ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ Volume 0

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0

Fans of the popular supernatural shonen Jujutsu Kaisen get something a bit different this time around: a prequel. Mangaka Gege Akutami provides some backstory in an author’s note at the end. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 originated as a mini-series called Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School published in Jump GIGA in 2017. This was before Akutami had any intention of making the story into a long-running serial or doing a Weekly Shonen Jump series. After the series became popular, this miniseries was collected into a volume and released as Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0. Readers will see some familiar faces, and the story ties very well into the later expanded series. The volume is published in English by VIZ Media. It is translated by Stefan Koza, edited by John Bae, and features touch-up art and lettering by Snir Aharon.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 opens with a character in a pretty similar situation to Yuji Itadori. He is to be executed because he is haunted by a special grade curse. As it turns out, this is 16-year old Yuta Okkotsu, a character who has only been mentioned by name in the main storyline (as of currently published volume): He is said to be a powerful student at Jujutsu High, and is currently studying abroad. Yuta, under the guidance of Gojo, enrolls at Jujutsu High as one of four first-years in order to prolong his execution and possibly unravel the curse. His fellow classmates are none other than Maki Zen’in, Panda, and Toge Inumaki.

Gege Akutami has done an excellent job aging these characters in the later series. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 shows a younger Maki and Inumaki, and it is nice to see the spotlight on them, as well as Inumaki’s cursed speech in action more. Of course, the focus is on Okkotsu. Okkotsu’s curse is in fact a distorted version of his childhood friend, Rika. She died in an accident when they were young, and has stuck to him ever since due to their promise to marry as kids. While there are times when Okkotsu coming to control his power feels a tad rushed, as this was a limited series, it overall is developed nicely. Okkotsu and Rika’s relationship has a nice twist as well. The themes of love, toxicity and how curses don’t always come from hatred are explored.

Main series antagonist Suguru Geto is out to obtain Rika’s power for himself. His distorted view of the world, and non-jujutsu sorcerers as a lesser species is disturbing, making him a truly terrifying villain. Readers will also be happy to see his relationship with Gojo touched on (as they used to be classmates). For a 200 page “prequel” a lot of content has been packed in. If not for the author’s note that this series came long before plans for the Weekly Shonen Jump series, this reviewer would have thought it all planned and seamlessly put in the canon as backstory. It is a testament to the world-building, and how planned out Akutami has made the Jujutsu Kaisen universe.

Don’t worry, there are fights aplenty in Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0, and the stakes are just as high and bloody as ever. Even if outcomes can be guessed based on events in the main series, it doesn’t stop putting readers on the edge of their seats. Akutami still manages to throw a twist or two in that elevates the final battle beyond that of just a giant power clash.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 isn’t necessary reading for the main storyline, but it is a fantastic addition. Fan-favorite supporting characters are given more backstory and spotlight. Mangaka Gege Akutami’s storytelling skill is on full display in a condensed format.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 is available January 5th, 2021 wherever books are sold, and online from comiXology using our affiliate link.

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0
4

TL;DR

Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 isn’t necessary reading for the main storyline, but it is a fantastic addition. Fan-favorite supporting characters are given more backstory and spotlight. Mangaka Gege Akutami’s storytelling skill is on full display in a condensed format.