Unless you’re an Attack on Titan fan, there usually isn’t too significant of a wait between anime seasons (sick burn, right?). Sure, there are some outliers, but Blue Exorcist is in rare company. Not counting 2012’s anime film, we went from 2011 khổng lồ 2017 without a regular televised dose of manga creator Kazue Kato’s demon bros., and man is it nice lớn have them back.

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Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga isn’t your typical anime sequel. Fans of the manga will be familiar with its source material, the Kyoto Impure King arc, but anime-only viewers might find themselves a little confused as the first episode begins. You’ll want to lớn go ahead & forget most of what happened after Episode 17 or so of the original run, because the events that followed strayed from the story of the manga for the purposes of crafting a proper ending.


That means you’ll need khổng lồ cope with a few mental resets, especially when it comes lớn protagonist Rin Okumura and the rest of the True Cross Academy students. Outside of the more faithful adherence lớn the manga, though, this A-1 Pictures production is as solid as ever. There are new staff members running the ship, and a lot has happened in the anime industry in the past six years, but these brothers still know how khổng lồ light up the screen. Beyond the kích hoạt and demonic intrigue, what’s really kept Blue Exorcist in the conversation are its characters, & that carries over khổng lồ Kyoto Saga in a major way.

Devil Inside

The original Blue Exorcist anime moved at a pretty breakneck pace at times, especially in its final third. Due to lớn the limited nature of its narrative and the move away from directly adapting the manga, characters were forced to quickly adjust & move on after learning about Rin’s demonic powers. Kyoto Saga, however, gives its creators an opportunity to turn the clock back a bit và linger on those crucial doubtful moments. We essentially pick up as Rin is assigned his time-sensitive motivation: to lớn pass the exorcist exam in six months or face the consequences. Those consequences aren’t light, either. If he doesn’t learn khổng lồ control his flames he’ll be put on an exorcist hunt list, lined up for execution lượt thích the son of Satan he is.


The start of Kyoto Saga has Rin joining in on a special mission to lớn retrieve a demon relic known as the Left Eye of the Impure King. This mission quickly goes south, và a new threat makes itself known to lớn Rin, Shura, và Yukio in the process. Before they even have time lớn fret about failing to recover the relic, they learn that an attempt has been made on the other demon relic, the Right Eye of the Impure King, which resides in Kyoto. A meeting is held between exorcists of all levels lớn discuss the attempted theft, and they come to lớn a logical but damning conclusion: Someone among them is a traitor. Everyone’s a suspect, including Ryuji “Bon” Suguro’s father, Tatsuma, so it’s time to let the narrow-eyed suspicions flow!

As a result of this and other key story beats, the first part of the new season is mostly a slow build that takes its time khổng lồ continue some of the first season’s character development. Bon, Konekomaru, Renzo, & the other students are having a particularly difficult time coping with the revelation that Rin is the son of Satan. Most of them don’t even want lớn be near him, much less talk to lớn him, which is a welcome change from the way it was neatly brushed aside in the original anime. These characters are all crucial lớn the story, & more importantly they’re crucial khổng lồ Rin. Like all classic shonen heroes, Rin eventually realized he couldn’t beat Satan alone, even if that was his initial proclamation. If he’s going khổng lồ fulfill his ultimate objective, he’s going to lớn need all the help he can get.


Kyoto Saga represents an extension of that growth. The real benefit of following the manga more closely is the fact that it lets us soak in all of the important character moments along the way. Even the seemingly eternal candle test—one of the first obstacles Rin must overcome to lớn put the reins on his powerful blue flame—carries more weight in the new season. It isn’t a frustration that’s solved when the narrative demands it; it’s a part of Rin’s training we watch him struggle with, figure out, & complete in a plausible period of time.

All this talk of characters & tests brings us back to lớn Blue Exorcist’s pacing, which probably sounds downright sluggish by shonen standards. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Blue Exorcist is as exciting as ever, it simply happens khổng lồ be particularly good at making the moments in between just as entertaining.

The Souls Still Burn

As previously mentioned, there were a few changes made to the Blue Exorcist staff over at A-1 Pictures for the new season. The first was directed by Tensai Okamura, who is known for series lượt thích Darker than Black, Wolf’s Rain—which he worked on over at BONES in 2003—The Seven Deadly Sins (the adaptation of Nakaba Suzuki’s manga, not the tie-in khổng lồ Hobby japan and Orchid
Seed’s cheeky bishojo figures), and, most recently, Kuromukuro.


This time around the director’s chair is occupied by Koichi Hatsumi, who previously helmed Deadman Wonderland as director & Gangsta. As series director, among many other projects. Toshiya Ono (Gatchaman Crowds, The Perfect Insider, tsuritama) steps in for Ryota Yamaguchi (Dokidoki! Precure, Cutey Honey Flash) on series composition, which seems lượt thích a better fit given the change of focus this time around.

The team’s efforts with Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga really paid off in the end, và in a perfect world they would continue beyond the planned 12-episode arc at hand. As fun as the series is, it’s not a good jumping off point for new folks, & the first 17 episodes of Season 1 are required viewing at the very least. When the price you have lớn pay is “watch more xanh Exorcist,” though, it’s tough khổng lồ complain too much.

