Ao no Exorcist ( Blue Exorcist ) Review

“You have two choices left. Be killed by us, or kill us and run away. You could also kill yourself, so actually makes three choices. Now, which one would suit you best?”

“Make me one of you!”

Plot

Rin Okumura is trying to live a normal life at a monastery where his guardian, Shiro Fujimoto, acts as priest, but suddenly his world changes.  The demon blood haw awakened inside of him and Rin soon finds himself the target of the demons of Gehenna. In order to protect himself, Rin enters into True Cross Academy and begins his training to become an exorcist. Exorcists are part of an international organization formed to protect the material world, Assiah, from the demons of Gehenna, the world of nothingness. On the surface True Cross Academy is a prestigious school of the elite, but True Cross Academy’s secret is that it is in fact the headquarters of the Japanese Branch of the exorcist organization.

True Cross Academy

My Impressions

It started off awesomely, but became kind of mediocre towards the end. Well… I hear that one of the problems with the series is the so called “gecko” ending, which has to do with the anime branching off on its own because the manga’s still going. Other than that, I have a few other problems with the series.

At first the pace was good, characters and information were introduced well enough as the situation presented itself, but as things progressed those ideas weren’t developed properly. The main character Rin Okumura attends True Cross academy both as a normal student and as an exorcist student. It was disappointing to see so little of the structure of how student life was in both the normal and exorcist classes. All of the attention was focused on the exorcist side of things, and that I can understand. I can’t help myself from wondering what his normal school life is like, which is never covered. Only a few choice moments of exorcist tutelage were sampled and these were never the prime focus of the episode, mostly because of the random demon attacks and security slip ups throughout the academy.

I would rather of had Rin go up against some kind of crazy exorcist exam reminiscent to the ninja exam in Naruto then watch a series that doesn’t know what it wants.

"Thou shall perish!"

One of my main issues with the treatment of Rin’s character development was his exorcist training. There seemed to at first be a stress on having Rin focus more on actual exorcist skills rather than rely on his demon powers, but as the story continued he only relied on those powers more and more until even those around him were pretty much telling him to rely on those powers and specifically train them. It was overly inconsistent with how Rin was to develop as a character. My original impression was that using his demonic power was dangerous and therefore he would train in one of the classes of exorcist and move away from using his blue flames. It just never happens. There’s not much keeping him from using his physical strength, which in some ways is tied to his demonic nature, but he could definitely limit the use of his exclusive blue flame abilities.

Mephisto Pheles

I’ve also heard by others mention that the secondary characters serve little point during the anime. The only reason they exist, as far as I can tell, is for Rin to develop his human qualities and diminish his demonic ones. None of the secondary characters have any place in any of the important fights. Instead, they all end up relying on Rin and his unique flames to finish the job, whether they are aware of it or not.  One of the characters, Shiemi Moriyama, turned out to be surprisingly reliable. Other characters, when they did have their moments, were still overshadowed by Rin.

For me, my favorite glimpses into Rin’s character were the times he wasn’t fighting–most notably his encounters with Ukobach and Kuro.The sentimental moments were one of the better parts to this anime. The comedic moments weren’t bad either. I just don’t find the fights to be very memorable (nothing special or spectacular about it). It’s hard to see the point in all of various classes of exorcist when there aren’t any enemies to exploit the weaknesses inherent in each class.  I would like to see more intelligence in my fights; I certainly don’t want to see the main conflicts solved by brute force and no technical skill whatsoever. I would have been more satisfied with a fuller treatment of how the various exorcist classes function and how those abilities are taught. All of it remains to some degree ambiguous.

Shiro Fujimoto (younger)

Another question: Where are all of the skilled exorcist? With everything that happened I would like to have seen the experienced exorcists fight. I’m not too interested in a bunch of newbie exorcist who hardly grow at all during the series. Comparatively there seems to be little difference between the new exorcist and the more expert exorcists. We mostly only see the difference between Rin and the rest of the exorcist students.

The various plots that rose up during the story didn’t go anywhere. What were Mephisto’s intentions? What was the point of Amaimon fighting Rin? It bothers me that instead of following up on those ideas to create an overarching plot that they invented a new plot out of nowhere to finish up the series (the “gecko” ending).

Rating

I enjoyed the comedy and the sentimentality, but overall the series has one too many problems. This anime had great potential, but the development of the plot and characters was squandered away, so it never really met my expectations.

"Boss, this is the last one!"

My favorite characters from the series were Shiro Fujimoto, Rin’s guardian who raised both him and his brother, and Mephisto Pheles, principal of True Cross Academy and Japanese Branch Exorcist leader. I would love to see some kind of prequel anime starring these two.

Plot:   First half: 7/10, Second half: 2/10
Animation:   8/10
Characters:   5/10
Music (excluding OP and ED):   5/10
Comedy:   8/10
Sentimental rating:   8/10

Overall:   6/10

Advertisements

One thought on “Ao no Exorcist ( Blue Exorcist ) Review”

  1. Interesting review. I was keeping this on the back-burner waiting for time to watch it but I can say that I’ll probably drop this. There’s just so much to watch and an anime which has poor plotting and characters has little to keep me interested.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s