Blue Exorcist manga (volumes 1 and 2)

21 12 2009

Laserwolf here.  Once again my curiosity has driven me to buy manga based on its cover.  The truth is, I often wander manga sections and if something catches my eye I buy a copy there and then so that I don’t forget about it later.  This is one of those where I was quite glad I bought it, and had to go out and get the next volume.  Unfortunately there are only two volumes out, but I would like to read more.

Title: Blue Exorcist (青の祓魔師・青のエクソシスト) Ao no Futsumashi / Ao no Ekusoshisuto.  You may find it under Ao No Exorcist online.

Author/artist: Kazue Kato (加藤和恵)

Genre: supernatural, high school, monster, comedy, drama

Number of volumes: 2 (ongoing)

Availability: Manga published in Japanese by Jump Square.  It’s very new so there are unlikely to be official translations made any time soon.  Nor will they likely make it into anime until more volumes are released.

Website (Japanese): ao no exorcist

Summary:

Yukio and Rin Okumura are twin brothers who were raised by an exorcist priest.  Yukio is the brains and Rin is the muscle, always getting into fights.  Rin is the spawn of Satan but his powers and demon form have been sealed within a magic sword, allowing him to be raised as a human (somehow none of these powers went into Yukio, as he was a weakling baby).  When the boys are fifteen, Rin’s demon powers begin to awaken, causing him to become a target of other demons.  Satan possesses their adoptive father in order to bring Rin down into Gehena (the demon world).  Rin’s only chance of escape and rescuing his father is pulling out the magic blade that had sealed his demon form, making him no longer human.  He manages to stop them from being pulled into Gehena but his father’s life is lost.

Now a half demon, Rin gets no love from his father’s fellow exorcist colleagues, but he manages to convince them to let him train to become an exorcist.  He wants to become stronger because he was unable to save his father.  His dream is to kill Satan.  Little did he know that becoming an exorcist meant studying at a school!  And little did he know he would be taking lessons from Yukio!

Yukio has been an exorcist prodigy from childhood and teaches Rin and a handful of other students in a juku class (after school lessons).  The classmates have a wide range of personalities which really start to come out in the second volume.  Rin has been told to hide his true nature from his classmates, so he never pulls his sword out in front of them (it makes him appear fully demon-like) and he always hides his tail inside his clothing.  Though his teeth and ears are pointy they are not noticeable enough to be a dead giveaway, and so far his secret has remained safe between himself, Yukio, and the teachers of their school.

Extra features of this manga:

There are not too many omake drawings but you will find a few.  The ends of each volume have mini character bios and other information (profiles of demons, sketches, etc).  The best extra feature is the comic beneath the outside covers.  Both of them made me laugh and I look forward to more in the future.  Definitely check them out!

My honest opinion:

By the summary above, this series probably sounds overdone and not interesting.  Yet, I really liked it.  While the whole “magical/supernatural school” theme has been done countless times, I’ve certainly never seen anything about an exorcist school before, and in spite of the theme, there is enough substance to this one to make it a good read.

One great thing about this manga is the fact that there is no wasted space.  There are so many out there with entire boxes with nothing in them but sparkles or a solid color… (while I love Pandora Hearts I believe its main fault is wasted space)… you will not find that in Blue Exorcist.  Each box of the manga has a drawing in it, even if it’s less than a centimeter wide.  And the drawings are good enough for you to want to look at them.

Characters in the manga have really well-developed personalities.  Especially in the second volume, you get to see great interaction between classmates.

The main story is serious, but this manga is full of humor.  My favorite silly thing slipped in was about Rin reading manga instead of studying.  He was reading “E-mail Bee” (a pun on the manga Letter Bee).

As for plot, it’s hard to say how things will develop, because the stage is still being set.  I can see the beginning of something taking shape, so I hope it will become more interesting with time.

My rating: 4/5

Why should you read it?  (It’s hard not to include any spoilers since there are only 2 volumes!)

Something specific that stood out to me in this manga (volume two) was the interaction between two students – Shiemi and Izumo.  Shiemi is a quiet girl who has never had any friends her own age before, and she tries to befriend Rin, but he gets teased by the boys, and denies that he and Shiemi are friends.  Shiemi takes this seriously and becomes nervous around Rin, and even though she would really like to be his friend, she doesn’t want to be seen as a bother.  She thinks he must be happier with the boys in class and she decides to try and make friends with the girls.  However, Izumo and Noriko are best friends, and not really interested in Shiemi.

This is where the manga really portrays behavior well in my opinion.  Izumo doesn’t want to be Shiemi’s friend, but she decides to use Shiemi.  She has Shiemi carry her bags because she says she is too weak, and she wants Shiemi to buy her juice, etc.  While most people would not put up with it, Shiemi is desperate for a friend, and she pretends (or maybe really believes) that nothing is strange about the situation.  Eventually it starts to bother Noriko and she tells Shiemi she doesn’t have to keep doing these favors for Izumo if she doesn’t want to.  It also bothers Rin, who tells Shiemi that she’s just being used.

Noriko tells Izumo that she wants to quit exorcist class, which really deflates Izumo.  As if it weren’t enough, something happens which hurts Noriko – Izumo is powerless to save her friend but Shiemi pulls through.  This undoubtedly makes Izumo incredibly frustrated, but it helps show her that she’s been a real jerk to Shiemi, who is not so worthless after all.  While Izumo is reluctant to start a friendship, she at least starts to respect Shiemi.  And while Shiemi still wants to help her classmates, she wants to do it because it’s something she can do well and it’s helpful, not because she’s being used.

