The Blue Exorcist – Disastrous First Encounter
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Mysterious Connections, episode 5 of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, the Myōō (Myoda) Dharani throws Rin Okumura in a prison cell. We learn that Rin has an unexpected connection to the Temple, which could explain their reaction to his blue flames. Yukio Okumura returns to the Temple to give bad news to Shura Kirigakure and the others. Mamushi Hojo seems to start doubting Saburota Todo, and we get to see a flashback with Shiro Fujimoto in his badass glory.
What’s In This Post
- Rin lies unconscious on the floor after Kirigakure knocked him out last episode. In the confusion, Yaozo Shima tells his son Juzo to trail Tatsuma Suguro when he leaves to search for Mamushi. Just before he disembarks, Tatsuma appears to inappropriately touch Kirigakure, but he was really putting a message for Rin in her back pocket. Meanwhile, Mamushi continues to flee with Todo. Both have taken possession of one of the Impure King. Mamushi still thinks they’re trying to keep the eyes safe from traitors.
- Yukio returns and reports that he and his team were unable to retrieve the Left Eye. Yaozo is alarmed at Yukio’s report. He reveals a secret passed down to his sect’s leading priests: when the eyes are joined, they produce an even more potent form of miasma. Yukio suspects Todo’s plan is wider than they perceive; he remembers Todo telling him that he’ll welcome Yukio with open arms when the time comes. After the meeting, Yukio is very unhappy that Rin revealed his blue flames to almost everyone in the temple. They visit him in his cell.
- Rin recalls his foster father, Shiro Fujimoto, telling Rin that his demon powers were transferred to the ancient demon fighting sword, Kurikara, and bound by its scabbard. Rin remembers that he had drawn the blade, knowing he could never go back to being human, to save his friends. It’s not that he regrets his decision. He’s firm in his resolve to become the most powerful Exorcist. But it’s lonely in his cell, and he doesn’t know his fate. Meanwhile, Ryuji Suguro tells the other ExWires that the Right Eye’s been stolen and Rin’s in custody.
Yukio chews Rin out for his indiscretion. Rin knows his brother’s right, so he accepts it. Kirigakure tells Rin and Yukio about the letter Tatsuma left, and Yukio reads it to them. The letter describes a time just before Rin and Yukio were both, when the sect was trying to contain the effects of the Right Eye. Even Tatsuma’s pregnant wife was sick because of the miasma. There was only one path forward that Tatsuma and his father, the temple’s high priest, could see: continue attending to the sacred flame. While performing that duty, Tatsuma and his attending priests heard a terrible screeching in the sky. A demon crashed onto their sacred flame as shotgun blasts rained down on it. Shiro Fujimoto landed on top of the dead creature even as he complained about how annoying his mission was. In answer to the priests indignant demands to know why he was there, Fujimoto announced that he’s going to take Kurikara, their most precious object of worship. Yukio and Rin are both shocked that the sword had belonged to the Suguro family. At the same time, Tatsuma is still tracking Todo and Mamushi. He asks Fujimoto to watch over him.
What I Liked
Kirigakure observed that Yukio keeps thing so bottled up that he’s vulnerable to being turned. She said that people like her who live how they want (witness her less than official uniform) don’t have smoldering, lingering anger or stress that demons need to gain a foothold. And what’s the first thing Yukio says to prove he can “let loose?” He says that he’s always hated her. Kirigakure just laughed, but I thought that was an interesting insight into Yukio’s inner battles.
Kirigakure was ready to ridicule Rin for not being able to read Tatsuma’s letter; then she discovered that she can’t read it either, because it’s a script she doesn’t recognize. They’re both a little embarrassed to have to ask Yukio to read it to them.
“Harsh Quote of the Season (So Far)” goes to Tatsuma’s father, who, when commenting on Tatsuma’s wife’s failing health, said, “If Torako doesn’t pull through, find a new wife who is hardier.” I get the demands leadership places on a high priest, but wow! That seemed almost feral.
On the heels of harsh quote of the season comes “Badass Intro of the Season (So Far)” when Fujimoto shows up, destroys the temple’s sacred flame, and casually says that he’s going to take possession of the sect’s most holy artifact, the sword Kurikara. Does he have some kind of holy weapon or his own artifact? No, he has what looks like a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun. And he’s smoking a cigarette, all the while bad-mouthing Mephisto Pheles for an improper briefing on the dangers this mission would entail. Previous seasons only showed flashbacks showing how wonderful a father he was, so I thought it was great to see him in his prime, before Rin or Yukio entered his life. This scene made it a little easier to see why he was named Paladin.
What I Liked Less
I’ve read a number of other reviewers, as well as some of the viewer comments on Crunchyroll, saying that they found this season boring so far. Up through episode 4, I didn’t agree. I thought that the show was taking its time building the characters, relationships, and plot points to move the show forward. This episode, though, I found my attention wandering. Some scenes, like the one between two of my favorite characters, Shiemi Moriyama and Izumo Kamiki, felt like rehashes of information already presented. I hope the next episode kicks up the action a little.
It seems Fujimoto was a major bad-ass when he was in his prime. I should have suspected, given how he died. It was nice to have confirmation.
This episode reminded me of the one of the themes that make this show so enjoyable to me: alienation at the hands of a society that values shallow “virtues.” Look at how Arthur A. Angel speaks of Fujimoto or how he speaks to Kirigakure. He’s disrespectful because he views them as less proper and therefore less deserving as someone like him, who embodies social virtue. It reminds me of the hey-day (for me) of the X-Men comics, when Chris Claremont wrote the stories and John Byrne drew them.
If people like Arthur treat Kirigakure disrespectfully, they reserve the worst of their scorn for Rin. All he had to do is show his blue flames. At that point, everything good he had done, all of the heart he had poured into his studies, meant nothing. Perhaps this is a little unfair, since many in the temple had lost loved ones to the blue flames. But for me, that’s part of the story: letting fear rule our decisions or perceptions blinds us to opportunities to build alliances that can keep us — and the world — more safe. I think there’s a lesson in this for today’s fear-mongering. It’s short sighted, it doesn’t work, and it hurts the wrong people.
So what do you think? Would you warm up to Rin? Or would you treat him like a pariah? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- The 2016 Holidays Are Gone – Must Be the Winter 2017 Anime Season! Preview Part I
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 1: Small Beginnings
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 2: Strange Bedfellows
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 3: Suspicion Will Raise Bogies
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 4: Act of Treachery
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 6: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 7: Like a Fire Burning Bright
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 8: From Father to Son
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 9: Through Thick and Thin
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 10: Unbowed and Unbroken
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 11: Shine Bright as the Sun
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 12: Candid and Open