Cross Academy is sort of like Hogwarts, but with guns. That is definitely an improvement. While some of the senior exorcists wield
ancient magical weapons, an automatic still has its uses against rampaging
demons. Young exorcist-in-training Rin
Okumura will face a rather different sort of supernatural troublemaker as well
as the traditional city-leveling variety in Atsushi Takahashi’s Blue Exorcist: the Movie (trailer here), which screens
this Saturday and Sunday at select cities nationwide.
fans who remember Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, will be able to relate to
Okumura. They both have the same father, but have renounced his infernal ways.
As fans of Kazue Katō’s manga and the subsequent anime series already know,
Okumura and his brother Yukio are the half-human half-demonic offspring of Old
Scratch. However, only Rin inherited the
old man’s powers (and some of his features).
Rin enrolls in True Cross to become an exorcist in order to avenge Father
Shiro Fujimoto, the kindly priest who raised the two boys. Much to his surprise, he found Yukio had a
head start on him. Already a full-fledged
exorcist, his brother even teaches courses at the elite exorcist school.
place sometime in between episodes, the staff of the academy is gearing up for
the eagerly anticipated festival their town celebrates every eleven years. This fateful night, Yukio Okumura will be
leading an operation to exorcise a haunted train traveling between our world,
Assiah, and Gehenna, the demon plane. It
does not go according to plan. As a
result, a lot of oozing monsters start lumbering through the city—and it is mostly
Rin’s fault. Suspended from exorcisms,
the teen with a tail is forced to babysit Usamaro, an impish demon who
resembles a young boy. When Okumura and
the young scamp start to bond, it leads to all kinds of complications.
the manga and anime series are known for their religious symbolism, the movie
downplays the allegorical for the sake of narrative compactness and Usamaro’s
comic relief. Frankly, it gives us more
than enough of the latter. Still, the
stand alone feature quickly brings new viewers up to speed on its well
developed fantasy world and offers some entertaining supernatural mayhem. The background cityscapes are unusually lush
and detailed, while the big festival looks like an awful lot of fun.
Blue Exorcist gets down to action, it
nicely blends elements of the kaiju and martial arts genres. The scope and stakes of the film are rather
large, even if it does not advance the overall series mythology. The way it incorporates an old children’s
book into the narrative is also quite clever and visually stylish. In fact, the whole film looks quite
impressive. There is just a little too
much demon cuteness and the self-contained resolution is somewhat unsatisfying for
reasons that would be spoilery to explain.
Those familiar with the series might be
disappointed to hear there is no service involving Shura Kirigakure, aside from
her regular wardrobe. At least she gets
a fair amount of screen time fighting. The
fans it is intended for should enjoy this new adventure, while receptive new
folks ought to find the world-building detail intriguing. Recommended for older teens who dig manga and
anime, Blue Exorcist: the Movie screens
tomorrow (8/17) and Sunday (8/18) in New York at the Big Cinema Manhattan and
in San Francisco at the 4 Star Theatre.
Labels: Animated films, Anime, Blue Exorcist, Japanese Cinema