Blue Exorcist - Reviews

Alt title: Ao no Exorcist

hamletsmage's avatar
Oct 17, 2011

Ao no Exorcist is one of those shows you will either hate or love, without much of a middle ground. The reason for this division of opinion is the amount of shounen cliche that makes up roughly 80% of the story.

Story: Like I said, Ao no Exorcist is pretty much one shounen cliche after another. Everyone in the cram school has some special ability or they are pretty much there for comedic relief (or random plotpoint when necessary). The main character is an orphan with ties to pretty much every secret society in the anime for one reason or another, but he has no idea of that until he is abruptly made to realize that "Oh my god, I have superhuman abilities". The main action in the anime is centered about Rin learning to use said superhuman abilities without turning into a demon.

Animation: The animation randomly switches from the light-bathed halls of the exorcist school to the dark, and rather eerie battles with demons. Movements are fluid and the settings are intricate. A lot of detail is given to each character, regardless of their importance, so the animation is top notch.

Sound: The OP's set a pretty upbeat and quick tempo for the anime, which it needed considering how much fighting takes place. The soundtrack enhanced the fighting scenes enough to engage the viewer.

Characters: The characters were a bunch of teenagers with enough personality quirks to set them apart from each other. Still, they tended to fall into certain cookie-cutter character molds. While I liked the dynamics between the characters, I wanted them to have a little more depth.

7/10 story
9/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
7/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Mar 29, 2012

Blue Exorcist was very hyped when it came out, for two reasons. One being the only thing most people care about, the pretty colors. The animation was very good compared to most other anime which are cutting their budgets because they are just making cheap promotions of the source material. The other positive was the very exciting beginning, which was promising a lot, only to deliver nothing. In the first two episodes, the protagonist finds out he is the son of the devil, he vows before his foster father’s corpse to become the most powerful exorcist and to destroy him with his infernal powers. What followed that awesome premise had nothing to do with it. He just went to a school where he was shouting at his brother, reading manga, complaining about homework, sleeping in class, failing in all tests, and then hiting the beach so he could loaf around.

See past the initial hook and you get a generic shonen with a generic team of teenagers, doing generic ghost busting. There is nothing special about the setting or the way people and monsters interact with each other. The demons are not summoned because of human grief, the characters are not fusing their powers through teamwork, and heaven is just a place full of angels. Good luck making things interesting when the concept is bare bones.

It also makes no sense. I mean, they summon monsters by biting they fingers like in Naruto, or draw summoning circles on the ground like in Full Metal Alchemist. Why are they called exorcists when they are summoning demons? How are the fanatic paladins supposed to be Christians when they want to use Rin, who is full of the devil’s power? And why is a half naked bimbo able to make holy water by chanting when she never prayed to God? Why do you even need to chant anything in order to banish a monster when a simple sword slash is just as effective? And the best part is that they can’t sanctify their own school because it will drive away their own demons. As a result the school is constantly being attacked by fiends, and there is no protection against that. The defenses of Hogwarts say hello. My point is, these are definitely not exorcists. But then again Naruto wasn’t about ninjas either, so down to it this is all some lame excuse to call the characters something when they can be called anything else just as easily. Like Blue Ninja or Blue Summoner.

Besides lacking identity, the show has a lot less action than it has school comedy, making it one hell of a boring fighting shonen. Also, it’s not even good as a comedy, since the jokes are average stuff you can find in pretty much any anime.

Although it’s normal for fighting shonen to start light and humorous at first before they become heavy on action and drama later on, it never happens here because the show does not last long enough to get to that serious part. Even the sequel that came many years later failed to capitalize on that and practically nobody was watching it.

Sure, you can still watch it for the cool animation but even then there is no theme in the setting. Soul Eater had weird suns and moons, D.Gray Man had a gothic feeling. What is the theme of this world? Looks great but feels generic.

The same thing can be said about the characters who are all average. If I describe the protagonist as dumb, bored, with an OP dark side that comes out whenever he is in danger, I am basically describing 95% of all protagonists. The same can be said about the other characters which you have seen hundreds of times before.
- His brother Yukio is a dull four-eyes, who offers nothing to the overall plot other than being a complaining brother.
- Shiemi is the archetypical frail girl and token platonic girlfriend of the show. Being a girl in shonen she is typically a useless damsel in distress. She also is the healer of the group but that helps AFTER the battle is over. Beyond that she is as useless as Sakura from Naruto.
- There are lots of other students in the school but they also feel completely flat as personalities; I find nothing special in the entire cast. Especially because many of them were made to be just fujoshi bait cardboards or half-naked bimbos for the horny teens.

