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Ao no Exorcist – 17

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「誘惑」 (Yūwaku)
“Temptation”

I’ll confess a certain reluctance at wading into the debate over the direction this series is taking, but I guess that’s sort of the point of being an anime blogger, isn’t it? I think this episode did a pretty good job encapsulating all the challenges the produces of AoEx are facing, what they’re doing well, and what they’re struggling with.

The extended pre-opening sequence (over 7 minutes if you’re counting) still felt a bit rushed to me, despite the length. Seeing all of Rin’s classmates show up and engineer victory by playing keepaway with the demon blade felt more clichéd than almost anything else this series has done, and Amaimon’s presence seemed like a premeditated excuse to get the Vatican debate over quickly so the rest of the story could be gotten on with. I’m not making any predictions, but it would certainly surprise me if Amaimon were just gone that quickly. No question Rin has his number and it seems as though he could easily have killed him, but it would be a huge anticlimax for the character. And would Mephisto have just stood by and done nothing as it happened? Maybe he would, who knows – he was certainly the best part of that scene with his “always one step ahead” grin.

Things did get much better after that, though it illustrated a problem with the direction A-1 has decided to take. It was necessary for Rin’s classmates to forgive and forget quickly to set up the repair of the Kurikara, and for them to prove his saviors in the courtroom. But the scene in the classroom afterwards should have come first – the questioning of Rin, their doubt about him, they felt much more natural than their easy acceptance. But this was undercut by the fact that they’d already basically given him a free pass. It’s always an issue when character is subverted for the convenience of plot, but it does tend to happen when one story is being forcefully reshaped into another.

The thing is, the scenes at the school were very good I thought – right in the sweet spot of what this series does well. Absent the developments that preceded it I thought the classroom scene did an excellent job illustrating how conflicted Bon and Konekomaru felt about Rin and what he was, and it felt very true to me that Izumo – being a natural outsider herself – would be the least judgmental of the group. I enjoyed the interaction between Rin, Yukio and Shura in the “batting cage”, and Shura’s treatment of Rin felt very true to her character. Rin has a very real problem, and the training Shura devised makes sense, though I suspect no one has any real idea of just exactly what control Rin has over his powers. His “cleansing” of Shiemi (not to mention the interesting results with Shura and Yukio) being a perfect example – Konekomaru and Bon being horrified based on the Blue Night, but Shiemi was completely unharmed and didn’t even feel warm. Just how, exactly, do these flames interact with Rin’s emotional state? No doubt Shura is correct that it’s his fear that prevents Rin from controlling himself, but even when he was afraid for Shiemi he still expressed control over the flames.

There’s lots on interesting toys for the anime staff to play with here. I like the notion of pursuing the “otherness” of Yukio, which has largely been glossed over thus far. We’ve got the cliffhanger ending of whatever the red-eyed (bird?) demon that attacked Konemomaru and came after Rin is, and the Vatican Spy on premesis. Largely ignored of late is the prospect of romance between Rin and Shiemi, with the added zest of seeing how the fact that he’s Satan’s son will affect her view of him as boyfriend material.

But this is where things get really sticky. The evidence points to the fact that the staff here know what they’re doing, but they’re in a minefield now with a manga that’s nowhere close to finishing and an anime that’s over in less than two months. I suspect things are going to depart from the manga more and more now, and that’s going to be harder and harder for the manga readers to accept. For me, the only important question is whether or not director Okamura-sensei (heh, I just noticed that) and the writers can craft a satisfying and coherent last arc for the anime. My experience has been that trying to be faithful to the manga while doing an anime-original ending is a fruitless task – it only leads to awkward and disjointed results. If the plan isn’t simply to follow the manga and stop to wait for two years or so for the manga to progress– and we’ve no evidence it is – Okamura is better off disregarding manga continuity altogether and giving us the best original ending he can come up with.

 

Preview

Ao no Exorcist   17   Preview 01 Ao no Exorcist   17   Preview 02 Ao no Exorcist   17   Preview 03
August 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm
50 comments »
  • August 8, 2011 at 2:51 pmClick

  • August 8, 2011 at 2:57 pmArmman

    This could have easily been several episodes and several episodes earlier in the series could have been fewer episodes. The pace of this show is something that I will never understand. It’s sometimes a great show and sometimes a bad one.

    • August 11, 2011 at 9:29 pmYuumei

      I totally agree… To be honest, when the opening rolled around, I thought it was already finished. XD

  • August 8, 2011 at 2:59 pmAndré

    This show are going to end here. They can go with some original content, but it won’t be a real ending to story. And I think that, if can’t end it, they should just follow to manga. Either way, it will be the same: an anime with no ending.

