- Genre : Supernatural, action, adventure
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
Families man…. can’t live with them, can’t murder them all in the night without some sort of consequences… Honestly, can anyone ever drive you as crazy as your family? Just look at Bon. He grew up worshipping his old man and now he can barely understand why his he does anything and it all seems like such a let down. Or Shima, who feels like he has to throw his life away just to live up to the expectations of his name. Kokumeru’s parents are dead yet he still worries that he’s letting them down. And don’t get me started on the Okumura twins. The younger One’s just a tightly wound ball of tsundere anxiety, desperately trying to catch up to his incredible lost father and equally remarkable brother, when everyone else thinks he’s past them already. While the older one is the spawn of Satan and he can’t understand why everyone’s making this huge deal about it. Everybody better pull themselves together quickly though, because an ancient evil has just awoken again and threatens to destroy Kyoto, or at least a good chunk of it. Can Rin and his friends stop the powerful demon in time, and will they be able to unravel the plot behind all these fire events?
As usual, I’m not quite sure what the anime community’s consensus on Blue Exorcist is. I think it’s popular enough based on merch and fan art but that’s not always the best indicator. For instance I thought for the longest time that SAO was universally beloved but apparently some people aren’t too hot on it. I liked the first season of Blue Exorcist quite a bit. It had some obvious flaws but I found it endearing and Shiro’s the best. I may be unusual in this but when I saw that a second season come out, I was pretty excited about it. So naturally I waited about a year to watch it.
I haven’t rewatched the original show in quite some time. I remember it being fairly pretty with gorgeous backgrounds and a great uniform design. Maybe there’s been an art bump for season 2 though because it was absolutely beautiful. The character designs are still all intricate and completely unique. Backgrounds remain rich and inviting. A lush color palette fills each scene with depth and everything remains almost perfectly consistent at all times. Just look at how pretty this op is. That’s the level of visual quality for the entire show.
In fact, the visuals are so good, it sort of outshines everything else. For instance the animation itself is great but there’s something just a little stilted in the fighting choreography. The voice acting ranges from good to great, yet the cast lack chemistry making for some enjoyable individual performances that never come together. I occasionally wondered whether all the voices had been recorded separately. The sound design was unobstructive and unremarkable.
Don’t get me wrong, the production values are good across the board, it’s just that none are quite as impressive as the pretty pictures.
This was aimed at fans of the original series. It picks up more or less right after the events of the first season and gives us little exposition or context to go on. If you’re not already familiar with these characters you’re likely to be a little lost. It does however give us plenty of declarations.
Boy was the dialogue in this show always so clumsy? Everyone pretty much goes around loudly screaming their feeling, thoughts and motivations straight at the camera. And oh man does everyone have a lot of Feelings! It’s a rather unrefined execution which is a shame, because it’s a decent story.
The Kyoto Saga has Rin (now under strict Vatican surveillance) and his classmates, as well as the relevant exorcists, traveling together to… try and guess.. Nope! The right answer was: Kyoto! For those of you who have long forgotten these details, ragey Bon, subdued Konekomaru and carefree Shima all grew up there together. Bon is in fact the heir to the Kyoto Cursed Temple and has followed temple traditions with the other two since he was a small child.
The Cursed Temple’s claim to fame is that they are descendants of an ancient sect that once defeated a very powerful demon and sealed his body and left eye separately to prevent him for returning. Bon’s father and his followers have carried the secret of the daemons existence and protected the eyes their entire life, but it seems there is a traitor among them and now, the eye has been stolen.
Structurally the story is rather sound. The first few episodes set up the mystery of the missing eye and the potential traitor in their midst which bleeds smoothly into an all-out battle against the resurrected demon. Because the setting and antagonists are changed for this arc, it does feel a bit like a side quest, but a good one. One I would have enjoyed playing.
Throughout the adventure, the friends must find a way to deal with the now revealed fact that Rin is one of the sons of Satan, as well as the more mundane and infinitely more difficult task of trying to reestablish their relationships with their families now that they are coming into their own. Of course, the Okumura are still dealing with their respective daddy issues and each other. It’s not exactly mind-blowing stuff but if you strip away the presentation you have the foundations of a pretty solid supernatural action adventure.
The main problem though, is how this story is told. There’s just a lack of subtlety on almost every level. Aside from having the characters flatly (but loudly) spell out everything, the events themselves are simple and very linear. Point A gets us to the most obvious point B possible with every step carefully explained. Sure, the story is extremely clear, but it also feels a little shallow. There’s not much space for interpretation of any sort. The story was just being told at me, if that makes any sense. The antagonist was also somewhat underdeveloped, but that’s par for the course.
However, although the lack of refinement was obvious and bothered me early on, I still manage to get wrapped up in the action. The super heavy-handed symbolism of having the various characters confront their inner demons as they were battling very real ones will induce eyerolls in a few of you, but I liked it. The lack of emotional resolve between the two leads leaves the door open for further seasons, but also denies the audience any firm closure. What I quickly realized was that this plain and uncomplicated adventure, was exactly what I was expecting of a Blue Exorcist season 2, for better and for worse.
If you haven’t seen the first one, you won’t relate to (or possibly understand) season 2. If you didn’t like Blue Exorcist, then this won’t bring anything new. This said, if you enjoyed the first season and want to go back for a little 12-episode romp, the Kyoto Saga is precisely that. And we get to see Shiro again (best episode by far).
Besides, I seem to have a thing for Kyoto based shows. The Eccentric Family certainly is fantastic. I also loved Sound! Euphonium. The Kyoto arc was Kenshin’s strongest by far. And usually Kyoto episodes are reserved for school trips in student based animes and those are always delightful. So to answer my own question, yes, I do have a Kyoto fetish
Favorite character: Shiro!
What this anime taught me: Dust often
Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend, obviously never heard of wine
Suggested drink: Blue Flame
Every time anyone says blue flame – take a sip
- if we see them – get some water
- Every time Yukio has a brother complex – take a sip
- Every time Bone gets mad – breath in
- Every time anyone gets drunk – join them
- Every time Kuro meows – squeal with joy
- Every time we flashback to “that night”– take a sip
- Every time Mephisto is in puppy form– take a sip
- Every time anyone does an incantation – try to imitate it
- Every time we see Shiro – cheer