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Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 16, 2013 by  



blueexorcist-complete

An interesting take on exorcist-based storyline, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action, cool characters with an interesting concept plus awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds. Featuring all 12 episodes for season 1 and the addition of an English dub, “Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” is  definitely recommended!

PLEASE PURCHASE THIS ANIME SERIES FROM RIGHTSTUF or BANDAI ENT. ONLINE STORE

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA, Blue Exorcist Committee, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (325 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

RELEASE DATE: July 9, 2013

Based on the manga by Kazue Kato

Directed by Tensai Okamura

Series Composition by Ryota Yamaguchi

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Masatoshi Kai

Chief Animation Director: Keigo Sasaki

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

Kazuya Nakai/Kyle Hebert as Ryūji Suguro

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Paperbrook as Rin Okumura

Ayahi Takagaki/Stephanie Sheh as Kuro

Eri Kitamura/Kira Buckland as Izumo Kamiki

Hiroshi Kamiya/Sam Regal as Mephisto Pheles

Keiji Fujiwara/Kirk Thornton as Shirō Fujimoto

Koji Yusa/Brian Beacock as Renzō Shima

Rina Satou/Wendee Lee as Shura Kirigakure

Tetsuya Kakihara/Darrel Guilbeau as Amaimon

Yuuki Kaji/Mona Marshall as Konekomaru Miwa

“Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Normally, these two dimensions would never intersect, but having possessed all material substances, the demons are now intruding on the material world. But among the human race, there are those who can exorcise such demons.”
– the Exorcists.

Rin Okumura and his twin brother Yukio have been raised by Shiro Fujimoto, an eminent priest, so it comes as a shock when Rin discovers their biological father is actually Satan! As the border between “Assiah” (the human world) and “Gehenna” (the demon world) is crossed by evil, Rin vows to become the ultimate exorcist and defeat his own father. To hone his raw skills, Rin enters True Cross Academy to train with other exorcist candidates.

“Blue Exorcist” returns to the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex Inc. with a brand new English dub and all 12 episodes in a DVD and Blu-ray release!

What is “Blue Exorcist” about?

“Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) is an anime adaptation of a manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Kato, a mangaka who won a Tenkaichi Manga Award back in 1999 at the age of 19 and won a Tezuka Award in 2000 for his manga “The Witch and the Rabbit”.  Kato is also known for his 2006 manga series “Robot Usakichi” (Space Traveler Robo & Usakichi).

“Blue Exorcist” was serialized on Jump Square Magazine by Shueisha since April 2009 and is still an ongoing manga series.

With the popularity of the manga series, an anime adaptation was produced by A-1 Pictures with Hitoshi Okamura as the producer.  The series began back in April 2011 and 25-episodes have aired in Japan.  And now the second volume of “Blue Exorcist” will be released on DVD courtesy of Aniplex.

The anime series revolves around a hotheaded teenager named Rin Okumura. Both he and his brother Yukio have been raised by Father Fujimoto at the Cross Academy Town – Southern Cross Boys Monastery. While Yuki shows great intelligence and is attending school at True Cross Academy to become a doctor, Rin is quite the opposite. He tends to get himself in trouble, fights a lot and is continually told by Father Fujimoto to find a job.

Unfortunately for Rin, finding and holding onto a job is difficult. But one day, while working at a supermarket, he sees a monster in a girl’s scarf. He tells Father Fujimoto of what he has seen and Father Fujimoto starts to fear that something is happening. One day, Rin encounters a group of thugs and its leader that he had beaten up earlier and suddenly sees him turn into a demon. The demon tells Rin that satan is waiting for him and immediately, Father Fujimoto is there to save him and exorcise the demon. Fortunately, Father Fujimoto is there to help but it is all revealed to Rin about why he can see monsters.

It’s the fact that he is not truly human. He is the son of a human woman and satan. And the monsters he have seen, it is explained to Rin that in the world, there is Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Both are not supposed to come in contact with each other but they have and as an exorcist, it is his duty to send the demons back to where they belong. And satan wants to reunite with his son.

To protect Rin, Father Fujimoto gives him the Kamkakushi key, so he can hide anything. And he is also given the Koma Sword, a magic sword passed down from generation to generation and a sword where Rin’s powers have been sealed since birth. Rin’s flame resides inside the sword and is sealed by the scabbard. If he draws it, he will assume his demonic nature and will never be able to live as a human again.

One day, he and Father Fujimoto try to prepare for an imminent attack and tells Rin that he must seek shelter where satan can’t get to him but Rin takes it as his father trying to get rid of him forever. In return, Rin said some hurtful things to Father Fujimoto and the pain that Father Fujimoto felt was enough for satan, the demon to possess him.