This story appears in the Spring 2017 issue of Anime USA Magazine. Click here khổng lồ get a print copy.

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If you were watching anime in 2011, you most likely remember Blue Exorcist. It was a popular shounen at the time, though maybe not at the màn chơi of Hunter x Hunter or Gintama, which both came out the same year. The series has two Seasons, a film, & an OVA, and it’s heavily rumored that a third Season might be in the works, so there’s no time lượt thích the present khổng lồ try and get involved with the series.

Blue Exorcist is adapted from a manga of the same name that is penned by Kazue Kato. It is a dark fantasy series that follows teenager Rin Okumura, a boy who often finds himself in trouble despite his good heart. When his and his brother Yukio’s surrogate father is killed by Satan, they find out that Satan is their true father, and Rin’s demonic powers are awakened. Rin vows revenge on Satan và begins studying under Yukio to become an exorcist.

It may seem lượt thích a pretty straightforward series, but it’s worth noting that there’s a bit of complexity in the timeline of the series between Seasons one & two. So before you watch, take a second khổng lồ read through & decide in which order you’d like to experience this supernatural fantasy.

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Season 1

via Adult Swim
Of course, the best place to start is with the first Season. Season one has twenty-five episodes & adapts volumes one through four of the manga. It sets up the series as a whole, introduces the world of Blue Exorcist, và establishes the characters. It also finishes on a huge cliffhanger và conflict for the series.

Or it would, if the first Season had strictly followed the source material of the manga. The manga based storyline of Season one ended with episode sixteen. This is because the anime had actually run out of source material; the writers of the anime had khổng lồ come up with a story to lớn fill the rest of the first Season. Episodes seventeen through twenty-five contain an anime-exclusive arc that receives mixed reviews from fans, & overall is considered non-canon.

If you would prefer khổng lồ only see the story of Blue Exorcist as adapted from the manga, stop at episode sixteen và move on. If you want to size your own opinion on the anime-only storyline, keep watching until the end. Just be warned; it may make things a little muddy later.

via Adult Swim
Blue Exorcist’s OVA, Runaway Kuro, should be watched after finishing Season one. Watching the first Season helps to lớn establish the connection between Rin & fuzzy feline demon companion Kuro, which makes the OVA that much more heartfelt. Ultimately, you don’t have to watch the OVA at all khổng lồ understand Blue Exorcist. However, that’s part of the fun of it; the OVA is a little silly, very adorable, & a highly enjoyable twenty-four minutes that you won’t regret.

via Adult Swim
Blue Exorcist’s second Season, dubbed the Kyoto Saga, consists of twelve episodes and adapts volumes five through nine of the manga. This Season is where things get a bit messy. It’s recommended khổng lồ start this Season right after episode sixteen of Season one. That’s where the Kyoto Saga starts, & if you are new khổng lồ the series, it’s a bit jarring lớn finish all twenty-five episodes of Season one only to move on to lớn Season two và have it not acknowledge the last nine episodes of the previous Season.

It’s a good Season that helps establish the relationship between Rin và his classmates. For those who enjoyed the anime-only arc of the previous season, though, it might be a little frustrating.

via Toho
Blue Exorcist: The Movie exists in a weird place in the timeline of the series. It’s a standalone from the source material, so it isn’t a manga adaptation, & in release order, it should be watched after Season one, as it was released in 2012. However, it is at the over of this timeline because it can actually fall in two places, depending on how you want lớn watch the series.

If you watch Season one all the way through to lớn the end, the best time lớn watch the movie is between episodes eighteen and nineteen. This is roughly where the film takes place chronologically, và that makes sense, as both the ending of Season one & the movie are both unrelated lớn the manga. However, if you choose lớn stop watching Season one at episode sixteen, it’s recommended that you wait khổng lồ watch Blue Exorcist: The Movie until you’ve finished all the other parts of the anime.

Yeah, this is a watch guide. However, it’s impossible to talk about Blue Exorcist as an anime without mentioning its manga. The manga currently has twenty-seven volumes, & the anime has only covered nine of them. So, if you’re eager for more after finishing the Kyoto Saga, try picking up the manga to continue the story! While you could start at volume ten after watching the anime, it is best to start at the beginning. There’s plenty of small things the anime leaves out, và it’s interesting to see how certain scenes and battles play out in print versus on the screen. Plus, the arc directly after the Kyoto arc is absolutely wild; why wait for it to lớn be animated?

Of course, you can also read the manga first & amp yourself up for the anime. There’s no wrong choice on when to lớn read the manga.

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This is the ideal order for watching Blue Exorcist: Season one until episode sixteen, OVA, Season two, and Blue Exorcist: The Movie. However, if you don’t want to lớn skip the anime-only ending of Season one, the order should be more like this: Season one, Blue Exorcist: The Movie between episodes eighteen & nineteen of Season one, OVA, the Season two. It may seem odd to have two different orders to watch in, but both are perfectly fine depending on your preference in storyline và whether you prefer to be a manga purist or embrace the anime-exclusive content. Regardless of how you choose to watch, one thing is for sure; you will love this exciting, kích hoạt packed shounen title và have fun following it.