Ao no Exorcist 01: Demon Delinquent

One-armed takedown! Ao no Exorcist takes a spin on Christianity and winds up being a rather entertaining anime-equivalent to Dan Brown’s popular novels. Count me in.

This now marks two of the (as of today) fourteen shows this Spring season that have caught my utmost attention. While not quite as fluid in its pacing of story compared to Ano Hi Mita Hana Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Ao no Excorcist still succeeds in bringing great visuals to the table and mixing it with some rather chilling, almost operatic music. The big reveal after Father Fujimoto exorcised the demon was done well, if at the expense of having us wait for twenty long minutes. I honestly think Rin’s brother Yukio and the buildup of his departure should have happened earlier on to allow more development on Rin.

Despite having sluggish character development in the beginning, I certainly like how part of the suspense that was paved away for the next episode is the concept of two slowly merging worlds: Assiah, the human world; and Gehenna, the demon world. There’s something about the concept of alternate worlds/dimensions that always intrigues me – Gaia and Terra in FFIX, Home World and Another World in Chrono Cross – and judging by the preview for next week, we’ll get to step foot in Gehenna and see where half of Rin’s bloodline comes from.

I’m more curious as to what point in time humans are able to see aspects of Gehenna in its merger with Assiah. The little girl, Yui, was able to see her scarf being carried away by a small monkey demon, yet her father’s never believed that she’s been picked on by demons for a quite some time. Not to get too deep with the concepts, but it’s generally interpreted that children are of purer minds than adults when it comes to supernatural experiences, so it’s interesting to see that concept being written into this show rather effectively.

For such a dark overall theme, a huge redeeming factor for me will be how much this show can keep up with its more lighthearted moments. Father Fujimoto’s humor broke a lot of the animosity between Rin and a world he just doesn’t seem to belong in.

Although I think the first episode was a bit flawed in its pacing, I still find it one of the more enjoyable shows so far this season. I’m definitely looking forward to next week and what revelations will be stumbled upon surrounding Rin’s past and what he’s going to decide for himself in the future (now that he knows he can light up in blue flames like a certain other teenage boy.

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