Whenever a new anime film comes out that’s connected to an existing property the first question is always: Why should I watch this if I haven’t seen the series? And for Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie, the question is the same. That said, you can watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 as both a newcomer and a seasoned fan. But when I say that, I’m not just saying so because there are exposition scenes involved, I’m saying it because watching Jujutsu Kaisen 0 first, actually makes Season 1 of the anime better.
That said, if you’re looking to watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 without binging a show afterward, that option is right there for you too because it tells a compelling and contained story that has a beginning, middle, and end even if you never pick up Season 1 (though I think you should). So, to convince you, here are 3 reasons to watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0, even if you’ve never watched the anime series.
It’s a Prequel
Getting into anime can be challenging and intimidating. And starting with an animated feature set in the same world can be even more so. While you may show up to the theater expecting a great time, it’s easy to be confused or not feel like you’re “in” on the world despite paying for your ticket. However, Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie is the perfect gateway into the anime series, and that’s by design. It’s a prequel! This means not only do you learn about the lead character Yuta Okkotsu, but you learn about the world of the series and three of the series characters: Panda, Maki, and Toge.
As a series, Jujutsu Kaisen does a phenomenal job of getting the audience invested in the side characters, not just the “chosen one.” In fact, Gege Akutami and MAPPA have mostly ensured that everyone who shows up gets depth and background and that’s no different in the feature film. Watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and you don’t just get a gripping story but you get a trio of characters that are both expertly designed and perfectly written. While we get some back story and impact, it sets up the series perfectly, making it a great launching pad into Jujutsu Kaisen Season 1.
In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, you get a world of monsters and curses and fighting. It’s top-tier animated action, but it’s also one of the most moving stories about grief and guilt I’ve seen. Instead of focussing purely on the expected “teen with immense power” trope that defines many shonen, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 instead offers up a story of a teen processing a childhood tragedy.
Yuta Okkotsu experiences guilt, grief, and loneliness when his childhood best friend Rika dies. But instead of leaving this world, Rika becomes a cursed spirit, latched onto Yuta, protecting him for the world and himself often in brutally violent ways. What begins as a search to exorcize Rika ends in an inward reflection on his grief and how it transformed him, even if he was running away from it.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is hands down the best animation I have seen in a movie, period. From the action sequences and creature design to capturing deep emotional moments, studio MAPPA turns the volume up as high as they can. With such a high bar set with the anime itself, MAPPA has pulled out all the stops to bring to life an action-packed feature film that pushes the boundaries. Unlike Mugen Train before it, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 doesn’t look like more of the same, despite putting characters that we’ve seen fight before at the center of the action. Throw in the grotesque and disturbing design for Rika that is equal parts brutal and creepy and MAPPA continues to knock it all out of the park.
So watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 even if you have no idea what the series is. Watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 if you love emotional stories, great characters, and the best action in animation. You know, just watch Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and buckle in for a great ride.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.