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Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 5, 2011 by  



An interesting take on exorcist-based storyline, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds.  I’m definitely enjoying this series thus far!  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 Vol. 1

DURATION: Episodes 1-7 (175 minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2011

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 as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa as Shiemi Moriyama

Kazuya Nakai as Ryūji Suguro

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Rin Okumura

Ayahi Takagaki as Kuro

Eri Kitamura as Izumo Kamiki

Hiroshi Kamiya as Mephisto Pheles

Keiji Fujiwara as Shirō Fujimoto

Koji Yusa as Renzō Shima

Rina Satou as Shura Kirigakure

Tetsuya Kakihara as Amaimon

Yuuki Kaji 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.

An interesting take on exorcist-based storyline, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept that definitely shows us the potential of this anime series!

“Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) is an anime adaptation of a manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Kato, 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” and is 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 (as of April 2011, there have been 24 chapters released).  As for the anime series, the series began back in April 2011 and 25-episodes have aired in Japan (the final 25th episode just aired last week, October 2nd).

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.

But as Rin must keep his secrets in order to become an exorcist, meanwhile Rin is unaware that his brother Yukio also has secrets of his known.

“Blue Exorcist Vol. 1” features episodes 1-7 on one DVD.  Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • 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.

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.  But dialogue is understandable and English subtitles are easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1” features the following special features:

  • URA-EX (Bonus Short Movies) – Featuring three 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” Vol. 1 comes with an exclusive 2-sided poster, 2-sided reversible covr and an O-sleeve with key visual art.

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 it’s too early to tell how this anime series will be as it progresses, for the first volume on its own, it has been an fun, comedy anime series and I have to say that the anime actually is very impressive because of its visuals over its manga counterpart.  Especially when Rin gets a job at the supermarket, those little mannerisms and the trouble he gets into, you don’t get to see those things in the manga, so it’s great to see how the anime series builds those character-driven situations.  Especially, his relationship with his brother Yukio.

Whereas I felt the manga series was fun, hilarious and rather dark, I feel the anime series is much more accessible.  It does have its share of violence but nothing too bloody.

The character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the costume designs for the characters.  And as far as the students are concerned, while the first volume focuses on Rin and Yukio, you can tell that we are going to see much more of the other students in the next DVD volume.

As far as the DVD is concerned, it’s pretty cool that we are getting a release that is not so far off when the anime series aired in Japan.   The series began in April of this year and just ended last week, so to have the series first seven episodes now on DVD, released in the U.S., I have to applause Aniplex for releasing the series.  And keeping their dedication to quality releases with a poster, reversible cover and O-sleeve with key visual art.

An interesting take on exorcist-based storyline, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds.  I’m definitely enjoying this series thus far!  Definitely recommended!

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

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