Jujutsu Kaisen 0 has become a runaway hit since premiering in Japanese theaters last December, propelling an already popular series into the realms of shōnen classics. But for anime fans caught by the hype, a standalone film poses some tricky questions about watch order.
While Jujutsu Kaisen 0 the film is billed as a prequel to MAPPA’s award-winning anime series, the manga on which the show is based was itself a sequel to Jujutsu Kaisen 0. But it wasn’t even called that. When mangaka Gege Akutami first serialized what would become the new film in 2017, he had a different name for the series: Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School.
As such, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 takes the time and space to establish a whole world on its own. “Especially because this is a prequel, it’s a place you can jump in,” posits Kayleigh McKee, the voice behind the film’s new protagonist, Yuta Okkotsu.
The film’s other new star, Anairis Quiñones, who voices the curse Rika Orimoto, agrees. “The story is very friendly to new and existing fans,” Quiñones says. “It introduces two new characters we’ve heard about a lot in the series, but we don’t actually know what they’re about, and we can see them from the very beginning and, I think, you really get to see them struggle as well.”
Since it was originally written before Jujutsu Kaisen, some story elements the show skips over get a bit more time to be developed here. “It really solidifies the story,” Kaiji Tang, the voice of Satoru Gojo, admits. “It’s far easier after you see the film, to go back to the first season and be like oh ok ok, all this stuff is happening for this reason.”
That isn’t to say it’s a drag for diehard fans, though. Tang adds: “It certainly sets up the futures of JJK. I would recommend any fan to stay after the credits if they want a taste of something like that.”
And Lex Lang, the voice behind the villainous Suguru Geto underscores why the film is important for existing fans to see. “They really went in-depth on the relationships in this movie,” he says, “and so if you were just familiar with them at all in the series you’re really gonna get a lot of satisfaction with what they’re providing in the movie.”
Allegra Clark, the voice of Princess Kakyu (Sailor Moon), Julia Jinyu (FLCL Progressive), and a much more tsundere Maki, is in agreement with her co-stars, describing JJK0 as a suitable jumping-off point for newcomers:
I think that it’s a solid entry point. You can appreciate the movie if you’ve already watched the show, but since it does happen before there aren’t too many concepts that show up in JJK0 that come out of left field…Especially because Yuta is protagonist who’s like “I don’t know what’s going on I just got a Rika attached to me.”
Matthew David Rudd, the rumbling voice of Panda, agrees:
I think you get quite a bit more explanation of, at least for [Maki, Panda, and Toge], their powers and their beginnings than you do in the actual show. So I think it is a great jumping on point.
And Toge’s voice actor, Xander Mobus, has a whole plan of his own:
I think the best move is to watch the movie, then go watch the show, then pay to see the movie again.
You can watch Jujutsu Kaisen in whatever order you want now that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 has been released in U.S. and Canadian theaters. The television series is available to stream on Crunchyroll.