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?