「天空の庭」 (Amahara no Niwa)
“The Amahara Garden”

If there’s any episode that didn’t scream “I’m a shounen,” it’d be this one. This was THE token episode all shounens seem to have, a self-contained story with simple values, and a good helping of “heart.” Throw in some back and forth yelling where the one that yells the loudest wins the moral argument, and you’ve got today’s Ao no Exorcist.

The structure isn’t what’s wrong with these kind of stories shounens keep doing, but the relying on a dry set of words to craft an emotional background for three characters contained in one episode hardly cuts it as “emotionally moving.” Well why does it have to be emotionally moving? Because that’s the only way it would even make a point. This storyline was solely created to push out a new character that will seem to follow the cast, explain some things about demons, and also as a bonus, let Rin reflect on his actions that was made to seem like he was an age old troubled soul dealing with a father’s death. And to that end, it wobbled across the finish line like me currently running several hundred meters, half dead. Moriyama Shiemi (oh you know who this is) is in essence a huge guilt trip over something that wasn’t really her fault no matter how you look at it. The grape vine thing falling over the grandma actually made me chuckle because of an earlier scene depicting the mess first. I was thinking, “it’d be funny if that was actually what killed the grandma.” That really killed the mood. Shiemi also reasons that if she didn’t go out searching for All Blue the flower version, she could’ve saved her grandma’s life, despite the fact that her grandma is the one fervently telling her to go find it in the first place. The irony is just staggering.

Now, it’s either a shoddy scenario, or it could require more episodes, but it wouldn’t really be wise to go off on a tangent on what’s ultimately an irrelevant story. Despite the issues, I was still emotionally stirred by the end, if only because I share a strong bond with my own mother, so maybe the show doesn’t even deserve credit for that. You can’t rely on sympathy alone because you don’t know all the people watching the show, so everything else must be crafted towards creating empathy. I’ve never lost a father to Satan before, but I sure as hell almost shed a tear for Rin’s tragic loss because I really believed Rin was suffering (a large part always banks on voice acting too). Naturally I liked all the characters and wanted to feel their problems, but when push came to shove, it just wasn’t able to come together in the pivotal scenes due to some odd emotional reasoning I couldn’t ignore. One thing that does keep me enjoying myself throughout is the whimsical nature of the jokes, and the “older brother is actually not as mature as the younger” quirk gets me every time, despite FMA owning that from top to bottom years ago.

Exorcist certainly isn’t turning out to be as sweeping as the prologue, a definite disappointment for myself. That’s not to say there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, because there still is, and it’s shining rather brightly with the rest of the cast finally being introduced next episode. I think they’re actually going to follow the same, “introduce character, delve into his past, reflect on main character” thing again next week too… I’m admittedly a little worried how the story’s going to juggle multiple characters when it can barely handle more than two. The strong ratings for the manga give a glimmer of hope that the author does/eventually knows what he’s doing, so my faith will hang around there for now.




  1. “Exorcist certainly isn’t turning out to be as sweeping as the prologue, a definite disappointment for myself”
    I know what you mean Kiiragi :/
    The first couple of episodes had such an impact on me (especially because Keiji Fujiwara is so awesome) that the last two felt some what lackluster in comparison. It is still a great show, but I really hope they pick things up 🙂

    1. Yeah, I definitely thought it would be some super action series where they were fighting satan’s army every episode in these intense battles….in then they went to school and I knew I was wrong

  2. Actually, I personally felt that this episode wasn’t as bad or cliche as you’ve put it. Certainly it’s got elements to it that seem rather repetitive in stories of the similar genre, but I think that sometimes if everything is dramatic/tear-jerking, it takes away from the moments in the story that are suppose to have a strong response (basically over-saturation).

    It’s not that…emotional but it’s just sort of a simple story to keep us tied over & introduce a new character. In that respect, I’d say it fulfills it’s job rather well & even though it’s not as…heavy as the 2nd episode (which was a masterpiece), it’s nice to simply sit back & take in the small bits when they come.

    Besides, after episode 2, all they did in episode 3 was introduce more of the setting. I highly suspect that this episode and perhaps the next will be to “ease us” into the main plot line, sort of like a type of transition

    1. C’mon there were tears all over this story. I can’t excuse it for not trying hard enough because there’s apparently some reason it didn’t need to. What you’re talking about is exposition. Only exposition gets that excuse. This wasn’t it.

      1. I REALLY can’t see this episode as trying to be a tearjerker. It’s just a little bit of emotion to bring the story a bit of life. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to give the anime the benefit of the doubt but I still believe that the entire thing will turn out much better than the average shounen show

  3. I can’t wait for the next episode, though I can’t help but feel that this show is simply this season’s shonen show. I hope to god that better things come from this anime.

    That said, it’s nice to see some new characters being introduced. I also think that Rin realizes that he’s not the only one in the world who’s lost somebody important. Yay for character development!

    Btw, check out my blog where I’ll be reviewing some anime as well! http://aniphiles.wordpress.com

  4. There’s one thing we have to bear in mind when watching Ao no Exorcist… THIS IS NO FMA and nothing out there can even come close to its epicness!!!
    Still on the fence on whether this is a step-up or step-down from Star Driver…

    1. Star Driver’s FABULOUS, but goes for an entirely different angle (I’m also expecting an OVA since there’s just so much potential for one…) which is why it’s difficult to compare the two

      I see Exorcist more like Soul Eater. Didn’t like how Soul Eater ended so I’m hopeful that this one will be the Soul Eater I never got…

  5. Girl, gap, troubles and a demon inside her, throw in a kiss at the end and the
    kaketama should- wait.

    They introduce a character, share their burdens/reflect with the hero and an enemy for the climax, all in all it’s probably something we’ve seen in almost every type of story but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Yes, I agree that this formula is basically the staple of any type of storytelling but I must say that the characters really do make the difference which results to me just overlooking the clichés. It more or less comes down to how the audience connects with the plot or if they even bother to.

