Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 12 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 12    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 4, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kamiki confronts Takara at the Festival and asks him point blank if he’s in the Illuminati, as Arthur Angel and Lightning deal with one of the two Vatican spies. Arthur reveals his ruthless side when he says that since there is another spy, he doesn’t mind if this one dies! Under torture, the spy reveals that the Illuminati are going to kidnap a girl from the Japan Branch within the hour, and that girl is none other than Izumo Kamiki!

Shura instructs the exwires to begin a search for Kamiki. Meanwhile, Kamiki is still confronting Takara when help arrives… except this help isn’t quite what anyone bargained for. How can this trusted person be a member of the Illuminati? Nothing is what it seems, apparently. As if things aren’t confused enough, Mephisto arrives on the scene. One can never be sure what side he’s on. And right behind him is Lucifer, Mephisto’s big brother, who makes no bones about being a part of the Illuminati. According to Lucifer, they have declared war against the Knights of the True Cross. Lucifer and his cohorts depart – with Kamiki – to everyone’s chagrin. Mephisto instructs Yukio to take the exwires and get Kamiki back!

When they arrive at their destination, which is a theme park, they begin to realize something is not quite right here. Although supposedly visitors come to visit the Inari Taisha shrine, an inordinate number of them are obsessed with the food and with staying at Dream Town Inari. What’s up with that?

In this volume of Blue Exorcist, the exwires are faced with a major dilemma. Is one of their own a traitor, or is there more to the story, something they aren’t seeing? Betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow, especially in one who has been trusted as this person was. Rin gives him the benefit of the doubt, but Suguro is ready to rip his head off.

This volume also delves more deeply into Kamiki’s background than we’ve been before, and we catch glimpses of a horrific childhood, which has made her the standoffish, non-trusting person she has become. Not surprising, considering her parents. I don’t know what to think about the traitor in their midst – is he really a traitor, or is something else happening that we aren’t aware of? I’m inclined to give the person the benefit of the doubt, but I suppose time will tell. The appearance of the masked Lucifer is interesting. Who is the man behind the mask? And what is his agenda? A bonus at the end of the volume is an illustrated guide to demons, which is interesting.

So many questions that need answering! Looking forward to the next volume!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 11 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 11     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 4, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/210 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

 Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

While Rin takes extra lessons to make up for getting a zero on an English quiz, Yukio goes to the Hall of Portraits to investigate one of the seven mysteries the ex-wires have been working on. There he runs into Shura, who is aware of the rumors regarding a certain portrait, which is said to show the observer the darkness in his heart. However, their meeting is no coincidence. She has come to tell Yukio he’s been summoned to go the Vatican the next day to give information on Todo, and she will accompany him.

Meanwhile, the ex-wires are tackling a different mystery, that of the statue of Johann Faust which moves at night. As they argue among themselves, the statue begins to move! As he observes Rin and the others, Yukio wonders about himself, wonders why Father Fujimoto chose to raise them, and if Rin is the son of Satan then what is he? Lost in thought he finds that he’s wandered into the Hall of Portraits. Or was that but a dream?

The ex-wires head to the Hall of Portraits after school, and find a cute doggy there, but it’s only Mephisto, up to his old tricks. He explains why this is the last mystery they can do, even though there are three others. The portrait in question is known as the family portrait, and it has recently become dangerous enough to require exorcism. The ex-wires must work together, each to his own strengths, to solve this mystery, and one steps forward to show unexpected leadership abilities. When the battle is won, Rin reminds Mephisto of his promise concerning the eye drops.

At the Vatican, Yukio has to agree to some harsh conditions and seal them with his blood! He tells them what he knows and, after he leaves, the matter of the Illuminati is discussed. It seems that they have spies within the Order! Two in the Vatican and one in the Japan branch. Shura is ordered to find the spy in the Japan branch.

A jealous Rin wonders why Yukio is meeting with Shiemi so often, but his brother is close-lipped about the matter. It’s not what Rin thinks – Yukio is helping to tutor Shiemi.

