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