Satan shows up to claim his son and attacks Father Fujimoto. Satan reveals that he created Rin from a human woman in order to create a container that would be powerful enough to hold him.

But it’s something that Father Fujimoto will not let happen to the boy, he looked at as a son. In order to save Rin, Father Fujimoto risks his own life to keep satan away and is killed in the process.

Now Rin mourns for the one person he knew as his father and when Mephisto Pheles, a friend of Father Fujimoto comes to visit, he tells him that they represent the Knights of the True Cross and they exorcise demons. And Rin has two choices, they will kill him, or he kills the demons. Instead, Rin tells him that he could care less about being human or a demon, he wants to become an exorcist like Father Fujimoto and avenge him and that means defeating his own father.

So, from that point on, Rin must be trained to become an exorcist and will have to follow special rules (which includes not revealing his true nature). But the first thing that he will need to do is enroll at the same school that his brother Yukio attends. When Rin sees his brother, Yukio is in the top of the class and that he is a special leader that people follow at the school and he is no longer the scrawny younger brother he once knew.

As Rin is now a student at the Knights of the True Cross, many of the elders are not too thrilled because Rin is the son of Satan and because Rin tends to be more of a hothead, they are not too sure if he can fit into the Academy.  But Rin is determined to make good on his promise to his deceased father and to protect people, but most of all, to kill satan.

The story continues as Rin continues to study along with his classmates and each are trying to be Esquires, in order to take on various missions.  But others at the Academy and the higher ups want to test Rin and find out if he is a person that can be taught and eventually fight with the other exorcists in defeating demons and satan himself.

While people question a demon being an exorcist, for Rin, he makes a goal that one day, he will become a Paladin (highest level of exorcism) like his adoptive father, Father Shiro and prove that because he is satan’s son, that having a caring father like Shiro can make a big change in the life of a person, even if they are a demon.

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” features episodes 1-12 on three DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – The Devil Resides in Human Souls – An introduction to Rin, Yukio and Father Fujimoto. Also, Rin finding out about his true nature.
  • EPISODE 2Gehenna Gate – Father Fujimoto and his companions try to protect Rin from the demons especially from satan.
  • EPISODE 3 – Brothers – Rin is enrolled at True Cross Academy and Rin confronts his brother in regards to his true nature.
  • EPISODE 4 – The Garden of Amahara – Yuko and Rin go to visit the owner of an exorcist-only shop, but the owner’s daughter Shiemi Moriyama has a demon within her.
  • EPISODE 5 – A Boy from the Cursed Temple – As Rin is a flake when it comes to school, it angers his classmate Bon, who has a lot in common with Rin.
  • EPISODE 6 – The Phantom Chef – Rin and Yuko find out who is really cooking the food at the academy.
  • EPISODE 7 – A Flock of Plovers – Shiemi tries to make new friends at school and befriends Izumo Kamiko, a girl who may be using her instead.
  • EPISODE 8 – Now a Certain Man Was Sick – When the class is punished because of Kamiki and Bon’s argument, the students are attacked by a ghoul.
  • EPISODE 9 – Memories – The students learn that the ghoul attack was part of their Esquire exam.  Meanwhile, Neuhaus is planning to test Rin.
  • EPISODE 10 – Black Cat – Father Shiro’s familiar, a demon cat named Kuro has gone crazy when he finds out that Shiro has died.  Not believing any of it, the Academy considers killing it.  But Rin can read the cat’s true feelings.
  • EPISODE 11 – Demon of the Deep Seas  – Rin, Izumo and Shima are sent on their first mission as Esquires to find out about attacks made by the Kraken.  The three meet a boy who awaits his father who went to face the Kraken six months earlier.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Game of Tag – The Esquires must look for the ghost of a child haunting Mephisto Pheles’ amusement park.  But Rin is attacked by the higher demon named Amaimon.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in 16:9 lb and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 with English subtitles. The anime production is well-done. The surrounding environments are well-detailed, painted nicely, while the character designs are vibrant, clear and I wouldn’t be surprised if this series is given the Blu-ray treatment in the near future because it looks very good on DVD.

If anything, character designer Keigo Sasaki (“Night Raid 1931″, “Sengoku Basara”) does a great job of bringing the characters from Kazue Kato’s manga series to life, while art director Masatoshi Kai (“Akira”, “Dead Girls”, “Earthian”, “Red Garden”) did a wonderful job in bringing the series to life with the scenery and painted backgrounds.

I’m pretty impressed of how this anime looks visually.

