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
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:19 PM)
    There’s plenty of in battle explaining. I don’t think there’s been a battle without in battle explaining. You got the first time villain that ends up a good guy. You got powerups and levels of quinques. There’s a ton of shounen elements.
    Just because something has gore does not make it seinien. Deadman wonderland is Shounen and it has just as much gore and torture.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 02:52 PM)
    @Emma: ah, yes.
    @Aidan: How so? A variety of weapons and abilities does not turn something into a shounen battle manga.
    I’d need a lot more random in-battle explaining secret powers to your opponent, and a lot more mercy to not consider it seinen.
    Also, torture, balls and limbs being chopped off as a sick joke, slicing people in half without warning, breaking half their bones…
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:44 PM)
    I felt that the story became too shounen battle manga When at first it was portrayed as seinien. Especially with the quineqes and such.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:06 PM)
    @Raggers: His past with the old lady ghoul where he was castrated =<
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?

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