After five years Blue Exorcist returns with the Impure Kyoto Saga to help usher in 2017. Due to the rather long delay between adaptations there were a lot of questions hanging over these adaptations longtime fans were certainly wondering about. Most notably how the anime original ending of the first series would be handled. I’m happy to say exactly as most fans hoped - well at least the ones I talk too.
If you’re new to these write up they’re half recaps/thoughts in general as such they massively spoil the episode. It’s up to you if you want to keep going. However I’m going to talk about everything: plot, characters, relation to Season One, everything. You’ve been warned.
Furthermore if your new to the series prepare to be lost. Luckily I wrote a guide to get you quickly caught up. These reviews assume familiarity with the anime though not the manga, spoils the fun after all.
As the episode opens a crime is occurring in True Cross City, the location of the school which the main characters attend. Several Exorcists are there to witness the crime, the theft of the “Left Eye” an item of mysterious power. However to escape the Exorcists grasp the thief grabs a child who wandered nearby and flees.
Elsewhere Rin Okumura the titular “blue exorcist” is training in an attempt to control his flames. This is the first sign in the episode that the filler material from the end of season one has been rendered non-canon. As Rin’s training with the candles was the same training Shura Kirigakure made him do. However in this case Rin was doing it in “secret”, though not really as Shura quickly tells him she knew where he was at all times.
Back at the crime scene Yukio Okumura , Rin’s Brother and a mid-level but extremely talented and well known Exorcist is called to the scene. However just as he arrives so does Shura with Rin in tow, due to the fact he cannot leave her side being a potential danger to the population. Rin’s presence unnerves the area as they now know him to be the Son of Satan. Something to be fair that would likely be a little scary to almost everyone (well get to that later).
As Yukio and a fellow senior Exorcist investigates Rin catches up to them explaining he gave Shura the slip. While both the other Exorcists are in a hazmat suit Rin is perfectly fine due to his satanic nature immune from the miasma. Which we learn is emanating from the Left Eye. However as the trio finds the missing boy and the supposed perpetrator they’re betrayed by the Senior Exorcist Todo, who reveals himself to be a demon of some sort, though Yukio implies he has fallen to possession.
After a brief fight in which Todo quickly infects Yukio’s mind with doubt. He leaves taking with him the real Left Eye, which ironically he had with him the entire time. Leaving Rin and the shaken Yukio to tend to the child, who’s time is quickly running dry.
During this time it’s interesting as for the first time in the story we see Yukio unsure. Previous to this it was always Rin who was unsure and looked to Yukio as his rock. However Todo left him shaken, a similar event happened in the Anime Filler though it was a much less effective attack. Overcoming his doubts though Yukio is able to save the boy.
The legacy of this meeting and attack on Yukio will certainly be far reaching. I’m not saying this as I’ve read the manga, I’m saying this because the series itself said so. To call the scene foreshadowing would be too light a word, the show basically took a club with the words IMPORTANT carved into it and hit you over the head. There was nothing subtle here.
With the case “Solved” Mephisto - a Great Demon and Head Master of True Cross Academy and technically Rin and Yukio’s half-brother - comes by with Shura. He informs another of the Orders branches was attacked in Tokyo, where there was an attempt on the “Right Eye”. He sends Yukio to help investigate being one of the few who had contact with the only known perpetrator. The action that sets up the entire arc.
Eventually Rin is taken on a train by Shura as the rest of the extended cast shows up. It is here where all doubt about the status of the filler is laid to rest, it’s done, dead, gone. As each character that shows up is nervous around Rin now knowing him to be the son of Satan, something they got over in Season One by the end.
The only exception being Izumo Kamiki who explains to Rin in her standard Tsundere mode that being a demon human hybrid isn’t actually that weird. That many Exorcists are part demon, the only issue is that Rin is Satan’s son. The undisputed evil and badass demon around that killed a lot of peoples families - including most of their friends families.
Interesting this speech and the one that followed was word for word, identical to the one she gave in the Season One filler. Showing beyond any doubt all the canon elements of the filler are included, while everything else is out. It’s actually amazing how ballsy the series is being here, especially coming on the heels of the relative failure of another continuation of a long sleeping series D. Grey Man Hallow.
By the end here it’s clear this series is a big “I’m Sorry” to the fans of the original. Hopefully it will succeed as there are several great adaptations that ended on anime original sour notes, such as a personal favorite of mine Claymore. While Kyoto Impure will be a terrible place to jump into the series I hope people find their way.
The episode ends with exposition about the main plot of the Saga. The Left and Right Eyes everyone are after belong to a long dead but very powerful demon. The Impure King, a being that during the Edo Period killed over 40,000 people with its deadly miasma, which’s effects we saw earlier in the series. As such it’s up to the ExWires to stop whatever comes next.
Overall as a fan of the series who caught up rather recently Kyoto Impure was everything I was hoping a more. A sequel and soft-reboot of the franchise it promises to be a manga faithful adventure for 24 likely episodes and I right now cannot wait for next Friday. With the promise of more characters coming down the pike. What did everyone else think? Was Blue Exorcist’s return like an old friend who you can’t believe was gone for so long or is it like that guy you forgot existed?
PS: The Opening Theme (played at the end) is pretty great too.