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Ao no Exorcist Half Season Review [Completed]

People die when they are killed.


This’ll be an entirely-scenery, tl;dr (actually, skip to bottom for summary; if you prefer to read, each paragraph is separate from every other paragraph, so feel free to read just one and comment on it) who even reads my post because I SAID SO and it is now the BANNER OF OUR SITE. I make site banners 3000% faster than regular people do, woohoo, go me, I’m awesome. But not as awesome as Ao no Exorcist, which is FUCKING AWESOME.

Episode 20 was definitely foreshadowing Yukio and Rin’s fate, as Yukio assumes the position of Christ on the cross (being entangled against Michelle). Yet, this entire arc felt rather unnecessary, what with the giant conspiracy floating behind them – what would’ve been better was introducing Egin at around this time, if not earlier. I guess he was introduced much earlier, but that felt more like Takagi’s tactic of ‘create a foreshadowing from something that isn’t foreshadowing’ – using an unnecessary background character to make us think that they were planning on creating the Egin arc from the start (they definitely didn’t plan Egin’s arc from the start).

But since we are talking about Michelle, I wonder – did she come back from the dead, memories, personality and all? That makes sense, as she remembers how she was burnt in the fire. But, why does she have the ability to control spiders? Is a demon possessing her body, instead? Why would the demon want to kill other demons, then? Only humans kill other creatures of their own species

If there was anything this arc did well, it was Shiemi and Rin’s debate. It was unlike traditional shounen debates, where either the hero is obviously correct and then goes to defeat the evil guy, or the hero finds out that he’s wrong and must rethink his entire life and go on a month-long training session in the mountains. Instead, both sides were rational, and you could side with either but not reach a conclusion – it was truly a good debate.

Actually, if there was anything Ao no Exorcist did well, it was these debates. Everybody had them. Was Arthur’s near-blind loyalty to Vatican reasonable when he tried to murder Neuhaus? For one, you should always think by yourself whether your superiors are doing the right thing – but for another, your superiors have knowledge you don’t have, and superiors with the moral authority of God are hard to defect against. Tiger & Bunny tried to have this same question when the other Heroes were challenging Kotetsu, but ultimately failed because of its Kaede ex machina, but AoEx kept the question until the very end, coming back and back to it. Even when Arthur yielded to Shura, it did not symbolize his rejection of the Vatican’s authority, as he protected the Vatican until the very end. Even little things, like Rin being forced to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind – are you still a hero if you sacrifice yourself /against your own will/? Jesus sacrificed himself because he wanted to, but Rin wouldn’t have sacrificed himself if he could help it.

Of course, we have to have some counterbalance. Ao no Exorcist’s vast scope was both appealing and detrimental, similar to Highschool of the Dead’s final episode in its sudden transition to the world stage. I ran the last five episodes back-to-back, and felt completely immersed in its world at the end – no doubt thanks to the sheer gravity of the situation. You have EVERY EXORCIST in the ENTIRE WORLD defending against an attack… from Satan himself. However, to create this vast scope so late in the series, some things will just have to be cast aside. The pow(d)er of dead demons apparently goes into the Exorcists’ modified weapons – something which was never even hinted to before. Bon sends pictures of the weapons to Kansai-girl for analysis, and realizes that they have some ancient power or what-not – but all that is cast aside, and the weapons aren’t even ever /used/ again. Even when Bon fights against Satan, all he does is throw Shima’s spear-thing which supposedly has some mystical power that we still don’t know about.

We also get all this backstory behind Mephisto, but… they don’t tell us anything! We still don’t know who the fuck he is. He acts like he’s stronger than Satan himself, but isn’t Johann Faust merely human? He also stands on top of his chair, which is pretty stupid, because his chair is floating.

The only backstory that really matters is that of Rin and Yukio, and my god was that executed masterfully.

Everything there was just amazing, and suddenly so many characters got so much more depth. Satan was merely a person too powerful for his own good; Egin wants to kill Satan only because he feared what Satan did to Yuri; Yuri herself and her completely different outlook on Gehenna and Assiah. Something way too many stories (Bleach comes to mind…) forget is when they create two worlds but completely forget about one. The line between Soul Society and the human world is infinitely blurred now – I honestly have no idea where Ichigo is half the time. Ao no Exorcist almost fell into this trap as it became a school-life manga where demons popped out of nowhere, but it remembered that Gehenna existed, and structured the final arc around that.