  • August 8, 2011 at 3:05 pmUnknownVoid

    I am intrigued by the fact that the specific scenes mentioned by you, Divine, coincide with the anime original and manga following scenes (coincidence or not I wasn’t about to tell). The whole part that you felt was rushed and provided an anticlimactic end to Amaimon was disappointing to me and not in the manga, while the rest I thoroughly enjoyed seeing put into motion from the source content and you appeared to as well. Still, the last episode had quite a few parts that were original that I thought worked just as well, if not better, than the manga. It really is a tight rope they’re walking and I just can’t see them doing anything better than what I can only describe as “meh”.

    • August 8, 2011 at 3:12 pmUnknownVoid

      Wow sorry, I meant Enzo not Divine. Mistype on my part.

  • August 8, 2011 at 3:06 pmfirecow

    I don’t understand who anime studios tend to adapt the manga if it nowhere finished. This is just like Full metal Alchemist all over again. Why do studios tend to do this is beyond me. A-1 should just make an original series instead of adapt a manga because it is frustrating that most studios tend to adapt shouen series and then make an original ending because they only a few episodes left. The point is why can’t anime studios just leave the manga alone until the manga is near finished before adapting the manga so that way fans can be happy and without all ranting? P.S. Studio Pierrot comes to mind also.

    • August 8, 2011 at 3:20 pmClick

      I’d just like to say that adding an original ending and new parts to the story can actually strengthen a series. The first Full Metal Alchemist series is actually a pretty good example of this. Even though there wasn’t enough source material, the story still felt natural. It really just depends on how the writers handle it.

    • August 8, 2011 at 3:28 pmJustinnnnnn

      Because they want to claim the manga for their own before another studio does, make a quick series to gather a bigger audience and then make the full series adaptation once the manga is over-ish :) ?

      Just like you said: It’s FMA all over again.

    • August 9, 2011 at 4:49 amHurvilo

      I can only agree with the above, I’d honestly rather see original series from anime studios than adaptions of unfinished source material. If they HAVE to do manga adaptions, just buy the rights to make a certain series and WAIT until there is enough material to animate an entire season WITHOUT deviating from the source. Most of the anime orignal endings are crap anyway (Claymore and Pandora Hearts anyone?) so why fuck up potential sequels? Makes no sense.

      (Yes, I want Claymore and Pandora Hearts sequels really, really bad, but what are the odds of that happening with the ending of respective series? Reboot of the entire series are way more likely.)

  • August 8, 2011 at 3:07 pmfirecow

    Sorry a bit of a typo. First sentence “I don’t understand why” not who.

  • August 8, 2011 at 3:11 pmsakura_fai

    Interesting to note that the parts you enjoyed were in the manga…-.-;;
    Problem is, this series ends in about 7-8 episodes, but there’s the condition that Rin must pass his exorcist test in 6 months, and Bon’s his rival. Will they resolve that in just 7-8 episodes especially with the pace they’re going. Not unless they use time skips. Plus, the little problems like Yukio being Satan’s son and Kononekomaru’s possession have to be resolved as well. :/ A little uneasy on what they’re going to do…either they rush the ending or they just don’t solve Rin’s problems and just end with the class becoming friends again.
    Last episode where Bon and Shima helped Rin, feels awkward and out-of-placed, is it because the animators had no time, and just came up with a script? Or did they take account for the fans’ reactions and changed it this time around?

  • August 8, 2011 at 3:53 pmP Ko

    Why do I find eyebrows-chan so hawt

    • August 8, 2011 at 4:01 pmGuardian Enzo

      Well, Eri Kitamura can be quite sexy when she wants to be.

      • August 9, 2011 at 4:17 amP Ko

        Kokonoe, Yui and Suzutsuki all coming to mind ;3

  • August 8, 2011 at 4:23 pmTeri

    This was weird. The stuff that happened in this episode did happen in the manga, but as you said, it doesn’t really connect with what happened last episode. I guess they either did as you said; did what was convenient or maybe, just a maybe, they thought of Rin being able to save them and therefor they helped him to save their own asses. IDK.

    Nevertheless, this episode was still amusing, but I’m doubting the production and I can’t guess where the anime is going as the manga reader I am.

  • August 8, 2011 at 4:25 pmcatanthill

    I expected that this series would be another Fullmetal Alchemist series because the manga is nowhere near finished. I know that to many viewers, FMA was pretty good, but to me, I felt that it wasted my time because it was primarily filler and deviated from the manga. I cannot wait until it gets a reboot in the future.

