US theaters on March 18, and I couldn’t wait to see the movie and say what I thought.
Watching the subtitled version of the film, I must first salute the dubbing. Since I unfortunately have no knowledge of Japanese, the voice acting in the anime is a huge factor in my decision as to its quality. Since there are no actual actors on screen, it’s important that the voice acting be authentic and engaging, as well as character-driven, and “Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s” the casting did not resist. Every character – from protagonist Yuta Okkotsu played excellently by Megumi Ogata to extras with little to no screen time – did extremely well. The whole personality and emotions were beautifully captured and even reading the subtitles I could feel the grandeur and power of the actor’s performance.
The writing and the story were amazing to me too. Even as a reader of the original prequel manga, I was surprisingly pleased with how well the story and characters transitioned from page to page. Although there is an overarching emotional story, the film separates into three distinct parts as the protagonist learns to adjust to his new “normal” and grows alongside new comrades and enemies. None of the characters or the story fell flat or disinterested me as a viewer, and there was a surprising amount of humor that only added to the quality of the film that didn’t never really distracted me.
Finally, and I saved the best for last, the animation. When I say that the animation of the movie, courtesy of studio MAPPA, was some of the best animation I have ever seen in my life, that’s no understatement. No scene has ever felt overlooked in terms of animation. The fight scenes, which were plentiful, were by far the best parts of the movie. The movements were so fluid and the blows exchanged were so perfectly accompanied by sound effects that I could have sworn I felt them make contact in the theater.
In the end, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”, the prequel to the popular anime series, “Jujutsu Kaisen” is pure, unadulterated hype. Unlike many other animated films, which either suffer from poor quality or don’t conform to their own series, this film does neither. It balances every amazing movie quality with perfect execution. “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” has already established itself, in my mind, as one of the best animated films of the year.