Is Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie Canon?
Anime Reviews

Is Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie Canon?

Introduction

Embarking on a journey through the captivating world of Jujutsu Kaisen, a cornerstone in modern anime and manga, reveals a rich tapestry of storytelling and complex characters. Among its many offerings, Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie stands out, not just as a cinematic extension of the franchise but as a potential key piece in understanding the entire series.

This exploration delves into the intricate questions surrounding the movie’s place in the Jujutsu Kaisen universe: its canonical status, chronological significance, and accessibility to both newcomers and established fans alike.

Jujutsu Kaisen has emerged as a titan in the anime and manga world, joining the ranks of the “Dark Trio” of shonen. Its cinematic debut further amplified its international fame, and this is particularly true for the franchise’s movie installment. Naturally, given its format as an anime film, there are debates about its canonical status. Interestingly, this film might have chronological precedence over the main series in several aspects.

For newcomers to Jujutsu Kaisen, questions abound regarding whether Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie fits into the anime’s official timeline, a common concern with anime movies. Equally pressing is understanding where this movie slots into the series chronologically, which is crucial for those who prefer viewing in sequence. The title implies it’s a precursor to the main story, yet this assumption leads to further inquiries about its approachability for first-time viewers, making the film an intriguing puzzle.

The Chronological Placement and Canonical Status of Jujutsu Kaisen 0

As indicated by its title, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 serves as a precursor to the main Jujutsu Kaisen anime storyline. Importantly, it aligns with the anime’s canon, unfolding a year prior to the events of the principal series. This integration into the canon is a relatively recent trend in anime, diverging from past practices where movies in shonen series, like those in Dragon Ball Z, were often non-canonical and not easily placed within the series timeline, thus offering limited value beyond hardcore fandom.

The canonical nature of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 stems from its basis on the manga bearing the same title, originally named Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, which was short-lived in 2017. Gege Akutami, the creative force behind the series, followed up with Jujutsu Kaisen a year later, retroactively rebranding the previous work as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and establishing it as the narrative precursor.

In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, we follow Yuta Okkotsu, a reserved and gentle young man who wields the formidable spirit of his late friend Rika. Struggling with control, he joins Jujutsu High School, immersing himself in the realm of spirits and their powers. As he grows more confident and skilled, he faces new dangers. Yuta Okkotsu may be familiar to Jujutsu Kaisen enthusiasts as a character referenced in the main series. However, for those new to the series, the movie provides an accessible entry point.

Is Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Accessible to Those Unfamiliar with the Series?

Gojo using his special attack in the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie

Fortunately, for both seasoned and uninitiated viewers of Jujutsu Kaisen, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 defies expectations in more ways than one. Set before the main anime series, it offers an easily digestible storyline, making it an ideal starting point. Fans of the movie are encouraged to delve into the anime thereafter.

For existing fans, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 enriches the universe they are familiar with. Notably, the series’ main character, Itadori Yuji, is absent, but other familiar characters make appearances. Suguru Geto, a villain in the primary series, is portrayed differently here, not yet under Kenjaku’s influence. Yuta’s peers, including Gojo, Maki, Toge, and Panda, who feature in Jujutsu Kaisen later, are present, although Yuta himself does not appear in the main series. The film’s setting and concepts lay the groundwork for what unfolds in the later series, despite the original manga not being crafted as a direct prequel.

In essence, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 acts more as a prologue than a prequel to Jujutsu Kaisen, introducing key ideas and characters that gain prominence later. This positions it as both a primer for new viewers and a rich backstory for seasoned followers. The film is also a more concise introduction to the Jujutsu Kaisen universe than the anime’s first season, offering a quick taste of the series’ allure. Given its standalone quality, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is a must-watch, even for those beyond the established fan base.

Final Thoughts

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 offers a unique experience that transcends the typical boundaries of anime spin-offs and prequels. Its thoughtful integration into the Jujutsu Kaisen canon makes it an enriching watch for long-time followers, providing deeper insights into the universe they cherish. Simultaneously, its standalone narrative structure and introduction to fundamental concepts and characters make it an inviting entry point for newcomers.
This film not only broadens the scope of the Jujutsu Kaisen narrative but also enhances the viewing experience of the series as a whole. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a curious newcomer, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is a compelling addition to the world of anime, deserving of its praise and a testament to the series’ broader appeal and depth.