Then comes the cardinal sin of shonen, which is catching up to the manga and resorting to filler episodes. The adaptation came out way too soon and as a result half of the show is dead time and the rest of it is boring training sessions. It didn’t even bother to excuse the continuity, since when the sequel came many years later, the plot continues from where the fillers begin and ignores completely the anime-only changes, something which angered a lot of anime-only watchers.

Down to it, Blue Exorcist is a disaster. It gave you two great episodes and then stopped trying, before resorting to fillers nobody cared about, and then had a sequel that nobody bothered to watch. But the colors are pretty, so who cares?

3/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
4/10 characters
4/10 overall
ToastersOverdose's avatar
Nov 26, 2014

Blue Exorcist is a great anime for any shounen fan out there, or anyone that just wants a taste of anime for the first time.

Published by A-1 Pictures (Black Butler, Sword Art Online, and various other titles), Blue Exorcist provides enjoyment with its variety of characters and nice animation. It focuses on the ironic idea of a demon killing demons; and, not just any demon, but Satan. The first episode goes directly into the story, and, at least for me, hooked my attention. The introduction to this series was well-thought out, even if it was in a few episodes. The thrilling soundtrack produced by Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill) keeps one on their feet through all the battle scenes. 

Because the manga is ongoing, this 25-episode anime had an original ending (much like the original Fullmetal Alchemist series). This, I feel, was one of the weaknesses of Blue Exorcist; it felt a bit rushed, and did not completely focus on the story. There are very many unnecessary filler episodes, and, while they do give the other characters the "attention" (thus the effective character build-up), it seems as though the conclusion of the series isn't focused on until the last few episodes. 

As I mentioned before, this anime has a large variety of characters with different personalities. And, as I also mentioned, the filler episodes help chracterize them. Each character is their own person, each with a reasonable amount of screen time. One can easily relate themselves to another character in Blue Exorcist because of this. 

Blue Exorcist has left an impact on me through its beautiful way of conveying the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. It teaches one about sacrifice for those close to them, and the challenges one must overcome to achieve their dream.

If you are searching for an anime with a well-thought out story, Blue Exorcist is highly recommended. The action scenes will leave shivers down your spine, making you want to watch the next episode immediately. One may simply fall in love with the abstract characters and melodic soundtrack. Blue Exorcist will most certainly satisfy your anime dosage, whether you may be a rookie or an amatuer.

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
Skygryphon's avatar
Oct 13, 2011

Blue Exorcist Review

Plot: 5/10

Blue Exorcist had a lot of potential, I’ll give it that. The opening episodes of BE are the best I’ve seen for any anime—there’s no shortage of action, drama, intensity,  an ever thickening plot, and even a few characters deaths. It sets the tone for the rest of the story to come: dark, violent, and tragic. If Blue Exorcist had held to that promise, I’d give the story a solid 10 without any thought.

Unfortunately, the actual show ends up being quite different. After episode 3, the story slows to a crawl and goes down several notches; instead of the tight plot that was introduced in the early episodes, we’re given a slice-of-life, episodic monster of the week series. Of course, it’s pretty much a given that the story will slow down for a few episodes to show the main character’s normal life, and then pick up again once the viewer is acquainted with the characters. The problem with BE is that it never picks up again; it’s stuck in its slice-of-life rut for almost the rest of the series. Each episode is only loosely connected, with a very thin overarching plot (that being Rin trying to control his demon powers, if you can call that a plot). This in itself wouldn’t be such a big deal, if it wasn’t for the way the show was introduced. Let me put it this way: the first three episodes remind me of Claymore, Higurashi, and Elfen Lied (in tone, not blood/gore, mind you). Everything after that is like Inuyasha, Naruto, or the first season of Bleach. In other words, the series started out as a solid seinen and nose-dived into the realms of shounen. It’s almost as though the writer had this great tragedy in mind, but then the publisher knocked on their door and told them they had to tone it down. The result: a typical, cliché-ridden shounen. Given what was promised at the start, this is a huge disappointment.

