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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:46 AM)
    And yet again at the end of the day Akane failed to do what’s the most important ethical thing to do and left people to possibly die instead of judging Sybil herself. I think the reason her psycho pass is clear might be out of stupidity.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:43 AM)
    @Emma: The plot was not only a mess but also incredibly flawed and contrived. Why would Sybil need to have to delete seemingly random brains considering that the are all supposedly asympttmatic to begin with? And if so then they should’ve done this a long time ago.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:40 AM)
    *This was
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:37 AM)
    One thing I forgot to say regarding earlier complaints about the second psychopass season is that you have people who were getting lost in regards to what was going on in the plot due to what a mess it was.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:35 AM)
    The was a pretty awful, although expected turn in the latest two brynhildr chapters regarding Hatsuna and the tonal jump in the latest chapter was terrible.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:34 AM)
    Yup Psycho Pass 2 finale was just as underwhelming as you lot say, so now I share the sentiment. Even the 1st season’s wrap up wasn’t all that satisfying so they kinda suck at that, but this just felt like they gave up trying tho.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:57 AM)
    I have heard of directors admitting bullshit before, Von Trier is said to have done so and I love the ground that man walks on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Emma: yeah, he mentioned that many elements of NGE where simply for visual flair or to elicit a response from the viewer, which to me is fine.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:55 AM)
    And both of you have a point about the power fantasy thing. Would also like to add here that a writer, writing is essentially a power fantasy to an extent as he or she essentially is elevated to the position of a God that has full control over their own world and characters.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:52 AM)
    Has Anno mentioned himself that he knows when he’s just messing around?
    Also I like his wife’s works a fair bit and more.

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