Blue Exorcist is out! Blue Exorcist is out! Go go it, it’s SUPER ADORABLE. http://www.mangareader.net/ao-no-exorcist/82
I’m going to just say it now. Kazue Katō is currently the only reason not to despise Weekly Shounen Jump, since her manga, Ao no Exorcist is published in JUMP+. She is also currently one of my all time favorite mangaka, hands down.
Look, boys, chapter 82 is how you do this whole ‘shipping’ thing with a light hand.
You guys KNOW how angry I get when people spray ‘no homo’ on a thing. This was so not that, even though we see Rin and Shiemi (plant girl) awkwardly ask each other out.
So, why am I not mad? I literally think it’s the awkwardness and real-life-moment-ness of this whole chapter that saves it from feeling like an author’s attempt to shout: OKAY SO I GAVE YOU SICKOS THAT BATH SCENE WITH THE BROTHERS AT THE INN BUT OMG THESE CHARACTERS ARE STRAIGHT–SUPER, SUPER-DUPER STRAIGHT-SO STAY AWAY! HANDS OFF!
I mean, look at this:
This is so… adorable. I loved how the girls are listening in from around the corner and are like ‘crap, now we’re stuck in the bathroom!’ and ‘when did this even happen?’ (Chapter 73, I believe.) I also love that, this whole ten chapters, Rin’s love confession has been hanging there, mostly forgotten by the readers, only to resurface like this, very naturally and very… high school.
This whole chapter is charmingly reminiscent of being a teenager. I love, LOVED that Izumo (fox girl) instantly invites herself over for a sleepover so she can get the scoop AND, more importantly, bring over a stack of shoujo manga so that Shiemi can “learn about love.”
Can I just say? This is almost literally how I was taught about love. When I asked my mother for romance advice, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Read some romance novels.”
So, maybe this seems ridiculous, but people do think this way! (And, you know, I turned out a lesbian, so…)
But, the scene, while cute, also does a lot of plot work. We are reminded that Shiemi’s grandmother doesn’t want her to be an exorcist because it’s dangerous–and we get moment after moment that re-illustrates how lonely and sheltered Shiemi was before going to the True Cross Order. Then, we get this funky dream sequence, where we first see Shiemi coming up out of the ground, like, maybe, her origins aren’t entirely human, but, instead very Elemental:
And, then… this whole thing makes Sheimi realize something important about herself. Even though she desperately wants to catch up, to be like everyone else, she’s not ready for romance. She’s not ready to date.
Then we get this amazing/awkward moment… the anti-shoujo un-confession:
(The boys watching from the steps made me super-happy, too. I also really loved that as this whole embarrassment is going down gray-haired Miwa’s like, “dang, better make the dinner reservation now–dude is gonna need cheering up.” They’re like so, so gay, while being the best wingmen, ever!)
The chapter ends on a dramatic (and theme appropriate!) cliffhanger– with the return of this guy (who I had to look up) who says that Shiemi is his BRIDE:
In case, like me, you’ve forgotten, this guy is Amaimon, a demon king, known as the King of the Earth. I think that last bit is significant and I bet that we’re going to learn in the next up-coming chapters that Sheimi is … well, not as human as she’s seemed so far. She really spent a lot of time in this chapter trying to be a “proper human,” and between that and the dream, I feel like we’re being set up quite nicely for a big reveal about her nature.
All I can say?
I’m all in. Ao no Exorcist pretty much has all of what remains of my shattered, shounen heart.