Posted by psgels 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.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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