The Blue Exorcist – Temple Intrigue and the Impure King’s Right Eye
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga episode 2, Strange Bedfellows, Rin Okumura, his classmates, and many Exorcists from the Order of the True Cross arrive in Kyoto. Rin meets classmate Ryuji Suguro’s eccentric father in an incident involving watermelons. Cracks appear in the unity of the branch’s factions. Yukio Okumura and his team make a gruesome, unsettling discovery along the road. Saburota Todo shows us what happened to the Impure King’s Left Eye.
What’s In This Post
- Rin and his classmates arrive in Kyoto. Renzo Shima is embarrassed to see his klutzy brother’s leading the welcome party. The ExWires are still in grips of depression after finding out Rin’s the son of Satan. Given how coldly everyone’s treating him, so is Rin. It’s Ryuji’s turn to be embarrassed when he realizes that the Inn they’re going to is his family’s. His mother’s greeting does nothing to help him regain his sense of decorum. Shura Kirigakure divides the group into teams and sends them on their assignments. Given everyone’s unease around Rin, they put him on trash duty to keep him away from everyone.
- Kirigakure and Renzo check the Deep Keep where the Kyoto branch stores their sealed artifacts. Kirigakure asks if their internal squabbles could have anything to do with the ease with which someone almost stole the Right Eye of the Impure King. Renzo’s not sure.
Rin comes across a bald priest who he discovers is actually Ryuji’s father, Tatsuma Suguro. He asks Rin to help him prepare chilled watermelon to serve to the injured. Rin takes him to task for having had too much sake so early in the day. Then Rin remembers that was something his father would have done. Tatsuma is surprised when he realizes who Rin is; but he’s not afraid. Rin’s taken aback when he learns that Tatsuma is Ryuji’s father, given how different their temperaments are. They find out that they are both in the middle of a fight with Ryuji. Tatsuma leaves before he has to help Rin deliver the sliced watermelon. As Rin’s trying to make the delivery, he comes upon Juzo Shima (another of Renzo’s brothers) arguing with Mamushi Hojo and her sisters Ao and Nishiki over whose security processes were at fault during the recent attack. The arguments spiral into a confrontation, and Ryuji has to break to break it up when it threatens the patients.
After the workday, Kirigakure hands out their meals. Everyone goes their separate ways, and Renzo is trapped talking to Rin alone. Strangely enough, Rin seems to get drunk on the juice drink that Kirigakure included with their meals. The two of them end up arguing, but afterwards laugh it off, their friendship restored. Meanwhile, Ryuji opens his drink and remembers the day that his father’s temple joined the Order of the True Cross. It was a decision born of desperation to preserve what was left of their impoverished temple. His father even refused to become an exorcist, and Ryuji didn’t know how to accept that. Ryuji didn’t understand why his drink put him to sleep, and Uwabami Hojo had to wake him up. Uwabami told Ryuji that their investigations suggested that someone in their branch was a traitor and was responsible for the recent incident. Shortly thereafter, Kirigakure tries to drink her beer, only to find it was juice. She had given her beers to the ExWires.
- Yukio and his team come upon a van crashed by the side of the road. After donning hazmat suits, they break a front window to find that miasma had consumed the occupants. Meanwhile, Todo stands atop the Kyoto tower, surveying the city, as he urges his associate to move quickly to obtain the Right Eye. Todo’s left eye has already been replaced.
What I Liked
This show presents such interesting characters. It could have glossed over the bus ride to the inn, but instead we get to see Renzo embarrassed by his brother Kinzo Shima’s shtick. It could have ignored Ryuji’s mom Torako Suguro and her reaction to his hair color, but instead, it gave us a glimpse into these character’s interactions. That kind of thing makes the characters come alive.
I laughed (literally out loud) at Rin’s reaction to Torako. He had expected her to have as bad a temper as her son; instead, he was shocked to see she was actually very personable (once she got over her son dying his hair).
Apparently, Ryuji’s magic is not to be taken lightly. He struck down Mamushi’s attack, and she’s considerably more experienced that the ExWire. He also took the high road when he admonished them to stop fighting and concentrate on defeating their common enemy. He didn’t even lose his temper when she baited him by insulting his father.
The flashback showing how Ryuji learned his temple’s sutras gave me a better sense of his perspective and motivations. This was another example of how well this show crafts its characters.
Speaking of which, it was sad to see Rin’s forlorn look at Shiemi Moriyama as she was washing dishes. They had been close before everyone found out that he’s the son of Satan, and Rin still hasn’t accepted their rejection. Her distance in particular seems to hurt him.
Renzo’s nervous talking to Rin alone, but those feeling vanish when Rin says that Renzo isn’t cool. Rin even show him a crumpled list of people Rin thinks are more cool than Renzo. Why’d he even have such a list? What’s great about this scene is how it broke the tension between them. Afterward, they were on the same footing that they had been before the disclosure.
It was interesting to see Ryuji, in a flashback, telling his dad he was going to go to the Order of the True Cross’ high school so he could become an exorcist. Ryuji’s hair was a single color (brown)! I almost didn’t recognize him. His dad wanted Ryuji to be free of the horrors of being an exorcist, but Ryuji couldn’t envision any other kind of life for himself.
The show had a lot of information to impart this week. It could have degenerated into exposition, but it didn’t. Instead, it confidently let the facts ease out through the characters’ interactions. That’s so much more interesting than Mr. Exposition rearing his ugly head!*
I wonder: did Kirigakure really give her beers to Rin and Ryuji by accident? I ask for two reasons. First, she likes her beers. It stretches my imagination to think of her willingly giving them away. Second, in both cases, the beer helped Rin and Ryuji think things through. All kidding aside, I doubt she’d give alcohol to minors on purpose, but then she’s shown a willingness to stretch the rules when it’s necessary before…
* Yeah, I know, exposition can be useful sometimes. But too often, it’s a lazy way to impart information. It’s overuse contributes to how boring it can be.
What I Liked Less
I don’t have any complaints about the episode.
I continue to be impressed by how well Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga builds its world and characters. Everything from the Deep Keeps to the feud between the Hojo and Shima families to the little character details about Ryuji, Rin, and the rest make this such an interesting and fun show to watch.
Rin’s trying to put on a brave face, but he’s still hurt that his friends won’t talk to him. I think it’s a sign of his magnanimity and maturity that he can speak well of them, especially Ryuji, despite how he’s feeling.
I’m uneasy at the animosity between the Hojo and Shima families. It’s going to be interesting to see who set that feud in motion. Was the conflict put into place to make the Right Eye’s left easier? Or is someone just taking advantage of a rift that’s already there?
This was another episode with several great character moments. Do you have a favorite? Please share it 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 3: Suspicion Will Raise Bogies
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 4: Act of Treachery
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 5: Mysterious Connections
- 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