Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Ending Explained: A Prequel That Enriches The Series

The new anime film "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" features stunning animation, memorable characters, a great mix of action, horror and comedy, along with a story that is as epic as it is intimate and emotional.

It is also a perfect entry point into one of the most popular anime series right now. "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" serves a prequel to the "Jujutusu Kaisen" series and is based on a manga miniseries originally titled "Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School," which became so popular it was then rebooted into the main "Jujutsu Kaisen" story and retroactively turned into a prequel.

"Jujutsu Kaisen 0" follows Yuta Okkotsu, a teenager who is plagued by the spirit of his best friend and childhood crush, Rika, who died a gruesome death six years prior. Now, Rika-chan never leaves his side, angrily and brutally defending him from anything and anyone she thinks would harm Yuta, wreaking havoc all around her.

In the film, Yuta is enlisted in the special Jujutsu High School, which aims to teach sorcerers to deal with and control cursed energy or spirits, which are born out of negative emotions. Yuta joins out of a desire to free Rika from her curse. The moment he arrives, his classmates become afraid of him because Rika tries to attack them, a manifestation of his inability to confront his guilt over her death. The more Yuta ignores her, the more powerful she becomes, and the more he retreats into himself to avoid contact with others.

It can be a bit confusing to know exactly where "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" fits in the larger world of "Jujutsu Kaisen" and how it connects to the announced season 2. Fret not, because here are all the answers you need. Beware of massive spoilers for "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" from here on out.

Grief is the most powerful curse

In the climax of the film, it is revealed that Rika didn't curse Yuta when he died — it was the other way around. In his grief, Yuta rejected Rika's death and forced her to remain in the physical plane so she wouldn't leave him alone. It is an emotionally powerful moment, one that recontextualizes the rest of the film as a lovely story about grief and the very real damage it causes people. It isn't until Yuta embraces Rika as a curse, and finally lets her go, that she gains full control of her powers and allows Yuta to defeat the jujutsu sorcerer Geto. Yuta is no longer fighting to get rid of Rika, but asking for her help in order to fight so that others can live.

In contrast with Geto, who fights by stealing and harnessing the cursed energy of others, Yuta's moment of truth is not about overcoming his grief or ending his pain. On the contrary, Yuta's biggest strength comes when he channels the pain he's gone through, the death he's carried with him for so long, and uses it to live and to allow others to live. As he tells Geto, he's fighting with "pure love" and turning a negative into a positive.

By acknowledging her as a curse and by letting go of his feeling of guilt, Rika is finally free of the curse and allowed to move on. We get a rather moving scene where she turns back into a human and says goodbye to Yuta, telling him not to hurry to see her again.

As if that wasn't enough, Gojo explains that Yuta is related to one of the biggest vengeful spirits in Japan, Sugawara Michizane, and that he is actually a distant relative of Gojo. This explains why Yuta was so powerful, and why he accidentally turned Rika into such a powerful curse, because her death caused a very strong emotional reaction in Yuta.

But before that, Geto, a former student of Jujutsu High School who turned to evil, bites the dust. After amassing an army of curses in order to steal Rika — who he calls the Queen of Curses — for himself, Geto loses a fight against Yuta and is mortally wounded. It is his former best friend, Gojo, who delivers the killing blow off-screen (we do hear a slash, followed by a heavy drop). But that's not the last we see of him.

How this fits with the first season of the anime

The events of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" span approximately a year, and it takes place two years before the events of the anime. This means that Yuta made one hell of an impression on those around him.

You see, long before we saw what he even looked like, we'd already heard a lot about Yuta. Throughout the first season of "Jujutsu Kaisen" we hear other students gush about Yuta and his skills — particularly everyone's besto friendo Todo, so that's something else Yuta and Yuji have in common. He even appears briefly in the second opening sequence of the show. Having seen him in action in the film, it is easy to see why everyone would be so impressed with Yuta's skills.

Then we have Geto. Back in season 1 of "Jujutsu Kaisen," we see what looks like Geto working with a group of curses to attack Jujutsu High as a major villain. Though we don't know exactly what happened to him, the big scar across his forehead seems to indicate someone has taken control of his dead body following the events of the film.

How the post-credits scene sets up season 2

You'd better sit through the credits of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0," because we have a post-credits scene that goes a long way to set up the next season.

The scene takes place somewhere in Africa, and we meet Yuta having a delicious lunch with Miguel, a former follower of Goto who seems to be training Yuta. In the anime it was mentioned that Yuta was overseas, and we actually saw both him and Miguel during a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the second opening sequence. Sadly, their talk about food is interrupted by Gojo, who walks in and informs Yuta that it's time for a new mission.

Without spoiling much, the consensus going into season 2 of "Jujutsu Kaisen" is that the bulk of the season will tackle the "Shibuya Incident" arc from the manga. The arc is known for being dark, with Yuji getting out of control and causing the death of some people close to him. But how does Yuta play into it? Well, he's there to execute Yuji, of course.

That sure sounds dire, but "Jujutsu Kaisen" has always known how to balance horror and action with a healthy dose of humor and optimism, so hopefully this won't be different.