After a fairly long hiatus, new chapters of Ao no Exorcist / Blue Exorcist are now out. In the way of Katou-sensei, there is a bunch of fun fluff and a serious continuation of the plot.
First, the fluff. Ryuji ‘Bon’ Suguro and company return home for a New Year’s wedding.
We find out that grey-haired Miwa has a girlfriend back home (sort of, it’s more she has a crush on him, and has done since forever,) who is pink-hair traitor Shima‘s youngest sister. Shima has, in point of fact, a gigantic family. So many that I can’t entirely keep track of everyone–not that it entirely matters.
There is mochi shaping and Yukio is his usual grim, too-serious self, which puts Rin to mind of their last big fight, which was over Yukio’s desire to know why they were born. Meanwhile, while everyone is eating and drinking, Bon sneaks off to check-in with Lewin Light.
Immediately after getting off the phone with Bon, Light jumps up and heads out to do some mischief.
Yukio confronts Bon about what he’s doing, and Bon puts him off. Sitting outside in the cold is pink-haired Shima who is thinking back to having been ‘marked with slyph bell.’ He’s upset because he ‘can’t go back like that’ (presumably to the Illuminati? I can’t actually remember who marked him or why). Shima asks the demon in his staff, Yamantaka, if he can help.
Yamantaka, having been released, is spoiling for a fight. Being his usual, lazy self, Shima is not up for it. Miwa comes out of the toilet and is surprised to see Yamantaka in release since he hadn’t been aware that Shima could control his staff’s demon yet. They have a heart-to-heart about which one of them is luckier. The doofus brother of Shima, Kinzo, breaks up this love fest to announce that the bachelor party is going to be a drunken staff battle. Yamantaka is happy about this, pink-hair is not.
On New Year’s eve everyone heads, like you do, to the shrine to hear the bells toll. Doofus Brother Kinzo is apparently in charge of the party and can’t seem to remember anyone’s name. I only bring this up because I kind of adore Kinzo’s nickname for plant-girl Shiemi, “Shiroomie” (which, of course, sounds like ‘shroom), and Rin, “Satan-boy,” which is nicely straight-forward IMHO.
The two separated ones, Rin and Shiemi, end up also having a heart-to-heart. Rin starts out just reflecting on the year and ends up on what’s been plaguing him: WTF is up with Yukio:
Nothing comes of this confession because they’re found by Kinzo, and then we flash to New Year’s Day and the big wedding, which takes up most of the next chapter.
The next chapter starts with Bon helping his dad get ready to officiate the wedding. There is some nice father-son bonding in which Bon’s dad tells him how proud he is that Bon has apprenticed himself to a big shot like Light. Bon’s a little leery about accepting that praise and starts to ask his dad about Rin and Yukio’s foster dad, Father Shiro Fujimoto.
ONCE AGAIN, someone interrupts this conversation just as it’s getting interesting. Gozo (another one of Shima’s onii-chan) takes over for Bon and they discuss some ongoing investigation into summoning a demon that has possessed someone else, which has been a bust. Dad suggests that they could exorcise the demon Karura from someone named Todo (which the wiki reminds me is the guy who had run off with the left eye of the Impure King) and then re-summon it, but that’s a no-go because if a demon and their host become too closely bonded, the demon could be injured.
Then it’s off to the marriage, where Bon and Yukio are seated next to each other. Yukio asks directly if Bon is sniffing for info on Father Fujimoto. Yukio knows about the visit to his home and the death of the monk that happened there.
At this point we switch to somewhere in Romania, where Light is getting up to his funny business. He approaches this ridiculous-looking guy…
…with the equally ridiculous name of Drac Dragulesc. Light, then, proceeds to wish him a Happy New Year, and punch him in the face. Light calls up his little ‘and so on’ demon fairy and accuses Dragulesc of being associated with the Illuminati. Dragulesc tells Light he’s insane (likely) and that there’s no way he could be in the Illuminati because he took the contract of Morinath. Light, being Light, is all, ‘yeah, how is that even possible? That’s the mystery I need to solve.’ Light then explains that he’s already made up his mind and what he needs is proof, so he’s going to torture Dragulesc until he gets the confession he wants. Turns out, Light is also known in the Order as ‘The Torturer.’
Not what I would call a surprise reveal there.
And if we needed reminding, we flash back to Yukio who gives Bon a hard look and says, “You wouldn’t get involved in something like THAT, would you?” Of course, this pains Bon deeply, but he’s sworn to secrecy so he says he can’t say anything about an on-going investigation. Yukio backs off fast, almost creepily so, and then they’re saved from further awkwardness by the arrival of everyone else and the start of the wedding.
During the reception, Bon gets a call from Light asking him to hurry up and translate some documents. Overhearing this, Yukio puts a gun to Bon’s head and demands answers to how he and Rin were born.
Bon says, “Are you really going to shoot me?” and that causes whatever is possessing Yukio to fade away and he’s all like, “Oops, ha. ha. my bad. Forget this happened, k?” Bon is having none of this and grabs him by the shoulder demanding to know what’s happened, why he’s acting like this. Yukio goes all cold again and tells him to let him go, as an order, from his superior. Bon is such a good guy, he follows orders, and lets him go.
