Blue Exorcist, was first released back in 2011 and was an instant hit in the community. Then it continued, got weird and then did not continue. Which led to mixed reviews and reactions. What was hard to accept about season one is that it is nothing more than an introduction to the Ao no Exorcist world.
- Genre: Action, Fantasy, Shounen, Comedy, Darma, Fantasy
- Type: Series
- Episodes: 25
- Duration to watch: +/- 10 hours
- Age restriction: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older
- Release date: 2011
- Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
- Does it have a manga: Yes
- Kanji: 青の祓魔師(エクソシスト)
- Alternative Title: Ao no Exorcist
About Blue Exorcist:
Blue Exorcist is centralised around a set of teenage twins, Rin and Yukio Okumura. Rin possesses abnormal strength and endurance. They were raised by Father Shiro Fujimoto, an exorcist. Early in the anime, Rin learns that he and his brother are the sons of Satan, the strongest demon. Rin then meets Mephisto Pheles, who agrees with Rin’s wish to become an Exorcist like his guardian to become stronger and to defeat Satan. He helps Rin to enrol at the prestigious True Cross Academy. The academy is actually the Japanese branch of an international organization dedicated to protecting the human realm. Rin joins the secret Exorcist Class that is only known to a select few. Much to his surprise his brother, Yukio, is one of his teachers. This causes a lot of conflict between the brothers. Thus Rin’s journey to becoming an Exorcist begins, accompanied by his brother and his fellow students. However, his fellow students despise demons and so Rin struggles to keep his true identity hidden from them.
My Thoughts on Ao no Exorcist:
The second episode of Blue Exorcist always breaks my heart. Due to the fact that it always gets an emotional response from me, I will always enjoy this anime. That does not mean that it is always a good anime, however.
The start of the anime is intense. A lot happens in quick succession that hooks you and sets up the main drama and trauma for our main characters. Then it slows down quite dramatically and starts to do the groundwork. We meet more characters, and the world-building properly sets in.
Basically, other than the first few episodes and the politics of behind-the-scenes plotting done by characters, very little else happens in this season. For a 25-episode season, that can be disappointing. Especially, considering the number of years between seasons.
I really enjoyed the training. The children went to class and learnt from books and in controlled environments. Most of our cast is fifteen. So the fact that they need to actually go through proper training and are not just thrown into the field and have exceptional skills makes me happy. They are starting from the basics, and we are learning with them and through them.
The secondary characters are slowly fleshed out and introduced to us in manageable amounts. We do not get tons of information thrown at us about all of them. We learn about them more naturally and thus are given time to decide whether we like certain characters or not. There is no feeling of being forced to feel one way or another about any one particular character, which is amazing. Each character has the potential to really grow and be fleshed out. We see the start of this in season one with the development of bonds and the revealment of relationship dynamics. I really liked the way Rin wasn’t popular and had to earn the respect and trust of those around him.
The action and animation in this are pretty decent, even though this anime is over ten years old. It aged well with A-1 Pictures doing a decent job. The English dub for this is also really good and does not distract from the emotion and feelings of the characters and moments. The season has quite a number of repeated sequences which I am hesitant to call the ‘transformation sequence’ but they do remind me of the magical-girl transformation sequences we get in other anime. Seems they kept the characters doing the transformation frame-for-frame and just swapped out the background to save time. Not complaining about it, it was noticeable so I am mentioning it.
From reading the manga, the pacing of this is great, and the anime did a good job, just the anime adaptation came too soon. It still did a solid job introducing us to the world and the characters that we will be spending a lot of time with. The anime is set with multiple seasons in mind. We were lucky to get season two, and I am earnestly hoping that we get a third season. The storey is great, but the pacing is the issue. Taking into consideration that season one is an introduction and splits from the source material just as the storey was starting in seriousness, this season is not bad.
The anime followed the manga until episode 17. The last episode to follow along with the source was the hearing where the Order deliberates on whether to use Rin as a weapon or to eliminate him. Episodes 18 to 25 are anime-only content and thus deviate from the source. This explains why some things suddenly went crazy and the characters’ personalities warped out of control.
The revelation of who Rin and Yukio’s mother is and how the twins came to be was fun and interesting to watch. Although the relationship and the question of ‘how’ is really questionable. Knowing that it is filler for this season is incredibly frustrating. To get an answer that is not the answer is annoying.
One of my favourites is episode 6, where the twins learn who and what cooks their meals. I was upset to learn that the episode is not canon. The episode with the squid, however, I was relieved to know is anime only.
When I first reviewed Blue Exorcist, season two had not yet come out. I had mentioned I would be on the lookout for it. I then watched season two when it was released in 2017. I also did not know that the ending was filler. Yet even back then, I could feel something was off with the ending.
Most Frustrating Character: Yukio Okumura
I want to see how bad-ass Yukio is. Yet all we get to see is his inferiority complex and being upstaged by his brother. His skills are rarely properly displayed and his concern for his brother is not properly shown.
The character I want to know more about: Mephisto Pheles
Mephisto is such a mysterious character and makes one wonder what his true goal is. I also really want to learn about his past and how he first got involved with the exorcists. He also gets me interested in the other brothers, the other kids Satan has.
Would I recommend Blue Exorcist? To my supernatural and shounen fans, without hesitation. As long as they are not looking for something too involved. If they are looking for an anime with tortured teens with singular focus and dedication, I’d rather advise Attack on Titan. While the twins fit most of that description, they have other things going on. They are working on themselves while trying to figure out their goal.
Over the years Shounen has advanced a lot in plot delivery, which has sadly led to older titles like this one being left behind. That is not a bad thing, but as an older anime fan who has been watching for well over a decade, it leaves me feeling sad. Excited at the advancement and where it will take us but sad at the knowledge that titles like Blue Exorcist will struggle to get new fans to help carry it forward with new seasons.
What do you think of the anime Ao no Exorcist?