How Jujutsu Kaisen 0's Protagonist Will Impact The Anime Series Going Forward

This post contains spoilers for the "Jujutsu Kaisen" Manga

"Jujutsu Kaisen 0" has finally made its streaming debut on Crunchyroll, allowing North American viewers who missed the film in theaters earlier this year to watch it at home. The film is an adaptation of the manga of the same name, with a fascinating history behind its conception. Creator Gege Akutami originally released the story as a one-shot manga called "Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School." Still, the popularity of its characters and concept led to it retroactively becoming a prequel to "Jujutsu Kaisen," thus receiving the name "Jujutsu Kaisen 0."

Once it was clear to the mangaka that this world he created would live beyond the one-shot story, Akutami made a new cast of characters. Enter the cast of the first season of "Jujutsu Kaisen." Viewers would come to love the cast of Yuji Itadori, Megumi Fushiguro, and Nobara Kugisaki in the series' first season and the ongoing manga. While characters like Satoru Gojo would jump into the mainline series, there was no sign of Yuta Okkotsu, the main character of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0." However, like any good mangaka, Akutami had a long-term plan for implementing Yuta into the main story of "Jujutsu Kaisen."

The overpowered shonen protagonist

Yuta is introduced in "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" as a troubled youth unaware of his true potential as a Jujutsu Sorcerer. Accidentally manifesting his dead childhood friend Rika as a massively powerful cursed spirit, Yuta discovers how to channel his bond with her into something he can use for good.

The "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" film was all about developing Yuta as a character more than capable of handling himself. Shonen anime is almost always about power scaling and fights; by the film's end, Yuta is near the top in the world of Jujutsu Sorcery. Yuta's absence from the main series following his arc in the movie is simply done out of necessity to make room for less powerful characters to grow. If Yuta was there to swoop in anytime a curse gave sorcerers trouble, the first season of "Jujutsu Kaisen" would be nowhere near as interesting.

With that being said, Yuta would only make his return to "Jujutsu Kaisen" if a powerful enough threat deemed it necessary for him to join the fight. Suppose the manga is anything to go by (which it is). In that case, Yuta's debut in the anime series will come when he's needed most: when the world's strongest sorcerer, Satoru Gojo, is taken out of the picture.

Filling a power vaccum

"Jujutsu Kaisen" and its focus on power dynamics and the need to be "the strongest" leans heavily into how and why Yuta Okkotsu makes his debut in the series. Judging by a recent visual released to tease the upcoming second season of "Jujutsu Kaisen," the anime will adapt the story arc of the manga that recounts the backstory of Gojo and how he becomes the strongest character in the series.

Not only will viewers get familiar with how Gojo became the strongest, but they will also more than likely witness a shift in power dynamics. The manga chapters that fall in line with the adaptation indicate that the second season will have Gojo sealed away and captured by evil Jujutsu Sorcerers, removing the most powerful character from the world of "Jujutsu Kaisen." 

The power vacuum left in the wake of Gojo's absence in "Jujutsu Kaisen" will lead Yuta to make his triumphant return. With his teacher held captive by the enemy, Yuta Okkotsu automatically becomes one of the most powerful Jujutsu Sorcerers in the anime. Yuta Okkotsu's late arrival in "Jujutsu Kaisen" makes the character a hidden protagonist, emerging and becoming a significant player in the series just when things look the direst.

The unconfirmed future of Yuta Okkotsu

Overall, Yuta Okkotsu's impact on the "Jujutsu Kaisen" anime remains to be seen. However, it's important to remember that anime adaptations are mostly known for sticking closely to the source material. Given that precedent, Yuta should eventually become a necessary and powerful form of support for the likes of Itadori, Fushiguro, and the rest of the cast of "Jujutsu Kaisen." 

Yuta's strength and cursed energy will broadly impact the story of "Jujutsu Kaisen" and their journey towards freeing Satoru Gojo. As seen in the "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" film, Yuta's power shows unlimited potential and makes him the default strongest character in Gojo's absence. Unfortunately, the anime adaptation is far from making these integral manga chapters a reality. While season 2 of the anime is confirmed, we're far from getting any sort of confirmation of more seasons after that.

While future seasons aren't guaranteed, the potential future of the "Jujutsu Kaisen" anime would have Yuta Okkotsu front and center. Until that becomes a reality, fans will have to make do with rewatching Yuta's debut in the prequel film on Crunchyroll.