'Jujutsu Kaisen 0' English Voice Cast on Yuta and Rika's 'Pure' Bond

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 follows teen Yuta Okkotsu (Kayleigh McKee), a high school student who is haunted by the cursed spirit of his childhood friend Rika Orimoto (Anairis Quiñones).

The anime film sees Yuta enrol in Tokyo Jujutsu High School to learn to control Rika's awesome power, but it only serves to draw the attention of villain Suguru Geto (Lex Lang) who wants to steal the curse for himself.

Yuta and Rika's relationship evolves over the course of the anime, and the film's leads McKee and Quiñones shared with Newsweek how much they enjoyed their "pure" yet "toxic" bond.

Quiñones told Newsweek: "For me, I always adore those kind of like pure relationships, where it's like, 'Hey, I love you and I will stick with you for however long' in the sense it kind of became toxic, the whole childhood best friends thing.

"But... what seemed toxic it's still coming from a very genuine place that they both could always return to and I love playing with their relationship when they were kids and figuring out, okay, how do they have fun with each other? How [did] they fall in love with each other as kids? And then how did that love kind of transcend death... it was very fun exploring that at different stages."

McKee agreed with her co-star, saying she connected personally with the bond that Yuta and Rika share: "I had similar, I mean not like 'let's get married when we're older' type of friendships, but I had friendships [like that] as a child.

"I felt very lonely at parts of my childhood because of losing friends, from one thing or another, and so... I had a best friend or two when I was very young, where I held on really tightly to them as hard as I could, because I felt like if I no longer had them that I would have nobody.

"And I had moments as a child breaking down because of that feeling, and so exploring some of that in this movie, was a little cathartic and I could pull from a real place. But also, you know, use those emotions, to have fun, get to a point where I'm enjoying this."

Yuta comes to the forefront in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 after predominantly being an absent figure in the Jujutsu Kaisen anime, and McKee said she loved getting to explore a deeper side to her character.

"Honestly, it was an absolute treat. I've never done a character yet where we dive that far back into the past" McKee gushed. "And it was very fun, [it was my] first time ever voicing a character that we then go to their six year old self and I voice that too, and I felt really happy that I could do both of those.

"And kudos to Anairis for doing a childish-like range of voice the whole movie, I definitely don't think I could have done that.

"It was certainly a challenge, but I very much enjoyed being able to do it, and I'm happy with how it came out, and the complexities in the character, and exploring a character for that length of time. And the evolution he has in the movie was just a gift, honestly [it's] one of my favourite performances."

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Rika Orimoto and Yuta Okkotsu in "Jujutsu Kaisen 0". 2021 JUJUTSU KAISEN THE MOVIE Project/Gege Akutami/Shueisha

Satoru Gojo and Suguru Geto's friendship

Kaiji Tang and Lex Lang also spoke to Newsweek about their characters Satoru Gojo and Suguru Geto, respectively, and the way in which the film explores a different side to the friends-turned-enemies.

Both voice actors' characters appear in Jujutsu Kaisen, though Suguru is especially different in the prequel film compared to the anime as he is himself, rather than a corpse possessed by a curse named Kenjaku.

Of reprising his role as Gojo, Tang said: "Not much is made of Gojo's past during the first season of the show. So to be able to sort of dip into his relationships with other people, how he tutored that first class, you know, Maki, Panda, all them, it was really interesting to watch, I really appreciated the sort of little flashbacks and little nods to these two characters' relationships, Suguru and Gojo.

"I think that's a really important sort of thing to set up and for the audience to understand where these two characters are coming from, and how they tie into each other so closely.

"And to be able to live that out a little bit was so great and so helpful as an actor, and, you know, getting to voice Satoru Gojo is such a treat, [he's] a very fun character. So yeah, I liked it very much."

Lang echoed his co-star, admitting he enjoyed being able to play Suguru before he died and became possessed "very much", especially because it meant fans could understand the villain's original motives.

