Ao no Exorcist Review
“Fires are now blue.”
Because of countless popular, and even seemingly overrated shounen anime shows out there, it is very hard for new shounen anime to outshine them, and worse, if done wrong, it will result in “another shounen repetition”, as in the case with Ao no Exorcist.
Ao no Exorcist follows Okumura Rin, son of
Sparda Satan, born from Satan himself and a human mother, making him a half-human half-demon. Because of this, Rin always had superhuman strength and had problems controlling his temper. Fujimoto Shiro, the current paladin, took both Rin and his younger twin brother, Yukio, into his church and raised them as sons. Though, the fact that demon blood lies inside of Rin had been kept secret for years, until one fateful day, demons started attacking him. Protecting him, the monks suffered great casualties in the fight. Knowing that the true mastermind behind this is Satan himself, Rin would do whatever it takes, to kick his old man’s ass (or so he says) and so, becomes an exorcist.
So what can new shounen anime do to at least put up a good fight against the likes of Dragonball, Yu Yu Hakusho and even The Big Three (Naruto, One Piece, Bleach)? To me, the answer to that question is plot execution. Other factors should be considered as well but plot execution still plays the biggest role here. Especially for shounen, it is already very hard to have an original concept so the only thing left to do is to execute the given plot with immense creativity. Ao no Exorcist actually had potential in this department, but started going downhill half way through since it branches out from the manga’s original plotline, probably not enough original materials to work with. Because a lot of the plotline focuses on the brothers, Rin and Yukio, this “anime gets downhill because of lack of manga material” thing reminds me of Full Metal Alchemist. I wonder if they will make a remake for Ao no Exorcist as well.. titled, Ao no Exorcist: Brotherhood.
Sometimes when an anime isn’t as interesting as it make out to be, it all depends on the characters to make up for it. The plot for Ao no Exorcist certainly lacks depth, and as for the characters, they are good, despite a bit generic, Rin that is. Rin is a typical shounen lead, he is sometimes exceptionally kind yet easily gets angered. He is also the type who only goes forward and prefers using brawn then brain. One bonus point for him is his ability to cook. It is quite rare to find a shounen male lead who is actually good at cooking no? Yukio, his younger twin brother, is a bit more mature and calm, like a polar opposite of Rin. Even in battles, Yukio uses guns while Rin uses his sword. The brothers, although twin, appeared in great contrast yet if you looked harder, you can still see the similarity between the two siblings. The development in their characters are one of the greatest aspect of the anime. However, the rest of the characters pale in comparison. They may have perhaps one or two episodes dedicated for them but you can still easily see them faded into the background. The only very few characters in the supporting cast which don’t face the same premise would be Shura and Ryuji (Bon) in my opinion. Shura, especially, is so badass she is able to fight Satan on equal footing, if not, barely, before Rin and Yukio finally decided to unleash their falcon punch.
Ao no Exorcist looks good. Though most of the characters were designed in a very ordinary shounen-ly fashion, one couldn’t overlook the detailed animations as well, especially during action sequences, where the fluid movement of actions and blue flames would certainly steal anyone’s glances. There are also quite a number of 3D animations present, and A-1 Pictures nailed them especially well when doing the animations for the demon gates.
The music, cannot be anymore generic as it is. The two opening sequences, “Core Pride” by UVERworld, and “In My World” by Rookiez Is Punk’d are both rock songs you would expect in any shounen shows you can find nowadays, since using rock tracks is like a tradition in shounen anime. There are only a few background music tracks which are moderately noteworthy at best.
To me, Ao no Exorcist is an anime which is just… so-so. The anime managed to deliver something.. yet it seems empty at the end of the day. If I were to choose to watch an anime featuring the son of Satan, or to play a game featuring the son of Sparda, I would choose the latter anytime.