Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, Volume 1 REVIEW

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, Volume 1 REVIEW

0 comments 📅26 March 2018, 18:33

We’ve had a long wait, but teen exorcist twins Rin and Yukio Okumura are finally back in action! A-1 Pictures’ much-anticipated follow-up to its 2011 supernatural hit, Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga gets straight down to business with the brothers and sexy swordswoman Shura attempting to recover the Left Eye of the Impure King, a demon relic pinched from the True Cross Academy’s vault.

Working on the sound principle that two unholy peepers in the wrong sockets are worse than one, the Academy promptly despatches a team of its top cram school students to Japan’s old imperial capital of Kyoto, whose Myoda Sect of Buddhist exorcists are guarding the Impure King’s right eye. Rin is sent along as part of the force, although classmates such as Ryuji, Renzo and Konekomaru are understandably wary now he’s been outed as, y’know, the actual son of Satan.

However, Ryuji, Renzo and the diminutive Konekomaru have more on their minds than our hero’s hellish heritage; not only were all three friends brought up in the Myoda Sect, but hot-tempered Ryuji’s dad Tatsuma is actually its high priest – even if he does seem to prefer to spend his time boozing these days. Their sect has safeguarded its dangerous relic for centuries, but can it withstand this latest assault by the forces of darkness? And can all its members be trusted…?

If you’re wondering why Rin’s fellow students have only just learned his big secret, it’s because Blue Exorcist’s sequel season has indulged in a spot of judicious retconning, with new director Koichi Hatsumi (Deadman Wonderland) picking up the plot right after Episode 17 of the first series. The anime-only storyline that made up the rest of that season has been junked, meaning that Blue Exorcist is now free to follow Kazue Kato’s manga much more faithfully.

While rendering Blue Exorcist’s entire finale non-canon might seem extreme, it was really the only option available to A-1 Pictures apart from adapting the story again from the very beginning or continuing to diverge from the (now much-expanded) manga – neither of which would be a very palatable alternative. What we’ve seen of Kyoto Saga so far suggests that Blue Exorcist fans have no reason to fear – the visuals are as good (if not better) than ever; both Japanese and English voice casts have been re-assembled; and the new Kyoto-based characters we meet are all pretty interesting.

In fact, the only reason we’ve not bumped our score up to a shiny four stars is that ‘what we’ve seen’ currently only amounts to half a dozen episodes, much of which is scene-setting for what will presumably be a more action-orientated second half. Assuming that Volume 2 doesn’t unexpectedly drop the ball, Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga is a show that we can heartily recommend to anyone who enjoyed Rin and Yukio’s earlier adventures.

Release: 26 March 2018
From: Manga UK
Format: DVD & Blu-ray
Age Rating: 12


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