Ao no Exorcist catchup (Episode 8 – 13)
No I haven’t dropped this, I was under doctor’s orders to lay off the typing……and I lasted a month, which for an addict like me is pretty impressive. However new medication isn’t improving matters much so I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and just do what I enjoy doing – so its catchup time! I’ll just skim over some things I liked/didn’t like about episodes 8-12 and cover episode 13 in a bit more detail in this post. I’ll try to refrain from going off on too many tangents – for both our sakes!
Episode 8 & 9
These episodes finished off the revision camp in Rin & Yukio’s dorm, with the attack on the students ending up being an elaborate exam. Of course things were taken a bit too far in Rin’s case, as Eyepatch-sensei forced him into a corner in order to test his blue flames, apparently under orders from Mephisto (although Eyepatch-sensei does have excellent personal reasons for having a grudge against Satan’s blue flames), but without Yukio’s knowledge. I enjoyed the action in these episodes, particularly the way everyone in the class pulled together with their unique talents to fight the ghoul, when the Okamura twins were separated from them. Rin of course let his hero-complex run away with him when he lured one of the ghouls away to fight alone, still his absence forced the others to step up their game.
I was glad to see Yukio challenge the OTT way Eyepatch-sensei tested Rin’s abilities; sometimes Yukio can be a bit of a doormat to authority but here his protective side won out and watching him and Rin fight together against a much more experienced exorcist, was pretty cool. So the characters passed the test of their ability to work together to repel a threat, and demonstrated that they do have workable skills as exorcists. They’re now given the rank of Exwire and allowed to undertake simple missions under strict supervision.
This was a standalone episode which once again gave us a little bit of insight into the twin’s father, Shiro, and also finally introduced Kuro, the cat familiar that Rin is shown with in the OP. It was a rather cute episode since it was mostly reminiscing about Shiro, but it also highlights Rin’s inherently kind nature and how similar he is to Shiro. Rin of course has the advantage over Yukio here because he can hear Kuro’s voice and recognises that the cat is just completely distraught over Shiro’s death, but it’s still interesting that Yukio allows Rin to take the lead in taming Kuro. Yukio has seniority here, he’s a working exorcist, and Kuro is an obvious threat; however Yukio steps aside when Rin asks perhaps recognising that Rin is just better at relating with people at a basic level, just like their father.
This low-key episode was a pretty good way to wind down after the botched exam arc, and it’s always great to get more on Shiro – its amazing how much influence he has on the story even though he’s already dead! Kuro is a sweetheart, but is a very strong familiar to have – a great asset for Rin, although I’m sure Rin sees the little cat more as a friend and someone to reminisce with than as a useful tool.
This. Did. Not. Happen. Nope there was no beach episode about a goofy giant squid and a dog with Izumo’s eyebrows…….moving on now~!
Finally Amaimon makes his move and decides to have a bit of fun with his little brother. What stood out most in this episode was just how big the power gap is between Rin and Amaimon; Amaimon is clearly playing with him, exerting no more effort than we would to squash an ant. Rin on the other hand is shown to be going beyond his capabilities and still incapable of so much as grazing Amaimon until he completely looses his sanity and lets the demonic flames completely take over. Even in this berserker state, Rin is still no match for Amaimon. Rin’s very lucky that Amaimon is so laid back and uninterested overall or Rin would have undoubtedly died in this encounter.
This episode also sees the reveal of why “Yamato” the hooded student in the class, did sweet FA for the majority of the series. “His” true identity is Shura Kirigakure, an Upper First Class exorcist and a Vatican inspector who had infiltrated the Japan HQ of the True Cross order to find out what Mephisto and Shiro were hiding from the upper echelons. How Shura managed to conceal her assets with some bindings and a hoody is one of life’s great mysteries, but she’s a fun character so I’m glad she’s finally made an appearance.
The other thing of note in here was Shiemi. She’s finally ditched her kimono for a more practical school uniform (and revealed some sizable assets of her own) and is really throwing herself into her training. While Rin’s fight with Amaimon, and Shura’s unmasking steal the limelight, it has to be noted that Shiemi single-handedly resolved the original case of the child ghost haunting the amusement park. It’s good to see her prove her worth a bit more (now if only HanaKana would tone back the retardedness she’d be almost likeable!).
Finally the latest episode! There’s a new OP & ED too! I really, really like the ED song & art – not as irritatingly catchy as the “Take Off”, but I liked it immediately. The new OP will take a few listens to get used to, like CORE:PRIDE a bit more at the moment, but the animation is excellent – some really interesting visuals going on in it.
This episode was really well done, I loved how Shura once again demonstrates to Rin just how powerless he really is – plowing in head first is not going to cut it for him, serious work is needed if he’s going to stand a chance of fighting high level demons. I enjoy how brash Shura is, she just completely dominates the scene, taking charge immediately, imperiously demanding Mephisto’s full cooperation and cowing Yukio’s feeble protests with a look and an attitude of indifference – Shura is definitely has a strong personality.
Shura’s past is intriguing. We’re not given an explanation for why she was found alone with a bunch of demonic snakes and why she has a demon sword, all we know is that she was Shiro’s apprentice. It’s interesting that Shiro, Shura and Rin all seem to share certain personality traits – they’re brash and strong-willed, but very caring in their own ways. Shura may stab Rin and threaten to kill him, but once he demonstrates that there is not a trace of malice in him, Shura quickly decides to honour Shiro’s wish for her to take Rin under her wing and train him how to fight with a demon sword. You can bet she won’t be a soft teacher – Rin better prepare for a world of pain!
The final part of the episode was Rin feeling a touch melancholic and thinking back to his difficult childhood. We had already known that Rin had a tough time growing up, feeling like a magnet for trouble and having lots of problems controlling his violent temper. Rin reflects on an incident when he was still at kindergarten where he flew off the handle and put several classmates (and his father) in hospital. It must have been very hard on him to have so much destructive energy swirling about him – at such a young age, and with no notion about his demonic blood, Rin surely must have felt victimised and misunderstood. Once again the strong influence that Shiro has on the show is felt as he calms Rin’s temper fairly easily (although sacrifices some ribs in the process) and inspires in the child a desire to control himself better and be more tolerant of others taunts.
Other things that were entertaining was Shura replacing Eyepatch-sensei as a teacher and claiming he was on maternity leave and Amaimon being reprimanded by Mephisto for ruining Mephy Land.
Next episode will be moving right onto the classes next field trip – looking forward to it!