Blue Exorcist Volumes 1 and 2

When I start to read this I realized that I was going to sample the first two volumes of this series on two different platforms. I bought the first volume on the Viz iPad app when it was on sale, then I was sent a print review copy for the second volume. I expect as I transition more to reading things on my iPad that my physical and virtual bookshelves will fragment even more, with volumes of the same series scattered between them.

Blue Exorcist Volume 1 by Kato Kazue

I tend to skim rather than read closely reviews of series that I might later end up reviewing myself, but my general impression of the response to this first volume is that most manga bloggers thought it started out sort of rocky and then stabilized a bit in the final chapters. This was pretty much my response to the first volume as well. The intriguing elements of this manga for me initially were the character designs and art. The story seemed poorly paced, with too many elements and twists introduced in so few pages it was hard to keep track of what was going on. Rin is a troubled young man who lives in a monastery with his guardian/priest and his seemingly timid younger twin brother Yukio. In the first few chapters it is revealed that Rin’s guardian is a powerful exorcist, Rin is the son of Satan and thus demonic, and evil demons walk the earth that must be battled. Rin gets a magic key and a special sword, Rin’s guardian is possessed by Satan, there’s a terrible fight, a headmaster who enjoys wearing knickers and a top hat tells Rin he has to enroll in a special school for exorcist, Rin goes to boarding school and finds out that his younger brother has been hiding his identity as a gifted student of exorcism all along. All of this happens in roughly the first chapter. That is a lot of plot to wade through in order to set up what is essentially a Harry Potter like situation of a young, not very gifted boy suddenly enrolling in exorcism boarding school.

Once Rin is at school, things settled down a bit and I was able to enjoy the manga a bit more. The visual design of Blue Exorcist is appealing. The characters are all wearing gothy punked out clothes that would serve as good inspiration for a cosplayer. I was really interested in the few glimpses of Blue Exorcist’s setting. True Cross Academy is shown as a mini city full of buildings with different architectural styles stacked up in a hill, with multi-level roads running through it. There seems to be a system of different keys acting as dimensional portals, and Rin soon finds out that school is going to be challenging, as he has to hide his identity as Satan’s son while attempting to study for the first time in his life. Rin’s slight fangs and sloppiness contrast with Yukio’s buttoned up personality and glasses. Rin finds out that the little brother he always thought he had to protect is more competent at demon fighting than him.

Blue Exorcist Volume 2 by Kato Kazue

Like most shonen manga, after the inital set-up, Rin starts gathering a team of allies around him. The first is a gentle girl named Shiemi, who is devoted to gardening and traditional clothing. When Rin helps save her, she promptly decides to enroll in exorcism school too. The second volume focuses on the rocky relationships between the characters. Rin keeps falling asleep in class and is shunned by the other students. Shiemi is bullied by her female classmates. Rin’s classmate Suguro hates Rin because it seems like he’s not taking school very seriously. The confrontation between Suguro and Rin soon becomes physical as they take risks during their demon fighting lessons. The students begin to explore their powers. Shiemi’s affinity for plants allows her to summon a familiar that can produce healing herbs on command.

Kazue’s character designs are very distinct, so it was easy to keep track of Rin’s classmates. The second volume mixed classroom action with the students getting to know each other. It seemed a lot more consistent, and even though “students train to develop super powers” isn’t a particularly innovative concept to build a manga around, so far I’m enjoying the way it is executed in Blue Exorcist. If the third volume continues the upswing in story quality, I’ll likely be hooked on this series. Blue Exorcist is certainly one of the more stylish shonen manga to come out recently, and it seems like the author is improving. I’d recommend reading the first two volumes at once, because the first volume isn’t really enough to give a reader a full picture of what the series is going to be like.

Review copy of volume 2 provided by the publisher

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. […] Blue Exorcist Volumes 1 and 2 […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.