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

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Ao no Exorcist 8

This was another great episode of Ao that kept the tension high and offered a lot of action and bonding. Izumo makes peace with Rin, but she and Bon nearly come to blows in a battle of egos, with Rin in the middle. Yukio punishes them with rocks, and the young group of Exwires has to work together to deal with a resurgent ghoul. One weak link and its game over for everyone.

Under duress, feuds are thankfully forgotten. Bon recites the Gospel of John in hopes of finding the ghoul’s fatal verse; protected by Shiemi, who seems to have mastered her little tree spirit, Ni, and can form huge barriers of roots. Even Izumo gets her surly fox spirits to listen to her and buys Bon and everyone else a little more time. I like how they were able to defeat their enemy, but only by a hair. It underscores how they’ll have to improve greatly both as individuals and as a team if they have any hope of being long-lived exorcists.

As for Rin, he tried to lure the ghoul away, but it split in two. Also underscored is just how much stronger Rin is than any other student, as he is able to easily dispatch his ghoul-half when he realizes no one is in sight and he can use his blue son-of-satan flames. It turns out the demon summoning teacher wanted to test Rin’s strength, and it would appear he passed. Rating: 3.5