「悪魔狩り」 (Akuma-Gari)
“Demon Hunt”

There’s a definite sense of irony to what’s happening on Ao no Exorcist as we enter the final stretch. After all the debate about anime-original material, it looks as if the series would have been better off diverting from the manga sooner.

I base that on the premise that the anime has done – and is doing – a generally good job coming up with original material. I think what we’re seeing now is the prospect of a very interesting and involving anime ending that’s suffering from rushed pacing. I almost got whiplash, things were happening so fast this week – yet that didn’t stop me from being interested and invested in the plot. The episode felt like it flew by and the cliffhanger was pretty agonizing, and those are all signs of a good premise. But it’s all just too much, too fast – it would have worked so much better if there’d been adequate time spend on setting all this up. As it was, the physical events seemed to happen way too quickly and the motivations of the characters – especially Yukio – didn’t feel realistic.

t didn’t take a genius to figure out that Ernst Frederick Egin was a dangerous chap. I’m still not exactly sure how he deposed Benedict and the entire Grigori and took over the whole Vatican operation, but he’s made Yukio a Paladin and put him in charge of the “Operation Jacob’s Ladder”. The goal? To wipe out demonkind in Assiah, open the gate to Gehenna and destroy it using some sort of doomsday weapon called “The Messiah” (heh). I suppose Yukio’s gullibility in getting swept up in all this might be explained by his desperation at seeing himself turning demon – Ernst is promising that once Gehenna is gone both Yukimara twins will return to full humanity, after all. But honestly a ten year-old with above-average intuition could have seen through all that, and I just don’t think Yukio is that stupid. I could see him getting to this point – just not this quickly. As is, the notion of him trying to kill Blackie, coldly eliminating Forest Gods and turning Rin over to Ernst’s goons just seems out of character.

In that light it didn’t come as a surprise to me that Ernst had altogether nastier plans for Rin, family ties (if they really exist) or no. He needs the blood of demons to help open the gate to Gehnna – thus the Transylvanian blood-sucking weapons he makes all exorcists start using – but it’s obvious that he needs Satan’s blood as the final key. So that means Rin is to be executed in rather grisly fashion, on the cross no less (though for PC’s sake, this one is more like a railroad crossing than the true cross). Naturally Yukio is upset when he finds out the truth – and that anger seems to have turned him fully demon, in an ironic twist. But with Rin in the shape he’s in, it might just be too late. This is the week for cliffhanger endings regarding major character deaths, after all – that makes four of them in nine days.

All this is a really good story, in my view – a very interesting twist on the manga plotline and an effective extension of the existing character arcs. The prospect of seeing the child exorcists turned into butchers was every bit as bleak and disturbing as it should have been, and it did an effective job of blurring the lines between good and evil (which were already pretty fuzzy in this series). I just wish it had evolved more organically instead of being shoved down our throats with extreme prejudice. There are three episodes left, so perhaps there’s time to wrap this up in something resembling measured style. Rin is obviously not dead – I mean, come on – and of course Mephisto is still out there, having turned into his Dr. Seuss dog form and escaped the Vatican’s dungeons (leaving Rin behind, I might add – but any dungeon with takoyaki can’t be all bad). I can’t imagine Gehenna being destroyed would do his prospects any good, and he doesn’t seem like the type to accept fate with grace and resignation. And then there’s Shura, doing battle with AAA (is he still a Paladin, with Yukio promoted?). I’m especially interested in their battle, as it appears to present the possibility of his toupee being forcibly removed.

One major disappointment – still no explanation for just who or what Takara is, and what his role in the story is – the important-looking appearance in the preview was just a troll (leave that to HanaIro, Guys). I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t get at least a bone thrown to us on that score.




  1. I’m definitely hoping that Yukio has some kind of ulterior motive behind his actions. Everything he’s been doing lately has felt weirdly out of character. I’m just praying that he doesn’t say that he’s been “corrupted by the darkness” or some crap like that.

  2. I still find it suspicious as to how EFE survived the blue night. Perhaps he was spared by satan to be used to open the gehena gate? Perhaps the opening of the gate was so that satan could come into assiah? The story just gets torn because of how rushed the ending arc is. I miss the old days when good anime would normally span 50 eps.

