Finale, here we go!!! I can’t wait for…sight-seeing?
I usually don’t like when a series has an “extra” episode after the main arc is resolved just to throw in some pointless fluff. However, I was looking forward to this episode because it seemed like a promising place for Rin and Yukio to have a long, serious discussion. Sometimes I go into an episode with an idea of what I might say, and I was all ready to say “hey, look, those extra episodes tacked after a big boss battle can actually be meaningful!”…yeah, this wasn’t quite the case.
I…don’t even remember them being friends with the creepy bunny puppet guy but ok sure
I still enjoyed it, but I would hesitate to say any of the events are strictly necessary to the story. They could have shipped them off to the next arc – whatever that is – and we wouldn’t really be missing anything vital. We already know Shiemi and Rin have made up, we know Mephisto has a master plan for Rin and won’t let him get executed, and we know Bon and Tatsuma have also patched things up. Most importantly, I was really counting on this episode to give a lot of screentime to Rin and Yukio. This was the loose end that I thought needed the most tying up. Unfortunately, they did a shitty job tying the knot. Rin and Yukio had a very shallow conversation that harped on the same notes they always do (even repeating exact phrases from past conversations), and there was little progress in their relationship.
Yukio is extremely aloof and cold towards Rin. I forgot that he could be such a jerk, and it’s honestly a little upsetting. Instead of congratulating his brother for saving the world and making the court waive his execution sentence, he chastises him. In fact, he completely shuts Rin down when he says he wants to be an exorcist, saying it’s impossible with his erratic demon powers. He doesn’t show a lick of affection towards him! He seems to concede eventual defeat, allowing Rin to try to be an exorcist out of exasperation. He doesn’t show any support or encouragement though. The worst part is that Rin is so nice during the whole exchange that the conversation becomes extremely one-sided. Rin offers support and Yukio shrugs off that kindness quickly, refusing to talk about his brief foray into demonhood. It’s sad, because Rin loves his brother unconditionally and wouldn’t balk at hearing Yukio’s secret. In fact, he’d probably be able to give some useful advice. It’s a shame Yukio has such a low sense of self-esteem that he has to constantly project this perfect image to Rin for fear of seeming inferior.
The love-hate thing is an interesting dynamic, and I’d love to see it explored a little further. Yukio just keeps saying “I hate myself” and “I’m so jealous of Rin” without really intellectualizing it any further. What is he doing to try and change this? Is he convinced this will never change? Is surpassing Rin his main goal in life, and without Rin he’d have nothing left to aim for? There’s a lot more that could be said, but Yukio’s thought are too blunt and vague. His exchanges with Rin are worse, because he reveals even less. I wish he had tried to have more of a proper conversation with Rin, because as things stand, he still doesn’t want him to become an exorcist and he’s done an awful job at communicating why to Rin. Saying it’s because he can’t control his flames sounds like a lame excuse. I don’t think Yukio could rationally defend his point in a debate when countered with things like “he’s the only one powerful enough to defeat fire-weak demons as strong as the Impure King” and “he literally covered an entire mountain with flames and didn’t kill anyone, how’s that for control???”. Be honest Yukio, you just don’t want him to succeed so that you can be the one to look after him!
both couples make just as much sense…NONE.
Seriousness aside, the rest of the episode had some very sweet moments. Unimportant to the plot doesn’t mean I would skip them. Mamushi getting married was super random, but I’ll let it slide because Hojo’s reaction was so cute. Remember how I originally thought this stern bald guy was the mastermind behind it all? Nope, he’s just a doting father! The sightseeing was also diabetes level of sugary cuteness. Rin getting excited over the Tokyo Tower and his friends fondly poking fun at him all the time was amazing. Like with the Demi-chan show, acceptance doesn’t mean treating Rin like he’s the same as them, it means understanding his differences as a demon and embracing them. “Satan” is no longer a taboo word or an insult, but a cute running gag. Oh, how far they’ve come!
The format of this season was quite unique. It took place halfway through the original anime, and basically “overwrote” the original ending. Given the circumstances, it was the best they could have done with that. There’s no point remaking the entire first half of season 1. However, this route didn’t come without its downfalls. Recalling events from a series that aired over 5 years ago proved to be difficult, and the show had to throw in constant reminders to make sure the audience didn’t get lost. It was either confusing or tedious in the amount of flashbacks that were going on.
After a bit of a slow start, AoEx started to get really exciting. The Impure King and Todo made such a great combination of villains, even though they weren’t explicitly working together. It was nice to see an arc that focused on the worst fears of both Rin and Yukio, mirroring their insecurities at opportune moments. There were so many great character moments in the final battle that it wasn’t just about dudes beating up demons. There was a deeper purpose. They didn’t skimp on anything, providing us with 3 full episodes of amazing action.
Ao no Exorcist is a solid shounen series that I found myself thoroughly enjoying. The fights are great, I love the characters, and something about finding where you belong when you’re part of two worlds really speaks to me. I’m a sucker for these half demon half human stories, because I end up finding parallels with myself, as someone who is biracial (well, multi-racial, but let’s not make it more complicated). It’s sometimes hard to know exactly where you belong, and there can be pressure to fit into just one category instead of “trying to be both.” As a result, I really feel for Rin as he works this out. Of course, one of my races isn’t WORLD-DESTROYING DEMON WITH BLUE FLAMES so it’s not exactly the same. Still, these overall “where do I belong?” dilemmas really speak to me.
There’s obviously room for more adaptations, so…come on…you can’t say no to a cute smiling Rin, right??? SEASON 3 WHEN?!