Tag Archives: Kazue Kato

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 20 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 20     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2018

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The Ex-wires decide to throw a party—a combination birthday and Christmas party. Rin buys some cheap reindeer ears for himself and a moustache and glasses costume for Yukio, who is less than impressed. Shiemi dresses as Santa Claus and carries a large bag containing a full-sized decorated Christmas tree (it’s actually Nee). When tragedy accidentally ensues, they salvage what they can, and save the day by having a hot-pot party. As they are partying, Shima receives a call from his older brother Juzo—he and Mamushi are going to have a baby! Although they are officially married, they are going to have a ceremony for family, and they want Shima and Bon and Konekomaru to attend!

After the party, Rin and Yukio learn, to their surprise, that Shura lives in their dorm too. Shura has had a bit to drink and mentions to them that she met their mother. Naturally, they want details, so Shura tells them the story, which occurred when she was a bratty little girl being raised by Father Fujimoto. Afterward, the brothers discuss what they found out. Yukio expresses a desire to know more about their mother, but Rin doesn’t, to his brother’s surprise.

The Ex-wires all travel to Kyoto for the wedding. Everyone pitches in to help with preparations, although with his arm in a sling, Yukio is limited in what he can do. Lots of family members show up from both sides. Rin is concerned about his brother. He feels as if something is wrong with him, but he doesn’t know what.

Even from Kyoto, Bon checks on Lightning, chastising him to get out of bed. As soon as he hangs up with Bon, Lightning places another call, asking about Dr. Dragulescu’s schedule. Shima is sitting alone, away from the festivities, when Konekomaru finds him. They have a talk, and Shima starts to feel better about himself.

The Ex-Wires and a few others head to the temple for New Year’s Eve, with a stern warning to stay together, but Rin finds himself standing next to Shiemi, separated from the others. He reveals to her his feelings that Yukio is hiding something from him. Before they can really talk, though, they are discovered and the moment passes.

New Year’s Day. Bon helps his father prepare for the wedding ceremony. He asks him about Father Fujimoto, but before Tatsuma can respond, he is called away. Afterward, Bon is seated next to Yukio, during the ceremony. Yukio overheard Bon’s question, and wants to know what Lightning is investigating. Even as they speak, Lightning is making his move, but Bon tells Yukio he can’t reveal any information regarding the investigation. The situation threatens to boil over when Yukio threatens Bon with a gun, but everything ends up being put on hold when the Ex-wires are recalled to handle a dangerous situation—a Cyclops is loose in Ikebukuro Station!

There is a lot going on in this volume of Blue Exorcist, aside from the wedding and New Year’s and the baby. Yukio is trying to figure things out, such as why Father Fujimoto raised him and Rin, what is their mother’s story, and what do Bon and Lightning have to do with anything? Rin is trying to understand why Shiemi has chosen not to take the exorcist’s exam, although she assures him it isn’t because she is dying or moving or anything, but she can’t tell him the reason. She just can’t. We see Lightning in action and get a better feel for what he does. I have to say I’m liking him more than I did before. Shima is a hard person to get a handle on. As a double spy, it’s hard to say which is his true face, and which side is he truly on. Yukio reveals a surprising memory, which is a tender moment. I like seeing more of Shura as a little girl, it’s really cute.

On pins and needles now, waiting for the next volume!

 

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 19 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 19       

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/194 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

True Cross has a new student – Ambrosius Faust. But he’s actually Amaimon, passing himself off as Johann Faust’s nephew. What’s up with that? To Rin’s dismay, he claims Shiemi is his bride, but she quickly sets him straight on that count. Meanwhile, Lightning and Suguro have been investigating in the monastery where Rin and Yukio were raised. Afterward, Lightning storms into Mephisto’s bath to confront him an unofficial contract of Morinath, which is completely against order rules. Mephisto tells him the location of the treasure he seeks, and advises he go at night, and to “place the key in the hand.” Off Lightning and Suguro go!

Shiemi has been wrestling with whether or not to take the exorcist exam, conflicted between her desire to please and her wishes for the future. Having made her decision, she approaches her mother, who asks that Shiemi hear her out before she makes a final decision.

Lightning and Suguro find themselves beneath the monastery, in the place that was the predecessor of the cram school. This place was dismantled sixteen years before, because it was ground zero on the Blue Night! They talk to one another about their backgrounds, and then they run into an unexpected blast from the past. When Lightning accuses the newcomer of signing a contract or Morinath, he tells them where to find the Section 13 they seek. Lightning and Suguro find the ruins of what was once the cram school, as well as Section 13. It seems as though someone was experimenting with finding elixirs for immortality! Worse than that, they were delving into cloning! Mephisto, you have some ‘splaining to do!

Christmas break has arrived, but the Exwires decide to stay at the school in order to study for the exorcist exam. When a discussion of birthdays arises, they decide to hold a Christmas party/birthday party for the group! The students split into groups to take care of preparations, even as they speculate on what Shiemi has just told them, trying to figure out why she made the decision that she did.

I love following the ongoing investigation of Lightning and Suguro. What they are uncovering is totally fascinating, even if I’m not sure how it fits into the scheme of things. Cloning, immortality and elixirs? We learn more about the Blue Night, as well as Lucifer, while Mephisto continues to protest that he is not the enemy, and he’s certainly not helping the Illuminati. The plot is definitely thickening, and as usual, the Okumura brothers in in the midst of it, whether they know the truth or not.

I also love Suguro’s character development. At the beginning of the series, I thought of him as a muscle-bound lunkhead, but there is a lot more to him than that. I’m dying to find out about why Shiemi decided what she did – what did her mother say to her? And is Yukio ever going to confide his fears to his brother? After all, two heads are better than one!

The beat goes on in this volume of Blue Exorcist. Unfortunately, now I have to wait for the next one to arrive! I’ve reached the end of what is already published. I’m greatly looking forward to the next volume, whenever it comes out!

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 18 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 18      

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 2, 2018

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Rin and Yukio have been sent by Mephisto to rescue Shura, only to find her in the clutches of the demon Hachirotaro Okami. When Rin attacks the serpent, using his Satan Bomb move, Shura realizes he has gained greater control of his flames. He’d been against the name at first, finding it stupid, but she explained to him that it would be easier for him to remember, and she turns out to be right. The brothers rescue Shura but the serpent escapes. Shura can’t help but remember when Father Fujimoto asked her to watch over the twins, although she was less than interested, and she wonders if he foresaw this day.

They use a key to get back to True Cross, and Yukio winds up in the infirmary, to his chagrin. Rin tells him to get better and then he can go back to his special training, whatever it is. Shura starts to talk to Rin about what happened to Yukio in Aomori, then decides against it. Meanwhile the search for the demon serpent is on, but unfortunately someone on the other side finds him first and turns him over to Lucifer and his forces.

After she recovers, Shura goes to see the director and learns the serpent has been given to the others. They suspect Shima, but have no proof, since he is a double agent. Shura asks Mephisto if all of this is part of some big plan of his, but as usual he is cagy, and remarks that she cares more about others than she used to.

Back at the dorm, Rin is practicing grilling fresh fish, so he can cook for Yukio in the hospital. The others tell him he won’t be allow to grill there, much less with Satan’s flame. They find Bon hanging out Lightning’s laundry and make fun of him for allowing him to use him in that way, but he explains that he is trying to attain a state of selflessness, so they let it go.

Lightning takes Suguro to the underground library of the True Cross Japan branch, which is huge. Lightning got them permission for five days of research, and he intends to investigate the Illuminati. He thinks everything that is going on began on the Blue Night. He’s sure Mephisto knows the truth and he intends to make him talk.

Things are really getting good in this volume, especially trying to figure out everyone’s hidden agenda. Since her rescue by the Okumura brothers, Shura has become more human and likeable, although I could do without the skimpy outfits. Shima is an enigma. You want to intensely dislike him for being a spy, and yet there is something compelling about him that makes you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. One of the funniest parts of the book involves Rin’s confession to Shiemi that he likes her, and its aftermath, which involves the return of someone Rin cannot stand. Lightning isn’t the punk I first took him for, and his investigation of the Illuminati, along with Bon, is becoming very interesting, especially if it leads in the direction I think it is.

Another great volume from Kazue Kato, I look forward to the next one.

 

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 17 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 17     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 4, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/186 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

When Shura disappears, Mephisto sends Yukio and Rin to find her, telling them to go to Aomori Prefecture, as that is where she is from. Plus the most recent GPS reading places here there. Yukio claims he can handle the assignment alone, to Rin’s dismay, but Mephisto insists they work together, so off they go. He also lets Yuki know that he knows about his dangerous training, and to be careful.

They take a train to Lake Towada and find room in an inn. The old lady who runs the inn assures them they’ll have privacy, having totally misinterpreted their relationship. As they relax in a hot bath, Rin questions Yukio about the dangerous training, which his brother blows off, then reveals how he has messed up with Shiemi. He asks Yuki if he likes Shiemi too, but doesn’t really get an answer to his question. Later, in speaking with the innkeeper, they learn that Shura spent the night there and said when she left that she was sort of going home.

Meanwhile, Shura meets with a mysterious figure she calls Hachiro who is insistent that she keep to the terms of her blood contract and have a child! As Yukio and Rin search for Shura, Yukio tells his brother the story of the baba yaga of Lake Towanda, and of how Father Fujimoto rescued  Shura, who was being held prisoner there. Rin senses trouble ahead. They find an injured Shura lying in the snow, and she tells them she is going to die soon! She tells them the story of the blood contract that began even before she was born…

This volume is primarily about Shura, but it’s also about Yukio and Rin, giving them some brotherly alone time which they seldom get. Shura’s backstory is interesting, and the contract she was burdened with horrendous. Finally resigned to her fate, it takes the two brothers to make her see she can have a life of her own. I love the flashbacks of when she met Father Fujimoto. The things she said and did made me laugh, especially when she said she wanted to have his baby! I loved seeing Rin and Yukio working together. I worry about Yukio, and whatever power is coming to light inside of him. I think he’ll be all right. After all, look at Rin! He’s a good boy, just high spirited. And not likely to be swayed to the dark side.

Another great volume, look forward to more!

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 16 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 15    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6 , 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/218 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Yukio visits Shura in the hospital to discuss the current situation and to explain about Shima being a double agent. A tired, overworked Yukio doesn’t trust either Mephisto or Shima, but for the present there is nothing to be done about that. Shura tells him that Mephisto has given her tickets for everyone to an ultra bath in Southern Cross, and tells a reluctant Yukio he needs it as much or more than anyone else. So everyone heads out for some down time, including the acknowledged spy in their midst.

The girls share some time in the bath, while the boys goof around in their bath. When Shima shows up, they think he’s acting weird, until he reveals the reason for his behavior – namely, that Izumo, Shiemi, and Shura are right next door, and they are naked! His stated intentions of seeing them naked produces an unexpected declaration from Rin.

Back at home, Rin finds an abandoned kotatsu with a missing blanket, and dreams of being able to have people over for a hot pot party! Concerned about his brother, he questions Yukio, who blows him off, as always. At the Vatican, Mephisto is attending a meeting at True Cross Headquarters concerning recent develops. The name Igor Niehaus is brought up, the former instructor who was suspended after an attack on Rin and whose current whereabouts are unknown. Accused by Arthur Angel of being a traitor, Mephisto convinces them that he has their best interests at heart, and is working to keep the Gehenna gate closed. Lightning privately convinces Angel to have him assigned to the Japan Branch of True Cross, so he can look into matters.

To the Exwires dismay, Yukio informs them that they will be taking exorcist certification exam sooner than expected.  They must each resubmit their desired meisters ahead of time. Rin discusses the Yukio situation with Shiemi, but she is as much in the dark concerning his behavior as Rin is. Meanwhile, Yukio has his own agenda, one that brings him little sleep, brought on by unexpected observations of himself. Lightning shows up at True Cross as an instructor, and takes Suguro on as his acolyte/servant. The other Exwires can’t believe the highly alpha Suguro acting like such a toady, but Suguro insists Lightning is his mentor and he wishes to learn from him. He hopes that if he does well, Lightning will take him on as an apprentice.

