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Watch & Learn: BLUE EXORCIST #1

You know, THE EXORCIST really was missing chibi gags.

Flaming katanas and gangsta-style shooting are just what this genre was missing.
Flaming katanas and gangsta-style shooting are just what this genre was missing.

Here’s another show to demonstrate how subs aren’t always the answer. The scene introducing the two brothers and their subsequent heart-to-heart over bandaging had some of the most painfully on-the-nose dialog I’ve encountered in a long time. Seriously, the characters are just rattling off all these details they should all be well aware of - - “It’s like we’re opposites!” - - and it could’ve been conveyed just as well (or better, even) without any dialog. And how hard would it have for the kid to explain that he was chasing some kind of wild animal through the store instead of that nonsense about a “monkey-faced guy.” Was he not wearing his glasses or something? Was that why he wasn't sure?

There was also the matter of them referring to the priest as “Dad.” Slap my wrist with a ruler if I’m wrong, but I don’t’ think any branch of Catholicism lets the clergy adopt kids in that personal a fashion. I’d almost guess that they were meant to refer to him as “father” and, thus, that might’ve been a case of the translation team outsmarting themselves by thinking that was too formal a term for hip young dudes to be using for their guardian.

Look, I’m not seriously expecting an anime to be absolutely accurate to Catholic doctrine, but I honestly get the impression that this was dreamed up by some mangaka who saw THE EXORCIST (or one its many rip-offs) for the first time only a little while back and then felt strongly that it was missing chibi and super-moves. It’s kind of a shame, because the intro with the ritual gone wrong was actually rather gripping, but the whole thing takes a nose dive right about when the window cleaners (?) start filling us on the guys’ entire life stories in the space of two minutes.

I think I’ll pass on BLUE EXORCIST. Somebody needs to introduce this kid to Daimon Hellstrom, though. They’d have plenty of common ground.

Watch this episode "The Devil Resides in Human Souls" below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

Lurkeroon Oct. 23, 2011 at 6:17 a.m.

I watched the first couple episodes of Blue Exorcist. It didn't seem like a show that would take me away from the big 3 shonen at all. Characters and setup much too generic for me to get in to right now.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 23, 2011 at 6:33 a.m.

I wonder why you have a problem with a priest adopting children (Is that forbidden? I'm not Catholic, but I would think giving children a family, even if you are a priest, is OK) but you don't have a problem with a priest batting evil.

Window cleaners? Are you talking about the other priest (or bishops or whatever) in the church? They know the kids as well. This feels like you half-watched it.

I watched the whole thing. I liked it a lot. I think it's as entertaining as a Bleach or Naruto. I'd come back for season 2.

ComicMan24on Oct. 23, 2011 at 7:20 a.m.

I watched it recently. It was a nice show. It started off quite strong even though it slowed down later with all the school stuff but fortunately it picked up in the end. I wish the protagonist was screaming less and some more thinking wouldn't hurt him but it didn't really bother me that much.

kemuri07on Oct. 23, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.

" but the whole thing takes a nose dive right about when the window cleaners (?) start filling us on the guys’ entire life stories in the space of two minutes."

WELCOME TO ANIME!!!!!

Seriously, unless you're well-versed in the medium, anime's frequent use of terrible exposition is both jarring and annoying.

endaroundon Oct. 23, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.

Well the Eastern Catholic Church clergy isn't celibate and they are in communication with Rome but really aren't Roman Catholic but part of the of overall Catholicism. So perhaps they allow personal adoption as well. But Japanese Catholicism tends to be like Japanese Medieval Europe, window dressing they only have a vague handle on.

No_name_here staff on Oct. 23, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.

@kemuri07 said:

" but the whole thing takes a nose dive right about when the window cleaners (?) start filling us on the guys’ entire life stories in the space of two minutes."

WELCOME TO ANIME!!!!!

Seriously, unless you're well-versed in the medium, anime's frequent use of terrible exposition is both jarring and annoying.

