Ao no Exorcist / Blue Exorcist (96-114) by Katou Kazue

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Prompted by a friend, I decided to catch up on Ao no Exorcist / Blue Exorcist.

I was disappointed to discover that the last time I reviewed this manga was several chapters back. As I was telling another friend, this is very disappointing because I count on past self me to remember plot points for present day me.

Bear with me as I attempt to reconstruct the important bits that future me will one day rely on….

SPOILERS

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A lot of what is contained in these chapters is a flashback to the birth of our heroes, Rin and Yukio Okumaru. Specifically, we get the life story of the twins’ mother, Yuri Egin (anime-only information, but some of it is the same.)  The flashback is conducted by Mephisto, who is time traveling with the blue-flame consumed Rin.

Oh, right, that’s an important thing that happened

Here’s a recap of that event: Somewhere back in Chapter 95 or earlier, Yukio is arrested possibly for shooting Mephisto in the head, though, I’m not entirely sure if the “why” matters (and of course, shooting Mephisto in the head only slowed him down a little).

Regardless, Rin and company mount a rescue that results in a confrontation between the two brothers on a snowy prison bridge.

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Pink-haired traitor, Shima, shows up with a helicopter to offer Yukio a spot in the Illuminati, which he accepts. As he does, Yukio dumps the secret that’s been being revealed slowly under the investigation of Lewin Light: the Illuminati and the Holy Cross Order are both guilty of harboring demons and doing horrible experiments on humans in order to perfect clone bodies for demons to inhabit.

Insults get traded, the brothers come to blows. Yukio shoots his older brother in the head; Rin, also only being minority inconvenienced by a bullet to the head, goes after Yukio with the Koma sword, which then breaks.

Literally, all hell breaks loose at that point.

Rin’s body is burned away, but is then reborn in its blue-fire form from “the demon heart.” Of course, this is ‘evil Rin,’ whom real Rin has to mentally defeat with the shounen-style help of his friends.

Rin then demands to hear the story of his birth from Mephisto, which dumps us into the flashback I mentioned earlier. A lot of stuff is revealed in the flashback, but the gist of it is that Rin becomes aware that his birth was the cause of a lot of death and destruction and is possibly the start of the Blue Night, which, of course, devastates Rin… and he’s nearly overwhelmed by the monster within again.

Mephisto puts Rin in a time timeout, which we later discover is plant girl Shiemi’s new order (the Grigori?)’s bathroom in present day.

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But, the story then jumps back to the now and Yukio’s introduction to Lucifer and the Illuminati.

Probably the important things we learn in those scenes (in no particular order) are: Yukio’s left eye is a conduit to Papa Satan; pink-haired Shimi still doesn’t seem to have picked a side (which I like, he’s one of my favorite characters;) there’s been some seriously evil weapon production; Lucifer only looks so hot because he’s swapping bodies with clones nearly every day; and there’s a weird mess hall in the floating fortress–oh, and a bunch of weird demon-types, “the Chosen Ones,” who are wiling to sacrifice their lives/be experimented on by a demon-person who looks like a shark.

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Those fingers, tho. Is this a costume??

Oh, and Yukio’s Illuminati test results claim he’s human.

But, I don’t necessarily buy that since, earlier, in the Mom flashback scenes, Satan tells Mephisto that he’s human, too. So, clearly demons make mistakes identifying their own kind.

There’s also a series of intermediary scenes involving Lewin Light and his “trial” for what I can only imagine is war crimes, since he’s fond of extracting confessions via torture. Lewin tells Angel, the Paladin, that he’s a Lucifer clone, to which all I can say is “d’uh,” but then I suspect that we’re going to discover that plant girl Shiemi is one as well….it would probably be helpful if I could remember more about the organization she’s the princess of, the Grigori.

Speaking of the failures of my past self, I have to admit that I am really lost regarding some of the plot points in Light’s big “reveal” about who is a traitor to the Order. Light finally manages to convince everyone he’s a good guy and hottie dude, Redarm, busts Light out of jail.

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The twisty betrayal plot bits, however, seem to involve a guy, Drac Dragulesc, who I haven’t been paying nearly enough attention to. There are illegal zombies in his Romanian lab, though, and thus there is a cool fight to defeat them…. and maybe Drac leaves behind his arm (??) in order to escape/break a curse Light put on him? Which makes as much sense as whatever the heck Light pulled in the trial that revealed that maybe Drac replaced his whole body? Hid a scar on his neck? The important thing is that Drac has possibly perfected a body clone for Satan, which is, ya know, BAD.

At the very end of this group of chapters, we discover that Yukio isn’t the traitor that he seems. In fact, he’s been given Light’s familiars (by signing a contract of Morinath, which seems like a really, really bad bargain, despite everything,) but, with them, he intends to bring down the Illuminati helicarrier.

Oh, and gray-haired Miwa is getting the Koma sword repaired.

This is somewhat out of order, but that’s the gist of the major events.

So, how do we feel about all of it? I’m glad to see Yukio snapping out of his funk, although I do think he’s still a bit suicidal, given that his orders to his demon familiars is to destroy the thing he’s standing on as well. The plant girl/Rin romance plot is… what it is. I’m not very shippy about this particular manga, so it doesn’t much affect me one way or the other.

I mostly care about ‘Bon’/Suguro, who has, at least, hitched his star to a very weird, but weirdly effective mentor.

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Do I know where this is going?  Only in a general way. I mean, it would be anticlimactic if Satan didn’t make a reappearance so that Rin (and Yukio) could have their final showdown with daddy-o. But, I trust Katou to give us twists and turns before we get there and, possibly, reveal more about the past that has led to this present.

Anyone else reading this? Thoughts?

 

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