    Given that the writers gave us a little foreshadowing of Yukio’s dormant Satan powers, I have a feeling the ending or a future episode will have a cliched brother versus brother confrontation followed by the defeat of Satan by both brothers. As for future material, I hope that the writers expand on the powers and abilities of the other exwires since they are no longer bound by the manga anymore. It would be nice to see some more attacks done by Ryuji using his Aria skills and Shima. Is Shima’s staff(khakkara) just for decoration or does it provide him some sort of boost? I also expect more development into that puppet guy and Izumo’s past ever since we saw that scene in one of the past episodes.

    • August 10, 2011 at 4:47 pmD0Ki

      What?! Are you serious?! FMA already got a reboot!

  • August 8, 2011 at 4:54 pmEx14

    I for one don’t find it strange that they would help him fix his sword while still retaining doubts about him (or rather his flames)

    Isn’t it pretty normal for people to do this IRL? and furthur more the blue flames invoke terrible memories for some of them, so it’s no surprise they won;t accept it IMMEDIATELY. Well thats what i feel about this post, WITHOUT watching this episode yet.

    O and I finbd it strange theres a debate on whether a not this anime will follow the manga. Intirgued I went to scan thru the manga to the point where last week episode ends, and I have to say it was similar ( if not almost completely the same) albeit a few changes here and there. I think what the Animation peeps at A-1 is doing now is just mixing up elements of the manga story so as to insert some “filler” material so as to ensure the manga has enough story to be adaptyed into the anime. And if the previous episode “filelr\” was any idication those fillers are kmighty worth watching as well, and i won;t mind seeing more of them.

  • August 8, 2011 at 4:54 pmkgfj

    Finally a little of izumo x Rin screentime!!

  • August 8, 2011 at 5:40 pmrochichan

    Finally, back to some good stuff! Ugh, put the placing of events are so off. At first the friends were like “We have to help Rin!”… then all of sudden in class “Ohh~ he’s afraid of you” and “I’ll kill you if you hurt a loved one of mine” (exagerrated lol)

    Still wondering how the series will end… :o

    • August 9, 2011 at 12:23 amdeafvader

      They know that he ain’t a bad guy. But they are clouded by fear. It’s like a love hate relationship. They are afraid of his power especially after he kicked Amaimon’s S, who defeated Paladin.

  • August 8, 2011 at 6:33 pmOdeus

    Did nobody else notice the black stuff growing on Yukio’s back? I must have missed the comment cause it sees to set off alarms concerning his potential role later on. Maybe he’ll turn into a demon or something.

    • August 8, 2011 at 8:05 pmEstron

      I saw that too, looking back it’s at 19:42 as he puts his jacket on. My guess is something is infecting him and it’ll come back in a few episodes. His mind isn’t totally with it at the moment so it’s likely something is trying to take advantage of that.

  • August 8, 2011 at 8:02 pmMrBrownSound

    I usually root for the main character like hell. In this series what separates Yukio from his brother Rin is Rin’s crazy power and baing able to do things his brother cannot, much like their father.

    I just think Yukio getting any sort of demonic powers to help him or make him any more special would just ruin things for me. I mean let’s face it Rin’s only distinguishable feature as a character is that he’s kind and that he is crazy powerful when the time calls. It would be a shame if Yukio has such powers as well. I hope that black mark on his body was nothing to due to him having demon powers.

  • August 8, 2011 at 8:32 pmx

    Felt really rushed. Original ending here we come. I don’t think Amaimon is dead, probably just kicked back to the demon world. Yukio getting demonic powers seems likely. I think he might end up being the antagonist in the story with his way of thinking.

    • August 11, 2011 at 12:42 pmjojo

      reminds me of naruto vs sasuke

  • August 8, 2011 at 8:49 pmryuzaki21

    AoEx is not worth watching anymore… for me. :(

  • August 8, 2011 at 9:41 pmTez

    No mention of that strange mark on Yukio’s shoulder after Rin burnt all his clothes off? I guess you missed it since it wasn’t a screen cap.

    I think with all the foreshadowing Shuri was doing about Yukio’s feelings about Rin’s powers I’m sure it has something to do with that.

    • August 8, 2011 at 10:18 pmGuardian Enzo

      That’s what I meant by the “otherness” of Yukio. I kind of assumed everyone caught that, and the sceencap looked ugly so didn’t use it!

      • August 9, 2011 at 1:14 pmTez

        Ah… My bad. Though you might have got distracted by the pantsu shot XD

      • August 9, 2011 at 7:26 pmGuardian Enzo

        Well – it is is damn good pantsu shot.