  3. Really makes me wonder if this series was being animated while it was airing. Like i mean whats with the poor rushed ending. AnEx was delivering epicly at the start…… But this ending is too quick and too rushed…..

  4. I must admit I was disappointed by the rushed pace of it, especially given the slower pace of the anime overall. Yukio’s character development did have some foreshadowing, but like you said, to just go completely cold as to try and kill Blackie, bit of a stretch to willing suspension of disbelief. I also would have liked to seen Rin push Yuki more when he said that he’d exerminate all demons, ask him whether he’d be willing to kill his own brother, for dramatic sake if nothing else. Though a few of the flash-forwards annoyed me the most. For example, Rin being taken out of the dungeon to the cross thingy, you can’t tell me he didn’t put up at least a bit of a struggle, or if not, why? Lied to like Yukio (which is inferred I suppose), knocked unconscious or something just would have been nice for flow sake. And the flash between Yukio being normal then wreathed in blue flames, though next episode should sort to that, so I look forward to that.

    I’m sensing and Abel and Cain theme appearing between Yuki and Rin, and I very much look forward to that along with more of Shura versus AAA and Mephy’s boss drawing skillz. Oh and Hampster!Amaimon, I want a demon-y big damn heroes moment.

  5. I knew this was anime original territory written all over it. The pacing was just too fast. They could have easily made a good arc just by showing how they took over the Vatican. This show had promise but the ending will be bad I’m sure of it. Most anime original endings just plain suck.

  6. What were the four character death cliffhangers? I only know this one (I’m not expecting Rin to die at all, Asahina from Kami-chou (probably dead), Tiger & Bunny (he better not be dead). What’s the last one?

  7. Like everyone else seems to be saying, this was good but rushing messed it up. I sometimes wonder if they even planned this from the beginning, or did they just did the series based on the manga until oops… running out of episodes, need to finish up for an ending, come up with a good ending, oops… not enough time to set it up, cram the plot scenes into remaining episodes, hope viewers won’t notice (yeah right, roll eyes…).

  8. Ugh, I loved this anime earlier, but as soon as it split from the manga I just hate it (which I was half expecting). Oh god this episode was so terrible, Yukio as a Paladin… that is fanfiction material right there, that’s just… stupid. ugh.

    Only 3 more episodes, hopefully they don’t ruin the series any more, this anime original stuff is actually painful to watch.

  9. I have the feeling that the rite in the first episode was for the same purpose as this one, they opened a gate then Satan slaughtered a lot of them, and now they are trying again. Or this was something totally obvious? : D
    Yukio better come out with a good reason.
    I think only one person can have the rank Paladin, so with Yukio being the new one AAA lost his position, I don’t even now why he collaborates with oldguygrandpadunnohisname, it’s totally illogical considering Angel’s huge ego.
    And Rin was right back then: being the Paladin requires ridiculous clothes.

  10. The whole Yuki turning demonic, totally called it about two episode back. However, how this happened seems a lot more interesting than what I had imagined. Anime originals worry me but it does seem to be heading into an interesting road. Poor Yuki~ I hope this grampa turns out to be a fake one! DX

  11. The part with the forest god was so simmilar to the opening sequence of Mononoke, that it can’t possibly be called an parody. That was nothing less than an obvious rip-off. And that’s just cheap.

  12. I was yelling when he attempted to murder Blackie. I really like that kitty, I wish he was a little more important. Anyway, it was obvious that the old man was evil, seriously, is Yukio is suppoused to be smart? I’m pretty sure Rin is fine, but who knows. I hope this ends better than FMA season 1, it was not that bad but after reading the manga, the ending didn’t looked good any more.

  13. I’m thinking of still watching this–I kind of lagged behind. I don’t want to watch the anime-original end because it might counter with the manga, and then I’ll be comparing, and a clash of emotions… but it looks so good!! > A <''

  14. I agree that things feel rushed but this is definitely better than the manga. I was actually concerned that there was no way it would follow the manga to a T with 24 episodes and manage to squeeze in what’s going on there right now (not the most eventful chapters I assure you…) but the anime is actually making me like the series much more than if I were to only read the manga!


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