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Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 by Kazue Kato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 7, 2011 by  



Kazue Kato’s “Blue Exorcist” is an enjoyable, fun and dark manga series with a lot of potential.  A good balance of action and humor, the first volume of the manga series is definitely worth reading!

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Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 (Ao no Exorcist)

BY Kazue Kato (加藤 和恵)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: For All Ages

RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2011

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth: the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won’t be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!

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

“Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) is 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).  And now this manga series has arrived stateside in the US courtesy of Viz Media.

The manga 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.

One day, he and Father Fujimoto got into an accident and Rin said some hurtful things to him.  While he leaves home to find a job, he is attacked by a group of guys and one who happens to be 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.

But now Rin is concerned of why he can see demons and Father Fujimoto tells him that he needs to hide him immediately because Rin is the bastard child of satan.

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.

But as Father Fujimoto tries to hide Rin and keep him away from his evil father, satan shows up to claim his son and attacks Father Fujimoto. It appears that satan 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 Rin will not let happen.

In order to save Rin, Father Fujimoto risks his own life and he 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 kill him, or he kills them.  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, he doesn’t tell him about what happened to Father Fujimoto. While he observes Yukio, he realizes that he is a special leader that people follow at the school and he is no longer the scrawny younger brother.

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

So far, “Blue Exorcist” has turned out to be an enjoyable manga 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 manga series will be as it progresses, for the first volume on its own, it has been an fun, dark comedy type of manga series.  You get a feeling that although there is plenty of humor featured in the manga, you would not be surprised if the series ever gets darker or even more serious.

The character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the uniforms for the students.  And as far as the students are concerned, because the series takes place mostly at school, there is no doubt in my mind we will be seeing a good amount of characters (fellow exorcists) being introduced in future volumes (which I hope does happen).  But for now, the first volume does a good job of establishing Rin and Yukio Okumura and also their connection Father Fujimoto.

Overall, if you are looking for a fun, action-based manga series with a lot of potential, definitely give “Blue Exorcist” a chance!

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