Quoted For Truth.
My blog entry for today is a review of a 2011 shounen anime series titled Ao no Exorcist, a series that has been sitting on my hard disk drive for over a year. While this series is quite decent as explained below, this anime will not threaten to dethrone the holder of this blog’s ‘Anime Of The Year 2011’ title anytime soon. This anime has some unique compositions in it, read on to see what it is.
In a distant future version of Japan, where existence of demons is actually an acceptable fact of life, the main male protagonist finds out that he is actually the offspring of Satan, plus the fact that he can use destructive blue flames to burn the world to ashes. With the slightly inconvenient change of status, he will then have to deal with a father that is hell-bent on kidnapping him to Hell, as well with pesky Vatican exorcists that also shared Satan’s vision, although in their own ways. Faced with very limited options, the main male protagonist then sold his soul to another demon, so that he can master his demonic powers and push back both Satan and the Vatican.
Ao no Exorcist differ from very many of the anime series I have reviewed before because this action series prioritized character developments far more than storytelling, in an unbalanced way. This would have been normal if if this anime is of the slice-of-life variety, but is definitely highly unusual for an action-filled series. The largely episodical character developments sees very little plotlines but there are some generous character developments not only for the main male protagonist with satanic powers, but also for some people that is close to him too.
Only then when the anime arrived at the pivotal event where the main male protagonist was finally captured by the Vatican and was condemned for simply being Satan’s Son in a trial, does the anime started to expose and advance the main storyline with more urgency. After the last episode finished playing, I can say with confidence that the quality of this anime’s storyline is just ordinary, and not as good as the ones in the worst title in this blog’s previous ‘Anime of the Year 2013’ audition, Strike the Blood.
But unlike Strike the Blood, this anime has a far better and more likable main male protagonist, helped partly because of the humongous character developments, and also because he lack the wimpy personality his counterpart in Strike the Blood has, despite the latter’s supernatural powers. This anime’s main protagonist, easily the best character of this series, alongside the demon whom he sold his soul to, would have made Strike the Blood much better if he was transplanted into that vampire series and then put the main female protagonist on her righteous place. His character strength more than make up for the weakness in the storyline’s quality, and he was ably assisted with many side characters from his cram school. Oh BTW, this anime does not have a main female protagonist, and no, that short haired girl is not one.
The period where the anime focused more on character developments do some its own drawback though. The most noticeable one would be the slow pacing during the aforementioned period. Only after the trial event and when the storyline started to emerge more to the fore, does the pacing started to pick up. Not as bad as Shingeki no Kyoujin for sure, but not as close to what seen in Kakumeiki Valvrave as I would have like. No problem though with the pacing of the storyline; it is fluid despite the fact that storytelling only earnestly begins well within the second half of this series.
The ending of this anime is quite good though despite the quality of the storyline. There are some very obvious loose ends and unanswered questions though, but I do not see any news about a second season even after 3 years since this anime was aired. I wonder whether I should read the source manga instead.
What does this program has anything to do with opening the gate to Hell?
Character designs in this anime is intentionally less generic than your typical shounen titles like Strike the Blood or Kakumeiki Valvrave , with the fact that deformed faces are quite normal and ugly mugs being quite common. Probably the only typical character designs that would fit the stereotypes seen in Strike the Blood would be the main male protagonist himself, his classmate with the purple long hair, and the paladin. The rest, like the eminently remembered Konekomaru and the red-haired busty chick is the poster child of this anime’s unconventional character designs. Black hairs are common in this anime that takes place in demon-infested Japan, which is a good thing. Even better, the paladin is blonde too.
Voice acting in this series that has quite a lot of dialogues for an action title is good. It could have been better, but at least there are no bad voice acting gigs like the one in Strike the Blood. The main male protagonist, his younger brother, the aforementioned red-haired chick and also the demon that the former sold his soul to have noticeably goo voice acting gigs here. A positive aspect for this anime.
The OST of this anime is excellent. So good the OST is in this anime, none of the titles in the newly concluded ‘Anime of the Year 2013’ audition has a soundtrack as good as this anime’s. Shingeki no Kyoujin did not have an OST as good as the one in this anime despite the fact that they shared the same OST composer.
Unfortunately, all OP and ED themes of this anime are mostly forgettable. If only this anime has a couple of power metal OP themes just like Shingeki no Kyoujin did, it would have been nice. That would fit the theme of this anime perfectly too.
This anime also has excellent production values in its Blu-ray version.
Just like Strike the Blood, this anime cuts many corners in character compositions just as seen above. This is different from when the director decides to just make ugly faces, because this problem happened in scenes where it was not supposed to happen. Animation quality in this anime is quite decent though, but integration between 2D and CGI animation are not seamless at all.
Choreography of actions scenes varied in quality; some fight scenes are good like the one between Satan and the red-haired chick but very many of the others are just meh. The director has done a relatively better job than his counterpart in Strike the Blood and is actually better in cinematography techniques too.
7 out of 10. The lack of blurry animation techniques do help this anime’s scoring some more alongside the character strength of the main male protagonist and the voice acting gigs of certain characters. Will there be a second season?