Our main story starts with Yukio determined to understand the nature of his own blue flame eyes. He’s pretty sure they’re not inherited, but he’s willing to do something drastic to try to figure out what triggers them and what powers they possess. But not in a dirty warehouse, because, you know: Yukio.
As Yukio aims his exorcist gun at the garbage, we flash to Lewin Light (aka Lightning) and the banner, “His words are like a beacon” which is, frankly, pretty suspicious, especially since we see Lightning surrounded by a bunch of flying demon fairies.
Another cut brings us back to Holy Cross Cram School where my personal favorite character, Bon (Ryuji Suguro) is out on a balcony that no one knew about previously watching the gathering assembly below. Fox girl (Izumo) comes out and they exchange thoughts about why the certification exam is being held earlier this year. She asks him if Bon has lost resolve to become an exorcist and he blusters that, if anything, it’s strong now. Izumo totally sees through that and tells him she understands feeling left alone. They have some vaguely flirtatious back and forth and are interrupted by Rin discovering the same veranda. Suddenly, the whole gang is peering over the balcony trying to listen in to the gathered dignitaries.
We find out from Mephisto Pheles that the test is being scheduled so early this year because, thanks to increased demonic activity world-wide, the organization is stretched thin. So the plan is to test people early and often in order to increase the number of deploy-able magicians, as it were.
People start wondering WHY there’s an increase in activity, but before they can speculate too much a bunch of hobgoblin’s pop up from a floor grate and attack everyone. (Hmmm, the timing isn’t suspicious at all, Mephisto!) Lightning calls up Furfur, which only amuses me because I used this very demon in a novel I was/am writing.
Bon watches this demonstration and is mesmerized, especially since Lightning doesn’t use the chant to call up this creature and instead uses his catch phrase, “And the rest is omitted” which one assumes is like the classic line of every higher math professor everywhere, “And the rest is intuitive to even the most casual observer.”
The next day we see Lewin in charge of the class ‘magical circles and seals’ studies. The classroom is crowded with people all anxious to learn Lightning’s secrets. Turns out his secrets are shortcuts that, according to Rin, look like the PS4 controller buttons, and a desire to “get along with demons.”
At this point he loses his audience.
While, the Scooby Gang contemplates the wisdom of getting along with demons, Lightning asks for the help of a couple of strapping young lads. Bon and Rin volunteer.
At this point, I want to take a brief detour from summation to remind our gentle readers that Lucifer is sometimes translated as Light-bearer. Also, the amount to witch Lewin Light looks exactly like Rin is kind of amazing.
So, this next section makes me very nervous.
Because Lightning wants help unpacking. Rin and Bon are fairly horrified because it kind of looks like Lightning is a total, out-of-control hoarder. And it’s not just a lot of stuff, but apparently it smells bad. So, Lightning conjures up some sylphy to take care of the stink which he does by just opening a flame (a lighter) and calling for them. Bon is impressed and gets a mini-lesson in knowing what your demons are attracted to. When one of the sylphy gets aggressive and cuts Rin, Lightning kills them all with a simple spell ‘mortem’ that’s also not supposed to exist (or be as easily used.)
Rather than running screaming from these obvious red flags, my beloved (if apparently too starstruck to think straight) Bon begs Lightning to take him on as an apprentice.
I’m sure everything will go exactly as planned.
I mean, what’s to be suspicious of, Bon? The fact that when you asked Lightning why he decided to become an exorcist he tried to feed you bullshit at least twice? That doesn’t remind me AT ALL of the way Mephisto always is! Especially when his “true” answer seems… odd. He just loves this world, which you know on the surface seems admirable, but it’s also really vague. And when he’s telling us that, we get a picture of him framed by this funky mandala where it looks like he’s in the roots of Yggdraisil, the Norse tree of Life, where I believe Niokoggr lies… the great dragon bent on destroying the world tree.
So again I say, NO RED FLAGS TO SEE HERE, PLEASE MOVE ALONG.
I’m not at all worried, are you, Bon?
TBF to Bon, Bon already senses that he’s being weirdly compelled to throw himself at Lightning and confess things he hadn’t intended to…
So, yeah, worried.
The very end is Yukio having cleared up the warehouse, ready to do something equally stupid to trigger his blue flame eyes.
I love this manga. I mean, I spend half of read it shout, “OMG no, you fool!” and quickly turning the page because I know they’re going to do the stupid thing.
The spin-off shows Rin having bought a costume for Setsubun (a holiday I had to look up, but which is apparently the day before spring. This is the bean-throwing ceremony, in which roasted soybeans are thrown out the door by a member of the household wearing an oni/demon mask. The point is to drive away evil spirits and bring in luck.)
Yukio has fallen asleep and when Rin surprises him in the oni mask, he freaks out because he doesn’t have his glasses on . (“To someone who wears glasses, not having them is the same as being unarmed.” True. Dat.)
Chaos ensues when Yukio runs out into the street, where he meets up with the girls (fox girl and plant girl) arriving with presents. They freak out at Rin’s costume, too, and mistake him for a real monster. Then the Kyoto gang shows up (pink-haired Shima, gray haired Miwa, and Bon). When the soybeans smack Miwa in the glasses, Yukio loses it because, more attacks on glasses can’t be tolerated.
He finally smacks the costume off Rin–haha! The end.
Actually, as usual, I find these little interludes weirdly amusing and heartwarming. It’s such a nice counterbalance to the more serious stuff going on in the main manga.
I recently tried to read the Gangsta. spin-off, Gangsta: Cursed and found it to be the exact opposite of what I wanted. It’s canon, because Kohske is writing it, but it’s so… bleak. For reasons known only to her, Kohske-sensei decided the story we all wanted was a prequel about Marco (known then as “Spas”) during his time in the Exterminators.
As I told a friend of mine, it’s like all the worst parts of Gangsta. with none of the heart. So far, all we get is a lot of Twilight slaughter and not a whole lot else.
I would rather watch Nic dress up as an oni and toss roasted soybeans out the Benriya’s office door.