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Ao no Exorcist – 21 »« Ao no Exorcist – 19

Ao no Exorcist – 20

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「假面」 (Kamen)
“Mask”

A-1 steps up to the plate with some outstanding anime-original material in episode 20 of Ao no Exorcist. Rock-solid in all aspects, for my money this was the best effort the series has offered in the last month.

I’m assuming this was anime-original anyway – I’m sure someone will correct me, if not. But more so than the last couple of episodes, this anime-original story seems to set the table for a real conclusion of some sort, building on some old plot points and adding in a few new twists and ending with a major cliffhanger. There remains a bit of a “Harry Potter” vibe to some of the events, but for a magic academy series that’s like saying an epic fantasy has a Tolkien vibe – in this day and age, it’s hard to avoid.

It was nice to see the action return to the Okamura boys’ childhood home at the monastery, though it was hardly under pleasant circumstances. A mysterious attack left a message scrawled in Polish and the brothers trapped in some sort of magical spider silk. The latter was a mystery but the former certainly implicated Professor Neuhaus immediately, and indeed that’s where Yukio’s mind went as well. The monks were alive inside their wraps thanks to magical chants – for some reason Adolf Hitler was apparently in charge of the medical team – but their protection was wearing thin, leaving the brothers only 8 hours to find a way to free them.

It could be argued that the events of the episode were fairly predictable, but there were a few surprises thrown in for good measure. I thought the scenario of burning off the webs was a rather elegant way of bringing Shura’s training regimen home for Rin, first of all. The “middle candle” riddle could hardly have been applied better to RL, and it’s certainly classic shounen that it was the crisis that finally pushed Rin into the red zone and enabled him to master flame control (at least for now). Perhaps my favorite plot development of the moment is what I see as Yukio’s slow descent into a very dark place (I won’t say “the dark side” just yet). He’s been vulnerable to this for a while, clearly resentful of Rin’s power and his growing relationship with Shiemi. Add to that the fact that he’s also Satan-spawn and you have a pretty volatile situation. I’m quite looking forward to hearing Fukuyama Jun go dark with this character.

That wasn’t all, of course, in a pretty plot-intensive episode. I wasn’t expecting the masked spider-wielding assailant who attacked the monastery and the school to be Nehaus’ wife. The full extent of this conspiracy is still a mystery – is there more to the Neuhaus’ hatred of Rin than we’ve already been told? I expect that’s a yes. And then there’s the matter of Neuhas’ possible connection to the artificial life lab Shura discovered somewhere in the frozen North – and the fact that his wife is immune to tranquilizer darts . But that’s not all with the artificial life – what about the charge that Mephisto is involved? Prissy Paladin Arthur Auguste Angel (founder of the motor club) is back to place the shackles on Mepphy’s wrists just as he’s about to put the hurt on Nehaus’ wife. While I don’t think for a second we’ve seen the depths of his machinations I think Mephisto is right that the conspiracy of this case is coming from the Vatican, as the timing is just too convenient. Everyone has something to hide, but I think Mephisto is being set up in this specific case.

Finally, that cliffhanger. Just who is Ernst Frederick Aegin, the Bishop-y looking fellow who summons Yukio and calls him “Grandson”? There’s an undeniable facial resemblance to GAR Priest and Fujimoto Stepdad Shiro, so that’s the easy assumption to make as to his basic identity – but even if that’s the case, his role in the plot is still a mystery. I see no mention of Ernst in any wiki, so I suspect the manga readers are just as much in the dark on this guy as the rest of us…

 

Preview

Ao no Exorcist   20   Preview 01 Ao no Exorcist   20   Preview 02 Ao no Exorcist   20   Preview 03
August 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm
17 comments »
  • August 28, 2011 at 3:37 pmTitanAnteus

    Wasn’t too bad. Felt too dramatic for an anime-original to me.

  • August 28, 2011 at 3:42 pmShii

    Awesome episode!!!!
    ‘…soooo if this guy is yukio’s grandpa….and his dad is satan….this guy is satan’s dad?!?!’ is literally what I thought when I saw this….but then I was like: that’s kinda stupid…

    But wow totally not what I was expecting…haha…

  • August 28, 2011 at 4:11 pmheavensdrive

    Isn’t the grandpa the priest from the intro of episode 1? The guy who was set ablaze on the blue night?

