For those that aren’t familiar Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Cursed Childis a prequel to the hit Shonen Jump series of the same title Jujutsu Kaisen. In its origins, the creator of the manga did make JJK 0 first, simply as a 4 chapter run in a monthly magazine panel but ultimately got enough love by readers to be picked up and made into a fully serialized illustrated graphic novel.
As mentioned, JJK 0’s story was technically completed, so for the full series they decided to create a new trio for the story, although still keeping majority of his original characters. Once the manga released in Japan, it gathered buzz and got picked up to become a show in October 2020 finishing in March 2021 with a 24 episode run.
With the release of the show, it became a hit worldwide, leading up to its original arc being made into an animated film. Like I mentioned the two arcs have a set of different main character(s), but the world building is the same; so here’s what you have to know.
This world is filled with cursed spirits that feed on the strong emotions of the human population. Adding that no one can see them… unless they have a special connection with cursed energy. So the people that CAN see them, see the chaos that they can create if left unmonitored and decide to create organizations to stop them. These people are also able to use said cursed energy to their advantage allowing them to harness it in weapons. Now, there are rankings of these people and at the top, aren’t what you expect, as there are people who can use cursed spirits to do their bidding… increasing the organization’s strive to stop chaos from happening.
This film focuses on the original 4 chapters, following the story of Yuta Okkotsu who was cursed with the spirit of his dead friend Rikka when the two were kids, now turned into a spirit “creature” (as seen above). Rikka protects Yuta from what she perceives as a threat leaving him with a trails of bodies behind him as he grows up. This news ends up coming into the Jujutsu Tech’s hands and left to task their best at helping Yuta become a good Cursed Spirit user. This film does a wonderful job in its animation (produced by studio MAPPA and TOHO) allowing full fledge intensity into the story. Of course, “anime” is in of itself just another different form of animation, having its specific motifs. And this film does everything in its power to create beautiful cinematography and visuals! NOT TO MENTION THE SCORE AND SOUNDTRACK! I had taken my non anime enthusiast friends to see it and they ended up enjoying the film, even starting the anime after. If that’s not a testament to how good this film is then I don’t know what is.
Like I mentioned, studio MAPPA was the one responsible to animate the characters to life. If you are familiar with their work, you know that they do an outstanding job at animating realism with a smooth colorful palate. Not to mention the flow of the cursed energy that they managed to recreate for the viewers to visualize! As you can see in the picture to the right, this is the level of animation we get when watching the film. Of course the show has a little bit more detail since they do individual episode animation, this film keeps up to it’s own pace. Having a nice bright color palate in its cheerful moments, and switching to their deeper colors when they have their more action/serious moments.
We also have to mention the music again, as it’s so good it imposes an intensity to fights, so much so that I added it to my workout playlist. Having a steady pace of orchestra and rock genre really brings everything together showing us through our ears how this world and their organization work. They need to have balance and ability to work together, like an orchestra, and yet they still have the ability to cause destruction themselves if need be, sort of how rock brings out that intense sensation of being able to break stuff if need be.
Overall, this is a great film brought to the audience and since it’s a prequel, it can be used as a gateway to enjoy other anime films or anime series in general. At the very least, it can bring an interest to this Shonen series as it’s a great watch and an even more intense read with the manga, which is apparently set to end sometime in 2023. But don’t just take my word for it, watch it for yourself in theaters since it’s still in its theatrical release, or watch it when it comes out on Crunchyroll, September 21st, 2022.
Satoshi Kon crafts a masterpiece of a film that will not just be remembered in anime but as a piece of cinematic art.
Way back when before the pandemic hit on The Nerd Corps, we covered Millennium Actress (2001) from writer/director, Satoshi Kon. If you listened to the episode you know that I did not find that film anywhere close to being great. I thought it was convoluted and very disorganized in its story structure. Since then I had not watched another film from Kon and I was scared to possibly write this man off after just watching this one film (which you should never do).
Well, Perfect Blue (1997) is incredible from start to finish and never stops gripping at you. The film is constructed through the eyes of our protagonist, Mima Kirigoe, as she retires from her Japanese idol group and pursues her career in acting. We see the good and bad sides of this career as she encounters people obsessed with her and willing to cause her harm. Some of those causing her harm are those exact people within the film industry who are supposed to help her. The nuances of the film are so carefully crafted to create a picture that is so within the style of Kon’s framework.
The film deals with various themes such as obsession, voyeurism, and the harassment of young women within a male-dominated industry. Satoshi Kon perfects the blend of fantasy and reality within the film. Along with excellent writing and direction, the film features an incredible score, exquisite sound design, and profoundly beautiful animation that brings these characters to life. I am sure that this will end up in my top ten at the end of this challenge and in my top five anime films of all time.
Perfect Blue is available to stream on Hoopla through your public library or can be rented on all major movie watching platforms. Follow along with the rest of this challenge on Letterboxd or the google doc that has the rest of the films on this challenge.
Miirai (2018) is Mamoru Hosoda’s masterpiece as it encompasses incredible storytelling with beautiful animation and themes of childhood, innocence, and parenthood.
Continuing on with my 75 Films From Asia challenge I have once again stopped at the country of Japan to watch and review Mamoru Hosoda’s Academy Award-nominated masterpiece film, Mirai (2018). The film follows a child navigating the arrival of his baby sister as he grows jealous of her. He takes a journey through the various important people in his family tree as he tries to understand his unjust feelings toward his sister, Mirai. On the other hand, the film does not only focus on Kun and Mirai’s relationship but also his Father as he tries to be a stay at home dad.
The film is monumentally stylized by Hosoda’s exquisite animation style along with an incredible musical score. The story is well written and finds itself creeping into your heart with every person Kun meets from his family. Also, the father’s journey to further understand how to be a better father and partner is so well represented. Of course, there is humor in the journey but it all is wrapped up in the heart of the film. I truly believe that this is Mamoru Hosoda’s masterpiece and it will be further appreciated in the “future.”
As always you can keep up with my journey through this movie challenge by reading my reviews, but you can also take a look at the list of films by checking out this google doc or following alongon myLetterboxd.
Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars (2009) is a fantastic effort by the incredible Japanese director that is delightful from start to finish.
Welcome to my 75 Films From Asia column where you will find all the reviews for my 2020 movie challenge where I watch 75 movies from the grand continent of Asia! All films have been pre-selected and you can find them on this google doc or follow along on my Letterboxd! I have always been interested in Asian Cinema and now I have the chance to broaden my film horizons by exploring more of this continent’s cinematic history. So from now on to the end of the year, I hope you enjoy reading my journey through these 75 films.
The story is a pretty simple young boy is taken to the girl of his dreams’ great-grandmother’s 90th birthday to act as her boyfriend, but there is a huge twist to all that is going on. Cyber hijackers use a virtual video game to control nukes that could destroy not just the family’s home but the whole city. What seems like such a simple plot is a very well thought out story about family and gender norms.
The film is highly stylized and is as anime as it gets, but it is unique in its sense that it does not look like a Studio Ghibli, Shonen, or a film by Satoshi Kon but it is in the style of Mamoru Hosoda. That along with the voice acting, score, heart, and humor that revolves around the film makes it so special. What I appreciate the most about the picture is its commentary on gender norms on not just women in a family, but those that force men into a single definition of masculinity. Summer Wars (2009) is a magical film to start this challenge with and one that warmed my heart from beginning to end.