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I first heard about Blue Exorcist at the Aniplex panel at Sakura-Con back in April. Didn’t sound or look too interesting at the time, and I sort of forgot about it until a few weeks ago when we started watching it on Hulu. Damn, is this show working its ass off to cater to every ideal adolescent fantasy we have or what? I mean, you’ve got:
- misunderstood teenage protagonist (who’s an orphan and who suddenly finds out that he’s actually a rock star without having to even try)
- who personifies the kind of intrinsic bad-ness that teenage boys either mistakenly project to the world or internalize as part of their identity
- and who overcomes challenges, wins friends and establishes his sense of self through expression of his natural instincts and talents
- a classic boarding school setting (providing a mostly adult-free lifestyle for youths to roam free) built for the purposes of fast-tracking kids to an awesome job that also doubles as a Hogwarts/Death Weapon Meister Academy command center in the fight against evil
- where students are encouraged to develop individual skills in line with their own interests in lieu of any apparent blanket curriculum
- female interest who’s shy/reserved/polite/approachable/understanding/everything that the male audience of a shonen series would want to find in an ideal crush to protect/redeem (the essential appeal of moe?)
- a story that validates every person’s hope that salvation from sin and/or an ordinary life is as easy as “being yourself” and doesn’t require any particular dedication, practice or sacrifice
I like to think of myself as a serious anime connoisseur, as evidenced by the Kino’s Journey boxed set and Shinkai DVDs sitting on my shelf, but if you want to know the real truth, it’s juvenile stuff like this that never fails to get me pumped up. Seriously, when am I going to stop getting letting myself get obsessed over silly shonen stuff like this? I should be watching giant robot shows like a real man, right? I really do feel like this series is pandering to my basest emotional longings, but I can’t say that I mind very much. That’s right. When other fans get wrapped up in stuff like this, it’s definitely a problem, but when it happens to me it’s okay. Funny how that works out.
From the get go you can tell that this series is going to follow a familiar arc, establishing a conflict, introducing characters, following them through a handful of lighthearted episodes before turning into darker territory. So I think I know what to expect. Or do I? Alright, I really have no idea where this series is going, but let’s hope it brings home the goods. So far, so good. Even the filler (or “filler,” as I can’t verify if it really is or not) has been pretty enjoyable. This is almost the only series that I’ve had time to watch since the end of summer. I think I made a wise choice.