Blue Exorcist

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Blue Exorcist
Ao no Exorcist.jpg
The cover of Blue Exorcist volume 1 as published by Shueisha, with a picture of the main character Rin Okumura with his sword and his blue flames
青の祓魔師エクソシスト
(Ao no Ekusoshisuto)
GenreAdventure,[1] dark fantasy[2]
Manga
Written byKazue Kato
Published byShueisha
English publisher
ImprintJump Comics SQ.
MagazineJump Square
English magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runApril 4, 2009 – present
Volumes26 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byTensai Okamura
Produced by
  • Hirio Maruyama
  • Kozue Kananiwa
  • Satoshi Adachi
  • Shin Furukawa
  • Takamitsu Inoue
Written byRyōta Yamaguchi
Music byHiroyuki Sawano
StudioA-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Original networkJNN (MBS)
English network
Original run April 17, 2011 October 2, 2011
Episodes25 + OVA (List of episodes)
Film
Manga
Salaryman Exorcist: The Sorrows of Yukio Okumura
Written byKazue Kato
Illustrated byMinoru Sasaki
Published byShueisha
Magazine
  • Jump SQ.19 (April 2013–February 2015)
  • Jump Square (April 2015–April 2020)
DemographicShōnen
Original runApril 19, 2013April 3, 2020
Volumes3
Anime television series
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
Directed byKoichi Hatsumi
Written byToshiya Ōno
Music by
  • Hiroyuki Sawano
  • Kohta Yamamoto
StudioA-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Aniplex of America
Original networkJNN (MBS, TBS, CBC, BS-TBS)
Original run January 7, 2017 March 25, 2017
Episodes12 + OVA (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Blue Exorcist (Japanese: 青の祓魔師エクソシスト, Hepburn: Ao no Ekusoshisuto) is a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Katō. The story revolves around Rin Okumura, a teenager who discovers he and his twin brother Yukio are the sons of Satan born from a human woman, and he is the inheritor of Satan's powers. When Satan kills their guardian, Rin enrolls at True Cross Academy to become an exorcist under Yukio's tutelage in order to defeat his father Satan.

The manga has been serialized in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine since April 2009, with individual chapters collected into twenty-six tankōbon volumes as of December 2020. Viz Media has licensed the manga for North American production, with the first volume released in April 2011. Aniplex of America also released the anime's DVDs in English regions. The series was adapted into an anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures, and broadcast from April to October 2011. An anime film, Blue Exorcist: The Movie, premiered in December 2012. A second season, titled Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, aired from January to March 2017.

The series has been well received by readers with sales having received a boost thanks to the anime's release. Publications for manga and anime compared the series with other shōnen manga but still praised the series.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The world of Blue Exorcist consists of two dimensions, attached to each other as a mirror and its reflection. The first is the material world where humans live, Assiah (物質界アッシャー), and the other is Gehenna (虚無界ゲヘナ), the world of demons, which is ruled by Satan. Originally, a journey between the worlds, or even a contact between them, is impossible. However, any demon is able to pass to the dimension of Assiah through the possession of a living being in it. Even so, demons have historically wandered among humans unnoticed, visible only to people who have had contact with demons before.

In contrast, there are Exorcists, people who train to destroy demons who act in a damaging manner in Assiah. With more than two thousand years of existence, this group has several branches all over the world, being secretly under the command of the Vatican itself and acting in a clandestine manner.

Plot[edit]

The story revolves around Rin Okumura, who, along with his younger twin Yukio Okumura, was raised by Father Shiro Fujimoto, an Exorcist. One day, Rin learns that he and Yukio are the sons of Satan. Witnessing Shiro dying to protect him, Rin draws the demon-slaying sword Kurikara (倶利伽羅), which restrains his demonic powers. From that moment on, Rin not only gains demonic features like fangs and a tail, but also the power to ignite into blue flames that destroy almost anything he touches.

Rin wishes to become an Exorcist like his guardian to become stronger and to defeat Satan. He enrolls at the prestigious True Cross Academy (正十字学園, Sei Jūji Gakuen), an exorcist cram school, which is actually the Japanese branch of the True Cross Order (正十字騎士團), an international organization dedicated to protect Assiah (human realm) from the Gehenna (demonic realm). Much to his surprise, Rin finds that Yukio is already a veteran Exorcist and is one of his teachers. Thus begins Rin's journey to become an Exorcist, accompanied by his brother and his fellow students who quickly become his close friends.

