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Blue Exorcist devil-man

Saturday 18th August 2012

Matt Kamen on anime’s latest devil-man

Blue ExorcistIs it nature or nurture that defines who you are? It’s a deeply philosophical question, and one that Rin Okumura will be asking himself a lot in Blue Exorcist – he’s just learned that he’s one of the sons of Satan. Can this potential Antichrist defy his birthright and become a hero?

Raised by a priest and displaying unusual levels of strength and resilience since infancy, Rin’s upbringing was far from normal. It was actually his good-hearted nature that got him in trouble more often than not, always willing to leap to the defence of an underdog, even if it meant handing out or taking a beating. However, his younger brother Yukio was the complete opposite – frail, shy and studious. Shortly after Yukio leaves on a scholarship to the mysterious True Cross Academy, Rin’s life starts taking a turn for the even stranger. He starts seeing things, impossible creatures that no-one else notices, and soon becomes the target of a powerful demon. Rescued by his adoptive father, Shiro Fujimoto – revealing that his role as priest is largely a cover for his actions as a powerful exorcist – Rin is told the truth of his lineage and presented with the Kurikara, a forbidden blade that seals away his demonic side. When Satan himself tries to manifest on Earth, killing Shiro in the process, Rin draws the blade, awakening his dark powers in full for the first time.

Now permanently marked as a demon, complete with fanged teeth, pointed ears and even a tail, Rin is recruited by the mysterious Mephisto Pheles to become an exorcist to honour Shiro. Charged with protecting the human realm, Assiah, from incursions by the demon world, Gehenna, Rin enrols in the True Cross Academy and is reunited with his brother – now an instructor at the school, after years of secret training in the mystic arts. Overcoming the friction caused by the secrets between them is only the first step the Okumura boys will take on the path to their ultimate goal: destroying Satan and his evil breed forever.

Rin’s struggle to control his new-found powers and dark impulses comes from the twisted mind of manga creator Kazue Kato, her second series following sci-fi action series Robo and Usakichi. Blue Exorcist began development as a planned gothic fairy tale, with a focus on brothers fighting dark monsters. Eventually, Kato dropped the Brothers Grimm elements and reimagined the premise around Christian imagery and mythology. The end result is a series that takes inspiration equally from religious texts and fantasy folklore but puts a modern, horror film spin on both.

Although Kato’s manga is still running in the pages of Shueisha’s monthly Jump Square magazine, the story of the 25-episode anime adaptation closely follows the print version, with early episodes each based on a single chapter. Directed by Tensai Okamura, creator of Darker Than Black, the series blends dark and unsettling moments of crawling terror with brighter high school drama, and plenty of frantic devil-slaying action between.

See Rin and Yukio take their battle to the pit itself in the first half of Blue Exorcist, available in the UK from Manga Entertainment.

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Blue Exorcist devil-man


Blue Exorcist Part 1 Episodes 1-13

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The Devil's Son Fights Back!
Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth, the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin's veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won't be easy, especially when drawing his father's sword releases the demonic power within him!




Jeremy Graves dispels the demons of doubt
Jeremy Graves dispels the demons of doubt in the definitive edition.

Blue Exorcist

Andrew Osmond has a devil of a time explaining this one
Mouthy, shouty Rin Okamura is the blue exorcist of the title. He’s so-called because he burns with blue fire when he unleashes his powers… because he’s Satan’s son! Luckily he’s had a sound upbringing, raised by a kindly priest-cum-exorcist warrior. Traumatised to learn he’s a real demon child, Rin angrily spurns his human “father,” and inadvertently… Well, we won’t give it away, but it’s not good. Horrified by what he’s done, Rin barges into the mountain-sized True Cross Academy to learn exorcism and “Kick Satan’s ass!” His teacher, he’s amazed to find, is his studious, gifted and non-demonic twin brother Yukio. We meet Rin’s fellow students, all ignorant of his nature, and he and we start getting to know them.