As for audio, audio is clear coming from the front channels. I personally had my receiver set to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack. With “Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season”, the biggest addition to this DVD release compared to the previous Aniplex DVD release of “Blue Exorcist” is the addition of an English dub soundtrack.  With this release, Bryce Papenbrook, Christine Marie Cabanos, Johnny Yong Bosch and Kyle Hebert do a wonderful job. dialogue is understandable and English subtitles are easy to read.

With that being said, for those who want to watch “Blue Exorcist” in 1080p High Definition and a lossless soundtrack may want to opt for Blu-ray set which comes with better picture quality and audio plus more extra content than the DVD release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” features the following special features:

  • Unaired Special Episode – Kuro Runs Away From Home – Kuro is upset that Rin teases him about food and Yukio tries to discipline him about his cat poop.  So, Kuro decides to runaway from home and realizes that perhaps living with Rin and Yukio is better than living without them.
  • URA-EX (Bonus Short Movies) – Featuring six short omake anime stories (about 1:20 per omake) that are shown after an episode is completed.
  • Web Previews – Featuring the “next episode” previews voiced by various demon characters (about 17 seconds each).
  • Textless OP – Blue Exorcist opening theme without text.
  • Textless ED – Blue Exorcist ending theme without text.
  • Credits – Text based credits
  • Aniplex Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” comes with a slipcover.

Highly entertaining, enjoyable and action-packed, “Blue Exorcist” has proved itself to be an exciting series, but the episodes featured in the second volume is much better in storyline compared to the first seven episodes.  I love where this series is headed and the additional characters featured, really make “Blue Exorcist” an anime series worth watching.

So far, “Blue Exorcist” has turned out to be an enjoyable anime series thus far.  If anything, this first volume is more to establish how Rin became an exorcist but also to show his relationship with Father Fujimoto and his brother Yukio.  If anything, the series does have a little in common with “Naruto”, in the fact that Naruto has the 9-tailed fox sealed inside him and the character is not exactly the smartest, the same can be said with Rin, as he is a character that is a demon but tries to do all he can to use his powers for good.

While one can make a few comparisons to the series “Naruto” as he was the person no one wanted to be around, mainly because he had a demon inside him but yet, he vowed to fight for those he cares about and one day to become the village leader.  For “Blue Exorcist”, Rin is similar in the fact that he is misunderstood, is a demon, but he wants to fight for those he cares about and to become a Paladin like the man who raised him.

And both share the similarity in that village leaders are concerned with Naruto (having the demon inside him) and for Rin of “Blue Exorcist”, you have exorcists who were wiped out by satan, also concerned that what if Rin turns out to be evil and is uncontrollable.

But despite the similarities and the fact that these students must work together on missions, there are some twists as people responsible for watching over Rin, may have their own personal agenda.  Also, unlike “Naruto” which was geared towards children, there is a lot of violence in this series, to the point where Rin is often stabbed by a sword.  Granted, he is healed but there is a bit of blood and violence at times.

As for the overall series, the character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the costume designs for the characters. Also, the art backgrounds for this series is nicely detailed and range from pastels to really vibrant colors.  Something you typically don’t see in a TV Series.

Having reviewed the original DVD release from Aniplex, the primary difference is the fact that you get all 12 episodes for the first season and most importantly, you get an English dub.  Picture quality is very good on DVD as the colors are vibrant and animation is well-done.  And as for special features, the fact that this  DVD includes the OVA of “Kuro Runs Away From Home”, is actually a wonderful treat for fans who don’t have to wait until the final volume to watch this OVA.

But for those wonder if the DVD release has the usual Aniplex swag, the answer is that if you want the best version of “Blue Exorcist” and the swag, you will want to purchase the Blu-ray release.  While the price of the Blu-ray release is around $139.98 and the DVD version is $69.98 on RightStuf!, the biggest difference between the DVD and Blu-ray release is that the Blu-ray release comes with an original soundtrack, bonus DVD with English cast interviews and a 36-page deluxe illustration booklet and a slipcase.  So, if you want the swag, you’re going to want to purchase the Blu-ray release of “Blue Exorcist”.

Overall, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds.  While the action may be it a bit too visual for younger anime viewers (as this is suggested for 13 and up) and while the first few episodes being more introductory, but as the series progresses, the storyline gets better and better as we get to see Rin and his classmates start to work as a team and also see Rin mature and try to keep his powers in check but also adding a few plot twists along the way.

If you are looking for an action-drive anime series with a cool storyline and exciting characters, “Blue Exorcist” is definitely recommended!

PLEASE PURCHASE THIS ANIME SERIES FROM RIGHTSTUF or BANDAI ENT. ONLINE STORE

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