Typically, in American comics, a zero volume or Issue is a one-shot that quickly introduces a character. A zero volume can also be considered a prequel to the main story of a series. The reader quickly learns the characters’ strengths, weaknesses, and plight. The story would then give you one major conflict that the character would have to solve or survive. Jujutsu Kaisen has many manga volumes in circulation, seeing this zero volume puts a reader in the mindset of an American zero issue.
Gege Akutami gives a four-chapter story about Yuta Okkotsu, a 16-year-old high schooler, that used cursed powers on some bullies one day. Because of this one event, he garners the attention of Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School and Faculty Member Satoru Gojo. Okkotsu is given the one opportunity to live as a student of Jujutsu High and destroy curses or be executed on the spot.
Okkotsu chooses to live and joins Jujutsu High and so the story begins. Okkotsu goes on to learn about himself and the powers he has acquired through vigorous training. What are his powers and where did they come from? A quick flashback story gives some insight into Okkotsu’s abilities but there’s more than meets the eye. While joining a group of other first-year students he learns the power of friendship and being relied on by teammates as they face evil curses on missions. The final chapter opens the story for Okkotsu even more with a huge conflict of the series where he fully learns and accepts his place in this world.
We learn that Akutami never intended to get Jujutsu Kaisen serialized in Shonen Jump. He wrote this zero volume in 2017 and left it at that while in talks with Shonen Jump. Yet, the zero manuscript was well received, and Weekly Shonen Jump picked up the series in 2018. Readers very aware of Jujutsu Kaisen already will find this zero volume very different from the current manga/anime series. Certain characters appear and don’t appear in the current series and there are some character developments untold yet in the series. Although at the same time there are some things that readers will ask, “Is this canon to the current manga/anime?” We’ll all have to stick around to find out.
Akutami’s fast-paced storylines don’t naturally fit a Shonen Jump style series and some of his characters had to be flashier looking it seems. We assume Shonen Jump wanted to slow the story down for the longevity of the series and anime purposes. Akutami even states that he knows exactly where he wants to go with stories and how he wants to end them before he starts to ink them on paper. Does this mean it will be a short series or have filler driven arcs? How long can the series run based on this manuscript and Akutami’s statement with these early indications?
This volume blows away thoughts about it being compared to an American zero issue comic. It isn’t being used for retail purposes to catch a reader’s/fan’s eye for a series. You can buy a zero issue for way less money than the first issue and volume. This is worth the purchase for the greatness of the storytelling and the Jujutsu Kaisen lore that we are still learning about.
We love that Shonen Jump dropped this tome amid the hype of the current manga/anime. It leads to more hype for the manga and show. Readers and fans will be talking about this for many months as the manga continues and the first cour of the anime just ended. A special thanks to Viz Media are needed too for adapting and translating for English readers. You can get Jujutsu Kaisen now through Viz Media and digitally through the Shonen Jump app!