Sympathy for the Devil: Eight Years of Blue Exorcist!

Today we celebrate the anniversary of Kazue Kato's hit shonen action series

It's hard to believe it's been eight years since our boy in blue, Rin Okumura, first stormed onto the scene in the Blue Exorcist anime. Since then, he and his fellow Exorcists have appeared in two anime series and a film. Not only that, the original manga by Kazue Kato is still running in Weekly Shonen Jump as we speak!

 

To celebrate the big occasion, we're going to take a look back at the series—the basics, what you need to know to get started, and why we're so crazy about the devilish twins who head up the series. Plus, we want to hear from other Blue Exorcist fans! What are your favorite episodes and moments from the show?

 

We can talk that out in the comments, but first... let's look at where it all began!

 

 

The Blue Exorcist manga kicked off in 2009, meaning we're also celebrating its tenth anniversary this month! The anime followed in 2011, released by A-1 pictures and headed up by Wolf's Rain director Tensai Okamura. 

 

The series stars Rin, a fighty 15-year-old who has very little in common with his studious younger twin Yukio. The reason for his devilish nature becomes clear early on: he and Yukio are the sons of Satan, with the entirety of the pair's demonic power going to Rin as the stronger of the two. He also finds out that Yukio already knew this all along. Rin was blissfully ignorant of this fairly major fact until Kurikara, the sword into which his demonic powers were sealed, could no longer contain them.

 

With the cat out of the bag and Rin and Yukio's mentor now out of the picture, Rin is enrolled at True Cross Academy to become an Exorcist. Yukio is also in attendance, in addition to being a teacher at the local Exorcist cram school—he may not have gotten any demonic powers, but he more than makes up for it with brain power. Rin, like the other Exorcists, is training up to thwart demonic attacks on the human world, but he has a bigger goal in mind. Eventually he wants to reach the rank of Paladin and kill Satan—his father—once and for all.

 

 

After a six-year hiatus, Blue Exorcist returned to television not where it left off, but backtracking to episode 17—the point at which the anime and manga deviated. Learning about Rin's demonic powers and lineage didn't faze his classmates too heavily originally; but their uncertainty when they discover his true nature is a major part of the manga's Kyoto Impure King Arc. Thus, we get a new set of reactions and a much slower burn with 2017's Kyoto Arc.


In addition to the two series, there's also a film, novels, games, and—of course—musicals! There have been four overall, with the most recent in 2017 adapting the manga's Illuminati Arc. It's amazing to see these characters brought to life!

 

 

Even with all these cool things available to us, we're still holding out hope for further anime seasons. It's awesome to see Rin and Yukio in action, as the two learn to deal with their circumstances and Rin moves close and closer to his goal. He's still got a way to go even in the manga, so it seems like there's plenty more to come.

 

So what is it that makes Blue Exorcist a show we keep coming back to? All the characters are fun; but in short, it really is Rin who keeps us watching! Like every great shonen protagonist, he's a mix of silly, slightly immature, and surprisingly driven. He has a mission, he has powers he has to learn to control, and he finds himself at odds with the odds at the outside world thanks to the odd (to say the least) circumstances of his birth. We see a lot more of that thanks to Kyoto Saga; and even when things are at their worst, he stays motivated.

 

(We've also got kind of a soft spot for Mephisto Pheles—you don't go around with a name like that unless you're feeling really self-assured.)

 

 

Want to give Blue Exorcist a try, or just in the mood to revisit it on its anniversary? We have it all here on Crunchyroll! We're looking forward to revisiting it this week. How about you?

 

Now it's your turn. What's your favorite thing about Blue Exorcist? Who are your favorite characters? Is Shiemi best girl, or is she Best Girl? Let's talk it out in the comments!

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Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and interviewer with bylines at VRVWe Are Cult, Fanbyte, and many more. She is also the co-founder of Altrix Books and co-creator of the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. Kara blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.


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