Opening with a kidnapping. We’re off to a great start.
Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen (Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Arc) is the 2017 adaptation of the Ao no Exorcist manga, which is ongoing and follows the story of Rin Okumura, whose life is turned upside down when he discovers he’s the son of Satan, a demon lord bent on conquering their world, Assiah from his, Gehenna. His adoptive father is killed by Satan, spurring him to become an exorcist to kick Satan’s ass, and thus he enrolls in the True Cross Academy where his younger brother, Yukio, is already a splendid exorcist and teacher.
Now, there was an Blue Exorcist anime that aired in 2011, back when manga series was getting its legs under it. Because they had to cut it short, they decided to go for an anime original ending from the point where his classmates learned that he was the son of Satan while fighting against Amamimon. Needless to say, Yukio got possessed by their demonic father and they eventually had to drive him out to close a gateway to Gehenna.
Since this follows the manga, they’re naturally retconning those events. Unless you follow the manga series, you’ll probably be lost. I’d suggest simply reading the manga or ignoring everything in the anime after that fight. With that out of the way, let’s go over the episode and review.
The episode begins with a fugitive in a gas mask kidnapping a child and taking him hostage before skipping to Rin training to use his Blue Flames. It’s going poorly, but he has to get it to work properly since if he loses control he’ll be executed. His training is cut short as Yukio and Shura Kirigakure are called to deal with the fugitive case I mentioned before, with Rin being dragged along since they’re his minders.
This seemingly harmless older exorcist named Saburota Todo explains that the fugitive stole what’s called the Left Eye of the Impure King. The eye itself was sealed in the academy since it produces miasma that contaminates everyone it comes into contact with. Naturally, since he used it over 31 people were infected and the boy being used as the hostage was at point-blank range before being taken into a building where they’re holding out for Yukio to resolve the matter.
The mother comes up and asks for them to save her son. Rin tells her it’ll be okay, but Yukio states they’ll simply do what they can but make no promises. This leads to a spat between the brothers before Todo suits up with Yukio to go with him while Rin follows. There they find the kid alive but in a critical condition with the gas-masked man standing there.
Yukio gives him a warning and then shoots him, only for it to pop and reveal its a fake. Then Todo turns traitor and reveals he’s allowed himself to be turned into a demon. He then proceeds to knock down Yukio and give him a speech about how Yukio reminds him of his younger-self and they’re not so different before leaving.
His poisonous words worm their way into Yukio as he’s forced to try and treat the boy after Rin accidentally worsened his condition. Thankfully, he pushes aside those words by stabbing himself and then manages to treat the kid and get him to his mother.
That’s when Mephisto shows up and reveals that this whole incident was a diversion while the real Left Eye was stolen. So he’s putting Yukio on the team to get it back while Rin and Shura are on a team going to Kyoto to stop the Right Eye from being stolen.
The trip to Kyoto is awkward since he and his friends hadn’t exactly made amends after the big reveal (remember, this follows the manga and not the anime). Shiemi can’t bring herself to talk to him while Bon is outright hostile, Konekomaru does his best to avoid him out of fear, and Shima basically just wants to stay on the other two’s good side. The only one who doesn’t look at him like some kind of mad dog is best-girl, Izumo.
As the train moves along, Shura gives an information dump on their assignment and what the eyes are. They belong to an upper-level demon said to have spread plagues in the Edo Era before having his eyes plucked by a priest named Fukaku after defeating it. However, the eyes still emit miasma and they can’t have that running around so they’re going to beef up the Kyoto branch.
Rin then asks Izumo why she isn’t afraid of him. She bluntly points out that there are plenty of people with demon heritage who are exorcists and its that he’s Satan’s son that the problem and not to worry about things right now. Rin takes this as her cheering him up, but she just says she can’t stand their classmates who talk about friendship and defeating Satan only to then abandon him when things get tough.
We then get the version of how that fight with Amamimon went down in this version of the story. Following the manga, they pretty much ditched him after he gets pulled away to have his fate decided and Yukio told them about how they were the children of Satan and a human mother years ago. Yukio is a normal human, but Rin needed to have his flames sealed away until they couldn’t be contained completely anymore.
Bon naturally hates him because followers of his temple died on the Blue Night sixteen years ago, including his grandfather and members of Shima and Konekomaru’s family. The fact that he has those blue flames naturally leads to him blaming Rin, who promptly calls him out on that since he was just born around then. Before they get into a spat, Shura tells them to cut the BS and learn to work together.
We then end the episode with Yukio reminiscing about their father taking him under his wing and a sweet OP.
This episode was great as an introduction to the Kyoto Arc which was one of the best received arcs of the manga and the point where it got good enough to impress readers since it moved the plot along fantastically. However, because they’ve essentially retconned the last arc of the anime and decided against going the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood route, some people will be confused.
However, the Kyoto Arc is as good a place as any to grasp just how the characters are and where they stand. The brothers’ spat gives a good insight into their personalities. Rin is an optimist at heart who wants to look on the positive side of things, given all the bad things that’s happened to him to date. Yukio is a realist, having been put into that position from his childhood to serve as his brother’s minder. And, as the effect Todo’s words have on him reveal, he’s got some issues with his brother and father, while Rin sees him as someone he wants to surpass.
Likewise, how his classmates act indicate their pasts and personalities. Bon is prideful and has a grudge against Satan, which should be obvious since his goal is the same as Rin’s. Learning that he was the son of Satan naturally stirs anger within him as a result. Shima is laid-back as always despite losing family, so he doesn’t see Rin in the same light, while Konekomaru is obviously torn here.
As for Izumo… I’m not going to lie, I hated Izumo when I first read the series. She was rude, arrogant, and a bit of a jerk. But as the series went on, she grew to be one of my favorites because of the development to her character which I fear this anime will not get to fully.
Overall, it’s a good adaptation of that arc in the manga so far. The animation is very nice and clean, with the blue flames being mesmerizingly beautiful when they come into play. I hope they stick with it all the way through.