You read the title right. This is the “Graveyard Division” of Anime Reviews, dedicated to popular and “well-liked” anime that just fails, to an infinitely more drastic extent compared to how Sword Art Online doesn’t live up to its hype.
Before anything else, I would like to say that my opinion of an adaptation in one medium is not the same as my opinion of that work in adaptations of other mediums. Or simply, the anime for something could be crap but the manga might be very good, and vice versa. Certainly, this happens quite often.
This world consists of two dimensions joined as one, like a mirror. The first is the world in which the humans live, Assiah. The other is the world of demons, Gehenna. Ordinarily, travel between the two, and indeed any kind of contact between the two, is impossible. However the demons can pass over into this world by possessing anything that exist within it. Satan the god of demons, but there’s one thing that he doesn’t have, and that’s a substance in the human world that is powerful enough to contain him!! For that purpose he created Rin, his son from a human woman, but will his son agree to his plans? Or will he become something else…? An exorcist?(Source: MU)
The premise sounds interesting? you bet! And you know what, the first half of this anime is fine. It mainly follows a monster of the week formula that is either episodic or bi-episodic. The main characters are slowly introduced to us in these adventures. There were some forced drama or stories that does not feel very mature. However, coupled with the stunning action sequence and some resemblances of mystery, it is at least decent. Well, then the anime crashed and burned, with the end result being an irreversible train wreck.
The main problem that was in the second half of the anime is that it tries to bring in the “main plot”. While I am usually an viewer who is more happy with something that is not episodic, I prefer episodic nature over bad plot. It may be the case that this anime should actually be made longer, so the producer wouldn’t have to tweak a forced plot and bring it to a haste finish. I won’t actually pinpoint what’s wrong with the plot in second half, but I suspect most critics would agree with me in this matter.
And guess what, there is one aspect that failed even more spectacularly than the plot department; that is character. The main character, Okumura, fails spectacularly as a shounen MC in an incredibly shounen show. The problem doesn’t stop here. While in most other shows with similar problems side characters are sidelined, in Blue Exorcist side characters completely disappear in the latter half. This defeats the purpose of the long-winded character introductions earlier in the story. Furthermore, after finishing the show, I couldn’t decide who the antagonist(s) was, in a shounen show!
I suppose I should praise this anime at least for its visuals, and sound to a lesser degree. As usual, A-1 Pictures does a great job in animation and designs, although even this drops in quality in later episodes.
Honestly, after seeing Blue Exorcist and Tsuritama (and obviously, Sword Art Online), I categorized A-1 Pictures as a production company that couldn’t adapt good stories if their lives depended on it. This opinion is only changed after watching Shinsekai Yori. Though, this still put them in the “can’t create good characters” category.
Overall, Blue Exorcist fails at everything except for the animation and sound. I give it somewhere around 4.8/10.
Recommended to fans of Ao no Exorcist manga, though be prepared for the disappointment. Also to critics who like to flame popular and well-liked anime.
Not recommended to anyone else.