“Once upon a time, on the outskirts of a tiny village, a demon appeared. A little boy from the village found him, saw he was weak from hunger and gave him something to eat. When the demon felt better, he and the boy began to play. Before you knew it, the demon moved into the village. The villagers played with him too. They played and played and forgot about their work and chores.”
Anime Reporter ventures once more into the world of Blue Exorcist for Blue Exorcist the Movie.
Some readers may recall that we reviewed the Blue Exorcist series here: Part 1 and Part 2. The film doesn’t specifically draw on any particular moments of canon from the series, so if you’ve missed a few episodes here or there, you should still have a pretty strong idea of what’s going, but people thoroughly familiar with the series are going to appreciate a few more little touches and character appearances that others may miss out on. If, however, you haven’t seen anything of Blue Exorcist before, this is most definitely not the place to start, with character histories and relationships taken as understood, there’s very little done to fill in anyone unfamiliar with the series’ premise.
Then again, that’s what we’re here for. Blue Exorcisst is the story of Rin Okumura, a rough and tumble youth, who has recently been brought into the world of exorcism to train in fighting demons. Making this slightly more awkward is the fact that his twin brother is a much more experienced exorcist and Rin’s teacher. Complicating matters to radical levels is the additional fact that Rin is the son of Satan and occasionally transforms into a pointy eared, blue-flamed spouting demon-boy. Not a great position to be in when you’re surrounded by people training to kill demons.
As you might well expect, the plot of the film focuses on Rin just as much as the series, but has a self contained story, separate from the story arc of the series. Just before a festival held every eleven years, Rin shows up somewhat late for the sealing away of a phantom train (much more frightening than it sounds), and matters take the usual course when he draws his sword. In the ensuing chaos, he stumbles across a young boy and rescues him from the rubble which may or may not have been there before Rin showed up and started swinging his blade around.
This young boy turns out to be a demon that nobody can quite place and Rin is made its guardian until someone can figure out what to do with it. Giving the demon the name Usamaro, Rin quickly builds up a bond and finds himself adopting a brotherly affection for the little guy. Ah, if only it were that simple, it would be a much shorter and less interesting film. It soon becomes clear that Usamaro is hiding a few more secrets than anyone suspects and boasts a fairly unique power that makes him a wonderful friend or a fearsome enemy.
The plot is well paced, giving just the right amount of time for Rin, and viewers, to care about Usamaro and his wellbeing. The established background characters are shunted somewhat closer to the horizon, but their presence and personalities are still felt throughout. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the demons. A host of demons appear during the film and with the exceptions of the Phantom Train and Usamaro, they all feel pretty generic and unimpressive, and we’re not even that sure about the Phantom Train either.
That said, the art is phenomenal, with particular praise going for the backgrounds and the ornate designs of the festival decorations. The Bluray edition in particular boasts pristine detail for the cityscapes and action sequences.
“One day, an exorcist appeared, saw what was going on and sealed the demon, but it was too late. Even though the demon was gone, the villagers had forgotten all about their home. It fell into ruin and then disappeared…”
Blue Exorcist the Movie is available on DVD and Collector’s Edition Bluray in the UK and Ireland from Manga Entertainment from May 26th 2014. For more info, check out the Manga UK Twitter page, The Manga UK Facebook page and The Official Blue Exorcist Anime page
81% – “Feel good demonic romp” Blue Exorcist the Movie may lack the Satanic edge which the series boasted from time to time but it serves as a worthy successor to the great series and a damned good movie in its own right.