2022 | PG-13 | 1h 45m
Jujutsu Kaisen is an anime series that is has been adapted into an entertaining, fast-paced, and aesthetically beautiful feature film. It’s proof that animation isn’t just for kids, even if they’re about kids, and this horror, fantasy-battle series proves why. Jujutsu Kaisen, meaning ”Sorcery Fight” in English, was produced by the Japanese animation studio MAPPA, and directed by Sunghoo Park. The series genre is fantasy, adventure, and action, starring Chinatsu Akasaki (Kasumi Miwa), Aya Endo (Shoko Leiri), and Kana Hanazawa (Rika Orimoto).
The movie begins when they are kids, and Rika Orimoto is killed in a traffic accident right before the eyes of her close friend, Yuta Okkotsu. “It is a promise we will get married when we both grow up,” Rika said, just before becoming a ghost. Yuta yearns for his death after suffering under her curse, but the majestic Jujutsu sorcerer, Satoru Gojo, welcomes him into Jujutsu high. Yuta meets his classmates there, Maki Zeni’in, Panda, and Toge Inumaki, and eventually, he finds his determination. “I want the confidence to say it’s okay that I am alive! While I am at Jujutsu High, I will break Rika-Chan’s curse.” Meanwhile the vile enemy, Suguru Geto, who was expelled from school for killing ordinary people, appears before Yuta and others. While Geto is praised for creating a paradise for only Jujutsu sorcerers, he unleashes a thousand curses upon Shinjuku and Kyoto to exterminate all non-sorcerers.
This is a high school story with frightening elements and a protagonist whose childhood sweetheart has become a demon and turned him into a murderer. The anime format enables both creepiness and creativity, and surely more than what you would see in a live-action high school story. The wounds have eyeballs, there is a talking panda that is never interpreted, and one kid can only speak words that are components of rice balls.
The movie’s mythology is thick, and this cinematic work sets up enough myth to create the landscape for TV series, novels, and more possible films. It is a lot of lore to digest, but it is easy to understand why it’s so gripping. Jujutsu Kaisen does lag sometimes despite all the action, however, you cannot overlook its positive messages. It’s a story about controlling your demons. It is categorically stated that ”emotions cause curses,” meaning that if you don’t deal with your feelings properly, you can create worse problems as you progress. But with its youthful storyline and animation, younger viewers may want to follow the greater message that told through the adventures of Jujutsu High.
Protagonist Yuta (Megumi Ogata) is a caring and sensitive boy who is the catalyst, and though Yuta has no intention to hurt anyone, and he talks of suicide and death as a solution on many occasions. The story suggests clearly that you can tame your demons with the support and help of others who are aware of what you are going through.
Finally, for the same reasons that some people might not love superhero movies or comics, anime sometimes may feel like an overwhelming experience for those not familiar with the genre. However, Jujutsu is a great entry point for the inexperienced, as for beginners, the film is an adjustment of the manga series to the mainline Jujutsu Kaisen film, allowing you to become familiar with the characters. The movie’s core strength is that it combines a thrilling horror-action movie that goes beyond the surface level of its endearing characters and satisfying heartfelt story to share a deeper message about overcoming trauma.
Rating the Film: