「嚆矢濫觴」 (Koushiranshou)
“Small Beginnings”

Back into the fray five years later, and halfway through the previous season. Ao no Exorcist is back.

Before anything else, a disclaimer: I haven’t read the manga, and it’s been so long since I saw the original anime that I don’t really remember all of what happened. So, when it comes to commenting on how this has or has not followed either the source material or the previous season, I’m working on borrowed information. It looks like Kyoto Fujouou-Hen is beginning after the events of episode fifteen, though feel free to correct me if that’s incorrect. I do know that it’s discarding most of the anime original second half of the first season, which, even though I remember enjoying it—not being a manga reader has its advantages—is probably good since I’m told it would contradict the upcoming manga content. As for the details, you’ll have to ask someone else. That ain’t my bag, baby.

Now, looking past the meta narrative and focusing on what actually happened during the episode, all cylinders are certainly firing from the get-go. The difficulty of picking up an adaptation after half a decade is getting old viewers like me up to speed, and maybe bringing new ones on board. On those counts, I give Kyoto Fujouou-hen a solid B+ on bringing old viewers up to speed, and a C on giving new viewers an entry point. Which are fine grades, to be clear—it might sound like I’m bagging on it for not being kind to new viewers, but that’s a story decision, and providing an entry point for new viewers would risk boring old viewers/manga readers. Ao no Exorcist is popular enough not to need that. If you wanna know what’s going on, watch episodes 1-15(ish) of the original season. It’s fun stuff.

As for bringing old, forgetful viewers like me back on board—I just realized I’m talking about another part of the meta narrative, but SHUT UP that’s what I do—this first episode did a good job. I like that they started off with some action, with references to Son of Satan Okumura Rin
(Okamoto Nobuhiko) losing control in the previous (canon) episode, but they didn’t get bogged down in it. Only later, when we already had our plot hook and even had some drama from Rin’s ever-serious brother, Okumura Yukio (Fukuyama Jun), did they go into why the heck everyone was being so awkward around Rin, and catching us up on what went down after the battle where he lost control. I was still confused on a few points as I was watching the episode, but picking things up mid-arc after half a decade will do that.

The nice thing is that they mostly accomplished that goal, probably—once again, I haven’t read the manga, so I’m mostly guessing—so it’s on to the action now! Plenty of character drama is calling, as is a new mission. The thing I love about Ao no Exorcist, even above and beyond many other shounen series, is the characters; no one is pointless, no one is wasted, everyone has a role. It’s kind of like Tokyo Ravens in that, now that I think about it, though probably better done on the whole. What is it about these exorcist shows? I dunno, but I like it.

I don’t know if I’ll cover this, or if someone else will cover it, but either way, it’s good to have Ao no Exorcist back. It’s also good to see someone stand up for Rin—you go, Izumo-chan (Kitamura Eri)! It’s a damn sight better to just get it all out there instead of letting the cloud fester. I can’t wait to see how they all come back together as a team in the end. Woohoo!

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Why I never give characters temporary names, Conflicted feelings on the Electoral College, Voting Reform: Single Transferable Vote, and They didn’t feel heard. I don’t feel heard. This is a problem.


OP Sequence

OP: 「一滴の影響」 (Itteki no Eikyou) by UVERworld



  1. Well, I am pretty much in the same boat as you – not remembering much after all those years and having not read the manga at all, so there’s not much I can say about this episode, it was a nice re-introduction, I suppose. Also, the OP is pretty awesome ^^

  2. I did read the manga and I loved the Kyoto arc but it’s been so long it took a while for my brain to re-adjust to things.

    Don’t judge me, I laughed when that little boy ran under the tape barrier and immediately got caught by the bad guy. Useless child.

  3. Man, this is like Black Butler Book of Circus all over again (only difference is that AO Exorcists original content was actually enjoyable). It took me a while to realize this season actually happened in the middle of the 1st season. I was confused why people were still apprehensive/pissed at Rin for being Satan’s son. Then I was like “Oh yeah…with the last part of the 1st season not happening, all that character development got deleted” The main thing I’m glad they undid was what they “Did” to Yukio back then if you guys remember. That was….a major plot obstruction if they ever decided to continue on the anime from the manga.

    1. That doesn’t quite work because some important stuff from the manga (Rin’s trial) and some not-so-important stuff (Rin training with Yukio and Shura in the batting cages) happen in episodes 16 and 17, mixed with original material that doesn’t line up with how season two begins. I think you should watch those two episodes before starting season two, but skip any scene that doesn’t feature Rin.

  4. So this series of episodes will take place about halfway through the first season? I was a little surprised when I was watching the episode… as I remember them clearly coming to terms that they would be fighting with the spawn of Satan.

    1. That’s exactly why they jettisoned the anime original stuff. It contradicts the drama central to the character development that’s going to happen in this.

      Personally, I don’t think they did a good job giving new viewers a good place to latch on here. If you’re going to pick up something a decade later and toss out half the original content, you should probably look to do like FMA: Brotherhood and dedicate a couple of eps to recapping how everything got to the current point you want to be focusing on.

      1. Yar, I said as much in the post that they didn’t give a great place for new viewers to step in. For old viewers, fine enough.

        And Brotherhood didn’t do a recap, they just started over. Most anime don’t have the budget that FMA was given though, and anime aren’t greenlit for that many episodes anymore. Alas.

  5. The retcon was a nice touch considering the anime-original ending was 100% ass and 0% anything else.

    As someone who’s read part of the manga this episode didn’t feel like the first episode of a show at all. It felt like a continuation of the episode before, aside from the sharper quality. So I guess that’s nice, if that was what they were going for. Though it’s a little unsettling to be thrown into this new series 6 years with such an abrupt opening and expect to transition into it as smoothly as they want us to.

  6. So if you guys weren’t aware yet, this takes place in the MIDDLE of last season and branches off into a separate line of events from the anime filler ending. Too bad the episode was NOT clear on telling you this. I only had to read online comments about it to figure that out. As a result, Rin is still at the beginning of his training, his classmates still don’t completely trust him, Shiemi is still nervous around him.

  7. I was able to check out the original anime along with skim though the manga up until this point (a bit past so a little spoiled, but whatever). As Stilts noted, the show’s staff is in a bit of damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Long time from the original series plus sort of a retcon of that since the original anime went 100% anime only past episode 15 or so. Tough situation, but I think they made the right call.

    As Uribatake noted above, they leave out a bit from the manga :/, but in general I’d be surprised if manga fans were unhappy with the presentation. Material cuts can potentially be bad, but that may be a one-off case, and I thought they did a good job with what was presented.

    Still, if you watched the anime/read the manga long ago, then yeah, it does just jump right into the action, and not until the end does it remind viewers/readers of some important details like why there’s a big rift in the group. Can’t fault the order of doing things though so. Again, thought they made the right call here, and I agree with Stilts. Maybe not perfect, but certainly good enough.

    However, if you’re new to this series… I’d either go back and watch the first 15 episodes of the original anime or just go through the manga and stop when you get to the events of this episode. Personally, I could not even give it a “C” for new anime only viewers. There’s no real setup to the story at all. Would not ding the show for it though because while non-standard (i.e. from 3/5 of the way into the original series rather than the end), it still is a continuation/sequel, and thus valid for the show to expect viewers have some idea of the story going into this season. Nothing different from any other sequel IMO.

    I’m in.

  8. Damn, this episode didn’t make a good work telling you what is going on in accordance to what happened in first season. As few people mentioned it, looks like we need to forget the ‘filler part’ of first season (which for me as not being a manga reader, wasn’t that bad). I don’t really remember what happened back then, since it was 6 years ago (!), so I think the best way to handle this season is knowing basic stuff like Rin got freaked out and everyone sees him as freaking kid of Satan. And nothing more is needed.

    Despite not telling where exactly are we in plot now, first episode went pretty good, going straight into action and not worrying about introductory stuff (OP handles it well enough). I don’t really have high expectations for this as I never was a big fan of Ao no Exorcist, but enjoyed it back then. All I hope is that we will receive nice action-packed season with quality animation, no worries for soundtrack as Hiroyuki Sawano is behind the wheel, and Uverworld featuring in the OP.


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