Blue Exorcist versus Buso Renkin

If you liked that... you might like this
One advantage of Blue Exorcist over some other supernatural/fight anime is that it doesn’t run for hundreds of episodes. Instead, it accommodates plenty of twists and transformations in just 26 parts (including one video). The same is true of Buso Renkin, an older show in a similar vein, available from Manga Entertainment in a single box set.

Blue Exorcist: the Movie

Melissa Francis on the hell-spawn creature-feature
If we look back at the 25 episodes of the TV series, Blue Exorcist: The Movie seemed more cohesive in comparison – there were certainly less of those ‘for the hell of it’ moments (no pun intended) and more well-connected, relevant events.


Robocop vs Anime Cyborgs

Andrew Osmond on the history of man-machine interfaces
RoboCop is thrown into interesting perspective by looking at his anime cousins. In Japan, RoboCop is one of a crowd. Two of anime’s greatest poster icons – Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell and Tetsuo in Akira – are or become cyborgs. Moreover, a man-turned-robot was an anime hero back in 1963. We’re talking about 8th Man, shown in America as Tobor the Eighth Man. It’s a policeman who, yes, gets murdered by a crime gang, then resurrected in a robot body.

Fairy Tail Music: Daisy x Daisy

Tom Smith on Fairy Tail Part 7’s opening theme
Little Mika still has a long way to go, but since signing to Pony Canyon she has managed to have a crack at the anime universe, featuring heavily in one series in particular; Fairy Tail.

Cosplay Winners

Paul Jacques' pictures from the best of London's Comicon...
It's taken a while to shift through the paperwork and read all your indecipherable handwriting, but we've finally managed to sift through the London Comicon cosplay pictures and pick out our winners from a fantastic bunch. And with no further ado...

Princess Mononoke

Andrew Osmond celebrates Miyazaki’s green movie on Blu-ray
In Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, the hero is a warrior youth in a mythical, medieval “Japan” not yet a nation; rather it’s a fantasy bordering on Middle-Earth and the Wild West.

Who's Who in Dragon Ball #2

Continuing our round-up of the usual suspects
Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth? Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!


It's back on the magic carpet for the second box set
In the aftermath of the Balbadd storyline, Alibaba and Aladdin must move on, stopping over in the lively kingdom of their ally Sinbad, before being obliged to enter another dungeon.

Nura Rise of the Yokai Music: LM.C

Tom Smith on the rise of the UK clan
LM.C are amongst a very elite type of Japanese musician. The clan they belong to is so exclusive that its numbers barely reach into the double digits. And its members are also a diverse bunch, including a guitar legend named Tomoyasu Hotei, a boiler-suited new-wave trio called POLYSICS, to a dark, heavy noise making machine dubbed Dir en grey. There’s even pop goddess Hikaru Utada in there too to balance things out.

Assassin's Creed: The Manga

What's been added to the Black Flag spin-off comic?
You can never go wrong with pirates. There’s the romance of the open sea, and the rebellion of taking what you want, and the adventure of looking for buried treasure. And in the Japanese magazine Monthly JumpX, there is the massive marketing synergy of being able to put Assassin’s Creed IV on the cover.

Godzilla: Too Soon?

When is it okay for a real-life disaster to become entertainment?
How soon is too soon? The question’s raised by the new Godzilla trailer, the first half of which seems to be all about recreating traumatic events as fantasy, just three years after they occurred. Specifically, the trailer opens with a disaster at a Japanese power station, before segueing into images of a giant wave sweeping into a town with devastating force. Both images seem less ripped than Xeroxed from the headlines of March 2011, when northern Honshu (Japan’s mainland) was struck by an earthquake which caused a tsunami, killing thousands, and the meltdown at Fukushima.

Anime on iTunes

Discover a whole new world of anime on your tablet or phone
There's a whole bunch of Manga Entertainment titles available for direct download on the iTunes site, including Shinji Aramaki's Appleseed, Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children, and K-on: The Movie.
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