'Jujutsu Kaisen 0' Cast Reflects On Exploring New Sides Of Fan-Favorite Characters

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 has made its international debut, and the highly anticipated anime film takes fans back to the world of Jujutsu High School. The prequel film takes place before Yuji Itadori (Junya Enoki/Adam McArthur) and his friends sign up. However, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 features several fan-favorite characters from the main series. Showbiz Means I/O got a chance to talk to their English voice actors to explore them further.

Maki, Panda, and Toge Play Important Roles in 'Jujutsu Kaisen 0'

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 focuses on two new characters - Yuta Okkotsu (Megumi Ogata/Kayleigh McKee) and Rika Orimoto (Kana Hanazawa/Anairis Quiñones) - but the film also features a few familiar faces. Although Yuji Itadori and his classmates are not yet enrolled in Jujutsu High School, Yuta meets the anime's second years when he arrives (despite technically being first years where the film is set).

That's right, Maki Zenin, Toge Inumaki, and Panda all play prominent roles in the previous movie. The film gives fans a better look at who they are as characters, as well as what they looked like when they first arrived at Jujutsu High.

Allegra Clark (Maki), Matthew David Rudd (Panda) and Xander Mobus (Toge) were all excited to return for the feature film. Mobus joked that it was "about time" for their characters to be in the spotlight, while Rudd admitted "it felt so good" to work on the film.

Clark was thrilled that they all had the opportunity to delve deeper into their characters, showing new sides of themselves in the process:

“I think the three of us love our characters so much. So to continue playing in the world and spending time with them and exploring aspects of them that we haven't seen yet, either because they're younger and more emotionally unstable or just to see The characters become richer and more complete and seeing aspects that we didn't get to see on the show, it was so satisfying.

Clark specifically points to Maki when it comes to being "emotionally unstable". Maki's character has one of the most emotional arcs in the film, learning to accept Yuta and herself. What was it like capturing that?

Allegra Clark on Maki's journey in 'Jujutsu Kaisen 0'

Jujutsu Kaisen fans get a backstory of all of the anime's Season 1 supporting characters, and Maki paints a heartbreaking picture of her family life. The disappointment of the Zenin clan - and the only member of the family who can't see the curses - Maki struggles with her self-esteem.

Of course, you wouldn't know that at first sight. Maki is shown to be capable and sure of herself. But as Allegra Clark points out, “His confidence is really just one giant defense mechanism. She doesn't really have that confidence.

For Clark, the character of Maki is in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is about "allowing yourself to start feeling accepted." That's why it takes him some time to open up to Yuta. However, when she does, Clark thinks it's a huge stepping stone - because it's the first time she's had a real relationship since leaving home:

“It's because he's supporting her in a way she never had before. The only person she was close to before going to school was her sister. And by the time you get to the show, you see how that relationship has completely disintegrated. But she's finally in a situation where, yeah, people know who she is. They know its restriction. They are aware of it. And this is the first time she's interacted with people who don't see her as a failure.

As Clark points out, it takes Maki on a journey where she can push away "that impulse" to push people away.

"Seeing all these different levels and different sides, she really has a nice arc of both being accepted by her peers but also accepting herself," Clark added. “Because she doesn't know what it means to be accepted. And when you don't know what it means to be accepted, it's very difficult for you to accept yourself.

As Maki takes time to get acquainted with Jujutsu High's new student, Panda is quicker to embrace her. Given Panda's friendly nature, that's probably no surprise.

Matthew David Rudd on Panda's role in the trio

While Maki is the least open to Yuta's arrival at Jujutsu High, Matthew David Rudd's Panda proves to be one of the most welcoming characters in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 . And the actor appreciates the role of Panda in the trio, which amounts to something like a big brother:

“I had to infer a lot about Panda based on the show – you know, how compassionate he is and how big his heart is. And in this movie, I feel like you see that a lot. You can see him being the emotional support for whatever the character needs [it]. And I really like that. I love seeing him. And I like having that to contrast that change that happens when he goes into, you know, gorilla mode and has to protect people. Because they go together. He cares deeply about these characters. So when you joke with them, he goes crazy, right? »

According to Rudd, this isn't the first time this side of Panda has come out. In Jujutsu Kaisen Season 1, he jumps in front of one of Mechamaru's (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Keith Silverstein) blasts in order to save Nobara Kugisaki (Asami Seto/Anne Yatco). Rudd recalled:

"He does this quick math in his speech and goes, 'Oh shit, she can't survive this. So his instinct is just to jump in front of the explosion. I don't think any other character on the show would necessarily do that. They would find some cool jujutsu [sorcery] to make it all work and everything. But no, Panda dives in front of the ball, right? And I love that he's that character.

Xander Mobus says little but expresses a lot

Panda can be loud and proud of his devotion to his friends, but he's not the only character who shows Yuta compassion throughout Jujutsu Kaisen 0 .

Toge Inumaki is limited to rice ball ingredients to express his feelings, but he shows his loyalty and commitment to his classmates through his actions. Of course, having less dialogue presents a unique challenge for Xander Mobus. How does the actor go about expressing Toge's thoughts and feelings?

"So really, me and the director just look across the scene and figure out, 'Okay, what do we think about intentionality in every moment? '” Mobus explained. “And then we try to play that. You know, it's weird. It's weird trying to express a complex thought by just saying, you know, 'Bonito flakes!' »

Still, Mobus gets the Toge message across, even when he says things like "bonito flakes" and "salmon roe."

“It's an interesting challenge, and it's a challenge that I really enjoy taking on,” added Mobus. “And I don't play a ton of sweet boys, so when I do, it's fine. »

Fans can see Mobus' performance - as well as Allega Clark and Matthew David Rudd's - on the big screen.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is currently playing in select theaters around the world.