Blue Exorcist has an interesting story about a boy, Rin Okumura, who discovers that he is the son of Satan. This is a pretty intense series that is heavily based on dark themes. I haven’t read a story like this and, I must say, it’s really good. The manga series is by Kazue Kato and there are 11 total volumes so far. It started back in 2009 and it’s still ongoing. The Japanese version is published by Shueisha and the English is by Viz Media. There is also an Anime TV series that is 25 episodes long.
So continuing with what the story is about, Rin has a twin brother, Yukio. At the start of the series, Rin and Yukio’s father is killed by Satan. Rin, in his anger, vows to become an exorcist in order to defeat Satan. He enrolls in a school called True Cross Academy and he also attends the Exorcism Cram School.
Rin and Yukio have a somewhat flawed relationship due to Rin’s mischievous and laid-back personality. From the chapters that I read, it seems as thought Rin is an immature kid who is forced to grow up due to a tragedy in his family. Yukio is the more responsible son who is frustrated by his twin brother. In difficult times, however, Rin steps up and protects those he cares about. He tends to lighten the mood a lot in the series and it may seem as though he doesn’t know the gravity of a situation, but I believe this is a way for him to cope with it.
On the outside, the novel may seem like a regular old story about demons but when you look closely, there are important themes to note. Family is an important theme. Even thought Yukio pretty much hates his brother because of how he is, he still loves him because they are family. There are a few scenes where Yukio’s loyalty to his brother is tested but he still held his ground and didn’t falter. It’s nice to see their relationship grow throughout the manga. Friendship is another theme. As in real life, your real friends are revealed to you in hard times. Those who don’t care just let you suffer on your own. In the story you can see this in the actions of the students. Also, in the manga, it teaches you that there is no room for self-doubt. Shiemi Moriyama, one of the students, who also wants to be an exorcist, is always seen as a one of the weaker students. She manages to gather her strength to help her friends in need. There’s also a bit of intrigue but I won’t mention it for those who want to read the series.
Aside from all that, the novel has great action scenes that are drawn beautifully. I really like how the scenes switch back and forth just like if you were watching the manga on TV. The way the books are laid out is interesting in that the table of contents is not in an orderly list, which I thought was a nice way to not be like everyone else. A description of each character is in the beginning of every book so you could read them just in case you forgot who everyone is. A summary of what happened so far is helpful because it takes a while for the next book to be released and it’s might be difficult to remember what happened in previous chapters. It’s a great recap. Little things here and there make the manga a great read. In one of the books there is a part that tells you all about the demons. And in another, they have a question and answer session. It’s pretty cool.
One thing I would like to add is that this manga series isn’t for children. I would say that it’s PG-13 material, just because there is a busty redhead on one of the covers and there are PG-13 themes sprinkled throughout the chapters. Although, based on the themes of the manga, I think that children would also benefit from them because it does teach you about friendship, family and teamwork.
Oh, and those who are interested, there is an Anime film called Blue Exorcist: The Movie. It was released in December of last year. I really liked this manga so far. I recommend it to those who are interested in reading something different.