WARNING: Contains spoilers.
“What a waste of resources! They didn’t create the movie from the ground up to use all the features of a Dolby Cinema. Eighty percent of the sound came from the front! What’s the point of showing it on a Dolby?”
The lady saying this was wrapping a shawl around her shoulders, a fur-lined one with a leopard print, over a bright turquoise turtleneck sweater. I stole a glance at her from the corner of my eye as she whinged to her friend, the one sitting to my left. They both looked to be around their mid-fifties to early sixties. Were they movie buffs, the kind who go to the theatre on a weekly basis? Based on their conversation, that seemed to be the case.
“It wasn’t too awful,” remarked her friend “I’d say seventy-thirty.” Unlike her, this lady was less flashily dressed, a plain grey coat over cobalt blue slacks. While her friend’s hair was coloured to a vivid orange, hers was dyed a deep brown.
“Remember [insert name of recent musical film]? Now that one has incredible sound quality! Perfect surround sound from beginning to end!” said the leopard-print lady.
“That’s true,” conceded the lady in the grey coat. “I still like this one, though. But you’re right, the sound design wasn’t up to par.”
“Audiences can tell the difference between a film that was made for Dolby versus one that’s just trying to wing it!” her leopard-print friend concluded.
They left with an air of dissatisfaction around them.
When I entered the Dolby Cinema theatre that night, I’d been feeling anxious as to who my seatmates would be. There would be my friend to my right, who is incredibly well-mannered as a film-goer so problem solved on that side. But to my left? I had a less-than-pleasant time during my first viewing of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, at an IMAX theatre. I wondered if I’d be unlucky again this time around.
Fortunately for me, the viewers who sat next to me that night were perfectly well-behaved. Older ladies tend to be stereotyped as overly chatty, but there was not a peep from these two all throughout the film, making only the most minor movements. I was in heaven!
But was the Dolby version that bad? Curiously, I turned to my friend. “So, what did you think?”
“Volume was too loud!” he complained. “Way, way too loud. All coming from the front, too. Ugh!”
“But there were scenes with amazing surround sound. Like the one with child Yuta and the dying Rika on the street, and the crowd in Shinjuku during the battle, and at Doc Shoko’s makeshift hospital,” I countered.
“Sure, but whatever surround sound engineering they managed to make, it was ruined by the blasting sound from the front,” he insisted. “Felt like someone was shouting with a megaphone right in my ear!”
We finished putting on our coats and gathering our things and were making our way out of the theatre. Our seats had been perfectly located: smack in the middle, with a view angle slightly below the horizontal line to the screen, meaning no neck cramping whatsoever, with plenty of legroom thanks to the centre aisle perpendicular to the screen.
Guess how I scored these seats? By staying up until midnight when the online ticketing commenced, making sure I had a leg up over the competition by opening several devices at once and refreshing the page like a maniac. Surely my efforts had been worth something?
“But isn’t there something you liked?” I insisted.
“Best seats ever, I’d say!”
“Don’t you think the picture quality was also the best we’ve seen so far?”
“Well, true dat,” he admitted, grudgingly. “The blacks were gorgeous, really deep.”
Nodding in enthusiastic agreement, I said, “Speaking of which, I could actually see Nanami’s black flash in all its brilliant glory. Back at the IMAX theatre, I thought the black parts were just negative space.”
“Yeah, Nanami’s and also Yuta’s black flash,” my friend concurred. “That was awesome to see. Dolby screen had better contrast than the IMAX one, methinks.”
We made it to the elevator, but not before I paused for a few seconds to take pictures of the large screen by the theatre entrance showing a preview of the film. Other people were also standing in front of it, taking pictures and videos. The screen was beautiful, a mini version of the one inside, showing the ad in vivid detail.
“Please move along,” a staff person was telling us stragglers. “Please don’t crowd the entrance.”
I moved away after taking a few snaps, but a couple of beats after turning my back, one guy got belligerent.
“I want to watch the video, what’s wrong with that?” he snarled at the staff.
Ugh. Poor staff, only doing their job. I know why they want us to move out quickly: they need to empty and clean the place up for the next batch of movie-goers. C’mon, angry man, don’t be like that.
“So, overall, which theatre did you like best?” I ask my friend as we prepare to board the train, the station being conveniently located directly under the skyscraper.