In the hallway, Shima confronts Yukio by saying, “Watch yourself. I told you to get ADVICE, not threaten.”
Yukio gets all existential about this and is like: how does advice help when we’re all such different people? Then he gets a call from Sword-Boob lady Shura to “turn on the TV.” Apparently, demons don’t take New Year’s holidays and they’re popping up all over various cities, and more and more people are able to see them. Everyone rushes off… well, everyone with a ‘key’–which is Yukio and Shima. (The hilarious stuff is that when Shima leaves, he says, ‘hey, us spies have keys too! Bye!’ and Bon is all, ‘and we have to let him go…’) On the train back, Bon is working on the translation that Light sent him and decides to tell Rin that they need to talk.
Boob-Lady is fighting a cyclops-demon and gets her butt handed to her because she doesn’t have her magical sword any more, not really. Light shows up and infuses her sword with ice-powers and they are able to defeat the monster. But, it’s broken some seal or other that has let loose even more demon-y things.
Light then has this fun interaction with Yukio:
Yukio is surprised Bon has tattled on him so quickly, to which Light is like, “Well, he wanted permission to tell you about our investigation, but, of course, I told him no.” Light asks, ‘So what is it you want to know so badly?’ Yukio won’t say, so he counters with, “If you won’t say, neither will I.” They trade some insults after that and Yukio storms off. Light watches him go, saying, “Ryuji [Bon] is a good boy. But you can only help someone who wants help” and it’s clear Yukio doesn’t want help.
This does seem to be pretty true. Honestly, if Yukio had answered Light, he might have told him something. Although, Light is slippery af, so who knows what he might have actually done?
Then we find out–are reminded?–that it was Light that put the bell spell on Shima (who was watching from behind a tree) and Shima begs him to remove it. He says he will, but only for a price.
Suddenly, this bada$$ arrives:
And arrests Light. He resists them long enough to lean in and whisper a password to Yukio (I Love Sushi 1047Aaa). Bon shows up in time to see his master hauled off, and gets the “hey, so, I might not be around for awhile, but finish the report, k?”
Later, Yukio finds a flash drive and realizes that Light slipped it to him. The chapter ends with Yukio opening up some files.
The next chapter starts with a flashback to Yukio asking Father Fujimoto why Sir Pheles lets them live, Fujimoto says he can’t tell him right now but he will, when the time comes. Yukio is thinking the time is now when he opens up the Section 13 files. Yukio is called out to rejoin the fight and thinks about what he’s learned. He tells us he hasn’t learned much about his mother or Satan, but what he has figure out is that the Knights of the True Cross are as bad as the Illuminati.
Yukio is so upset he starts to fight recklessly and is sent home. Only, he doesn’t want to go home. He ends up at Plant Girl Shiemi’s shop. Standing there, he has a memory of confronting his foster dad about why Boob-Sword Lady is overseeing them. Yukio has heard that she’s forging Rin into a weapon. On that night he ended up running away to the garden shop, and now he’s found himself at the same door craving Plant Girl’s company again. He’s headed to the door when he spies Shiemi coming in at the same time. She offers tea and company.
They chat a bit and, when Shiemi asks him what’s wrong, he confesses that he feels all alone:
Which is his usual bullish*t, actually, and Shiemi tries to tell him he’s not, that he has her… and Rin. Saying that last bit sets Yukio off and he lashes out at her.
Having pushed her freaks him out (as it should) and he decides that all his inner turmoil is just hurting everyone around him, so he might as well end it all.
And he shoots himself in the head.
His glasses fly off and we hear a demonic voice calling him weak, while his eyes light up with blue fire. Yukio identifies the demonic voice as Satan. Shima shows up and says, “You’re finally getting the right look in your eye.”
Which… makes me uncomfortable, because I’m thinking, maybe Rin failed as a weapon, and you’re take 2, Yukio.
Then we get a random break in the action to where Mephisto is on TV as Johann Faust (which is of course a reference to the legend of Faust who famously sells his soul to Mephistopheles) and is coming out to the world as a Knight of the True Cross and explaining the Order’s mission.
Bon, meanwhile, has decoded the file Light sent him. As he’s figuring out how to get the document to the Vatican, he runs into Rin. He tells him he wasn’t sure he should, but he’s going to tell him something critical about Yukio. That’s when Shiemi bursts in, in tears, saying that something has happened to Yukio.
I have a very bad feeling we’re getting to the end of something BIG. I’m concerned that Satan has found his vessel and it’s not going to be Rin, after all, but Yukio, and Rin’s desire to “kill” Satan may involve murdering his own brother.
I do not see how this is going to go well.
But, I have a lot of trust in Katou-sensei’s storytelling ability, and this manga has been so shounen up to this point that I don’t *think* it’s going to end as a complete tragedy. (Hopefully, I’m right about that.)
Anyone else reading this? Care to comment?