    • August 28, 2011 at 8:59 pmSaangi

      Yeah i know right? If I am not wrong he might be the father of the mother that bore Yukio and Rin.

      • August 29, 2011 at 10:13 amGuardian Enzo

        I dunno – I think he resembles an older, heavier Shiro.

    • August 29, 2011 at 3:58 pmHrmmm

      Spot on catch. I went back to see the similarities in episode 1. Same tufts of hair and similar eye size. What sealed it was the exact same monocle on their left eye.

  • August 28, 2011 at 4:26 pmx

    Looks like it really is anime original from the last few episodes onwards as expected. This was okay. Felt a bit rushed, though no more than previous episodes. Yukio’s changes felt a little forced for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as some of the earlier episodes.

  • August 28, 2011 at 4:35 pmznail

    It’s correct that we are into anime original territory, even more so then the previous episodes as this one had nothing from the manga in it, while their were bits and pieces in the ones before. But this is good as we now have a original side plot that will most likely last until the season ends and then we can have it continue with the manga plot in the next season if sales permit one.

  • August 28, 2011 at 5:41 pmBambi

    So where should I start, Yukio still goes on my nerves, he can’t fire his gun when it’s Neuhaus, but can when it’s his brother, he is getting eaten by his frustration [or by his flames, ohoho!] Rin runs around like an idiot, still not thinking, and the whole plot harasses poor Neuhaus. He is the one to blame every single time, but why? He has such nice eyepatch and lovely extra hands.. oh wait, maybe that’s the reason, never mind. But wasn’t the point of his past story that he killed his family while his body was taken over by Satan? Or maybe I missed something. And I put on my “it’s Christmas! ಥ⌣ಥ” face when Mepphy appeared and almost did something cool. I’m a bit concerned about this first-ep-gradpa-guy (my first thought was “Satan’s father… what?!”)
    After all it really was a good ep, totally enjoyed it : D (anyways I wouldn’t write such long comment)

  • August 28, 2011 at 8:59 pmSaangi

    Hey just to ask did anyone notice that Yukio, in this episode, only wielded his right-hand side gun instead of his trademark dual pistol(which IMO, is awesome)? Looks like the mark on his left is going to affect him adversely. Meanwhile, the candle bit(which was partly taken from the manga) seemed to be more serious than the manga but it was good. On the other hand, this looks like as if the anime is taking an o-RIN-ginal ending with all the anime material and the gigantic conspiracy theories. Not to mention Rin just drawing his sword as and when he fights someone and controlling his flame rather well…(Right now, Show Spoiler ▼

    ) Well, hopefully, they will really animate the season 2 (Sequel or remake[preferably]) true to the manga, can’t wait to see Shiro again.

    On the other hand, Yukio really is falling to the dark side here(Show Spoiler ▼

    ). With all the hatred and stuff, not surprised to see if he does fight Rin in the end. Hoping for no SHITTY endings here. Don’t want it to be a repeat of Pandora Hearts or Claymore.

  • August 29, 2011 at 1:55 amP Ko

    The lack of eyebrows-chan lately is greatly saddening.

    • August 29, 2011 at 11:32 amx

      I think you nailed it. That was what was missing from this episode for me :)

  • August 29, 2011 at 3:01 amDonna

  • August 29, 2011 at 2:41 pmprejsu

    Nice to see my mother tongue used in this awesome series, but if they go to the trouble of writing something in Polish they could at least get it right… I guess it’s easier to translate something with Google Translator than ask someone who actually knows the language;)

  • August 29, 2011 at 4:54 pmShi

    Och,this polish sub is horrible. I’m polish and I don’t know whats there writes. No grammar. should be: Nie popuszczę takiego powiązania z Szatanem. But there is nothing about killing ;/ I apologize for my english ;P

  • August 29, 2011 at 10:42 pmalabaster

    The marks on Yukio’s arm remind me of the curse that was inflicted on Prince Ashitaka of the ghibli film Princess Mononoke. Maybe Yukio’s gonna get godlike killing skills too with that arm of his.

  • August 29, 2011 at 10:44 pmsparky3000

    I look up the name of the old man, it is the match to rin and yukio’s mother’s name. (except they added an “A” at the beginning)