  • August 8, 2011 at 9:42 pmZilla

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • August 8, 2011 at 9:52 pmxxxholicwing

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • August 9, 2011 at 6:11 amSaangi

    To be honest, i hope that they will do an O-RIN-GINAL ending. With the way things are progressing now, its too late to revert back the changes made by A-1 Pictures to follow the manga. Major bits of the manga are blown off by A-1 Pictures(EG, Show Spoiler ▼

    ) and major stuff from the anime like Yukio’s strange mark on his back or Amaimon dying have derailed it from the Manga premise and it will not be able to get back on the rail. Hopefully the Fan Base for AnEx will be big enough to encourage a sequel/remake and hopefully we get an FMA like sequel from A-1 Pictures and have it at the same quality but that’s a lot of “hopefullies”. Just like Pandora Hearts and Claymore(Which are currently very epic in the manga) AnEx will probably get cut off with a shitty ending and then we will not see it ever again. Still, i am holding onto hopes that they will create a Ao No Exorcist : Demonhood, but that hope is thin.

    • August 9, 2011 at 7:49 amznail

      I disagree as I think they are not doing an anime original ending with how things look right now. They are only following the somewhat same character development as the manga, but adding some filler plot that they can end this season. They can then start a new season by following the original plot, but leaving out the character development that they have already done. The only problem is that as usual when there is anime original stuff so do the story writer suck badly. It almost always seems like they get some bum to write the script on a napkin. It meshes badly with the stuff kept from the manga.

  • August 9, 2011 at 8:21 amMai

    Ok this was a bit stupid. As a person who doesn’t read the manga of AoEx, I like the anime, however seeing Bon and others being angry/scared/annoyed/ignorant etc…towards Rin after(!) they repaired the demon sword for him was indeed stupid. Com’on, have some sense man, it should have been the other way around which actually is in manga as far as I read from other people’ comments.

    I liked how Izumo is characterized in this episode.. realistic.. But a ‘doing nothing’ Shiemi against all the stuff happened, hmm a bit unexpected for my case.. I hope this ‘flames are not hot at all!’ experience of Shiemi will give her some poke so that she will do something.

  • August 9, 2011 at 3:04 pmPeepQ

    Did anyone else notice that thing on Yukio’s shoulder area?

    • August 9, 2011 at 9:20 pmSaangi

      Kinda hard not to notice eh?

  • August 9, 2011 at 5:08 pmNoc

    In the manga, the events which followed the ‘fun camp’ incident were what really brought the story to a higher level- the worst part of it is, the anime team could have still gone that way. If they hadn’t put in those filler episodes, the reveal of Rin’s lineage and him going berserk would have been the mid-season climax, and for the second season they could have covered the Kyoto arc and ended it with Rin defeating the impure king. Not a bad closing at all to me! But noooo…

    I think the trick to doing a good anime adaption is to avoid sticking to the one-chapter-per-episode formula, because telling a story on paper is ultimately different from telling it in motion. If animation teams would just put more thought into how each manga scene converts into an anime scene, they could choose the best spots to start and stop an episode, so stretching/scrunching things up to suit their needs wouldn’t be necessary. I also think that this would make it easier to pinpoint where to put filler in without ruining the story overall.

    But I’m not in the anime biz, so siiigh…

    • August 11, 2011 at 12:07 amCharles (^-^)

      you should be lol

  • August 11, 2011 at 12:49 am= =

    The fight was too short and anti-climatic.

  • August 11, 2011 at 12:05 pmjojo

    aawww man, this has really put me off the anime now, I will probably starting on the manga, just like what happened to soul eater.

  • August 13, 2011 at 12:53 amaionaraP

    Wow. I was actually imagining Yukio turn into a badass antagonist towards the end of the manga. And now in this episode, they just gave some kind of foreshadowing. Its a bit cliche for a brother to turn into his other sibling because of envy but if they manage to deliver a good character build-up then it would be fine. Yukio does have the same demon blood as Rin so its really plausible for him to possess the blue flames as well.

  • August 13, 2011 at 12:28 pmKazemon15

    @Noc: …Yeah because doing more than one chapter per episode is a SURE way to avoid fillers earlier on. Use your head. There’s only 27 chapters so far, the series comes out monthly, they do NOT have alot of material to work with here. They barely have enough material for a 24 episode series, let alone a long series.

    It also makes sense they stick to the one-chapter-per-episode formula because the chapters are 40 pages! Most shounen anime has an average of 2-3 chapters per episode, which is the same as Ao No Exorcist’s one chapter formula. What the anime production should have done is not start so early and wait at least 4 years to start the anime…

    But what the anime is doing is actually pretty interesting considering what they have to work with, so stop complaining.