Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor
Yuta Okkotsu is a timid high school student who intentionally isolates himself from others thanks to a curse. And not just any curse. It was inflicted by his childhood sweetheart, who died tragically six years prior. Now, she follows him around as a terrifying apparition, viciously lashing out at anyone who dares harm a hair on Yuta’s head. Fortunately for him, Gojo Satoru is more than willing to take the boy under his wing and help him learn how to utilize his nightmare of a curse.
You don’t have to binge watch the first season of “Jujutsu Kaisen” to understand what happens in the movie. It’s written as a prequel of sorts that doesn’t necessarily connect with the show, which means it’s totally watchable for newcomers and casual fans alike. Studio MAPPA nailed it out of the park with this film. The action scenes were jaw droppingly smooth and fluid. If this film was going to be released in theaters, it was obvious that the animators had to sharpen their skills. The soundtrack was an additional bonus, offering a variety of tracks that ranged from suspenseful horror to adrenaline pumping action.
What made Yuta Okkotsu stand out so much to me was that he was far from the norm of what a shounen protagonist should be. Traditionally, protagonists are written as eager, outgoing, boisterous and hot blooded with big dreams and aspirations to fulfill. Yuta is none of those things. He just wants his deceased best friend to rest in peace and not hurt anymore people. Normally I would steer clear of meek and mousy characters, but the more I got to know Yuta, the more I hoped for him to break free of his affliction and become a stronger person.
The concept for the curse that Yuta was under was a brilliant idea. It would’ve made such an immersive and gripping live action horror movie just about a young man trying to move on from his loved one’s death, only for the ghost to stalk him and threaten anyone who gets close to him. Yuta and Rika’s situation was one of the more engaging elements of the film for me, revealing a beautiful friendship that was stripped away and twisted up into something darker.
Veteran Japanese voice actress Megumi Ogata delivered a strong vocal performance as Yuta Okkotsu. Considering she is famous for voicing Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion), I knew that she would accomplish the role of the forlorn, depressed teenager perfectly.
Of course, as awesome and fun the movie was throughout, there were some drawbacks. The pacing was reasonable, until the 3rd act. The audience was just getting to know the characters, learning the story and the world. Then, almost out of nowhere, the villains decided to randomly show up to declare war against all the sorcerers for the fate of humanity. I feel like we didn’t get the chance to see Yuta develop his powers either. He just became a powerhouse after seeing his friends get beaten down by the big bad. After three months, which was briefly mentioned, Yuta seemingly improved as a fighter. It would have been better if he was given more extended time to transition into a much stronger sorcerer. Overall, the film was a fun experience. If you weren’t sure about seeing the anime series, this film should definitely convince you to.