Blue Exorcist 1Posted: February 10, 2012
Kazue Kato – Viz – 2011 – 8+ volumes
Honestly? I knew better than to pick this book up. Demons? Fighting demons? Slightly quirky art? The main character is the son of Satan? This series practically has my name on it. It’s a wonder I held out as long as I did.
So yes, that’s the premise. Rin is a scrappy young lad raised in a monastery with his twin brother. Rin gets into a lot of fights, but stands up for what he believes in. His guardian, Father Fujimoto, gets on his case about his fights, and wants him to get a real job. Rin grudgingly listens to Father Fujimoto, and goes to the interview he arranges, but along the way, he gets into yet another fight and is nearly eaten by what appears to be a demon. Father Fujimoto shows up to exorcise the demon, but then drops a hard truth on Rin: Rin is not a normal human, but the son of Satan, and he needs to get away from Father Fujimoto as soon as possible. Rin gets upset at first, but something terrible does indeed happen to Father Fujimoto. Resolved to become someone who eliminates demons rather than be consumed by his demon side, Rin joins up with a group of exorcists at an elite high school and is taught the ways of exorcism… by none other than his weaker younger brother, Yukio.
This series is so full of awesome I don’t even know where to begin. How about Father Fujimoto? He’s a rough love kind of guardian, but still dotes on Rin in a fatherly way. And the notes in the back reveal he’s got a healthy appetite for women too, which is always a plus. Rin himself? He’s kind of a scrapper, but at one point, he’s sobbing in bed over a copy of Tegami Bachi, which made me laugh. The demon transformation designs are bad ass, and I love the way he can apparently exorcise demons while being a full demon himself. Plus, DEMONS. There are very few series I will turn away that have demons for main characters. How about Yukio, the wussy younger brother-turned-badass-assassin? The parts with him in the second half of the book are highly enjoyable, since he turns out to not be the weak, helpless foil that he appears to be at first. There’s also Mr. Mephisto Pheles, who is some sort of super powerful overlord character that dresses like a clown, turns into a cat, and has a complete disregard for what anyone thinks of him.
If this series were any cooler, I don’t know what I would do with myself. It got me with the knee jerk reaction to all of the above. Maybe the plot will get formulaic later, but HOW COULD IT I MEAN LOOK AT ALL THAT STUFF.
The art, and character designs in general, are also all kinds of amazing. I mentioned Rin’s demon design, which is great, but the real winner here is the city/school that Rin and Yukio go to. True Cross Academy has a kind of old fashioned supercity design that I could never get tired of looking at. There’s lots of detail, buildings upon buildings, and little windy castle passages to look at, and everything is a little grungy and old fashioned, while the accessories in the character’s clothing suggest a more modern look. The goofy facial expressions on Rin are a pleasure to look at, and I love all the fashion design flourishes.
I don’t know. This first volume doesn’t do anything wrong. The premise is the kind of thing that sounds like it will go south fast, just reading the back, but the first volume delivers so hard that I’m probably going to go out and get the ones I’m missing tomorrow. It’s that good. Or, at least, it suits my taste that well.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.