Production[edit]

Kazue Kato took inspiration from the 2005 film The Brothers Grimm, as she tried to work the angle of brothers fighting against monsters into a story. She eventually decided on making the story about demons and exorcists, thus conceiving Blue Exorcist.[3] Due to exorcists being the main idea of the story, the manga features a lot of Biblical references. In an interview with Anime News Network, Kato said: "I should not run away from these references if I'm working in the Exorcist genre."[3] An ending was planned by Kato but the exact length of the series has yet to be decided based on the manga's popularity in Japan.[4]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Blue Exorcist is written and illustrated by Kazue Kato. A one-shot chapter was first published in the September 2008 issue of Shueisha's Jump Square, titled Miyamauguisu House Case (深山鶯邸事件, Miyamauguisu-tei Jiken).[5] Blue Exorcist has been serialized in Jump Square since April 4, 2009.[6] In 2016, Kazue stated, "I think there might be four more arcs. I have a rough storyline complete for the ending, but I haven’t figured out all of the details. I have a few things where I’m not sure what to decide to do."[7] Shueisha has compiled its chapters into individual tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on August 4, 2009.[8] As of December 4, 2020, twenty-six volumes have been published.[9]

The series has been licensed by Viz Media for release in North America, with the first volume released under the Shōnen Jump Advance imprint on April 5, 2011.[10][11] Twenty-five volumes have been released as of February 2, 2021.[12]

The series is also licensed in France by Kazé Manga, with the first volume released on May 27, 2010,[13] and in Poland by Waneko.[14]

A spin-off focused on Rin's brother Yukio titled Salaryman Exorcist: The Sorrows of Yukio Okumura (サラリーマン祓魔師 奥村雪男の哀愁, Salaryman Futsumashi Okumura Yukio no Aishū) started in Jump SQ.19 on April 19, 2013.[15] It is also written by Kazue Kato, but with illustrations by Minoru Sasaki. After the cessation of the magazine on February 19, 2015, the series was transferred to Jump Square.[16] The series finished on April 3, 2020.[17]

Anime[edit]

An anime adaption for the manga was announced on November 27, 2010, on Shueisha's Jump Square official website.[18] The anime was produced by A-1 Pictures with Hitoshi Okamura as the producer. Originally, the series was scheduled to air on April 10, 2011, on MBS, replacing Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto; however, due to the March 11, 2011, Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami the series' broadcast was delayed until April 17, 2011.[19] The anime ended on October 2, 2011.

The opening theme for the first 12 episodes is "Core Pride" by Japanese rock band Uverworld,[20] while the opening theme from episode 13 onwards is "In My World" by Japanese rock band ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D. The ending theme for the first 12 episodes is "Take Off" by South Korean boy band 2PM,[21] while the ending theme from episode 13 through episode 25 is "Wired Life" by Japanese singer Meisa Kuroki.

Aniplex announced they would simulcast the series in North America through video sites Hulu, Crunchyroll, Anime News Network and Netflix starting on April 20, 2011.[22] Aniplex of America released Blue Exorcist on DVD in four sets, starting by releasing the first DVD on October 18, 2011.[23] An OVA was released in 2011, called Ao No Exorcist: Kuro no Iede. The series began broadcasting in the United States and Canada on Viz Media's online network, Neon Alley, on October 2, 2012.[24] The series began airing on Adult Swim's Toonami block on February 23, 2014, and finished airing on August 10, 2014.[25]

After six years, a second season titled Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga was announced in June 2016 and premiered on January 7, 2017.[26][27][28] Koichi Hatsumi directed the sequel, while Toshiya Ōno wrote the scripts, Keigo Sasaki designed the characters, and Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto composed the series' soundtrack. A-1 Pictures returned to produce the animation.[29][30] It was also announced that there would be five new characters in the sequel. The opening theme song was "Itteki no Eikyō" (一滴の影響, lit. "Drop's Influence") by Uverworld, while the ending theme song was "Kono Te de" (コノ手デ, lit. "With This Hand") by Rin Akatsuki.[31] The series has been licensed by Aniplex of America.[32]