He explained: "I was very pleased that I was able to sort of extend the character, you know, go back to his roots and also go back to his internal motivations, his original motivations and see where the character came from.

"And to be able to play those scenes and those and those emotional beats [with Tang] because it's a much more vibrant version of Suguru in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 because he's really at his full, filled-with-life self.

"Regardless of what his ideology might be, and how it changed over the course of his life, we can still visit [a] Suguru Geto that's complete in this movie, which is really awesome.

It's not just Yuta and Rika who have a moving bond in the film, as Gojo and Suguru also share poignant moments together in the film.

"It was great. That's kind of an example of some of the scenes I was referring to that we got to go back in time, and see where their friendship developed and the depth of their friendship," Lang said. "And you'd be able to explore the nuances of that [and] when they each kind of took their own paths, how they would feel about each other as a result of veering off from each other the way they did.

"So, for me, it was very rewarding. It was really cool to see those earlier scenes, those flashbacks in time."

Tang added: "It just makes the whole thing more tragic when you understand like what the line that connects these two characters are, it's just really sad."

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Satoru Gojo in "Jujutsu Kaisen 0", which is out in theaters now. 2021 JUJUTSU KAISEN THE MOVIE Project/Gege Akutami/Shueisha

Maki Zen'in, Toge and Panda's return

Three characters from Jujutsu Kaisen who also get a chance to shine in the film are Maki Zen'in, Toge Inumaki, and Panda, who become Yuta's classmates when he joins Tokyo Jujutsu High School.

The trio are portrayed by Allegra Clark (Maki), Xander Mobus (Toge), and Matthew David Rudd (Panda), who also shared their delight in being able to return to the franchise for the prequel film.

Mobus joked that it was "about time that we were given the spotlight. Honestly, we deserved it for a long time."

Clark agreed as she told Newsweek: "The second you meet them in episode four of the series [you think] who are they? Like, maybe they should get their own movie, they should like get a spin off.

"No, it was really fun to explore these characters especially on a deeper level. Seeing Maki, where she is at this point in her journey, seeing all three of us learn how to deal with being in a kind of mentorship position —they were way better at it by the time the first years come around in the series.

"Yeah, and I think the three of us just love our characters so much that it's like, 'Oh yay! We get to play with them some more.' Yeah, I was so excited."

Rudd added: "I love that the movie was able to confirm things in the series, they were secondary characters [and] you got to infer a lot of who they were and what they were about, and you got moments.

"But I loved [them] in the movie. It confirmed a lot of what I was suspecting about the characters and confirms, you know, Toge and Panda's relationship together and confirmed what a terrible person Maki is... no I'm kidding!"

Clark joined in on Rudd's joke, saying: "She is mean in the movie, I stand by that."

The voice actor also shared how excited she was for fans to see the prequel, saying: "It's a really gorgeous film. I remember when we started recording, I was just like, 'ooh this is pretty!' Plus it's a great story and I love these characters, and getting to see and explore them, especially through the eyes of someone who is a complete newbie to the world [like Yuta]... it's such an interesting experience."

Rudd added that he felt the film was a way for new fans to get to discover the Jujutsu Kaisen franchise: "This show has not been released on a free platform or on television, or anything like that, and so we still have fans trickling in and finding the show every day.

"This is a major motion picture theatrical release, and it's a prequel. So, you don't have to be invested in the show to enjoy the movie. It's going to be such a kickstarter for the fandom and I'm really excited... it's super cool."

For fans of the film looking to read Gege Akutami's manga, VIZ Media has announced that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 will be available to read for free via the Shonen Jump app and on the publication's Shonen Jump webpage for Jujutsu Kaisen for one week.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is out in theaters now.

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Panda, Maki Zen'in and Toge Inumaki in "Jujutsu Kaisen 0". 2021 JUJUTSU KAISEN THE MOVIE Project/Gege Akutami/Shueisha