「秘密の花園」 (Himitsu no Hanazono)
“Secret Garden”

Take a good studio, add a good director, throw in some good characters and an ongoing manga and what do you get? From the looks of things, the potential for a very good anime-original ending that just might satisfy some very nervous fans.

I really have nothing but good things to say about this episode. It worked very well both as a stand-alone story and as a setup for this new route the anime appears to be taking. This was the most effective use of Shiemi since her introduction, a very fine and balanced portrayal of where Rin in his development, and an involving story that made Professor Nehaus a somewhat sympathetic character. Like that other shounen manga that had an anime-original ending the first time around, resurrection of the dead is the ultimate taboo in Ao no Exorcist – only this time it’s the Vatican enforcing the rules. With his wife dead and as the head of an artificial life lab, not even Nehaus was willing to cross that line for his dear Michelle, but apparently someone did – as she ended up walking around, attracting spiders and donning a mask to seek revenge against Satan for killing her family (and her).

The other storyline playing out concerns Ernst Frederick Egin (Toshihiko Miki) the man who claims to be Yukio and Rin’s maternal Grandfather. He has a scarred face and claims he was burned on the Blue Night, the same night his daughter – and the boys’ mother – Yuri was killed. But if all this is to be believed it wasn’t at the hands of Satan, but the Vatican, who burned his daughter as a witch for giving birth to the twins and imprisoned Ernst for 15 years. Now, out of the goodness of his heart, he’s come to take Yukio in because Mephistopheles has been arrested – though there’s apparently no room at the inn for Rin. Color me skeptical, but I don’t buy it. I’m skeptical of Ernst’s motives, if not his very identity – the guy wants more than to recruit Yukio to his cause (fighting what he says is the corrupted Order of the True Cross) and protect the brothers.

But then, I think a Fox Mulder philosophy is the appropriate one for AoEx at this point – trust no one. Everyone has their own agenda, and probably a selfish one at that – Ernst, Mepphy, The Grigori, probably even Shura. It’s a dangerous world for Rin and Yukio, and even if Yukio appears to be working for his “Grandfather” I’m not convinced he’s not doing it as a ruse. What we don’t know, among other things, is how Ernst supposedly was freed and better yet, how he’s managed to depose the Grigori and seemingly take all church authority into his own hands. My gut tells me of all the dubious parties vying for power at the moment, Ernst is the most dangerous.

As to the fate of Nehaus and Michelle, it’s clouded, but I suspect their part in the anime has ended apart from the matter of who quickened her. Shiemi’s green men helped them escape apparently, but she was wounded and Igor had already conceded she was nothing but an animated corpse, with little time left to her. I suspect their search for the Garden of Amahara means joining each other in death. Michelle’s interactions with Shiemi were lovely, especially since this was really the first time we’ve seen Shiemi in all her naïve, innocent glory for quite a while. it was nice to see her childlike joy at meeting another who knew of the Garden of Amahara. Her green men were quite the scene stealers, too, helping to save Michelle and even – in the form of what looks suspiciously like an Ent – to carry her. Rin coming to Michelle’s defense in the end might have been in deference to Shiemi’s wishes to some extent, but I also think his natural instinct to protect the weak guided him here. The Vatican – both in terms of The Order and Ernst’s group – is more and more looking like the real bad guys in a series when we’ve seen no evidence of Satan’s direct involvement since the first few eps. And AAA looking more than a glorified Yakuza hitman than a real Paladin.

With four eps left, I think it’s very possible A-1 and Okamura-sensei could give us a very convincing and emotionally satisfying ending. Hopefully it will be that, and one that doesn’t close the door on a continuation in two or three years to boot. As for next week, it appears as if Takara (Bunny-kun) may finally get in on the action at long last.




  1. I assume that this is gonna end with a killing off of Anime original characters and a return to the status quo. This is, of course, to set up the eventual S2 and return to the manga storyline.