The Academy Festival is quickly approaching, time for the classes to decide what they are going to do. Rin suggests doing tonjiru and rice balls, which he can make, so his class goes with that. When he learns that on the second night of the festival a concert will be held featuring some bands that he really likes, Rin is ecstatic. Until he finds out the event is couples only! What is he going to do? He would ask Shiemi, but she isn’t a student at True Cross, and he knows few other girls. All of the male ex-wires have the same problem. Izumo turns them all down. Suguro has the opposite problem – he keeps receiving invitations that he has to turn down! Things take an unexpected turn when Shiemi suddenly shows up! Is this Rin’s chance to ask her to go with him?

I’m sorry there are no more of the seven mysteries to solve, it’s fun to watch the ex-wires in action, especially their interactions with each other. Rin has gained more of an acceptance from them, although they do remain aware that he is the son of Satan. I was confused when I noticed he keeps his tail out now, even at school, until I realized no one can see it who can’ see demons. Of course that includes his new friend Godaiin, who freaks out a bit when he sees the tail.

Mephisto is ever the troublemaker, while I still don’t know what to make of Takara. The Festival is a welcome break and a chance to see the ex-wires acting more like the teens they really are than wannabe exorcists. I like the growing triangle of Rin-Shiemi-Yukio, although I suspect that Shiemi’s feelings for Yukio are more hero worship than anything, and I’m not sure what Yukio’s toward her are. I’ve known for some time that Rin likes Shiemi, but maybe it’s good for him to think he has competition, even if it’s his own brother.

I dislike Arthur Angel as much as ever, but Lightning seems nice enough. I wonder who the Illimunati spy is. Takara is a too obvious choice. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Another good volume, bring on more!

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 10 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 10     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 2, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

It’s back to True Cross Academy and on with classes for the ex-wires! While in class one day, Rin finds a fellow classmate who can also see demons apparently. His name is Godaiin, and Rin befriends him. Unlike Rin, Godaiin is disturbed by his visions and only wants them to go away. Rin promises to ask his exorcism teachers for a solution to Godaiin’s problem.

Meanwhile, Arthur Angel and his angelic battalion have a situation on their hands, one involving the Impure Princess! I guess we haven’t seen the last of this family! A new mystery arises, involving a demon-eater, and the matter of Rin Okumura is temporarily suspended.

Rin receives a dinner invitation from Mephisto – why, he has no idea. But he hopes Mephisto can help him solve Godaiin’s problem. Mephisto puts things into perspective for Rin, then tells him he has homework but neglects to tell him what it is.

Yukio finds the Consultation center of the True Cross Academy Japan branch is busier than ever, and wonders why. Lord Pheles summons Yukio and the ex-wires to a meeting at a decisively strange hour – eleven PM! – in order to assign them a special lesson. They are to solve the seven mysteries of True Cross Academy that the whole school has been talking about. But the only way they can do this is if they cooperate with each other.

The first mystery involves a mysterious form dressed in white that wanders the academy at night. The catch is that it won’t appear before women, so the girls have to sit this one out. Speak of the devil, there she is now! Go to it, ex-wires! Er, male ex-wires.

As the boys deal with this ghost, Mephisto is summoned by Arthur Angel and his battalion to deal with a sticky situation involving a Gehenna gate!

The ex-wires receive their next mystery assignment – a toilet mayuko in the girls’ dormitory! This time, the boys have to sit this one out, leaving Kamiki and Shiemi to take care of the matter. Why is Kamiki so reluctant to admit that Shiemi is her friend? While the girls go to it, the boys have their own preparations to make.

This series just gets better and better! We thought the Impure King was a done deal, and now here comes the Impure Princess! We only scratch the surface of that, rather delving into the seven mysteries of the True Cross Academy. The first one, involving the figure in white, was hilarious, while the second one brought out more of Shiemi and Kamiki’s relationship. I think that bathroom spirit was a cross between Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle and Mean Girls.

I enjoyed the encounter between Rin and Amaimon, though I frankly admit to hoping to see Rin thoroughly kick that guy’s a** someday. I enjoyed seeing Mephisto’s interactions with the angelic contingent. I really do not like Arthur Angel, and I hope Mephisto will bring him down to size, over and over.

