As suspected last week, Mephisto was indeed behind everything, and I had a hunch that it was to test his powers. I didn’t forsee the test being the Esquire exam as well, but that was a nice touch. The whole exam thing gave me the common FMA vibes I already get from this show, which was furthered along with Rin being tested as a weapon for the Academy. But seriously, those two weirdos passed the exam without appearing to do anything. I’m onto you plot. They secretly did some crazy stuff in the background like the geniuses they are right? All Death Note style.
This episode made it pretty obvious to me that Rin and Yukio are far more interesting and better thought out than the rest of the cast, with Shiemi coming up in a close second (I’m not sure how much Hanazawa has an influence on this thought though). Hence, this was a good episode. Yukio’s first meeting with Shiemi not only told of their past and a little bit of Yukio’s first struggles, but related that even now, Yukio thinks his brother is better than him despite all of his own achievements. Both Rin and Yukio self-deprecate themselves but admire the other, and it’s a great dynamic that feels warm and fuzzy to me. Yes, not exactly the most professional description, but that’s how it is. Yukio thinks Rin can always do things he can’t, like Rin actually being the one to convince Shiemi to be an Exorcist, and I’d like to respond to that with a, “no shit.” Everyone can do everything the other can’t, it’s called being human. Of course that’s not a knock on the writing, because I feel in some way it’s meant to be flawed, so Yukio can figure out later that he’s just as awesome as his brother. Plus, Rin was just in the “wrong” place at the right time. If Yukio got hurt instead, the situation would be reversed.
Exorcist has been a delight for the past few episodes, and I get so many good-hearted laughs out of it (this is rare), but I do think the development could be a bit faster. I want to say that they should’ve condensed the last six or so episodes into three, but that’s simply a problem with the material they had to work with in the first place. Characters like Izumi shouldn’t require two episodes to develop what makes her a cliche, because that’s not how you properly use cliches. They should’ve been as fast as Neuhaus-sensei, because having a simple flashback and one episode using half the screentime would be more than enough to describe Izumi’s character development so far. It’s hard to say now because that’s how the story’s been structured, so I can’t really see Izumi’s story unfolding otherwise, but eh. I’d say there should’ve been less focus on her past overall, and left it as a mystery that she slowly unveils with dialogue over a bunch of episodes, but I think I mentioned this last post.
The story itself could also lend to be more dense with material, because so far the things we’ve learned about can be counted on two hands. There’s not enough material in each episode to feel full after watching it sometimes, which goes back to why I want the development to make haste. Despite that, a huge part of the story that was done right that I’ve repeated a couple times now is the setting and lore behind everything. Case in point this episode, with Neuhaus busting out hands from his own arms, the gritty nature of the battles, cute twists on typical things like holy water canisters, and to top it off, superb animation that create surprisingly enticing fights (like how every fight in Yu Yu Hakusho was actually interesting). It’s an example of some excellent imagination, and I think this is what makes Exorcist shine above the rest in its genre (and why it got an anime, though better later arcs may be the prime reason). Next week appears to show more of that with “Cat Sith”, a lovable looking demon.