Since officially giving up on Shingeki no Kyojin, I do believe the Ao no Exorcist is now the only manga I’m reading as it comes out.
Chapter 88 starts with Rin, our hero, convincing himself and those around him that Plant Girl (Shiemi) is dying and that THAT’s the reason she no longer wants to be an exorcist. While a number of the others agree that’s a possibility, none of them will let Rin straight-up ask (because that would ruin the plot device.)
Shiemi derails speculation further by organizing everyone into teams to put together this giant birthday/Christmas party.
At the mall, the speculation about Shiemi’s potential upcoming demise continues. Several alternatives to death are offered–many of them based on Japanese folktales–until pink-haired Shima says, “Look, maybe she just changed her mind.”
Which everyone finally accepts as a possibility. However, both me and my friend who read this with me this morning, instantly thought: HE KNOWS SOMETHING. Izumo thinks the same thing and confronts him.
Tell me, does this look like the face of a liar-liar-pants-on-fire?
I think so, too.
We bounce around through the various “teams” doing their party prep, and then switch to Suguro (Bon) who is trying to sort through all the information that he and Light got about the secret clone project. Randomly, Bon comes across a familiar name: Shiro.
Yeah, Bon, you and me both… I had NO IDEA who this was at first….
I had no idea, even with a visual prompt, I still had nothing. THANK GODS for the wiki (and a friend who with a better memory for names who double checked) because even with the surname supplied, I still had no idea that Shiro Fujimoto was our heroes’ DAD (or adoptive dad.)
Though this suddenly makes sense as to why Satan was able to possess him on the Night of Blue Fire or whatever it’s called.
As if this wasn’t enough of a plot development, Bon notices that there’s a page missing from the list of clones. In particular, subject 005 seems to have been struck/stolen from the record, leading Bon to believe “Subject 005” is likely the successful Satan clone.
My money is still on Shiemi, btw.
Waking Light up to tell him this news, we get a funny interaction where Bon is fed up with Light sleeping instead of investigating and Light tells him that be works best when he’s accessing his unconscious mind (aka sleeping.) Me, too, brother. Me, too. Bon is irritated by this, but decides maybe now is the time to ask for permission to go to the party. Light’s all, “Whateves, dude. You’ve never been required to follow my orders, anyhoo.” (Paraphrase.) Bon, being terminally serious, takes this as an okay. (ILU, Bon.)
Other ways in which Bon is me:
I really think I might have to take all the volumes out of the library again and re-read.
After this we flash to boob-lady (Shura) who convinces younger-brother Yukio that he, too, should try to relax a little and hang out with kids his own age for a change. Yukio wonders why she’s not going and she drops the random bomb that she’s off looking for a life-partner. (?? Okay! That’s kind of his response, too.)
We then discover that Yukio is legit crappy at crafts, and always has been. When he tells a meant-to-be-heartwarming/self-depricating story about how Father Fujimoto used to indulge his and Rin’s inability to art, Bon pulls the OMG SAD I KNOW A SECRET face, but Yukio doesn’t press him overly much about it, and they go back to crafting their decorations.
The very last scene in the chapter is another flashback in which we find out that while Rin has been content not to know anything about their “true” parentage (or at least he was then), Yukio has always had (and continues to have) a burning desire to know.
Which given this final image:
What is that? THE FLAMES OF HELL? The crumbled void of nonexistence???? The yawning maw of Hell Itself????!!!????
Whatever it is, it is NOT HAPPY FAMILIES!
If I need to say anything in conclusion of this chapter, it’s that I will forever adore Katou-sensei for her ability to continue serious, intense plot, while giving us these lovely, light, fun character moments. Shopping trips are kind of like the ultimate in “curtain fic,” and yet, we’re treated both to some wonderful character development between Fox-Girl (Izumo) and pink-haired Shima, in which we see Izumo not exactly warm up to him, yet seriously discuss the ways in which she’s decided to deal with him as a potential double-agent (while also fan-girling over cute cakes!) Similarly, we get goofy “I don’t art” from Yukio, which is just sweet and silly, yet which seamlessly leads into a major character/plot issue, which is: what is up with Satan? What exactly is this world? And what is Gehenna? (which are the literal questions that Bon asked Light, previously.)
Frankly, this is fairly brilliant stuff.
So, you know, I feel like I could almost let myself join this fandom.
I’m just… still so BURNED from Bleach, that I’m afraid…. Still. I may just have to risk it again.