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How Maki, Panda, and Toge change in ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’: A cast discussion

The cast of 'Jujutsu Kaisen 0' discusses how their characters have changed in the new prequel film, which is making its North American debut.

Image via Crunchyroll

With the North American premiere of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 upon us, shōnen fans can look forward to not just new protagonists, but the return of beloved characters from the show.

Second-year students Maki, Panda, and Toge return to the prequel as first years, with new character designs and new personalities to boot. Allegra Clark, Matthew David Rudd, and Xander Mobus make a strong showing as main cast members in the film, so I asked the trio to reflect on their character development from the movie to the series, and their conversation is worth preserving in full. Check it out below.

Clark, who voices Maki, kicks off the conversation with some insight into how the character may differ in personality from how fans of the series might expect:

It’s interesting to visit Maki in an earlier part of her character arc and seeing her being a lot more abrasive, a lot more closed off from people, exploring those levels to her makes me appreciate the show and makes me appreciate the show even more, cuz she starts out really mean. She’s kinda a jerk.

Rudd, on the other hand, who voices Panda, relishes the “steadiness” of his character and continued status as the trio’s emotional center.

I loved seeing Panda, so it’s kinda the opposite of what Maki…what Allegra said. I love the steadiness of Panda and how he’s kind of the heart of the three of these guys. He tries to make everyone get along; he tries to shelter people when they need that sort of thing. And it’s stuff that we saw hints of in the series but I like that we really see it front and center in the movie in that he’s really there to guide each character, sort of emotionally. He cools Maki down when she’s a little hot headed…

Clark taps back in.

You can say mean, hot headed is putting it very kindly. She tears Yuta a new one at the beginning. Like reads him to filth. I was like wow dang; we’re doing this now. It’s a contrast of her, at least for me, her being in a different part of her character arc and getting to expand on these things we already saw about these characters. I think we’re all just excited to play in this sandbox again.

Lest we forget the soft-spoken Toge, Rudd sends a question over to his voice actor Mobus.

And Xander you say bonito flakes like, zero times in the movie right? That was your favorite term in the show.

Mobus responds:

Yeah no, he had to lose one of them. He had to grow into bonito flakes over the course of the movie.

Later, the trio was discussing how they set about performing each differently. Here’s Rudd, making complete sense:

Panda was a little more Panda than he usually is. Ya know, he’s usually a little less Panda in certain episodes of the series and quite a bit more Panda in the movie.

Clark interrupts here to add the important clarification:

And then sometimes he’s gorilla, too, which is pretty sick.

Rudd continues:

As far as making Panda feel younger, I think he did feel younger in the movie because he’s written a lot more playfully. In the show he functioned as someone who comes in for a battle here and there. He functioned as someone who complains about how he’s not part of the friend group. There are bits and pieces. But in this one he’s got a lot more comedy to him, he’s funnier, so that gives him a little freshness and a little youth.”

Clark then summarizes the conversation with an animated gesture.

They are spunkier in a weird way. Panda’s a lot jokier. Toge is a little it more insecure. Maki is more of a jerk. And then the events of JJK0, and their first year, they’re able to walk into their second year like [pretends drags a cigarette] “I’ve seen things.”

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 makes its U.S. and Canadian theatrical debut today, Friday, March 18. The show is also available to stream on Crunchyroll.

About the author

Autumn Wright

Autumn Wright is an anime journalist, which is a real job. As a writer at We Got This Covered, they cover the biggest new seasonal releases, interview voice actors, and investigate labor practices in the global industry. Autumn can be found biking to queer punk through Brooklyn, and you can read more of their words in Polygon, WIRED, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.