青の祓魔師 1 – 悪魔は人の心に棲む | Blue Exorcist 01 – Demons Live in the Human Soul
or “The Devil Resides in Human Souls”
青の祓魔師 or Blue Exorcist could possibly be the next Full Metal Alchemist. Spoiler’s ahead…
It has all the right ingredients: kewl characters, engaging dialogue, and an interesting plot.
The main protagonist, Rin Okumura is a rebellious, clumsy, and violent boy who emits deadly blue flames. Already its win.
His personality is balanced by a kind twin brother, Yukio, and a wacky father (much like Ichigo’s father in Bleach), Fujimoto, who is literally a Father; a priest who specializes in exorcism.
The best relationship so far is between Father Fujimoto and Rin. The dynamics of their relationship is shown in the confessional. “What about that nosebleed?” his father asks dryly. “I fell into an insanely hot babe -” replies the son. “What?! After her, Rin! Lead the way!” the father exclaims.
Like a proper anime character, the father floats between seriousness and silliness in a heartbeat. When Rin goes to get yet another job his father teases him into exclaiming, “Don’t look down on me! I’ll prove to you I can do it by myself! Open your eyes wide and look!” GORA!!! When did this supernatural story turn into a yakuza anime? The absurdity of yelling such things to a parent is beyond hilarity. Can you hear it? It’s the futile sound of a lion cub bearing his fangs at Godzilla. Judging by his father’s reaction, his outbursts happen so regularly it’s considered normal.
I haven’t read the japanese comic book but the anime mentions True Cross Academy High School several times. I suspect most of the action will center around a high school setting soon. Not surprising since anime and manga lead us to believe 99.99% of the Japanese population are high school students and only 1% are adults which explains why these kids are living alone most of the time.
The animation scores well on expressive detail. There are refreshing new takes on body language/facial expressions (Fractale did it best) and smartly exaggerates scenes instead of exhausting viewers with it. There’s also detail in the environment. Notice the earth friendly car passing by when Rin mutters, “Shut up, shitty old man.” Looks like the Honda Fit. The only thing that fell flat in the anime was Yukio’s joke about patching up Rin but only if he pays.
The animators packed a lot of information in the first episode. Rin is at first shown as a troubled kid who gets into fights but it turns out he means well but he gets caught up situations, and is a victim of circumstance. He lives at a church with his twin brother, Yukio, and Father Fujimoto who raised them both. The two of them care about Rin very much; in fact, everyone who live at the church care about Rin’s well-being and try to help him out. Yukio is distressed about leaving his brother behind for school because Rin is far from ordinary. He summons blue flames, abnormally strong, can see demons, and strangest of all… he can cook.
He’s blissfully oblivious to all this until a demon named Astaroth exposes Rin’s unusual powers. Fujimoto realizes its time to reveal some truths and explains it to Rin after skillfully exorcising Astaroth. Demons exist and Rin is the ultimate proof. He’s the child of a human woman and god of all demons, Satan.
After watching a better quality episode, that is definitely a burning seal on the sword. It means 1) it’s soon time for him to inherit the sword. The factors maybe his age (15) and a combination of him gaining more abilities like seeing demons and becoming aware of his birthright. And 2) the katana foreshadows epic badass-ery.
There’s been many let downs in the past of manga translated to anime such as Air Gear, Blade of the Immortal, and Kamen no Maid Guy. The first episode of Ao no Exorcist allayed any concerns of fail.
This anime is for mature viewers. The younger viewers should stick with Beelzebub.
“You’re a thousand years too early to scold others,” chastises Fujimoto.
In Japan, you’re always many years too early to do anything.
Japan, Redefining The World As You Know It
Notes and Background Information
Christianity is a monotheistic belief system derived from Judaism but centered around the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. There are many sects within the religion but the most well-known is the Catholic Church for its “episcopal hierarchy”, costume, and architecture.
Exorcism is a ritual to drive out malevolent spirits or demons from possessed people, places, or things. The practice is tied to many religions, but it’s popularly associated with the Catholic Church in the west.
Ao no Exorcist draws heavily from the Catholic Church but it also draws from other sources such as the Kabbalah, Dungeon & Dragons, and even faerie tales (seelie, sidhe).
Fujimoto describes two planes of existence that are parallel to each other much like in D&D, where the prime material plane (or the human world) is sandwiched between various other planes. Like in D&D stories, the denizens of Gehenna frequently interfere with the human world.
The names of the two worlds described in the anime are real words. Assiah is the “last of four spiritual worlds in the Kabbalah”, and it represents “material existence”. Gehenna was actually a true location near Jerusalem where pagans sacrificed children; over time, it came to mean burning “Hell”.
The hobgoblin is a mythical, european creature. They are described as mischievous, ugly little men but is redesigned to resemble monkeys in the series. In a way, it can be viewed as Japan assimilating the fairy tales of europe into their own culture.
The four-leaf clover charm given to the little girl is taken from western folklore. It is said to contain magical properties to protect humans from faeries such as dispelling “glamour” and ability to see faeries if applied to the eyelids.
The name Astaroth originates from the pagan female goddess Astarte, deity of “fertility, sexuality, and war“. She’s given different names depending on the ancient cultures who adopted her. Astarte was converted into a male demon in the 15th century.
Tags: Ao no Exorcist