The 12 Best Characters From Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Ranked

"Jujutsu Kaisen" is one of the biggest new anime franchises to come out of Japan, a fine rival to other top shows like "Demon Slayer" and "One-Punch Man." While opinions as to which one is the best are always going to vary, one key to this series' popularity may be in its accessibility. It's recent enough to only have a couple of dozen episodes to catch up on, and its first film, "Jujutsu Kaisen 0," feels designed from the ground up to be a smooth entry point for new fans.

"Jujutsu Kaisen 0" is a prequel to the main series, and it eases viewers in with a new protagonist that allows some recognizable faves to explain to him — and us — what's going on without bogging things down for established fans. Its characters are excellently designed and easy to learn about, with the best of them leaving us wanting to know more about them. As one of these fresh fans coming in off the movie, let's take a look at these characters together and talk about our new favorites.

12. Larue

Larue is the only member of Suguru Geto's villainous crew to not get much in the way of exposition in "Jujutsu Kaisen 0," making his appearance in the film kind of weird for a new viewer. Well, maybe not that weird if you've watched anime before. But still, getting an eyeful of a half-naked bloke with heart pasties on his nipples is going to leave you with some questions. Are they reusable nipple pasties? Is that his curse, having cute pink shojo nips? We are left only with this mystery.

Larue is physically ripped, always barefoot, and is ride-or-die for Geto's crew. We don't know why he personally hates the mundane world outside of these curse-wielding sorcerers, but he sure is loyal about it. Despite being on the side of the bad guys, he seems like a fairly nice guy. Does he turn around in the series, or does he become crueler and more dangerous? Not a clue. But as henchmen go, Larue's charmingly strange and totally likable.

11. Masamichi Yaga

There's a lot left to uncover about the movie's mysterious Masamichi Yaga. "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" presents him as a major leadership figure at Tokyo Jujutsu High, and there's just enough exposition to let us know he's got something to do with Panda, one of its weirder students. Mostly, he's here to whip up the graduates and senior staff when it's time to throw down with bad guy Geto.

Like Larue, new fans using the film as their introduction into the franchise have to take Yaga at face value. His character design makes him look a little like an aging Adam Jensen from the newer "Deus Ex" games, and we're here for it. Serious and stolid, he's intriguing enough to suggest that there's a lot of politics at play behind Jujutsu High. We glimpse those mysterious figures that hide behind shoji doors and decide the fate of their students, and Yaga seems to follow their lead. It's clear Yaga is loyal to his fellow curse-wielders and sorcerers.

10. Kento Nanami and the cameo crew

"Jujutsu Kaisen" fans came alive in the theater I was in as the showdown between Geto's goons, the faculty, and grads of Jujutsu High spun into total action. These dedicated moviegoers got to see the characters they love from the series in a blow-out that showcases some of their coolest skills. These rapid-fire displays don't leave us new arrivals with a lot in the way of introductions, but there are clearly a ton of neat characters to get to know. From Dr. Shoko Ieiri to Mai Zenin, Maki's sister, there's a lot going on.

The highlight of this big battle sequence is a character named Kento Nanami. He's a businessman who tosses out his day planner to become a sorcerer instead, and he gets one of the coolest moments in the movie. A powerful graduate, it's a big deal when he fires off his most powerful magical techniques in battle so quickly and efficiently that it sparks something "Jujutsu Kaisen" fans know as the Black Flash. For a mild-looking guy in a tailored tan suit, that sounds pretty cool. (It sure looked cool on the big screen.)

9. Nanako and Mimiko Hasaba

Sisters Nanako and Masabi are clearly meant to be a package deal. At first glimpse, they seem like self-absorbed teens. Nanako has a cute green cellphone, and she loves taking selfies with Geto and the rest of her villainous friends with it. Mimiko tends towards the gothic, keeping at hand a creepy, slashed-up doll hanging at the end of a rope.

But "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" makes a point of showing us that these kids have a good reason to choose the crueler side in this sorcerer's conflict. A flashback shows us these sisters when they were little kids, trapped in a cage because their village was too frightened of these girls to try and understand their differences and their curse. Geto's rescue has brutal results; he's not merciful to the mundane people of the world. But seeing the sisters and their round, frightened faces in contrast to the brash teens they are now, it's hard not to sympathize with the path Nanami and Mimiko took.

8. Miguel

"Jujutsu Kaisen 0" is our introduction to some new characters that, for anime watchers, haven't yet become part of the main series. Miguel is one of the new guys on Geto's side, and he's such a fun, respectable antagonist that his appearance in the film's stinger is a genuine delight.

Anime fans know that there can occasionally be some awkward moments when Japanese anime handles Black characters. Miguel is proudly Kenyan, but his portrayal avoids the biggest pitfalls. His cursed tool, a hand-woven black rope, feels like it honors the idea of African folklore without adding on any problematic stereotypes. Spoiler ahead: It's even better that the film's post-credits scene takes him home, happy and free of his ties to Geto. He even introduces his new friend to the local cuisine; everything on the table looks delicious. More importantly, it feels like Miguel is going to be a big deal in the future of "Jujutsu Kaisen," and that's great news.

7. Toge Inumaki

Explaining Toge's special curse to a new fan is pretty easy if they've ever played "Skyrim." Toge Inumaki is kind of like a Greybeard, in that any attempt to speak normally could have deadly effects on the person he's talking to. Instead, he talks sparingly, using onigiri ingredients and tone to get basic information across. Salmon is positive, kelp is "hey there," and bonito is a no-go. Anything else? Good luck trying to read his body posture. And if he tells you, clearly, to drop dead, well. You're going to.