The ex-wires are developing, learning how to work together and get along. The more I read of this, the more I like it. Keep it coming!

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 9 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 9     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 2, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Rin has drawn his sword in order to battle the Impure King, to Mephisto’s glee and Yukio’s dismay. Rin decides he has to be who and what he is – a beast who burns everything. Meanwhile, Shiemi is battling to save Kamiki from the fungus which has engulfed her. Is she strong enough to save her friend?

In the aftermath of the battle, Yukio is furious, but Rin stands his ground. Yukio begins to see he may not always be right. Everyone retur5ns to the inn, where Tatsuma is healing and Mamushi is stricken with guilt for her part in what has occurred. Juzo attempts to console her.

Rin awakens to find himself lying next to Shiemi. She explains she came to check on him and fell asleep. Shura confronts Mephisto and demands to know what he has in mind for Rin. As usual, he’s quite enigmatic.

Juzo announces he is taking Mamushi’s hand in marriage, although she hasn’t agreed to accept his offer. The ex-wires amuse themselves at Rin’s expense. They pretend they have to listen to him because he’s Satan’s son, even as they explore Kyoto. Finally, it’s time to leave – but not back to True Cross Academy. The ex-wires are told to get some swimsuits, they’re going to the beach!

This concludes the Impure King arc – at least I think it does. Rin is coming to terms with who he is, and so are the others. Yukio not so much. But he has his own baggage, and sometimes it’s hard to let go of preconceived notions about one’s family.

The beach story about a forgotten god is great, and Juzo and Mamushi are hilarious. I can’t help but feel he’ll wear her down with time. Rin is every bit as headstrong and impetuous as he ever was but he is finally learning some measure of control. Mephisto is as devious and conniving as ever, but down deep, I think he has Rin’s best interests at heart.

Another great volume, looking forward to more.

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 8 Review

Blue Exorcist, Book 8    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 6, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As the ex-wires are breaking Rin out of his solitary confinement, Yukio comes face to face with the architect of their troubles – Saburota Todo. Todo taunts Yukio about Rin in order to distract him. Meanwhile, having freed Rin, the ex-wires come across the injured Ossama. Not only that but they find that the Impure King is not only huge but beginning to resemble large buildings. Kamiki and Shiemi offer to take Suguro’s father to where he can received medical assistance, while the others take on the Impure King. From his lofty perch high above them, Mephisto observes but does nothing.

Todo tries to get Yukio to admit he hates Rin, in an effort to divide them. Will Yukio fall prey to a case of sibling rivalry? Kuro takes on his huge demonic form, and allows Rin and Suguro to ride him toward the Impure King. Suguro is to put up the barrier – if he can. After that, they aren’t sure what to do, since Rin isn’t able to draw his sword. Rin teases Suguro, calling him Princess, while Yukio thinks back on life with brother Rin. However, Yukio is not without tricks of his own.

Everyone has their job to do. Shima and Koneko fight their way through the forest, trying to get through before the sac bursts. But doubts assail one of them. They tried their best, and it seems futile to go on. No one will blame them for saving their own lives by running from danger. Isn’t that the sensible thing to do?

There is a lot going on in this volume of Blue Exorcist, and people are looking inside themselves for answers and solutions. Defeating Todo and his Impure King will be no easy task. Everyone must work together or they’ll all fall. Something I was wondering about in the last volume ends up being addressed in this – namely, does Yukio have any demon in him? While we are not given an answer, that is something to ponder.

The fight against the Impure King has become a very interesting arc, and I’m enjoying the character development. I’ve forgotten to mention that some of the volumes have bonus stories. I have to say some are better than others. I am really enjoying this series and look forward to seeing what comes next.

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 7 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 7     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Saburota Todo and Mamushi Hojo have stolen the Left and Right Eyes of the Impure King and disappeared, while Rin finds himself incarcerated, in solitary confinement! Rin has received a letter from Tatsuma Suguro explaining how he met Father Fujimoto and how Fujimoto ended up with the Koma sword. The sword contains a fire demon, Karura, summoned by a monk named Fukaku who defeated the Impure King with it. Suguro takes the sword and gives it to Fujimoto, despite the priest telling him he is going to kill a child with it. But Suguro knows better.