The first anime series contains an anime-exclusive story arc starting in episode 16. The original ending contained within the first season's final nine episodes is retconned in the second season, with the anime story timeline once again following the narrative of the manga. The second season adapts volumes 5 through 9 of the manga.[33]

Film[edit]

An anime film, Blue Exorcist: The Movie, was released on December 28, 2012, in Japan.[34] The English dub cast reprised their roles for the movie.[35]

Other[edit]

A stage play based on the series titled Live Act Ao no Exorcist: Mashin no Rakuin ran for nine performances at the Nippon Seinenkan hall in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward from May 11 to 17 during 2012. Satoshi Owada directed and wrote scripts for the play. Main characters Rin and Yukio Okumura were portrayed by Ryou Kimura and Kimito Totani respectively.[36] A light novel titled Ao no Exorcist: Weekend Hero was written by Aya Yajima and illustrated by Kato. It was released by Shueisha on September 2, 2011.[37] A visual novel for PlayStation Portable, Ao no Exorcist: Genkoku no Labyrinth was released on April 26, 2012, by Bandai Namco Games.[38] A smartphone game, Blue Exorcist: Damned Chord is set for released in 2019.[39]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

As of November 2016, Blue Exorcist had over 15 million copies in circulation.[40] The manga has been popular in Japan with the seventh volume receiving first print run of one million copies becoming the first Jump Square manga to reach such milestone. The release of the anime also drastically increased the manga's sales to the point that Shueisha decided to increase the print run for the seventh volume.[37]

Critics have praised the Blue Exorcist manga, with Comic Book Bin reviewer Leroy Douresseaux feeling the first volume had potential, enjoying the comedy in the work and the characters and their interactions, recommending it to teen readers.[41] Danica Davidson from Otaku USA felt that while the series employs disturbing storytelling, Rin's heroic traits despite being Satan's son make the plot more appealing to the readers.[42] Kato's artwork has been praised by Anime News Network's Carlo Santos for the way each character has distinct traits while background images are well designed.[43] Deb Aoki of About.com praised Kato's art and the series' "multi-dimensional world that melds European architecture, Japanese culture, modern technology and Tim Burton-esque whimsy", also stating that it is a "multicultural mishmash" of Harry Potter, Cirque du Soleil, Blade Runner and Alice in Wonderland, but she called the action scenes "a bit chaotic, and sometimes hard to follow".[44]

Anime[edit]

