Blue Exorcist returns to the small screen 6 years later and tries to pick up from where it left off. There’s no history lesson here, but for existing and new viewers like myself, it shouldn’t take you long to engage in this world.
Following the shocking revelation that True Cross Academy attendee Rin Okumura is the son of the demon Satan, the reputation he’s gained starts to take a turn for the worse. As Rin tries to deal with rejection and his new lineage, his fellow ExWire members have more pressing matters to deal with: The left eye of the Impure King, a powerful demon, has been stolen from the academy’s Deep Keep vault.
The artifact’s opposite, the right eye of the Impure King, is held in Kyoto, and after an attempt to steal it, ExWire members are sent to investigate and uncover the mysteries of this thievery.
Never feeling as distant from his fellow exorcists as Rin does now, they must put their differences aside to solve this mystery and return the eye of the Impure King to a safe place.
Plot & Story
The left eye of the Impure King has been stolen. Belonging to a demon that had been subdued nearly forty years ago the ExWires send Rin, Yukio, and Shura to investigate the theft. After realizing the eye had been stolen by an elite team and then hearing of a failed plot to steal the right eye of the Impure King, ExWire members are dispatched to Kyoto to investigate.
Traveling by train to Kyoto, Rin is faced with avoidance from his fellow ExWires. After learning the history surrounding the Impure King, the importance of the right eye suffering the same fate as its counterpart becomes imperative. During the journey, Izumo comforts Rin, explaining the parallels between many other exorcists and their demon routes, giving Rin comfort in that he is not so different.
Arriving at Kyoto, the team is instantly faced with aiding people infected with the Impure King’s miasma. After aiding the sick and helpless, Rin meets a man named Tatsuma Suguro who happens to be Ryuji’s father.
What follows is a series of internal struggles with the Hojo and Shima circles and an unraveling mystery that dates back to the historical Blue Night event.
Art & Music
Blue Exorcist has some beautiful animations and in particular, the background scenes can be breathtaking at times. You might argue that an anime released in 2017 should have that mark of quality, and here it’s certainly present.
The character animations and the little details all stand up against other anime in this genre. Watching in HD was a treat for me as the color grading and aforementioned background scenes really stood out.
Nothing is a game changer here and this won’t be the highest standard that other anime need to have, but there was nothing that stood out as unpleasing or ugly to me. Overall, the art and animation are good quality but it’s not going to go down in history. However, it’s more than acceptable.
The audio tracks and opening theme tunes in Blue Exorcist can really be valued on your taste. There’s nothing new here with the opening theme. It’s your typical J-pop rocky theme and the closing theme is somewhat similar.
What really stood out for me is the background music. This may be down to my own personal taste, but I really connected with it. I found it soothing at times and thrilling at others. Music is good when it helps to compliment the tone of the scene, not when it tells you how you should feel. Here in Blue Exorcist I feel like it compliments the scenes very well.
Themes & Trivia
Blue Exorcist -Kyoto Impure King Arc- is trying something of a revival here. It’s another attempt at successfully translating a manga to the smaller screen of the anime world.
Playing on the idea of rejection and the feeling of being different to everyone else is not explored in depth enough for me. In the 21st century, being an outcast and being generally different is so relevant. I feel it has missed a trick by not exploring that theme enough.
This was not one of the best or most memorable anime I have watched. I enjoyed some parts and some characters, but I never really felt connected to any of them. Tropes and cliché moments are found throughout and sometimes the pacing can feel a little off the mark. Blue Exorcist -Kyoto Impure King Arc- is an anime you watch once and then probably never revisit it.
I did find that watching this series for the first time, there was some common ground. The previous anime and manga, whilst helpful, are not a prerequisite in order to enjoy this arc.
Blue Exorcist is not going to be winning any notable awards here and the further you get into the series the more evident that becomes. Quirkier characters and more interesting and engaging plot points (without the mass of holes) would go a huge way to help the series, as in its defense, its pretty to look at.
I don’t think I’ll be recommending this to friends anytime soon, but I also would not discourage people to watch. I think that’s the best way to describe the series.
Pros, Cons & Final Impressions
Rin trying to deal with his differences
Looks great at times
Plot holes everywhere
It’s just not anything new
There aren’t many interesting characters. You know? Ones that you actually care about.
I didn’t hate this anime. I just know I won’t be watching it again. As time passes, I can say for sure that I won’t look back and think ‘wow, what a treat Blue Exorcist -Kyoto Impure King Arc- was.’ That’s not only due to the number of syllables there or that it’s easier to just say ‘This anime isn’t that great.’ But more than that, there are so many better anime series to spend your time watching.
Watching a full series is a commitment. When these series don’t engage you and are filled with plot holes and tropes galore, you might find yourself searching for the next one to grab your attention.