Ao no Exorcist is based from an ongoing manga. Under the production of A-1 Pictures and directed by Tensai Okamura, this show is like any other ordinary shounen show.
The story tells about Rin Okumura who learns that he’s Satan’s son and after the death of his foster-father, Fr. Shiro Fujimoto, he swears to become an exorcist to kick Satan’s ass. In order to become one, he has the help from his twin brother, Yukio, who is already a full-pledged exorcist. The first half spends a lot of time in introducing the characters while the second half divulges into whatever the characters are fighting against. Some of the episodes were very loyal to the manga with some slight changes just to make it more entertaining
But the real problem is the anime original episodes. It’s not that I’m against fillers but these fillers are a bit boring. The only filler episode that I’ve enjoyed in the birthday episode in which all the characters got their moments to shine. But the last 8 episodes which diverts the manga storyline is rushed and boring. Heck, they even made the main villain of the series, a sympathetic character. I don’t know maybe it’s because I’m Catholic but making the big bad a good guy is like making Hitler a very sympathetic character…which is stupid.
Rin is like any other shounen hero: hotblooded, lazy to study, tend to break rules and determined to protect his friends. His twin bro, Yukio, is a complete opposite of him. Both of them are interesting to watch. Bon is the standard rival to Rin despite his punkish look while his two best friends, Konekomaru and Renzou, are not the stereotyped bullies (unlike Crabbe and Goyle). Izumo has an attitude of a bratty, alpha mean bitch who later turns out to be a tsundere. And Shiemi is a typical shy girl who usually ends up as the damsel in distress. Of course, the traits of these young people are kind of stereotyped but their dynamics is very interesting to watch.
For the adults, Fr. Fujimoto and Shura stand out as the role models for them most especially the former who remain an inspiration for Rin and Yukio. Mephisto is also interesting and yet, his motives are really unclear considering that his background contrasts with his place as the headmaster.
But again, the problem with this anime is that there’s some inconsistency with the characters most especially Bon’s character. You see, Bon clearly has a grudge on Satan which is also connected with some daddy issues (shown in the manga) and yet, the anime seems to ruin his character for that. No offense but I like how Bon’s development is portrayed in the manga but the anime ruined it all. Same goes through Yukio, though his issues are very similar to the ones in the manga. But his problems are not very interesting and dragged.
The music is awesome and very memorable thanks to Hiroyuki Sawano. Both the OPs and EDs are great too.
The voice acting is superb. I really like how the cast portray the characters. But I’m a bit annoyed on how Nobuhiko Okamoto portrays Rin. Still, it’s understandable that Rin is standard shounen hero who is an idiot and hotblooded.
The animation is top-notch and I like the character design given that it’s from the same character designer of my favorite anime. Except there’s so much blue in the background, but, of course, the title is Blue Exorcist.
I had a problem with the filler episodes. The only filler episode that I’ve enjoyed is the birthday episode. The two earlier filler episodes were not well written but the filler episode which shows Rin’s cooking skill is all right. But the filler episode which shows Rin, Renzou and Izumo going to the beach is worst and most pathetic episode that I’ve ever watch. I guess that explains why I don’t always enjoy beach episodes. The last 8 episodes is not related to the manga is actually rushed and not thrilling. It’s a bit messy actually. Srlsy, why do really need to make Satan a good guy? He’s Satan, for Christ’s sake!
But some episodes were enjoyable. I really like how they adapt the training camp arc which highlights the best moments for the characters. But they did some minor changes, which completely changed the direction of the story, such as the reaction of Rin’s classmates when they found out that he is Satan’s son.
To tell you the truth, I read the manga first before the anime (or before the anime is still in development). Whenever I’ve read the manga, I tried to imagine how each scene will be portrayed in the anime. But the anime gave me mixed results. Apparently, the manga came out in 2009 and I was wondering why the hell did they decided to adapt a manga which was recently fresh out from the bookstore. Yeah, I know that they might plan to do what Bones did to Fullmetal Alchemist. But still, there’s not enough material to adapt the story.
Anyway, the anime is decent to watch for anime-only viewers. But those who have read the manga, like me, will be fairly disappointed. Yeah, I know that when you attempt to adapt the original source into a TV series, a movie or an anime, you’ll expect that not everything in the adaptation is 100% loyal to the source. But still, the style of handling it varies. So, if you like shounen action with occult, then you might like this one.
Highs: Good animation, nice soundtrack, great voice acting, some episodes were loyal to the manga
Lows: Boring filler episodes (most especially the last episodes), inconsistency in characterization, rushed original storyline.