#TBT Anime: Blue Exorcist Review

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By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Have you ever wished you had been born to a certain type of family? Or maybe a certain way of life? What would it have been like to be born into the family of Hollywood royalty, or just any royalty in general? How different would one’s life be had they been born into a family living in the Sierra Leone under constant threat of civil unrest and never knowing if you’ll live to see the next day? So many possibilities our lives could have gone. But what would it have been like to be born as the child of Satan? Such is the case with the anime Blue Exorcist, directed by Tensai Okamura, and an interesting thought it is.

Rin and Yukio Okumura, two brothers who are raised in a monastery by Father Shiro Fujimoto, never knew their parents. The monks practice daily and are called out when demons invade the world and must be dealt with. Yukio goes off to school and, in his absence, Satan attacks, proclaiming Rin to be his child. Rin realizes he has demonic powers when he withdraws a blade given to him by Shiro, and must keep these powers hidden as other demons, and people of the faith, will be out to kill him should they find out.

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Rin enrolls at the prestigious True Cross Academy, which is actually the Japanese branch of an international organization dedicated to protect the human realm, Assiah, from demons and other creatures from the demon realm, Gehenna. At the school, he finds that Yukio is actually a Professor and has known about Rin’s lineage the entire time. Now Rin must train to become an exorcist and harness his powers in order to battle the demons and, potentially, Satan himself.

To say that Blue Exorcist is “run of the mill” anime would be pretty accurate. The story, while incorporating the son of Satan and exorcist, may not be something we see every day in anime, the overall flow is normal: outcast kid finds out he has power and must learn to use them to save the world. Yeah, it’s been done previously. That’s not to say what they do with Blue Exorcist isn’t entertaining. They have a nice blend of action and comedy built in with the background theme of “high school” mixed in. So, of course, there will be the interesting instructors, the hormones between students flying off the charts, and the classmate rivalries that arise. Plus some of the fight sequences are done well and the characters all bring something different to the table which makes for good chemistry.

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Of course there are issues with the anime. The story, which begins so well, falls off drastically about mid-way through. For some reason, you’re going along and suddenly just stop caring. The main culprit is that there really isn’t any progression. It’s almost like filler episode after filler episode until we are thrust back into the story around episode 20. Plus there are backstory elements which seem very interesting (Satan’s relationship with Rin and Yukio’s mother) that looks to be a great story, but is only hinted at over the course of two episodes. Plus these students who are in class to become exorcist initially are seen to grow but then stop for the second half of the series and are left flat. Very disappointing.

Blue Exorcist, again, isn’t anything new to the realm of anime or to the genre of action / comedy. It has some interesting story elements and some of the comedy is literally laugh out loud funny, but, when taken as a whole, it misses its target. With so much anime out there to watch currently, Blue Exorcist would be something that you put lower on your list. Unless you are currently caught up on shows that are airing to date, then feel free to give Blue Exorcist a view. If not, this is one exorcism that doesn’t need to be dealt with right away.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


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