Todo reveals to Mamushi the terrible secret of Myodha, that beneath Goma Hall lies the body of the Impure King. If they return his eyes to him, he shall live once more, a most terrible thought indeed! Ossama catches up with Todo and Mamushi, and tries to prevent them from reviving the Impure King, but he is too late, only to learn that Todo has a different agenda!

Meanwhile, back at the jail, Yukio doesn’t want to give Rin the sword to use, not knowing if his flame will even work against the Impure King, much less defeat him. Yukio is concerned that if he uses his flame, Rin will be put to death, but Shura reminds him they have much bigger problems – such as the Impure King. Yukio reluctantly agrees but there is an unexpected wrinkle in the plan.

When Ossama returns, with Mamushi, and tells the story of what has happened, the ex-wires are torn about what to do. They decide to break Rin out of his confinement so he can fight the Impure King, but thanks to the machinations of Mephisto, that is easier said than done.

Another fast-paced volume of Blue Exorcist. It’s getting easier to tell the villains from the heroes, although sometimes the heroes aren’t entirely sure themselves and are torn in their loyalties. Mephisto is something of an enigma. Although I am unsure what his agenda is, and while his methods tend to be unorthodox, deep inside, I believe everything he does is for a good reason. Amaimon, not so much. I like seeing Yukio’s affection toward his brother, which he sometimes hides. It’s still hard to believe they’re twins, but they are. I have to wonder if Yukio has powers that are unsuspected, maybe lying deep inside, that just haven’t evidenced yet. I feel sorry for Mamushi. She really thought she was doing the right thing, and was brutally used for her naïveté and for having faith in the wrong person.

I predict that Rin will make a great exorcist, although I’m not sure if he will get to face down his father in the way he hopes. I also predict that he and Shiemi will find out they are attracted to each other. Not sure where that will go.

The series is going strong, keep the volumes coming!

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 6 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 6     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The ex-wires are in Kyoto to help guard the Right Eye of the Impure King. Everyone is surprised to discover they are staying at the inn belonging to Suguro’s family. The next morning, some of the guys don’t remember the night before very well, and they blame it on whatever Shura gave them to drink. Konekomaru is confused as to why Renzo is acting so friendly toward Rin. Doesn’t he remember who and what he is? A meeting of the Myodha is being held, but Ossama is nowhere to be found. He sends word that he is busy and unable to attend. Renzo’s father, Yaozo, rises from his sick bed to inform the meeting that there is a traitor in their midst! It’s revealed that the right eye has been stolen, and six people are the major suspects, including Ossama, Juzo Shima and Mamushi Hojo.

Rin’s training isn’t going well. His first task, and he keeps blowing it! Literally. Shura set up three candles with instructions to light them, but he can’t control his power and keeps melting them. Suguro confronts his father, but to no avail. He disowns him just before his father disappears, only to be yelled at by Rin. They get into an altercation, to Shura’s great annoyance. Rin goes a little too far and finds himself revealed and incarcerated.

Yukio arrives on the scene only to learn the Right Eye has been stolen as well, and the chief suspect is High Priest Tatsumo Suguro! Yukio reveals that when the eyes come together, a poisonous gas is released! They must be found. A letter arrives for Rin from Suguro’s father, but neither Rin nor Shura can read it. Luckily Yukio can, and what a tale is revealed!

The action is getting hotter and hotter as the ex-wires are thrust into the fray. This is no exercise, this is reality! If those eyes aren’t found before they are connected, everyone will be in danger! We learn a lot in this volume, and glimpse more of Suguro and his father. Also, we watch Rin working hard to control his flame as he learns to work for the common good, a sure sign he is maturing. We see more of the softer side of Shiemi, as well, who is always ready to volunteer her help to others.

I find that the story of the Left and Right Eyes is making more sense to me now, and it’s an interesting story. I like the way the story is developing, and I find it interesting that more than a few people are suspicious of Mephisto Pheles. I’m sure he has quite a story himself.

Another great volume, looking forward to more of the same. I’m also watching the anime, although I’m only a few episodes into it, but I really like it.