Though, what really put the icing on the cake was Fujimoto. He was the really cool, morally perfect, badass father figure that we saw through the eyes of Rin and Yukio, the wise old Chinese guy who wasn’t that Chinese nor that old, either. It was definitely not a shock to see him so cold-blooded in his past, a man known for being cold-blooded, but the backstory suddenly became /that/ much better when we realize Fujimoto started to change because of Rin and Yukio. Maybe he could’ve even talked some sense into Satan after learning of Yuri’s point of view, but both are now dead.

The side characters still somewhat shine in AoEx – Bon demonstrating his leadership skills particularly stood out. Unlike most other shows, they also resigned to their fates – they couldn’t help Rin defeat Satan at all, they were too weak – but, instead of moping around, they all worked together and saved a bunch of lives.

There needs to be balance in the world, and there must be a reason God separated the world into Gehenna and Assiah. If you destroy Gehenna, won’t the ‘mirror’ architecture of the world be broken? But if you fuse Gehenna and Assiah together, wouldn’t the architecture still break? Neither seems to be right. Satan might be right… but even if he was, his forceful methods are /way/ too much.

gg’s subs of Ao no Exorcist are probably the best – nobody else inserts that many vulgarities into a character’s speech. With Satan talking like that, does he expect everybody to sympathize with him? Or are manners in Gehenna structured so that ‘fuck’ is the word of the wealthy, powerful, and polite? That could just be the case.

Or maybe Satan’s just an asshole.

When Yukio was stuck with so many other Yukios pulling him down, the angst scene felt rather stupid and cliché’d, but I suppose all shounen series must have one of those. It was like Harry Potter’s movie, when Ron opened the locket and
got all angsty over what Hermione might’ve done to Harry. The only people who do things like that are Voldemort and Satan, and Voldemort’s an asshole. So so is Satan.

It was rather cool how the Exorcists were modernized, creating nuclear weapons blessed with holy water, being ready ready ready for the takeoff, etc. – using science did save many lives when Michelle attacked. However, I still find it funny that the Pope would say: “Come. Let us burn Gehenna… WITH THE FLAMES OF SCIENCE!!!” Egin doesn’t seem very bright, to me – preparing only one Messiah, instead of three, or seventy-two? Calling his exorcism of demons a ‘Crusade’, without realizing the dubious moral integrity of said Crusades? Expecting that creating a larger Gehenna Gate would somehow make the Messiah more powerful than if he made a Gehenna gate the size of the missile itself? Trying to blow up an entire fucking world in the first place? Egin’s stupid, and he deserved to die. Or maybe he’s not dead. He’s probably drinking tea with Satan right now.

Which is cool, because there will definitely be a second season of Ao no Exorcist, perhaps in a year or two – and it deserves one. There are so many things to talk about – Shura’s Gehenna heritage, Mephisto’s true past, Neuhaus’s fate, and what the Exorcists will now do, after learning of Satan’s not-so-evil plan. I still wonder if the producers collaborated with the mangaka to produce the ending, with the mangaka going to finish off the arc in the manga later, or whether it’s completely anime-original. You know what, I feel like reading the manga to find out!

tl;dr: Ao no Exorcist is FUCKING AWESOME. Its ending was FUCKING AWESOME, its characters were FUCKING AWESOME, its story was FUCKING AWESOME, the last four episodes were FUCKING AWESOME the episodes before that were… meh.

There are only three endings to date that I have thought were FUCKING AWESOME. REDLINE was FUCKING AWESOME because JP EXPLODED from INSIDE HIS CAR and WON THE RACE with his FUCKING HAIR. Occult Academy was FUCKING AWESOME because Fumiaki KILLED EVERY SINGLE alien invader… with a FUCKING SPOON.


And that’s fucking awesome.

Overall Rating: 7/10 (Brilliant)

P.S. The ‘plot hole’ that I was talking about last post wasn’t a plot hole at all – in fact, you could even say that it was a… KEY element of the show! Hahahahahaha
P.P.P.S. Why is Black Rock Shooter called Black Rock Shooter instead of Blue Rock Shooter, if her flames are blue? Rin should be called Blue Rock Shooter (protip, look at prefix before all of my AoEx image names) – seriously, there was that once where he used his flames and it only covered his left eye…
P.P.P.P.S. In real life, I’m known as a person who almost never swears, and thus when I swear, my words have a certain gravity to it. However, online, I swear way too much, so when I say ‘fucking awesome’ you guys probably think ‘decent’ instead of ‘ASKLDJLMXCVMSMEW>RCMFWIER’. I swear that I won’t swear as much :(

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