That's tough luck for a kid as young as Toge. To help make the point that his voice can be dangerous, he hides his face with its "Tron"-like cursed marks behind a tall collar. Because he's so quiet, it's easy for the film's protagonist, Yuta, to assume the worst and think Toge dislikes him. Toge can be a little stoic in battle, sure, but he's actually a reliable friend who cares about his classmates. The movie helps us realize what he's really like in pace with Yuta. Toge is an all-around good dude.

6. Maki Zenin

The Defrosting Ice Queen is a common trope that can go ugly fast, turning a cool female character into an underwhelming sidekick for our newly empowered male hero. Luckily, Maki Zenin doesn't go through that. From beginning to end, she can whip Yuta's butt with her cursed tools. By the end, though, the two are real friends, and she's out to help Yuta reach his goals without needing to compromise her own.

Maki also helps introduce us to the Zenin family subplot that's apparently a big deal in the series going ahead. Her motivation is bitter, but easily understandable. She's the black sheep of an important clan of sorcerers, a girl born without an inherent power of her own. Flashbacks show us how Maki became a defensive and angry young woman, verbally abused by her family and hesitant to reach out to people who could be her friends. It makes her fight with Geto near the end all the more poignant. Maki knows who her real family is by the end of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0."

5. Sugaru Geto

A good story rises or falls on the strength of its villain, and Suguru Geto is creepily charming throughout "Jujutsu Kaisen 0." He's got a solid gig going, acting as a Buddhist priest to cleanse curses from ordinary people. Geto hates his clients, though, allowing them close to him only so he can collect their various curses. People unable to use jujutsu sorcery are monkeys, only fit to be used or disposed of. And some of the sorcerers he meets, like the Hasaba sisters, are mistreated by scared people who don't understand. It gives him a pretty decent rationale.

That said, his fanatic behavior becomes clear by the end of the movie, stripping away his valid points and showing him as capable of violent hypocrisy in order to get what he wants. In the end, he'll hurt the sorcerers he claims to adore in order to build a perfect world. Nothing can ever be perfect if we're willing to destroy love to get it, though. Gojo leaves his fate in question at the end of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0," which leaves some big mysteries open for fans who were introduced to Geto in the series first.

4. Satoru Gojo

If a "Jujutsu Kaisen" novice is aware of anything before coming onboard, it's probably that Gojo is the most popular character in the whole thing. Apparently, that's to creator Gege Akutami's chagrin, and honestly? Understandable. Gojo is capable of kicking enough butt in the final minutes of the movie to make Super Saiyan God Vegeta go, "Maybe cool it a bit?" And that's not even Gojo's full power on display.

It's a heady contrast to his film introduction, which presents Gojo as a sometimes daffy high school teacher who spares his serious moments for keeping the higher-ups off the kids' backs. Goofy and sometimes unreliable, it's a real whiplash for new viewers when he turns into a hyper-competent general at the end, right down to knowing when to pull a sacrifice play and when to personally get involved. The nature of his curse power is a little unclear; there's some scientific garble mixed with the supernatural power of his frighteningly blue eyes, which he often blindfolds. Gojo sees all, though. Sorry, Gege, he's a ton of fun to watch.

3. Yuta Okkotsu

Poor Yuta. He's another poster boy for anime kids who need therapy. But Yuta makes more progress in the brief runtime of "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" than Shinji did in dozens of hours of "Evangelion." By the very end of the film, he looks like he's ready to live his own, full life. We get to watch his self-awareness grow, following an introduction that sees him totally withdrawn after he severely hurts a gang of bullies at his previous school.

It's not an easy ride for Yuta, and there are a lot of realizations about the nature of his curse and the burden of love he put on himself. It's remarkable to watch an anime character stop wallowing and realize the value of his new friends in time to actually do something about it. Support is crucial for anyone in a traumatized state, and "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" makes sure he gets it, if not in the most standard of ways. He's a great introductory protagonist, full of reasons why he feels the way he does, and why he learns it's necessary to change.

2. Rika Orimoto

Rika is nobody's damsel in distress. She's a young girl who befriends Yuta when they're both sick in the hospital together. She gives young Yuta a ring with a promise to marry him when they get older. But Rika won't get the chance to grow up. Yuta's so shocked by her violent death in a car accident that it binds her now-cursed spirit to him. Rika is empowered by her love and loyalty to Yuta, making her one of the strongest cursed spirits to appear in "Jujutsu Kaisen." God help the person who comes for Yuta when she's around — and that includes Geto, who tries to steal this ill-fated bride-to-be for himself.

As terrifying as Rika can be when released, her true story is vastly more powerful. She's a tale about the power of love and forgiveness. When it's revealed that it's Yuta's fault that she's trapped on our plane as a violent spirit and Yuta releases her, it's obvious her spirit still cares for him. There's no rage in Rika, only the tenacity of someone whose partner still needed her.

1. Panda

Panda refuses to elaborate on what he is, though we're given a few clues, such as Masamichi Yaga's corpse doll abilities and the sight of plump cotton stuffing coming out of Panda's back after a rumble. He has a power-up he reveals in the film's big showdown, where the big cuddly goof turns into a black and white gorilla ready to go full Wookiee and rip his opponent's limbs off.

An absolute unit who weaponizes his size only when necessary, Panda is also something more important. He's the film's counterbalance, a reminder to not take everything we see too seriously. He's the most anime thing in a sometimes serious flick about forgiveness and growth, and his corny goofball charm keeps melodramatic bathos away. His teenage antics help put Yuta at ease, and his chats about Maki's not always girlish charms are way less leering than Mineta from "My Hero Academia." He's a dude, a reliable friend, and the rock this weird sorcery school sits on. He's also so squishy and huggable that it's impossible to come away without falling completely in love with him.