What do you do when the love of your life becomes your greatest nightmare? A teenager named Yuta Okkutsu (voiced by Megumi Ogata) finds his life taking a terrifying turn when the demonic spirit of his childhood best friend, Rika, begins to haunt him. Instead of hurting him however, she becomes his monstrous protector. Full Eddie Brock and Venom vibes.
A twisted love story
Young Yuta unwittingly compels his best friend to return from the dead after witnessing her horrific death. Rika’s cursed spirit gleefully murders anyone who attempts to harm Yuta, making him feel responsible for the victims. The trauma drives Yuta to extremes. But he’s saved in time by Satoru Gojo, a powerful sorcerer and teacher at Tokyo Jujutsu Hugh School. At Goju’s behest, Yuta begins studying at the high school, learning how his powers can be used for good.
His teachers and classmates at Tokyo Jujutsu High initially believe that his ability to defeat curses is dependent on Rika. Their symbiotic relationship is revealed over time and Satoru Gojo encourages Yuta to understand Rika and his powers, instead of fearing them. In the process, Yuta finds his perspective on life changing. Eventually, Yuta promises to join Rika after he dies and frees her from her cursed form. Their love story ends in the most peaceful way possible.
Yuta’s emotional journey is the most compelling aspect of the film. Rika’s death defines his adolescence because he loses her at a very young age. His grief moulds his perception of life and he lives in constant fear that Rika will kill anyone who hurts him. Unable to process his grief or confront his fears, he’s debilitated by his pain. In contrast, the protagonist of the anime ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’, Itadori Yuji, experiences the loss of his grandfather early in the anime. But he chooses to treat it as motivation in his fight against evil. Yuta’s helplessness makes him more human.
Old favourites return
Popular characters from the anime return in the finale battle for a bloody, violent and cool face down against some freaky monsters. Watching the suit-clad Nanami Kento bring his cleaver down on a 50-foot tall creature as he slides down its back is quite frankly, an exhilarating experience. Satoru Gojo shows off for the first time ever and obliterates a gargantuan monster by just waving at it. The Kyoto students also make an appearance and Todo’s grand entrance will elicit cheers in the theatre.
WATCH OR NOT
‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ is a fun film, which stays true to the source material and establishes Yuta Okkutsu’s origin story. It’ll make you binge the anime on Netflix all over again.
Director: Park Sung-hoo
Cast: Kana Hanzawa, Yuichi Nakamura, Kōki Uchimaya, Mikako Komatsu, Takahiro Sakurai