Title: Jujutsu Kaisen 0
Author: Gege Akutami
Release Date: Horror Action
The Jujutsu Kaisen series is becoming increasingly popular within the Weekly Shōnen Jump community. It’s an eccentric cast of outcast characters, dark themes, and high action; each plays a pivotal role in its popularity. Now, Gege Akutami’s prequel to the events has been released in the west with Jujutsu Kaisen 0. No, it isn’t necessary to read to understand the main series, but it does give fans a look at where this series began and the general foundation that became so much more over time.
The main protagonist of Jujutsu Kaisen is Yuta Okkotsu, who is currently suffering from a spiritual possession that hurts people at random. This spirit is a monstrous creature who was once Yuta’s best friend. After death, a promise made between them keeps them together even after her passing, but it causes Yuta to be exceptionally lonely, given the circumstances of his curse.
This leads Yuta to be enrolled as a first-year at Tokyo Jujutsu High, where he meets classmates Maki Zenin, Toge Inumaki, and Panda. Even though there are only four chapters to this prequel, the story manages to flesh out these characters, if only enough to get the basics of their backstory down. Still, the entire volume is packed with action as if Gege Akutami didn’t expect the series to become more popular. Sure, this was perfect for the one-off that it is, but I wouldn’t have minded a few more chapters to really expand on Yuta’s growing friendship with his classmates.
These friendship themes are where Jujutsu Kaisen 0 shines as it’s used as the foundation for the conclusion. It works incredibly well as the story drops several breadcrumbs to the readers about what exactly happened with Yuta but holds a bigger chunk of the reveal to the end. As the reader understands Yuta’s desire for friendship and weighing the cost of his own survival, he has a few significant choices to make.
The illustrations here are great as they have enough motion to sell the high action scenes and set up the setting well to let the reader know exactly where they are. This comes in handy because the group likes to split up, but it’s easy to follow as it jumps back and forth between settings. The writing is rather deep, which pairs with the idea that the writer didn’t know if this would be successful at the time. Nothing is really held back here, and no time is wasted on needless exposition or overwordy antagonists. The comedic moments within the panels only sell the friendship between them, so I appreciated that these subtle lighthearted scenes were included.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 gives fans a look at the humble beginnings of one of the more popular Weekly Shonen Jump series. I feel like it also acts as a great starting point for readers to truly understand this cursed world and the stakes that are on the line. Yuta’s story needed to be told, and I can easily recommend this to fans of horror and action manga. My only complaint would have to be that I wish there were an extra volume to spend more time with this group of friends.
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