“IMAX,” he replied. “On average, it would score the highest.”
I’ve been ruminating about the film, and movie theatres in general.
I do agree with the ladies sitting next to me that the surround sound feature of Dolby Cinema was blatantly underutilised in the film. It’s also true that the front main speakers were too loud, while the secondary speakers around the theatre were either not loud enough or unused.
I’m not sure if the overly loud volume was the fault of the theatre operators, though, or if the sound engineers for the film made it that way. I also concur with the ladies that, unlike a musical film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 somehow fell short in the sound department.
However, there were certain scenes – mentioned above – where the surround sound system was used extremely well. I’d also say the incredible picture quality exceeded my expectations, and made up for the sound shortcomings.
Perhaps this has something to do with the theatre we went to, T.Joy Yokohama. Opened in 2020, it has all the latest theatre technology (Click here to see nicer pictures than mine, taken professionally during a proper press tour right after the theatre opened). The IMAX theatre I went to was somewhat old, having been built in 2007.
I think it’s unfair to compare the anime film to a musical film, though. Musical films are created with the highest sound quality in mind, music being central to the heart of the show. No corners can be cut in this regard.
This JJK 0 film’s main draw, on the other hand, are the action or battle scenes. In this area, it truly shines. And the beauty of it can best be appreciated at a Dolby Cinema.
Jujutsu Kaien 0: The Movie – Memorial Book
Toho (film distributor) really knows how to get fans back to the theatre again and again. For the fourth and final movie-goer giveaway, they prepared an A4 book called – and rightly so – ‘Memorial Book.’ We fans, ah! Of course we filled up the movie houses once again just to get a hold of this present.
Hold on, is a stapled 24-page thing worthy of being called a book? Aren’t books supposed to be thicker and more substantial, not to mention properly bound? Shouldn’t this be called a pamphlet instead?
Who cares! Star-struck fans like me just want to get our hands on whatever MAPPA & Co come up with xD
After ogling at the adorable Yuta-Rika sketch on the cover, I turn it to find a ‘secret’ treat: an unopened section. Unopened means the bolts are uncut, so it has to be hand-slit by the reader with a paper-knife or cutter.
I find a cutter, make sure the blade is sharp, and slit open the secret section. On it are two interviews: Megumi Ogata (Yuta’s voice actor) with Kana Hanazawa (Rika’s VA), and Yuichi Nakamarua (Gojo’s VA) with Takayuki Sakurai (Geto’s VA).
What fun and interesting interviews they were! Thoughtful, too. Let’s have a look!
Nakamura and Sakurai Interview
Asked if he saw Gojo and Geto as best friends, Nakamura says looking at their relationship objectively, he doesn’t think so, as in, Geto himself said that not once did he laugh from the heart! Sakurai says he saw them more as comrades-in-arms. Placed under tough, extraordinary circumstances, fighting side by side made them connect with and understand each other. That’s why at their last scene together, the final words Gojo utters brought out a genuine smile from Geto.
Asked what they’d recommend to viewers about each other’s character, Nakamura says a deeper understanding of Geto would require a reading of the manga. Once the viewer understands the terrible truth about what Geto saw (he mentions sorcerers dying for non-sorcerers, despite the fact the latter sometimes treat the former with derision), then they’d see why Geto had such loyalty and protectiveness only toward his own kind.
Sakurai, on the other hand, says that Gojo is the face of Jujutsu Kaisen, a sorcerer so strong he could have single-handedly created a sorcerers-only world. But then, despite having reached a plane of existence ordinary mortals cannot comprehend, he still chooses to save non-sorcerers because he sees them as part of the great balance of things. Gojo, he adds, is so strong and mysterious he is actually scary, but that scary part is what’s thought of as cool.
They were then asked what they’d like the viewer to take a good look at in the film once again, and Nakamura answers cheekily, saying he wants the viewer to actually tell him what they liked so much about the film (LOL!)
And then he gets serious and gives a proper answer: the film was made with all the other parts in mind, that is, it connects to both the anime S1 and also the upcoming S2. Every additional scene not found in the manga as well as extra scenes taken from non-Volume 0 of the manga series are all meant to create a coherent whole.
Here he even gives an example: It was mentioned in S1 that Todo fought in Kyoto on December 24, and while it wasn’t shown in the manga, they added a scene of him in the film. Extra scenes are also a harbinger of what is to come in the anime series.