That it is. Other shows I've been watching lately (like RAINBOW, in particular) handled it better, though.

metalsnakezeroon Oct. 23, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.

Its a nice show to watch with a nice twist with Catholic doctrine but it may not be for you Tom if you are already having problems with the slight back story.

No_name_here staff on Oct. 23, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta said:

I wonder why you have a problem with a priest adopting children (Is that forbidden? I'm not Catholic, but I would think giving children a family, even if you are a priest, is OK) but you don't have a problem with a priest batting evil.

Catholic priests are expected to lead lives removed from ordinary men - - meaning no wives or families. Maybe vows and duties are actually different for Japanese Catholics as Endaround suggests. Still, a priest battling demons is a creative take-off or an exaggeration of real life exorcisms. Having him adopt a family smells of "window dressing" on such a major part of the show, as Endaround also suggests.

Window cleaners? Are you talking about the other priest (or bishops or whatever) in the church? They know the kids as well. This feels like you half-watched it.

Whatever those kids lounging on the windows were. They had a "half-introduction."

Superevil225on Oct. 23, 2011 at 5:14 p.m.
Well, it's never really clearly stated what form of Christianity these guys follow. I mean, for all we know the creator made a new sub-branch of exorcist Catholics.
RecSpecon Oct. 23, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.

Overall I thought it was pretty good despite some real WTF moments. But I did remember it starting off real slow.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 23, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk: Well, he was not married, and I don't know if he officially adopts them. Oh, and, children of THE Satan. So he is still not living a normal life. I think he has to look out for them and treating them as his children because (pun intended) all hell will break loose.

Also, the alternative would've been that these kids might've been killed, or turned into science experiments, or locked in a cell. I think the priest's situation is quite a crazy one.

SoldierG654342on Oct. 23, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.

@kemuri07 said:

Seriously, unless you're well-versed in the medium, anime's frequent use of terrible exposition is both jarring and annoying.

You say that as if it excuses it.

Fat_Magnumon Oct. 23, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

I know for a fact Catholics didn't have rotary crossbows and fight secret wars against vampires and werewolves etc. etc.. See this here movie link, Van Helsing (2004)

A priest adopting a kid doesn't seem that outrageous by comparison. It's all about perspective brah.

As for subs, yeah it def varies, dubs always seem more difficult for me to stomach simply because anime, regardless of content, always makes me think of eastern culture and therefore just seems grating in English.

Expository dialogue is always boring imo. Like what most of Inception was. (better than desperate twists, like what M. Night shama..Shaman is so fond of.)

This show has convinced me, you should be my twin Tom. I can tell you to not worry about fights and give you band-aids but you gotta have blue hair. I mean, you gotta have blue hair.

zaldaron Oct. 23, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: of course both bleach and naruto are fairly generic DBZ clones.

takashichea moderator is online on Oct. 23, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk:

I had a user who had questions about the religions that Blue Exorcist revolved around on my team's weekly report on Blue Exorcist ep. 24. I'm not a Christian person, but I think this anime also makes references to Judaism as well.

The names Assiah and Gehenna are from the Hebrew.

  • Gehenna is the place outside of Jerusalem where people sacrifice their children, and it translates roughly into hell or purgatory.
  • Assiah is the "world of right" which is one of the four spiritual worlds.

You remember what Takara states about Satan during the bombing of the Gehenna gate by Ernest.

He says

king, the angel from the bottomless pit. The names for that king are Abaddon (in Hebrew) and Apollyon the Destroyer (in Greek).

Episode 23

Satan in Hebrew is an angel and not a fallen angel. In Christianity, Satan is revered as an evil entity or sometimes, Lucifer, a fallen angel. I guess Judaism sees Satan as a neutral person.

From the weekly report on ep. 24.

Don't worry about covering this series. My team finished the anime except for two episode's plot summaries, 9 and 11 (I think).

