“Ao no Exorcist” which in English is translated to “Blue Exorcist” is a dark fantasy anime and manga created by the amazing female author Kazue Katō. Not only did this amazing author write the plotline but she also illustrated this awesome Shōnen manga! Hopefully, you already have some background knowledge when it comes to anime and/or manga genres. I’m here to tell you why you should be watching or reading “Ao no Exorcist!” Don’t worry this article is going to be spoiler-free, but it will dive into major themes and characters!
“Ao no Exorcist” follows the story of a Japanese teenage boy named Rin Okumura as he discovers that he and his twin brother, Yukio, are actually the bastard children of the devil himself, Satan. Rin also discovers that he is the one twin that inherited Satan’s blue flames. After Rin loses his parental figure, he enters True Cross Academy to become an exorcist in order to defeat Satan. Mephisto Pheles is the principal of True Cross Academy and Rin and Yukio’s legal guardian. On Rin’s journey to becoming the best exorcist under Yukio’s and others’ guidance, he discovers more about himself and secrets that are better kept in the dark. Prior to him losing his parental figure, Rin was not aware of the existence of demons nor of his heritage. Unlike his younger twin Yukio, who was already a well-established exorcist in the order. Rin makes many friends and enemies, but like most protagonists in the Shōnen genre, he’s not giving up his dream without a fight.
My favorite character from “Ao no Exorcist” and who I believe makes Rin’s journey more interesting is Mephisto Pheles, the demon that runs True Cross Academy. Mephisto is based on a German legend and is portrayed as a trickster in the series. In the original German legend, Mephistopheles is also a trickster demon that makes a deal with Johann Georg Faust for his soul. Mephisto Pheles is important in the story because he sets everything in motion, causes the action, adds excitement, and chaotically leads character growth and development of Rin. In the series, he’s the principal of True Cross Academy and runs the exorcist program which is called Cram School. He’s also an Honorary Knight of the True Cross Order. The True Cross Order is a global exorcist institution that is controlled by the Vatican, which eliminates any threats to the human race. It’s one of the main organizations of exorcists within the series, therefore it gives Mephisto the advantage of working for an organization that eliminates demons. This all sounds wonderfully-scary and adds another layer to the main plot. As the reader or watcher, it’s easy to tell that Mephisto has an underlying agenda.
One of my favorite themes about this series other than the dark fantasy aspects with demons and magic is the focus on brotherly love. Familia love is the driving force of “Ao no Exorcist,” so don’t be fooled about other themes that may come up. It may not seem like it at first but the deeper you go into the manga it begins to show up in unexpected ways. It’s what really sets this show apart from other Shōnen.
The main three parts you should read and watch from “Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) series are the following (the manga is still ongoing so in the future, the chapter numbers and volumes will be higher, and the anime’s third season is on hold):
- Anime First Season: “Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist 2011) has 25 episodes.
- NOTE: After episode 17 the anime no longer follows the main storyline of the manga, so fans disregard episodes 18 to 25 as non-canon. It’s still fun to watch the other episodes of the first season, so no worries.
- Anime Second Season: “Ao no Exorcist:” Kyoto Saga (Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 2017) has 12 episodes.
- NOTE: Fans of the show treat the first episode of season two as episode 18, which would be the continuation of the storyline. I recommend also watching it this way for the full experience.
- Manga: “Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist 2009 – ???) is currently at chapter 128, and Volume 26.
- NOTE: This is the main storyline that fans tend to follow.
Also please check out this Tumblr post where they do more of the breakdown on the differences between the anime and manga: 2011 Anime vs Manga Differences! You can read the manga at Viz.com and other websites. You can watch both anime seasons at Crunchyroll and other websites. I hope you found this article interesting and helpful! Please go check out this series by Kazue Katō.