Posted on 2 October 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ao no Exorcist




Shounen isn’t my favourite genre, but I have enjoyed plenty of the better series in the genre. Ao no Exorcist is a sneaky one though: at first it first seems to avoid a lot of the overused cliches that plague the genre… only to fall into them anyways.

What sets Ao no Exorcist apart is that it’s typical shounen, but done well. The main character is a hot headed brat, but he’s well fleshed out and has good development and reasons for his actions. The show inevitably ends up at an academy, but school assignments that the characters have to do are fun, interesting and lead to quite a bit of character development.

The big problem is that this series is way too epic for what it wants to be. On one hand it aims for high school hijinks and a look at exorcists in training, and on the other it is involved in an international plot involving to purge the strongest demon known to man: Satan. The main character may be Satan’s son and all, but the two parts don’t mesh at all and leave a terribly divided series.

The part of the series that suffers the least is the one that focuses on the high school. It’s not ambitious, but it’s fun, the characters are genuine and they have a great chemistry between them. The plot against satan unfortunately is horribly rushed, with in the end Satan magically forgetting to use a lot of his powers in order to actually prevent the main cast from not instantly dying. It’s full of bland twists and unoriginal plot devices that are way too constrained with trying to go for a “by the books”-ending. This series is based on a manga, but decides to go with its own storyline for its final third. While that isn’t immediately a bad thing, it just doesn’t work here.

A-1 has made sure of great animation, but in the end there are just many better shounen series out there. Ao no Exorcist was a nice attempt, but it lacks vision.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Does not know what it wants to focus on and ends up half-hearted. Tries to subvert shounen cliches only to fall into them.
Characters: 8/10 – Saved by a good chemistry and good development. Bad villains, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid action, though nothing amazing.
Setting: 7/10 – Tries to deliver a solid setting of exorcists, but in the end there is hardly any gap between the best and the worst of them.

Suggestions:
Shikabane Hime
Soukou no Strain
Pandora Hearts

9 Responses

  1. Gintoki says:

    Argh…I knew from the very beginning this would all end in tears, but I can still feel the frustration boiling inside me. Please, PLEASE let there be a remake once the manga is over!

  2. rufe says:

    Yea, the manga is pretty good, but….

    Even before the fillers they s**t on a lot of things to add action scenes that screwed up the balance of the characters….

  3. ruuruu says:

    It’s just a shame for such a potential to be wasted… I’m seconding the opinions of this anime to have a remake or second season.

    On the side note, there’s going to be an extra episode of AnE about Kuro…

  4. DangerMouse says:

    Agreed, I’d love for them to revisit this once the manga is finished as I quite enjoyed the different parts of this even if they never quite came together properly either due to the limit of 26 eps, or not wanting to take risks with the characters once the original stuff started.

    I generally enjoyed how things were being set up with the universe, the characters and their interactions, and the action and how at first it shook up the cliches a bit (which as you mentioned in the review was probably the biggest let down in that they then proceeded to fall prey to them which makes it even more pronounced) so hopefully it’ll return some day after the manga’s finished so they can do a longer show that really builds off the beginning (and I’ll still watch the upcoming movie) and most importantly a more integrated exorcists vs Satan arc.

    So I pretty much agree with the review , fun show and well executed shounen but sadly didn’t reach it’s heights and went backwards a bit in losing some of it’s edge. Loved the visuals (and the soundtrack). :)

    Loved reading about the show each week, keep up the great blogging! :)

  5. Cryptic says:

    Best part of this show was the baby-baby-baby shiba commercials

  6. ahelo says:

    Kinda harsh for someone who actually liked it 2/3 of the show don’t you think?

  7. Shinigami says:

    I think that you’ve fallen into the trap the anime has set. I suppose you would really like the manga if you can read it thoroughly. If you’ve liked the first 10-15 episodes and disliked the last 5-10, it’s the right choice for you.

    Btw, I have finally managed to write a decent review too. It can be found here: shinigamilist.com/2011/10/08/ao-no-exorcist-青の祓魔師-anime-review

  8. Dark Legion says:

    I loved manga as well anime.
    Both keep me entertaining.

  9. TaciNox says:

    I know that blue exorcist the anime/manga a bit generic, but my heart always pump for a new chapter in the manga.

    My guilty pleasure.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 02:01 AM)
    @K-off: The first vampire hunter D though is very very dated now though.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 01:59 AM)
    @K-Off I have to admit, I’ve never watched Vampire Hunter D before.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:54 AM)
    @Emma You’ve probably heard this before but the Akira manga is a must-read. The movie is good but at the end of the day it will be remembered for the great art and soundtrack, not for being an especially great narrative. The manga, on the other hand, is a strong contender for GOAT. One of the few mangas I own in its entirety.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:50 AM)
    I quite enjoyed Animatrix over the Matrix sequels, and I like to think that the Matrix sequels should have been animated by Kawajiri.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:45 AM)
    @Emma Agreed. I found plenty of hype when it was first announced, but I think it’s safe to say it’s reached cult film status since.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:41 AM)
    The bloodlust movie really deserves a decent dvd release.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:40 AM)
    @K-off: Gothic, moody, a rare example of mixing ye olde setting with scifi elements, proper, resspectible depiction of vampires, I liked the villain in it and it was a large improvement in all regards to the previous vampire hunter D movie. The manga/novels are worth a look.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:35 AM)
    @ninja @Emma what’d both of you think of the Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust movie?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:26 AM)
    @Realist: I’ve only seen the film for Akira so based on that I’m going to put Roujin Z above it as a film. It was evident that Akira’s adaptation felt very crammed in, haphazard, I don’t know what I’d think of Akira if I rewatched it now.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Emma I mean, I think you could honestly make the case that Roujin Z is a better movie than Akira, in the narrative sense, but in terms of audio/visual there’s no comparison. And if we’re talking manga, Akira beats the piss out of almost anything. But if people can look past that, I think Roujin Z is a very worthwhile anime.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard03

Mushishi – 07

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did […]

Clipboard04

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 06 & 07

This is where this arc gets weird. We’re still in adventure modus, however in these two episodes Jotaro not only meets some of the most bizarre Stand users, it’s also done in the most camp way possible. You can see a clear difference with the first two seasons of Jojo: there it was all about […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 05 & 06

Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches. I’m currently […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi – 03 – 06

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling. I now […]

Clipboard03

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 03 – 05

Jojo really is not kind to its females. Every time a hint is even dropped to a girl kicking ass here, it comes with this weird plot-twist that undermines any fighting potential of them. In this arc, it’s the rule that says that your stand will kill you if youaren’t strong enough. And so, Joseph’s […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 03 & 04

The opening of Ping Pong wasn’t done in time, so the first two episodes showed a sortof montage as a placeholder. Now we know why, with episode 03 and 04. The creators actually got the single best animator currently in the business to oversee it: Shinya Ohira. This guy understands animation like no other. The […]

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]