Sakurai adds that there are scenes you can only find in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and nowhere else, for example, a priest battling it out with a panda. The two laugh over this, saying it’s probably never before shown on the big screen (LOL!).
Both of them praise MAPPA’s skills and commitment in creating such a high-quality anime film.
Anime Director Park Interview
Aside from the VA interviews, there’s also one with the film director, Sunghoo Park. This portion isn’t ‘secret’, it’s found right in the middle of the book. He talks about all the care and consideration they took to create the film, how and why they decided to flesh out certain parts of the story, and the common emotion tying the two major relationships portrayed there. He also talks about the efforts they made to ‘humanise’ the all-powerful Satoru Gojo.
Reading Park’s interview made me tear up a bit. I have so much admiration for him. You can feel the love he has for each and every one of the characters, the manga in its entirety (I’ve seen this in other interviews as well as the way the film has remained true to the source material), and animation in general. There’s absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the massive popularity of JJK is largely thanks to the excellent, superb-in-every-way animation, and the director has a huge role to play in this.
Hats off to you, Director Park! You have my respect! Lots of it!
Other parts of the memorial book are screenshots of the extra scenes in the anime, the ones not found in the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 tankobon (paperback volume). They’re rather small, not laid out to cover the entire page but only placed ‘artistically’ in the middle with lots of negative space all around. But it’s better than nothing!
I can’t express enough how much I love those additional scenes: they all flew by so fast in the movie (Blink and you’ll miss them!), so it’s wonderful to have the page on hand to look at and shed a tear or two over.
Front and Back Covers
For some reason, the back cover art is far, far more heartbreaking for me than the front cover. Yuta and Rika got a sort-of happy ending, while Satoru and Suguru’s relationship ended in the most painful way imaginable. Just looking at the cover with the two of them side by side, walking away in the same direction… I feel like weeping!
Poor babies. When did it all go wrong? Before the status quo became too much to stomach for Suguru, couldn’t Satoru have done or said something for them to come to an understanding? Wait, it’s like I’m putting the blame on Satoru for what happened to his one best friend in the whole wide world.
Ahhhh, these two! I could go on and on about them. I was just so pleased to find them on the back cover. There’s a part of me holding out the hope that while the Jujutsu Kaisen story began with Yuta, it would leave us with SG+SG at world’s end. Unlikely, but a girl can dream!
This memorial book is such a wonderful giveaway, the perfect final instalment in a well-planned series of viewer presents.
Can’t Get Enough
Altogether, I’ve seen the film on the big screen three times, but honestly, it’s still not enough, ahaha! If I had the money I’d go again. And again.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an unlimited movie budget. I need to save up for the upcoming Blu-Ray disc, too. That way I can watch the film as many times as I like in the comfort of my home, and take in all the little details I’m pretty sure I missed even after three viewings.
There are so many things about Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie that resonate with me. I love how contemporary it feels: Rika proposing to Yuta, Maki being physically stronger than Yuta, and Satoru and Suguru’s complicated relationship [more than friends in my eyes!].
Most of all, I love the idea of letting go, and how it’s framed in the movie as something beautiful and aspirational. It’s far from an afterthought, and it certainly doesn’t mean forgetting. Instead, it’s central to the story, seen as a worthwhile goal in itself. Yuta breaking the curse he put on Rika was such an exquisite, cathartic moment, one I could watch again and again.
I think many of us need to learn to let go of some of the curses we have cast in our lives. Break the chains we wrapped around ourselves, so to speak. It’s like being given a second chance at life. And my oh my, don’t we all need second chances! Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why the story is so beloved by many (aside from the super hot SG+SG, of course!)
It’s a wonderful story, brought to life through sublime anime film-making. I absolutely loved it and am grateful to be able to see it in my lifetime.
Purchasing Japanese Film Giveaways
There are four giveaways as of this writing: Volume 0.5 manga, illustration board of Yuta Okkotsu (called ‘visual board’ in Japan), illustration board of Gojo and Geto, and the memorial book mentioned above. Some listers sell them by sets. Check out the online flea market listings:
- Mercari’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 film giveaway listing
- Paypay Flea Market’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 film giveaway listing
Search keyphrase (general):
Search keyphrase (memorial book only)
Thank you so much for reading! Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo – hana