Why did I read it: I’ve been meaning to check this series out for awhile. I’m so glad I did!
How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars.
Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won’t be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!
Review: Although the premise behind Rin’s story isn’t incredibly new and some of the roles assigned to characters are a tad predictable, there’s plenty of originality to it as well as a wealth of humor and emotion. So much was done so well, particularly Rin learning the truth about what he was while trying to rebel against the only person he looked up to.
But Rin wasn’t the only great character. His twin brother, Yukio, was surprisingly great and I’m ridiculously found of all of his class-mates. In fact I’m hard-pressed to think of a character I didn’t like for one reason or another. Even the ever-optimistic and overly sweet Shiemi was endearing. I enjoyed watching her try to make friends in spite of the fact that she’s surrounded by insensitive jerks. And I will never stop being amused that her familiar is a little plant creature that can only say “Nee.”
The artwork is also terrific and the storyline progressed at a really great pace. Every moment added to the story because there was great balance between a larger overarcing plot and smaller, episodic issues that could be resolved very quickly. I especially loved the scenes spent at the True Cross Academy where Rin and his classmates learn to summon familiar and take out demons. There were some moments where I wondered why none of them could connect a few dots and figure out who their actual opponents were, but there isn’t really anything I can think of that took away from my enjoyment.
It’s worth noting that what works well in Blue Exorcist is what works for me in nearly all Shonen Jump titles particularly the best-selling ones like Naruto and Bleach. There is a strong emphasis on friendship and forging meaningful connections to others, particularly mentors and peers. No matter how often I come across it, I am always struck by how awesome it is that so much manga passes along this sort of message since I feel like it is one that often trivialized in other fictional formats. But that’s a rant for another time. I was also pleased that hardly any page-time in Blue Exorcist is spent on ogling female characters and even when it is, it’s more harmless than it is offensive. Yes, there is at least one attractive woman with huge tracts of land in later volumes, but it’s way less a focal point than it could be. All the characters seem to have higher ranking priorities that involve growing as individuals and as team mates.
In conclusion, awesome and perfect for both older teens and adult readers. If you’re not reading this series and you’re a manga fan, you’re definitely missing out. Since I don’t want to miss out any more than I already have, I plan on pre-ordering volumes 5-6 and then watching the anime episodes on Hulu ASAP.