    Rin is awesome.

  6. “I think they’re actually going to follow the same, “introduce character, delve into his past, reflect on main character” thing again next week too… I’m admittedly a little worried how the story’s going to juggle multiple characters when it can barely handle more than two.”

    Yes, they follow the formula but they do it excellently in the manga. The author really knows what he is doing and judging from 4 episodes in anime, the director looks like he knows what he’s doing too. So I believe this will not disappoint you. The plot will thicken after 2-3 episodes.

  7. You were dead on the money. This episode was so bland. It was like I was watching an old Naruto episode when he was still a little kid. I’m hoping for more from this series then what they showed us this week.

  8. It might have not been as splendid as the previous episodes, I still enjoyed it very much since I tend to bond with the characters alot. I’m the type to cry my eyes out when a show ends because I won’t be able to see new things about them. That way, I don’t really focus that much on plot, and just on the characters I like…

    I don’t know if that makes sense.

  9. Another great Mother’s Day episode. I thought Astarotte no Omocha had that covered but this was touching also. :’] As Shiemi’s mother spoke about her daughter’s attachment to her grandmother in the shop, I could see how much Rin was applying himself to it all. I actually pictured Shiemi and Rin bonding before they actually started well.. bonding. Speaking of which..

    Shiemi’s wishy-washy smile was one of a kind and Rin fell for it instantly. On a darker note, the way her grandmother died was, and still is, frighteningly realistic. Unlike what happened with Fujimoto but just as powerful. Gripping viewers emotionally like this..?
    I can see the tears now. 😐

  10. Well , you should take note that this is Shounen after all. It’s still very well constructed and who knows, something awesome might happen later on.

    Well I enjoyed this episode. I don’t think you should keep expecting totally awesome things like the one in episode 2 but nothing’s stopping you to because they might just pull one up later.

  11. For me Show Spoiler ▼

    Also for some reason this show reminds me off Mx0 manga.

  12. I have never seen an anime in which all the episodes were equally good, I mean after an episode like the second was, you can’t expect something that epic again. Anyways, the author is a ‘she’, and I really like the director, so let’s see what’s next. 🙂
    Kiiragi, you haven’t read the manga, right? I think you will be even more down with the thing sometimes : D [[unless Okamura Tensai does his job as well as he has done before]]

  13. Well, the reason I thought this would be a hit is because the show screams shounen, though you could pretty much use the same ointment on another aching back and still get the same result. What I mean is that the shounen treatment generally pulls in a lot of viewers, despite the older fans’ weariness and cynicism.

    It’s a shame though, that the theme is more or less the same as D.Gray-Man’s, but DGM ended up not being as shonen as I thought it would, which is good by the way. There’s room here for a straight-faced action series with religious/occult themes peppered with comedic sequences a la Full Metal Alchemist considering that it’s the same team behind it, but is it going to deliver I wonder?

  14. The first two episodes had me so emotionally invested in Rin and Fujimoto, but this episode did pretty much nothing for me. Maybe it would’ve been better if they introduced Shiemi and let us get to know her, then delved into her backstory? I wasn’t moved by the mother/daughter issue because it wasn’t really shown to us either, and just told to us via the mother’s narration. I want to like Shiemi – she’s adorable! – but this wasn’t the best way to introduce her. This episode really did feel like it was just thrown in arbitrarily.

    I’m still really looking forward to the next episode, though. And hnng, Okamoto’s voice acting.

  15. For some reason this show is reminding me of Soul Eater more and more. The school and city are already like Shinigami Academy and the Art style feels very similar as well.

    This show is starting to become too much of a Shounen cliche for me, but it is still interesting enough to keep my attention for a few more episodes. I’m sure if I hadn’t watched so many shows before I’d like this show more.

  16. Yeah, the presentation of the “main” characters goes first, then it starts to get interesting. It’ll move a bit better after two more episodes (at least). There’ll be more action too.

  17. I actually didn’t think it was that bad. Sure, the grandma dieing from the grapevine completely killed my hard-on, but I really like how the relationship between parent and child and filial piety are becoming recurring themes throughout the series.

  18. I actually liked this episode, despite the fact that certain scenes DID feel rushed and as a result lost some of their emotional impact. Even though Shiemi’s guilt over being the cause of her grandma’s death seemed somewhat out of place, I was still really sad during the scene when Shiemi found out that her grandma had died. 🙁 Also, as Bambi said, the mangaka is a woman. 😀

    One more thing, 2PM’s PV for ‘Take Off’ was released recently! 😀 I really hope that it’ll be posted on here because that will make many fangirls (including me!) very happy. 🙂

  19. i just thought yukio was badass in this episode other than that it was a sweet episode. We can’t expect every episode to be as thrilling as the 2nd because let’s tell the truth that was EPIC. Just enjoy the basic parts and the EPIC parts will be a lot more savory.

    Azul Flamed Samurai
  20. Wasn’t the best episode (I really didn’t feel much of anything plot wise), but Rin being Rin more then makes up for it. That stupid grin and tsundere blush will probably keep me in this for the rest of series. It’s been a while since I liked a protagonist this much.

  21. Just saying, the manga began to pick up after this. so it shouldn’t be too long before the anime does. Only problem with that theory is that the manga still isnt very far along, Id say good choice of manga for a anime. But Id have waited. They really aren’t even past the first arc yet in the 24 chapters I’ve read… =/


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