Ao no Exorcist 14

Going camping in ordinary school uniforms? That’s just weird. But anyway, this turns out not to be a throwaway camping episode, but the start of a major challenge that will determine which three of the class of esquires gets to take on missions first. However, that turns out to be a conceit, as the mission cannot be carried out without teamwork and rock-solid strategy.

It also requires Rin’s superhuman strength, which is starting to cause heads to be scratched. When he senses Shiemi is in danger, he even spews a few blue flames that catch Bon’s attention. Rin really needs to learn to relax. He also should find a good time to explain exactly what he is, in conditions he can control. Bon and Co. will either understand or they won’t…but if he continues to keep it a secret and the powers come out right in front of all, there will surely be…issues. Friends will feel betrayed. They may even attack him; he is the son of Satan, after all.

I love it when everyone on the show is working together to make something happen that couldn’t happen if they worked alone, and this episode is another good example (though this time, Shiemi is only useful as bait). By episode’s end, two esquires are still on their own; one has lit their fireworks, signaling they retire, Rin’s about to be eaten by a giant moth, and everyone is watching. Mustn’t…summon…blue flames…Rating: 3

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Ao no Exorcist 9

The pages’ battle with the mid-level demons last week wasn’t just a team-building exercise, it was also the Esquire’s exam, and everyone passed. But something isn’t sitting well with Yukio; he felt Neuhaus was going too far attacking Rin. Neuhaus rebuts: Mephisto ordered him to try to kill him, ‘try’ being the operative word. However, it turns out Neuhaus is one of what will likely be many gunning for Rin; he has a vendetta against all demons, and the fight was personal, not professional.

As per usual, the animation and combat in this series is consistent and seriously decent, as Yukio is forced to confront Neuhaus and gets in over his head, leading Rin to come and save him with his sword of blue flames. This isn’t anything new; Yukio reminisces earlier about how he was a crybaby as a kid and Rin looked out for him. He wouldn’t be the exorcist his is without Rin. Shiemi has known Yuki since they were thirteen, and she always admired him, and she isn’t surprised that Rin, who has been very kind to her, had a hand in Yukio’s forming…though he still doesn’t know how to talk to girls.

Shiemi arrives a bit to late to help the brothers in their battle with Neuhaus, but heals Rin (even though he doesn’t need healing) and vows to become an Exorcist – a tamer, specifically – so she can stand beside and protect them. While she may look like your typical damsel-in-distress, Shiemi is quickly turning into anything but; everyone would have been in serious trouble without her contribution last week. The question is, as she is drawing closer to Rin, when will she learn the truth about him, and how will she react? Rating: 3.5