Manorexic’s Anime Sampler – Blue Exorcist

Posted on Oct 26 2011

Halloween, the time of year where everyone gets to dress up and go around asking for candy while completely oblivious to the Coal Tar surrounding them. Now I’m not a demon myself, but I have a feeling that October 31 is one of their favorite days of the year. So in order to get in the Halloween spirit, today we’ll take a look at Blue Exorcist, the story of the son of none other than the Demon King himself.

One of the hardest parts of making any story is finding out the best way to start it so that it manages to hook the audience immediately. Some shows like to start with the opening theme right off the bat, others may begin with a huge scene snippet that is elaborated on after the opening, while still others decide to start with a bunch of monks chanting in a candle-lit basement and get caught on blue fire one-by-one. Blue Exorcist went with the latter. The final words of the leader priest is a choked “Demons…”, which zooms out to show a church glowing bright blue and then we cut what appears to be the final blow of a fight between some teenagers. They losers run off and a dove flying toward the horizon transitions us to the logo. Not bad for a minute and forty seconds.

Personally I have mixed feelings about this next scene’s setup. Almost right away we are introduced to what we can assume to be our main three characters for the time being: The teenage hoodlum Okumura Rin, his paragon twin brother Okumura Yukio, and Father/Reverend Fujimoto Shiro, whom also happens to be their legal guardian. These three are introduced in such a clean way, as are the workers of the church, but then we get the awkward and out of character speech from a worker to directly characterize the brothers. Sometimes having background characters tell us what we should know about the characters works, but not when it makes them look like some loonies needlessly pointing out to themselves out loud how different the brothers are. Luckily this is redeemed with some quick foreshadowing when Rin’s yelling makes a heater explode in a burst of blue flames.

While talking to Yukio, Rin gives us a well-placed flashback to explain just why he beat up the stereotypical street rat named Shiratori. It would seem that the punk was shooting doves with a crossbow, because that’s just what all the cool kids are doing nowadays. Since the workers don’t have anything to do (like their jobs and whatnot,) they went out and scheduled a job interview for Rin behind his back. They even shirked their duties long enough to gather some formal-wear for him. After strangling himself trying to tie a tie, Rin sets off for his new job. But not before another bit of strategically placed foreshadowing with the priest and a mystery family which explains that Father Fujimoto is also an exorcist, and some father-son bonding via tying a tie.

Roll the first day on the job montage! Rin manages to start off every job doing great, but inevitably screws it all up by the end of the task. But he manages to catch a break cooking fried soba by tweaking the recipe a bit and impresses the boss so much that he got the job. All goes well for him until he sees a girl chasing a scarf blowing in the wind and catches it for her, recognizing her as the girl who stopped by the church earlier that day. Before he gives the girl her scarf, some sort of monkey-looking creature appears on it and runs off with it. He chases after it (because he really wants to return that scarf apparently) and ends up trashing the store he just got hired at during the pursuit. Yui, the owner of the scarf, somehow teleports to where the monkey-thing stops running and even though Rin saves her from being crushed, is ultimately fired from his job.

Yui and her father decide to pay a visit to the church to give thanks for Rin saving her life. Yui and Rin try to explain that she was being bullied, but not by humans, which is reasonably disregarded by the father. It’s not until Father Fujimoto asks him to believe them for his daughter’s sake that he plays along, and they depart. Before getting to go to bed, Rin is shown the bill sent by his previous boss for destroying the store, since getting fired and missing his favorite dinner just wasn’t enough of a punishment for getting a girl’s scarf back and saving her life. But we don’t have enough foreshadowing, so Father Fujimoto goes downstairs to look at the sword locked in the mysterious red box.

Suddenly, demons. Rin wakes up and is greeted outside by a swarm of what he thinks are bugs of some sort that no one else seems to pay attention to. He is then payed a friendly visit by Shiratori, who stereotypically takes him under a bridge to talk. The first thing we see is a cutaway to a fire in a barrel with multiple sticks in it, foreshadowing? I think so. Somehow Shiratori comes from a rich family whose name can’t afford to be tarnished by news that their son has the psychopathic tendency to kill innocent animals. Even though the silencing fee could cover his obligation to the store, Rin declines it. Shiratori then makes the mistake of insulting Yukio, which is followed by Rin bashing him in the face once more.

As it turns out, punching Shiratori was a terrible idea, who knew? At this point you would’ve noticed the black bugs have been especially plentiful around Shiratori, which may be a hint to their nature, for these are a breed of demons called Coal Tar. After being struck, he goes in a rage-induced transformation to a demon as the bugs start a frenzy around him. He has his three henchmen hold down Rin as he reaches for the foreshadowed metal rod in the bucket fire and contemplates how he should torture Rin.

I did mention that Rin was Satan’s son, right? Right before he is burnt by the glowing hot pole, Rin explodes into a mass of, yep you guessed it, blue flames. The henchmen run away, but Shiratori only seems pleased by the outburst. He says that blue flames are the calling card of Satan’s offspring and introduces himself as the demon Astaroth (a reference to biblical Astaroth, one of the Crowned Princes of Hell.) But before he is able to take Rin to Hell, Father Fujimoto steps in and exorcises him with great ease from Shiratori. He then explains the concept of the parallel worlds of human Assiah and demon Gehenna, and that Rin is Satan’s half-human son and many more will come to hunt him down because he revealed this. The episode is wisely ended with Father Fujimoto grabbing Rin by the arm and them starting off back home “To Be Continued” style.

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  • nerdwerld October 26, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Blue Exorcist = one of the best anime that has came out this year.

    • TheManorexic October 26, 2011 at 8:13 PM

      I’m definitely gonna finish this series, the first episode has me hooked.

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