Fans of Jujutsu Kaisen will know that Yuji Itadori is the show’s protagonist and that despite Gojo’s popularity, the series still revolves around Itadori and Sukuna. Now, with Jujutsu Kaisen 0 arriving around the world, some people might be a bit confused after noticing that Itadori is not even mentioned in this movie. Sure, it’s a prequel, but why is Itadori not even mentioned and where is he located during the events of Jujutsu Kaisen 0? These are the questions we are going to answer in this article.
The plot of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is set a little bit over a year to about six months before Jujutsu Kaisen, which means that Itadori was around 12-13 years old when the plot of the prequel started, making him too young to actively participate in all the events. He is not present in the story because, originally, Akutami had a completely different idea for the series, which resulted in Jujutsu Kaisen being so different from 0, whereas Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was only retroactively incorporated into the main plot.
The rest of this article is not going to be so much about Jujutsu Kaisen 0 as about the production of the two manga series and Itadori’s role in the series. We are going to tell you where Itadori was at the time, but also why he was not present in the movie and how the creation of Jujutsu Kaisen influenced such a turn of events.
Where was Yuji Itadori during the events of Jujutsu Kaisen 0?
Yuta Okkotsu is haunted by the spirit of his childhood friend, Rika, who died in a car accident. Her spirit no longer appears as the sweet girl he used to call his beloved. Instead, his spirit has been cursed and manifests as a monstrous entity that protects him against his will. Unable to control Rika’s immense power, Yuta is powerless to stop the bloodshed caused by his Curse.
As a result, Yuta is apprehended by the Jujutsu wizards, the world’s secret guardians, who have trained to combat cursed spirits like Rika. Yuta wants to die alone so no one can get hurt, but Satoru Gojo offers him a different path. Gojo has Yuta join the Tokyo school, where he will study with other Jujutsu sorcerers, in order to control Rika and in hopes of helping other people.
Now a first-year student, Yuta learns about Jujutsu and combat arts from his new classmates: Maki Zen’in, a cursed weapon user, Toge Inumaki, a cursed speech user, and Panda, a talking panda bear. Thanks to the connections made with his friends and have finally found a place in the Jujutsu school, Yuta begins to gain confidence in being alive. He even begins to feel comfortable with his abilities, as the training progresses, Yuta learns that the risks of the world of Jujutsu go beyond evil spirits. The events we have described here, which are actually the summary of the plot of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, took place in 2016.
Now, knowing that Itadori is 15-16 during Jujutsu Kaisen, he would have had 12 or 13 years when Jujutsu Kaisen 0 started. When the story ended on December 24, 2017, he would have been 14 or 15, since the end of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 took place six months before we first see Itadori. But this was a culmination of the events from the film, so it wouldn’t make sense for Itadori to be featured here.
So, as far as Itadori is concerned, he was attending school and living a normal life, unaware of his powers until the events of June 2018. This is the basic plotline for Itadori in connection to the events from 2016 and 2017; Akutami hasn’t given us any proper details, and the reasons are going to be explained in the next section.
Why is Yuji Itadori not in Jujutsu Kaisen 0?
The reasons why we never saw Itadori in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 are twofold. The first one is an in-universe explanation, which is actually quite valid, while the other has to do with the evolution of Akutami’s idea. The in-universe explanation was contextualized above, as we have explained that Itadori was simply too young when Jujutsu Kaisen 0 began and he was not aware of his powers; he would’ve been old enough at the end, but his inclusion wouldn’t have made much sense at that point because the story was not about him. As for connecting 0 to the main universe, the plot had already done enough in that aspect so Itadori’s inclusion wasn’t really necessary.
As for the other reasons, we shall first dig into the production history of both Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and Jujutsu Kaisen.
In 2017, Gege Akutami published Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, a 4-part series that ran on Jump GIGA from April 28 to July 28. During the publication of the monthly series, Gege Akutami initially had absolutely no intention of having his series published in Weekly Shōnen Jump; it was a short idea that he wanted to explore and he did not intend to further explore the world of what would become Jujutsu Kaisen.
But, the surprisingly positive response to Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, however, inspired him to go back to the series and turn it into, Jujutsu Kaisen. This is actually how Jujutsu Kaisen came to be. Now, Akutami had a problem because the story of Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School was finished and he could not simply continue it, because it wouldn’t make sense from a publishing point of view. This is why he decided to use several elements from the original prequel, reinvent them, and begin writing Jujutsu Kaisen.
Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School was later retitled as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and retconned as a prequel to Jujutsu Kaisen. A lof of the original characters returned for Jujutsu Kaisen and later on, even Yuta was brought back to the story. This is how Akutami pulled it off. So, the reason why Itadori is not in Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is that he was not planned at the time. Akutami never intended to continue writing Jujutsu Kaisen and since Itadori was not a character from Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, it wouldn’t really make sense for him to be in the movie.