Since last December, several major anime films have been released in theaters, including “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission,” and, on March 17, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0.” As a major anime fan, I saw all three of these movies in theaters with friends.
Each movie had its pros and cons. In “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” the animation was beautiful, the fight scenes were some of the best I had seen and the voice actors’ performances for both dub and sub were amazing. However, the story in itself felt both rushed and too short.
The “Mugen Train” arc was much shorter than the arcs of the other films and had a much faster pace. The film was very similar to Season Two of the “Demon Slayer” TV show, except for a few additional scenes and character backstories. So why did they make it a movie?
“My Hero Academia: Heroes’ World Mission” was a fun film with a lot of humor, and the fights between the main three characters, Bakugo, Izuku and Todoroki, and the antagonist were amazing to watch on the big screen. This movie’s biggest fault is that while the story itself was a fun ride to experience, I left the theater thinking, “Where were the other characters?”
In the promotion material for the movie, we see a lot of the other characters such as Uraraka, Tsuyu, and the other students of class 1A, but besides a couple of cameo shots, we spend the majority of the film with a very limited cast of characters. As a “My Hero Academia” fan, I was disappointed because I like how the show handles so many diverse characters and abilities while allowing its main three to shine.
Something both of these films did that worked well for me was introducing one new character as the main focal point of each story. By the end of the movie, I truly cared about Rengoku, the Flame Hashira swordsman that we briefly meet at the end of Season One. Throughout the movie, we learn that he’s caring and responsible, and that he values connections with other people.
In the Arc, he protects over 200 people from being killed and eaten by demons, even holding back one of the Upper Moon demons. I also loved Rody, a brand-new character who is introduced to us in this film. He is a very carefree individual who always looks for an opportunity for a job to support his younger brother and sister. These new characters were my favorite part of both movies.
My friends had similarly mixed feelings about these movies, so when we all gathered together to watch “Jujutsu Kasien 0,” my expectations were not too high. In fact, when I first decided I wanted to write an article on the movie, my concept was originally going to be “Why anime movies don’t work.” However, “Jujutsu Kasien 0” blew that idea out of the water, and proved to me that anime movies can work!
“Jujutsu Kasien 0” is a prequel to the “Jujutsu Kasien” anime, so even if you haven’t seen the anime, you can still watch it without anything being spoiled. If you are a “Jujutsu Kasien” fan, you’ll get to see most of your favorite characters and some other characters that we don’t get to see much of in the original anime.
Since “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” is a prequel, we don’t get to see the main trio of characters that we follow in the anime. That’s one reason why this movie stands out. At first, this may worry hard-core fans, but it shouldn’t! In my opinion, the way the film introduces the audience to the main character of this movie is perfect, and his development and relationship with each character is flawless.
Our main character in the movie is a young boy named Yuta. He is protected by the extremely powerful and cursed spirit of his childhood friend Rika, who died in a tragic traffic accident. Yuta enrolls in Jujutsu High School, where some familiar sorcerers help him control his power and keep an eye on him. He is a surprisingly relatable main character. All he wants is to be able to live in this world with his new high school friends and set his old friend’s spirit free.
While the film provides an interesting, developed main character, it also gives more depth to minor characters, allowing them to shine. For example, Maki Zenin and Toge Inumaki, who weren’t all that memorable, are now two of my favorite characters because I got to see them interact differently with the main character than they did in the anime. seeing some of their weaknesses when fighting made them more relatable for me as a viewer.
With all of that said, the animation, the soundtrack, and the fight scenes of this film are all amazing! Mappa outdid themselves with this one, which is easily some of their best work.
If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend you do. I rarely ever walk out of a theater in awe and with no critiques, even with some of the films I have long wanted to see, but “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” left me speechless