The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Blue Exorcist: The Movie

Title: Blue Exorcist: The Movie
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: A-1 Pictures
Format: Movie; 90 minutes.
Dates: 24 Dec 2012

Synopsis: The people of True Cross Academy are in high spirits, and the mood is rowdy as everyone is ushering in the Hikemu Festival, which is held every 11 years. Okumara Rin, his brother, Yukio, and Shiemi are tasked with taking down the Phantom Train but failed to do so. In the midst of the destructive aftermath, Rin comes across a seemingly innocent child demon with no memories and is then ordered to take custody of the child by Mephisto. Rin soon realizes what the boy really is and later understands why he was sealed ages ago.

The Highlights
Visuals: Solid production values, as expected from a well-budgeted movie.
Characters: Still the same old cast from the main series.
Plot: Well written and executed, albeit utterly predictable.
Watch this if: You’re a fan of Blue Exorcist … or have 90 minutes of spare time.

Blue Exorcist is a likable shounen action series. The show has a relatable protagonist who struggles to find his place in the human world as a creature originally from hell à la HellboyIt also features a memorable musical score by Sawano Hiroyuki and an opening episode that is unexpectedly well-executed and sentimental. After that, though, it unfortunately runs into several typical plot holes and clichés, and eventually signs off with a haphazard and ill-written ending. Though the TV series ending left an unpleasant aftertaste for me, I still remember the few traits that make the series quite the decent action/drama production, and hence gave Blue Exorcist: The Movie a try to see if it outdoes its predecessor.

As I initially expected, the story of The Movie is one that deviates from that of the main series and thus has no relations with it whatsoever. Story-wise, it is very simplistic: Rin meets a seemingly harmless demon whom he names Usamaro and they become closer together, but then all hell breaks loose due to complicated circumstances. Though the premises aren’t particularly original, it reminds me of the good things from the main series: the characters’ down-to-earth and genuine empathy. There’s something earnest about the relationship that buds between Rin and Usamaro; the story reiterates the overarching theme of friendship and brotherhood, one that the series has always handled and carried decently.

And of course, The Movie has also stepped up on the visuals, something that I am pleased with but not particularly surprised from typical full-length anime movies. From the intricate and grand lantern floats to the confetti that envelopes the True Cross Academy, painstaking effort and detail have been put into the aesthetics. The same can be said for the action sequences: fluid animation renders every fight scene a visual feast. It is apparent that A-1 Pictures did not cut corners when it comes to making this quite festive spectacle to watch

If there is anything that The Movie could have done to make itself much better, it would be the character development. It’s a shame how the new character Cheng-Long Liu did not get any form of characterization and ends up being a typical supporting figure. And, as decent as the movie is, it’s nothing more than an extension of the main series rather than a continuation so viewers don’t really stand to miss out on a lot of detail if they had followed the main storyline. But with a short 90-minute timespan, viewers can simply treat this as a good way to kill some time. This movie simply reminds me of how Blue Exorcist is a fairly good title with some execution issues, and how the shounen genre isn’t as unlikable as I usually see it.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: AC

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