Of all the animes that I have watched this lovely summer, I have no hesitation in calling Ao no Exorcist my favorite. I only began watching (during AP season, no less) because of a ridiculously high recommendation from my friend, and I was hooked by the third episode. This series really has potential to become one of my all-time favorite shonens, along with Fullmetal Alchemist and Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Maybe as testament to how good it is, Ao no Exorcist had me in tears by the second episode.
The series begins with Okumura Rin, a typical high school delinquent, getting into a fight. Again. At home he is confronted by his dad, Father Fujimoto Shiro, and his twin brother, Okumura Yukio, for his violent behavior. Yukio is the exact opposite of his brother, an ideal student who has managed to get into a prestigious high school on a dream scholarship, while Rin has plans to drop out before high school and simply begin working. He does manage by a miracle to land himself a steady job, but quickly loses it when trying to protect a little girl from a mischievous supernatural creature. Rin’s eyes are suddenly opened to a world that was previously hidden to him, and he is pursued by demons that force his adoptive father to reveal the truth behind Rin’s existence: Rin is the son of Satan, and Fujimoto is a top-tier Exorcist that has been protecting him his entire life.
Satan reveals himself, and by the end of episode two, Rin is mourning in the burned husk of the church he grew up in, with injured clergymen around him and his father dead by Satan’s hands. Knowing that there is no turning back, Rin resolves to prove himself to the rest of the world and to avenge his father by becoming an Exorcist, and killing Satan himself.
I feel it is definite accomplishment that I could become so attached to these characters within only two episodes. The cast is mildly extensive, but each are so unique that it’s very easy to remember them. My favorite characters are probably Shima, Shiemi, Rin, and Kuro. I actually began by catching up in the manga before watching the anime, and I feel the seiyuus that were picked for the roles fit perfectly with the voices I imagined in my head for them. Every character is ridiculously lovable, and I just can’t help but adore them all. The plot and characters are very believable and progresses smoothly, switching from humor to serious scenes in a way that flows much more naturally than in Angel Beats!, where it felt like the series constantly redefined itself and had little focus. In general I just adore everything.
I think that my number one favorite thing about this series is the beautiful art. While the anime art slips occasionally in certain episodes due to low budgets and being pressed for time, the manga is absolutely gorgeous. Every month when there’s an update I find myself just staring at the drawings. (This page is my all-time favorite, but it’s from a very recent chapter so I don’t recommend you flip any pages or you might just spoil yourself.) The anime has a beautiful OST that I also enjoy listening to, and the art is definitely not something I frequently complain about. (This and this are my absolute favorite tracks.) Since this is such a new anime series, I’m just so happy that everything about the series is so quality, because it’s exactly what it deserves. I can’t even describe how ridiculously happy I was when I watched both of the OPs, they were both so good.
Even though this series is relatively new, it has been out in manga form for about two years already. I highly recommend both the manga and anime to any shonen fans- I promise, it’s completely worth your time and I feel like I’ll be talking about this series for a long time to come. I’d rate this series PG-13 due to violence, profanity, and…uh…almost nudity. (Thanks, Shura.) As usual, I leave you with the first OP and my plea to please watch this show.