  2. “Take a good studio, add a good director, throw in some good characters and an ongoing manga and what do you get? From the looks of things, the potential for a very good anime-original ending that just might satisfy some very nervous fans.”….. I hear what your saying EnZO! and i agree with ur opinion. as myself being one of those who hasn’t really partook of the manga “other than to see if that snake sword bikini chick boobs look different in pencil paper form” i haven’t read it,,,and I’m still enjoying it. it’s like when i watched that show..umm? Tokyo shososickndudj…i don’t remember the name but it had a lead character that eventually got his eye scared for the sake of the girl he liked, while she was bent on trying to save yumi?? or a girl who went to the dark side….his favorite chick controlled a big white demon dog thingy…if that helps any…ANYWAY!! my point is “through this rambling” is that i never read the manga before i watched the series “both parts..which ended inconclusivly” and yet I enjoyed it immensely! TRUE i was hankering for the CONCLUSION..a bit of closure. but i still felt they did a good quality job…i guess these things happen occasionally ,,you know? heh, like winning the lotto

    BROOKLYN otaku
  3. In the context of the way the series is going, I guess it’s a good follow-up and full of action. However, comparing it against the manga… sigh. The characters are much more cardboard in the anime, but that is covered up with fights and good animation.


    In the manga, Rin is afraid of losing his mind and can’t even draw his sword. In the anime, Rin jumps to draw his sword and continues to be rash and uncontrolled.

    In the manga, Yukio is very aware of what is right and wrong, he just has many insecurities that manipulators can exploit. In the anime, he seems to have lost this ability to judge right and wrong.

    Those were the biggest things that annoyed me, but it’s because I love the manga a lot.

  4. I have my doubts as to that being the last we will see of Nehaus and Michelle. Aside from who resurrected her, there is also that scene where she gave Nehaus a key. Or is that an insignificant detail.

  5. For an anime original, this was good. It felt a little rushed, but I can understand why, specially when there’s only four more episodes left. This turn out to be a much more enjoyable anime than I first thought. Though I find their music/song choices not to my liking :p

  6. GE even though you really liked this ep, I think it was pretty cool in terms of the plot but the characters (all of them except Yukio, Shura and the members of the vatican) were all so stupid and what they did made no sense. I mean Shiemi told Rin not attack Michelle right after the woman put scissor on her neck. Not the most realistic reaction. And then immediately afterwords Rin tries to defend Michelle from the Vatican when a minute ago he tried to kill her, because the Vatican are intruding on Shiemi’s house. And then Michelle who spent the last ep trying to kill everything important to Rin goes and takes a bullet (which probably wouldn’t even scratch him) for him so we can all have a little sentimental moment. The only thing good was that the plot moved forward from Yukio’s side and Shura had some common sense. Why are the protogantists of most shounen-actions so stupid (FMA the only exclusion)?

    1. Actually, I could see both Shiemi and Rin behaving that way. Shiemi is pretty trusting and naive anyway, and she was over the moon that Michelle had actually heard of the Garden of Amahara. And once Rin knew Shiemi wanted to protect Michelle, that would motivate him to do it too – and I really don’t think it’s in Rin’s nature to stand by while a Vatican bully kills an unconscious woman.

  7. While Yukio was chatting with the old guy I was screaming in myself like “You don’t talk to (masked) strangers! Even if he says that he’s your grandpa! You don’t even know where that train goes!”

  8. I’m pretty sure Mephisto is a good guy. Shiro trusted him, and in any kind of heroic shounen tale, the guy that the old wise dead guy/fatherly figure trusted can be trusted as well. Take Dumbledore trusting Snape as an example.

  9. I don’t know. I just feel like this show seemed a lot better in the beginning when people were getting possessed and all that. Now that they’re making it up as they go along they just seem to be getting pretty generic and while it is decent it just doesn’t seem like the same show I started watching 20 weeks ago.


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