A manga which shows character growth in this way while also focusing on a bigger story is definitely something worth reading!

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Blue Exorcist

INTRO

Blue Exorcist (青の祓魔師・青のエクソシスト) Ao no Futsumashi / Ao no Ekusoshisuto.  You may find it under Ao No Exorcist online.

Author/artist: Kazue Kato (加藤和恵)

Genre: supernatural, high school, monster

Number of volumes: 2 (ongoing)

Availability: Manga published in Japanese by Jump Square.  It’s very new so there are unlikely to be official translations made any time soon.  Nor will they likely make it into anime until more volumes are released.

Website (Japanese): http://jumpsq.shueisha.co.jp/contents/aonoexorcist/index.html

Summary:

Yukio and Rin are twin brothers who were raised by an exorcist priest.  Yukio is the brains and Rin is the muscle, always getting into fights.  Rin is the spawn of Satan but his powers and demon form have been sealed within a magic sword, allowing him to be raised as a human (somehow none of these powers went into Yukio).  When the boys are fifteen Rin’s demon powers begin to awaken, causing him to become a target.  Satan possesses their adoptive father in order to bring Rin down into Gehena (the demon world).  Rin’s only chance of escape and rescuing his father is pulling out the magic blade that had sealed his demon form, making him no longer human.  He manages to stop them from being pulled into Gehena but his father’s life is lost.

Now a half demon, Rin gets no love from his father’s fellow exorcist colleagues, but he manages to convince them to let him train to become an exorcist.  His dream is to kill Satan.  Little did he know that becoming an exorcist meant studying at a school!  And little did he know he would be taking lessons from Yukio!

Yukio has been an exorcist prodigy from childhood and teaches Rin and a handful of other students in a juku class (after school lessons).  The classmates have a wide range of personalities which really start to come out in the second volume.  Rin has been told to hide his true nature from his classmates, so he never pulls his sword out in front of them (it makes him appear fully demon-like) and he always hides his tail inside his clothing.  Though his teeth and ears are pointy they are not noticeable enough to be a dead giveaway, and so far his secret has remained safe between himself, Yukio, and the teachers of their school.

Extra features of this manga:

There are not too many omake drawings but you will find a few.  The ends of each volume have mini character bios and other information (profiles of demons, sketches, etc).  The best feature is the comic beneath the outside covers.  Both of them made me laugh and I look forward to more in the future.  Definitely check them out!

My honest opinion:

By the summary above, this series probably sounds overdone and not interesting.  Yet, I really liked it.  While the whole “magical/supernatural school” theme has been done countless times, I’ve certainly never seen anything about an exorcist school before, and in spite of the theme, there is enough substance to this one to make it a good read.

One great thing about this manga is the fact that there is no wasted space.  There are so many out there with entire boxes with nothing in them but sparkles or a solid color… you will not find that in Blue Exorcist.  Each box of the manga has a drawing in it, even if it’s less than a centimeter wide.  And the drawings are good enough for you to want to look at them.

Characters in the manga have really well-developed personalities.  Especially in the second volume, you get to see great interaction between classmates.

The main story is serious, but this manga is full of humor.  My favorite silly thing slipped in was about Rin reading manga instead of studying.  He was reading “E-mail Bee” (a pun on the manga Letter Bee).

As for plot, it’s hard to say how things will develop, because the stage is still being set.  I can see the beginning of something taking shape, so I hope it will become more interesting with time.

My rating: 4/5

Why should you read it?  (It’s hard not to include any spoilers since there are only 2 volumes!)

Something specific that stood out to me in this manga (volume two) was the interaction between two students – Shiemi and Izumo.  Shiemi is a quiet girl who has never had any friends her own age before, and she tries to befriend Rin, but he gets teased by the boys, and denies that he and Shiemi are friends.  Shiemi takes this seriously and becomes nervous around Rin, and even though she would really like to be his friend, she doesn’t want to be seen as a bother.  She thinks he must be happier with the boys in class and she decides to try and make friends with the girls.  However, Izumo and Noriko are best friends, and not really interested in Shiemi.

This is where the manga really portrayed behavior well in my opinion.  Izumo doesn’t want to be Shiemi’s friend, but she decides to use Shiemi.  She has Shiemi carry her bags because she says she is too weak, and she wants Shiemi to buy her juice, etc.  While most people would not put up with it, Shiemi is desperate for a friend, and she pretends (or maybe really believes) that nothing is strange about the situation.  Eventually it starts to bother Noriko and she tells Shiemi she doesn’t have to keep doing these favors for Izumo if she doesn’t want to.  It also bothers Rin, who tells Shiemi that she’s just being used.

Noriko tells Izumo that she wants to quit exorcist class, which really deflates Izumo.  As if it weren’t enough, something happens which hurts Noriko – Izumo is powerless to save her friend but Shiemi pulls through.  This undoubtedly makes Izumo incredibly frustrated, but it helps show her that she’s been a real jerk to Shiemi.  While Izumo is reluctant to start a friendship, she at least starts to respect Shiemi.  And while Shiemi still wants to help her classmates, she wants to do it because it’s something she can do well and it’s helpful, not because she’s being used.

A manga which shows character growth in this way while also focusing on a bigger story is definitely something worth reading!

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