Even worse, BE ends up suffering from the same fate as many anime: ending before the “end.” The manga of BE is still ongoing and is nowhere near ending, so of course our favorite animators decided to do what they think they can do but can’t: come up with their own ending. The ending is completely rushed, ridden with plot holes, and fails to answer many of the questions raised earlier, which takes away the last shred of enjoyment. In short, what we’re left with is a stereotypical shounen, a butchered ending, and lots of unfilled potential.

Animation: 8/10

Blue Exorcist’s animation is exactly what you’d expect from a late 2000 anime series: smooth, fluid frame rates, decent shading, and a very stylized flair. While it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s consistent throughout the show. The fight scenes are drawn out well with minimal animation cheats (black screen with sword strike, straight on camera angles, etc), and as a whole are superior to the typical shounen crop. Still, this no Soul Eater or Bleach, both of which dominate the shounen fighter genre.  It looks great, but that’s it to be said.

Music: 9/10

The one thing that BE does right is the soundtrack. Blue Exorcist sports the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a while, especially for the fight scenes and dramatic moments. There’s no end of electric guitars, opera vocals, full-orchestrated pieces, and creepy chanting. The variety here is astounding, along with the high-quality work of each song. The only weak part of the OST lies in the quieter scenes; most of these songs are very forgettable and drab. However, the high-energy battle music more than makes up for this. If a soundtrack for this show is released, I’m buying it, enough said. It’s just a pity such a well-done OST had to be wasted on a mediocre show.


Characters: 4/10

Nothing new here. Almost all of the characters are card-board cut-outs ripped straight from the Shounen 101 Handbook. We have the rebellious, hot-blooded protagonist with the desire to protect, the protagonist’s equally hot-blooded rival/friend, the ditzy, helpless love interest, the tsundere, the overprotective brother, the school teacher who’s not all that they seem…if you’ve watched shounen before, you know how often these are recycled. BE’s rendition of these characters is even more mundane due to the predictable character interactions and trite back stories; after reading the character list above, I’m sure you can easily spell out just how Character A will interact with C, or why tsundere is such a jerk all the time. In short, more clichés, and BE doesn’t do a thing to step away from them.

I will say that there are a couple of interesting characters, namely Shura and Arthur. Their backstories are hinted at early in the series and seem to offer more than the stereotypical pasts of their peers. Due to the rushed ending, however, these backstories are never addressed again. Why did Shura have a demon sword? How did she meet Shiro in the first place? Why was Arthur so devouted to the Vatican? I appreciate some ambiguity, but in a show where most of the characters are lifeless, failing to follow through with the only unique characters is a huge blow.


Overall: 6.5/10

To sum up BE in a couple of words: Mediocre. Cliché. Average. There’s nothing here that even a newbie anime fan wouldn’t have seen before. It’s even more of a pity considering how the series started out; I can’t help but wish I could take the first three episodes and write my own version of the story from there on. How such a great concept could be reduced to mere mediocrity is beyond me, but that’s exactly what Blue Exorcist is. If you’re looking for a seinen, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a shounen, you could do much better. BE fails to satisfy either way.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
4/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
YuiYui's avatar
Jul 9, 2014

Warning this Review may contain spoilers-

Today I am writing a review for the fantasy anime Ao no Exorcist or Blue Exorcist.  To start off I want to say if you haven’t watched this already, you need to. I know I say this loads but this I really really mean it. The storyline was completely brilliant, the story was so detailed. The original idea of the story is unique which made it so interesting and different. Finally the story was laid out so well and in the end developed perfectly. The animation, all I can say is that I loved it. The character designs were all different even the Okumura brother’s designs had differences; each of these characters had a personality to match these appearances as well. The scenery was truly amazing and the opening animation is just fantastic.

The music was just as good as he anime itself, the openings were catchy and he lyrics represents the anime quite well. However the endings weren’t as catchy but still good. Also the voice actors chosen were really good for each character; this is another thing I loved. Now the characters hey were quite well developed but there were still some unanswered questions but if they make a second series this might change. Finally the personalities like I said varied and matched their designs quite well.

So in conclusion this anime is awesome and if you haven’t watched it you should. Just everything was great and only simple things like the endings to me weren’t as catchy limited me to only giving it a 9/10 but you might feel different. Thank you for reading.


8/10 story
9.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
9/10 overall