Shiemi is uncertain which meister she wishes to study for, so returns home to consult with her mother, only to have an unexpected discussion. On a routine mission, Shiemi and RIn find themselves trapped together, and things are …. well, said… that could have interesting consequences.

The action doesn’t stop in this volume of Blue Exorcist. Never a dull moment. It’s interesting to watch Shima’s return to the school and see how the Exwires relate to him, especially Suguro and Konekomaru. Being a double agent must be tricky. How can either side fully trust him, not knowing for sure where his true loyalties lie since he has to be convincing to all of them? We see more into what Yukio is up to, and his doubts about himself as well as the potentially harmful way he is dealing with it. Sooner or later, I think he needs to tell Rin what’s going on, and Mephisto too. Despite being odd, I suspect there is more good than bad in Mephisto. A love triangle is forming, but I think it’s based on erroneous information and is more a comedy of errors than anything else. Can’t wait to see what happens.

Another great volume, looking forward to more!

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 15 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 15    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 3, 2016

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Exwires manage to shrink a monstrous Gedoin down to a more manageable size and find themselves face to face with Shima, who manages to give them the slip yet again. Recovering in the hospital, Izumo learns the whereabouts of her missing sister and uses a key to go see her. She finds that her sister has been adopted into a nice family and is very happy. She doesn’t tell her sister who she is, and her sister doesn’t remember her, so returns to the hospital, crushed. She confronts Shiemi, who only wants to make her feel better, but Izumo isn’t ready for that and resists.

Suguro goes home to tell Shima’s family the awful truth about their son, only to learn something very unexpected. In the meantime, Gedoin has escaped and made his way back to Lucifer on the Dominus Liminis. Gedoin only wishes to please Lucifer, but Lucifer thinks he is nothing and quickly deflates him.

The Exwires return to school, and we learn more about what Shima is really up to. Naturally, Mephisto is involved. In the classroom, confusion ensues when first one and then a second Shima turn up. Who is the real one and who the imposter? And why is either one there? Mephisto arrives in the nick of time and transports some of the students back to his office before they harm Shima. There they meet Lightning, Arthur Angel’s second-in-command, who has come to determine if Shima is trustworthy. Other questions arise, such as why is Mephisto raising the son of Satan? Answers are demanded.

This volume of Blue Exorcist is filled with a lot, both in terms of action and character development and story. The truth about Shima was unexpected, and I can see it becoming problematic for everyone.  I love how outspoken Rin is. When asked if he thought Shima was trustworthy, he said no, but he meant Mephisto, not Shima. Plans are being made to fight the Illuminati, and time is of the essence. How much does Mephisto know that he isn’t telling? Also, what’s up with Yukio? An interesting scene hints at what I’ve been thinking all along.

Great volume, looking forward to more!

 

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 14 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 14     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 5,2016

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

While attempting to rescue Izumo from the clutches of the Illumunati madman, Professor Gedoiin, the exwires find themselves not only separated from one another but facing zombies! One by one they defeat their foes and assemble as a group  once more, only to face Gedoiin. Gedoiin reasons that it’s only right for humans to experiment on humans, as they’ve experimented on animals for a long time. Just then her captors bring out Izumo. Ren goes into action and finds himself facing off with Shima! Rejecting the help of the exwires, Izumo agrees to take the Nine Tails inside herself. Can they stop the Nine tails without hurting its vessel, Izumo?

This volume of Blue Exorcist is not as Ren-centric as others. It showcases the exwires more as a team. We get a glimpse of Suguro and what he was like before he became his current buff and strong self. And Izumo sees another side of her otherwise weak and selfish mother. Professor Gedoiin is one of the creepiest villains we’ve encountered so far, and he doesn’t get any better in this volume. I’m still not entirely sure that Shima is the traitor he seems to be, either.

To be honest, I’m not sure what purpose would be served by implanting the Nine Tails in Izumo, but I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes now. Another good volume, can’t wait for more!