Despite noting that the story uses several clichés, Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network emphasized how the execution was well-performed, resulting in entertaining episodes, especially its fight scenes, which were noted to be one of the anime's strongest points.[45] Sandra Scholes of active Anime noted similarities to other series like Trinity Blood, Fullmetal Alchemist and Bleach. but wrote that the story and characters have "plenty of their own to tantalize us to watch" and wrote that it is "a truly shonen series, but there is room for some emotional scenes".[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Official Website for Blue Exorcist". Viz Media. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu (August 4, 2017). ""Blue Exorcist" 4th Stage Play "Shimane Illuminati Arc" Set for This Fall". Crunchyroll. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Aoki, Deb (July 22, 2016). "Interview: Blue Exorcist Mangaka Kazue Kato". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  4. ^ "Interview: Kazue Kato". Manga News (in French). November 18, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  5. ^ 加藤和恵、短編集&「青エク」ワンコイン画集が本日発売. Natalie (in Japanese). October 4, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Loo, Egan (February 9, 2009). "Trigun's Nightow to End Kekkai Sensen Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Massari, Cristopher (July 25, 2016). "Interview With AO NO EXORCIST/BLUE EXORCIST Creator Kazue Kato". ComicVerse. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  8. ^ 青の祓魔師1 (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  9. ^ 青の祓魔師 26 (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "News: Blue Exorcist Manga Listed by Viz's Distributor". Anime News Network. October 19, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  11. ^ "Viz Media Announces New Manga Acquisitions for Spring & Summer 2011". Anime News Network. November 15, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  12. ^ "Blue Exorcist, Vol. 25". Viz Media. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  13. ^ "Blue Exorcist – Tome 1". Kazé Manga. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  14. ^ Melmothia (October 1, 2013). "Ao no Exorcist tom 1". Tanuki.pl (in Polish). Małgorzata Kaczarowska. 240 (2905). ISSN 1898-8296. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  15. ^ 青エク公式番外編「サラリーマン祓魔師 奥村雪男の哀愁」. Natalie (in Japanese). April 19, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  16. ^ ジャンプSQ.19が本日発売号で刊行終了、7月にスクエアの新増刊. Natalie (in Japanese). February 19, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (March 7, 2020). "Blue Exorcist Spinoff Manga Salaryman Futsumashi Ends in April". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  18. ^ "News: Blue Exorcist Manga Gets TV Anime Green-Lit". Anime News Network. November 27, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  19. ^ "News: Anime/Manga Releases Delayed After Quake: Part III". Anime News Network. March 19, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  20. ^ "UVERworldの新曲が、注目アニメのテーマ曲に決定" [Uverworld's new song to be featured as an anime's theme song]. Oricon (in Japanese). April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  21. ^ "アニメ「青の祓魔師」テーマソングはUVERworld&2PM" [Anime Blue Exorcist Theme song by Uverworld & 2PM] (in Japanese). Natalie. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  22. ^ "Aniplex to Stream Blue Exorcist In U.S., Canada". Anime News Network. April 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Aniplex of America Adds Madoka Magica, Blue Exorcist on Home Video". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  24. ^ "Viz Media to Stream Dubbed Blue Exorcist on Neon Alley". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  25. ^ http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/67805823907/this-weeks-toonami-announcement-hey-guys-over
  26. ^ "Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Arc Anime Reveals January Premiere, More Cast". Anime News Network. October 2, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "Ao no Exorcist Kyoto Fujouou-hen Confirms January 2017 Air Date, Releases PV and Key Visual". Nagame Digital. October 11, 2016. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  28. ^ Green, Scott (June 29, 2016). "2017 "Blue Exorcist" TV Anime Announcement Spotted". Crunchyroll. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  29. ^ Green, Scott (June 30, 2016). "Different Writer/Director Team To Lead New "Blue Exorcist" TV Anime". Crunchyroll. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  30. ^ "New Blue Exorcist TV Anime's Returning Cast, New Staff, Plot, 2017 Premiere Revealed". Anime News Network. July 3, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga Anime's TV Ads Preview Theme Songs". Anime News Network. December 20, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  32. ^ "Aniplex USA Licenses Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga Anime Series". Anime News Network. October 15, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  33. ^ "'Blue Exorcist' Season 3 Release Date: 'Ao no Exorcist' Manga Spoilers For Illuminati, True Cross Academy Festival Saga". Inquisitr. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  34. ^ "Blue Exorcist/Ao no Exorcist Anime Film Green-Lit". Anime News Network. September 30, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  35. ^ "Aniplex USA to Screen Blue Exorcist Film in 6 U.S. Cities". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  36. ^ "Blue Exorcist Stage Play Cast Photographed in Costume". Anime News Network. April 25, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  37. ^ a b "Blue Exorcist's Latest Manga Book, 1st Novel Top Charts". Anime News Network. September 7, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  38. ^ "Blue Exorcist: Genkoku no Labyrinth PSP's 3rd Promo Streamed". Anime News Network. March 13, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  39. ^ "Blue Exorcist: Damned Chord coming soon in 2019". GamerBraves. December 26, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  40. ^ Green, Scott (November 26, 2016). "Leading Ladies Featured In Latest "Blue Exorcist -Kyoto Saga-" Promos". Crunchyroll. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  41. ^ Douresseaux, Leroy (March 24, 2011). "Blue Exorcist: Volume 1". Comic Book Bin. Toon Doctor. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  42. ^ Davidson, Danica (May 13, 2011). "Blue Exorcist vol. 1". Otaku USA. Sovereign Media. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  43. ^ Santos, Carlo (December 11, 2011). "Blue Exorcist GN 5". Anime News Network. Westmount, Quebec. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  44. ^ Aoki, Deb. "Blue Exorcist Volume 1". About.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  45. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (June 3, 2011). "Blue Exorcist Episodes 1–6 Streaming". Anime News Network. Westmount, Quebec. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  46. ^ Scholes, Sandra (February 12, 2013). "Blue Exorcist Part 1". active Anime. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2021.

External links[edit]