Title: Blue Exorcist
Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump Advance)
Volume: Volume 2 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2009 by Shueisha, June 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Action, supernatural, comedy
Being the bastard son of Satan isn’t easy. Your power is almost too much for you to control, everyone hates your dad because he kills everyone they love, you have to keep your identity a secret from your friends, and someone is always out to kill you. That’s the life of Rin Okumura, the son of Satan and a human woman, who now attends True Cross Academy where he is learning to be an exorcist so he can defeat his father. Fortunately, Rin doesn’t have to struggle along alone. His twin brother, Yukio, a powerful exorcist, is there to watch over him, and teach him the ways of the exorcist as the Demon Pharmaceuticals teacher at True Cross Academy. He also has a new friend in Shiemi Moriyama, who was exorcised of a demon in the previous volume by Yukio and Rin, and now also attends the academy. However, he’s also been butting heads with fellow classmate Ryuji Suguro, who thinks Rin isn’t taking his exorcist education seriously. A test for moving up to Esquire rank is coming up soon, and Rin and several of his classmates sign up for a special intensive training session. It is also the time when each of them must choose which Meister (specialization) they will pursue. The group, including Rin, Suguro, Shiemi, Kamiki, and Paku, and supervised by Yukio, is brought to an old dormitory for the training camp. Just as everyone is getting settled in, the girls are attacked by a vicious demon. Rin distracts the demon while Shiemi helps her friends, but Rin soon realizes that something clearly isn’t right and that the demon was after him specifically. With personal issues causing everyone to be on edge, an argument between Kamiki and Suguro results in the entire class being punished. When Yukio leaves them to go on a mission, their skills are put to the test when they’re attacked by two powerful demons. They’ll have to put aside their differences to survive the battle. Afterward, Yukio notices something is off about one of the instructors, and goes to check it out himself. Something odd is going on behind the scenes at True Cross Academy.
Blue Exorcist continues to be an entertaining series. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but it’s enjoyable. This volume details some new elements of this world, like the Meister system. The Meister system contains five specializations: Knight, Dragoon, Tamer, Aria, and Doctor. They’re pretty self explanatory, and each exorcist must pick at least one specialization before they advance from Page rank. Yukio, for example, specializes as a Dragoon and Aria. Rin, with the sword that is already always by his side, naturally chooses to be a Knight. Each Meister performs a specific role to build a party of exorcists, as none of them can or should work alone (for instance, Arias chant scripture to defeat demons, and would need, for example, a Knight to protect them while they chant). Underscoring the training camp is a touching story about Shiemi’s quest to make her first friends. Shy and closed off from the world for so long because of the demon who was cursing her, Shiemi has a hard time talking to others. It’s not helped by Kamiki, who decides to play a joke on Shiemi by agreeing to be her friend and then ordering her around like a servant. Shiemi, who is so happy to finally have a friend, follows along naively, and with her persistence, huge heart, and unflinching courage in the face of incredible danger, finally breaks through Kamiki’s walled off heart. Yukio, meanwhile, continues to do his best to protect his brother and his secret, but it’s becoming more difficult as it’s clear that Mephisto Pheles (the school’s chairman) is hiding information from him. Mephisto and his family appear to have their own plans for Rin.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.