I guess I have to do the articles on the rest of episodes during winter break to make it consisitent.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 23, 2011 at 10:52 p.m.
This one grew on me. Things become more clear on about their "dad" later on.Their are many a wth /wtf  moments in the series.But it plays out sorta like a demonic harry potter.An i mean that in a good way.. 
Don't know why but catholic in anime seems always wrong.From the "nuns" in Black lagoon to the demon battling nun in Chrono Crusade .Its mostly not handled well .Or at least not researched well. 

But on the other hand people do not wield blue flaming swords in real life to.Sure theirs reasons for some of the changes But the thing is some things pull people out of a story.For friend of mine its guns .When to many rounds are fired before showing a reload.Or it being said its one type of gun when its another.For me its cars.show in time periods they could not have a certain type of wheel then . 

Sure its the little things.The nit picky things.But they add up to the big things after all.This show tho was better than average .Worth a watch threw if nothing else.Tho i doubt ill ever own it on dvd/blu-ray.
takashichea moderator is online on Oct. 23, 2011 at 11:36 p.m.

@ComicMan24 said:

I watched it recently. It was a nice show. It started off quite strong even though it slowed down later with all the school stuff but fortunately it picked up in the end. I wish the protagonist was screaming less and some more thinking wouldn't hurt him but it didn't really bother me that much.

I agree.

@Superevil225 said:

Well, it's never really clearly stated what form of Christianity these guys follow. I mean, for all we know the creator made a new sub-branch of exorcist Catholics.

After thinking about the Judaism and Catholic themes, I guess the author, Kazue Kato, was trying to put Chistianity, Judaism, and Buddhism to open the audience's eyes to different religions. I was comparing how Christianity and Judaism look at Satan. It was interesting.

@Marshal Victory:

Hope you look forward to the Blue Exorcist Movie. Please see the blog.

@YotaruVegeta:

Blue Exorcist ended with 25 episodes. I don't think a second season is coming. The movie has the green light which will give another ending to the anime. Hopefully. See the link above.

@Lurkero:

Aw! You should watch all of it. It's not that long. Sure, the first two episodes are hard to bear, but I think those two were the best episodes. It only became a stereotypical anime once it starts the school part. It's similar to Soul Eater in a way with the school setting.

@RecSpec:

Glad to see someone who enjoy the series!

Om1kronon Oct. 24, 2011 at 12:38 a.m.

@Tom P : Hey buddy, I actually watched the whole series, granted the inconsistencies in the religious banter I don't think it was a mistake on the sub part but the Japanese themselves don't practice catholic religion as far as I recall, or Christianity, etc, etc.

So it would be that a lack of research on behalf of the mangaka as you stated with their rip off of some american cult classic that causes the confusion for the subbers. Again all speculation, it was actually one of the most entertaining shows of the season since Naruto seems to be a huge letdown and I have a ton of catching up to do with Fairy Tail.

The whole show is pretty cliche and with as much anime as you have to watch I could see why you'd pass on the show, but I skipped Tiger & Bunny just because it looked stupid. Looks like you like that one. So do yourself a favor and watch a few more episodes and see if you feel the same way.

Besides the music at the end of the show was probably my favorite part lol. I'm 100 percent sure it's a rip of some american song but I dunno who it sounds like but I've heard it before. At least you're not watching deadman wonderland.

Now talk about a waste of time.

Helloson Oct. 24, 2011 at 2:38 a.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk: Priest himself if I remember correctly called them his boys and apparently raised them as his own so I guess in this case they are father and son.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 24, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.

@Om1kron:

I don't think Deadman Wonderland was a waste of time at all.

I hope you corrected your mistake after passing over Tiger & Bunny.

The ending theme of Blue Exorcist is an American song? The Wired Life song? Sounds like a Japanese singer singing English to me.

Dig Deeper into Blue Exorcist

The anime adaptation of the Blue Exorcist manga, chronicling the adventures of a student exorcist with a deadly secret--that he is the son of Satan, the "demon of demons" himself. Finding himself trying to defeat Satan.

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