[Anime Review]: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)

Ao no Exorcist

Director: Tensai Okamura

Writer (of original manga): Kazue Kato

Animation Studios: A-1 Pictures

Version Watched: Subbed

 If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably seen me mention that I don’t marathon Anime. It’s just not something I do. Ao no Exorcist was the first Anime in a long time that has made me want to put the lie to that last statement, and it almost succeeded in making me do so. Almost. With a great story, relatable characters and some really epic scenes, Ao no Exorcist was an amazing series that still had room to grow. If it hadn’t been limited to 25 episodes (and one movie), I think it could have been one of the greatest Anime out there.

Imagine you’ve lived the last 15 years of your life with your priest foster father at a monastery along with your twin brother. You’ve gone to school, maybe gotten into a few fights, but as far as the world at large is concerned you’re normal. Now imagine that, on what may as well be any other day, you are attacked by a demon, saved by your foster father who turns out to be an Exorcist, and told that you’re the son of satan. And then your foster dad is killed by your real dad. Sweet. For Rin Okumura, all that is an unfortunate reality.

ao no exorcist blue anime

Before he can stop to really take stock of what has happened Rin is thrust into a world where demons are a part of everyday life and one of the country’s most prestigious high schools is actually the True Cross Academy for training Exorcists. Oh, and his brother has been going there for years without him knowing. And he’s now Rin’s teacher. Double sweet. Rin vows to grow stronger to take revenge on satan for what he has done, but before he can do anything he needs to learn to get on with his classmates and, y’know, study.

Ao no Exorcist starts off very strong, throwing both you and Rin into unfamiliar territory before you can stop to ask any questions. Learning about Rin’s heritage, the actual state of the world and the ways of True Cross Academy will very quickly grip you and get you interested in both the characters and plot itself. While the middle of the series is still very entertaining, it sags a little as the writers can’t seem to decide whether they want to advance the plot, develop characters or just randomly muck around. Don’t get me wrong though, every episode is just as good as the last on its own, it’s just that the way they come together to tell the overall story isn’t as well done as it could have been. The ending, while still on par with the rest of the series quality-wise, felt very premature, with little indication that the conclusion of the story was coming up before the last few episodes.

Ao no Exorcist blue anime

I probably say this too much, but Ao no Exorcist could very easily have been a longer series. As it was, it felt like the writers were rushed into the final arc before they had laid down the groundwork for it (and the manga is still continuing, so there you go). Side characters that were really quite well done weren’t given the attention they deserved, being presented as important but remaining relatively insignificant to the main plot. The variety of abilities they possessed had a lot of potential that was never realized, and their role within True Cross Academy and the True Cross Order of Exorcists could also have been developed further. There’s also a slight problem with consistency in power levels, with Rin simply powering up DBZ-style to tackle any obstacle that comes his way. I was left waiting for a training sequence that never came (well, it was mentioned, but never really explored).

It may sound like there’s a huge amount the series fails to get right, but the only reason I’ve identified so many faults is because of how much I enjoyed watching the series in the first place. These aren’t problems that need to be fixed, just areas that could have been improved to make the experience even better than it already was. It should say something about the concept itself that it can have so many gaps while still supporting such an engaging tale.

Ao no Exorcist blue anime

The animation was also of a very high quality; from facial expressions to background scenery, everything is pleasing to look at and the character designs themselves are also excellent. The animation studio can be very proud of their work here.

Summary – Ao no Exorcist was a lot of fun to watch. Having recently picked up the manga I can confirm that the series suffers from the usual adaptation pains, with a rushed ending and lack of power development which is unfortunate but not enough to ruin the experience. It may not quite have reached greatness, but Ao no Exorcist is definitely a series you should watch.

 Score: 8/10 – Good

 Movie – While some may view it as more of the same, it’s really well done and manages to tell a compact story that you will actually care about. If you liked Ao no Exorcist, be sure to watch this once you’ve finished the main series.

Ao no Exorcist blue anime

About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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8 Responses to [Anime Review]: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)

  1. “I probably say this too much, but Ao no Exorcist could very easily have been a longer series. As it was, it felt like the writers were rushed into the final arc before they had laid down the groundwork for it (and the manga is still continuing, so there you go).”

    Yeah, it was definitely close to catching up to the manga during it airing so much so that they created an original character for one segment before making it back to where the chapter starts in the manga, lol. Anyway, it was a decent title, but wasn’t exactly that well planned going into the later episodes. The soundtrack on the other hand was amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSyDsXN0s8s

    • Silvachief says:

      Oh wow, I didn’t realize they had gone so far as to create new characters XD I watched the anime before reading the manga, so I hadn’t noticed that. I wholly agree with you on the later episodes, and the music (including the OPs and EDs) was really very good.

  2. Annalyn says:

    Reading this made me want to watch the movie, or at least re-watch a couple episodes for the show. It really was a fun watch, and your praise of the animation reminds me that I haven’t seen it since I got access to the HD… okay, yep. I need to go watch an episode of this again.

    • Silvachief says:

      I don’t think you would regret picking up the movie. It’s not related to the main plot so you could probably watch it without having to rewatch any of the earlier stuff (not that I think it’s not worth rewatching!).

  3. Kai says:

    I remember I was interested in the series at first, but felt empty by the time I completed the show, lol. If the manga’s any better, I will be checking it out soon.

  4. Lazarinth says:

    “it sags a little as the writers can’t seem to decide whether they want to advance the plot, develop characters or just randomly muck around.”
    This sentence puts the amount of screwing around that happens in this anime very lightly. Because most of it is for developing the characters, whether you end up liking the characters is a massive conditionality for if you’re going to enjoy this series or not. It had some really cool scenes but I got the same feeling from a lot of the episodes that I got from Naruto filler. Considering they’re both incredibly Shonen that only makes sense.

    • Silvachief says:

      I’ve actually read some of the manga now and noticed that a lot of the filler was shown prematurely, having been taking from further on in the manga. There’s a massive story arc that I guess they weren’t able to fit into the episodes they had, which is why you get double the filler you normally would >.<

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