What They Say:
When Yukio takes on a case, Rin tags along with him to the Exorcism Supply Shop. There he meets Shiemi, a girl with ailing legs, tending to her garden. Yukio examines Shiemi’s legs and finding demonic traces, speculates that the garden is the cause.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Rin having had a lot thrown at him since events at the start of the series unfolded, it’s just been more and more on top of it. Now that he’s at the academy, he figured things would settle in to some degree, but learning that his brother Yukio was actually an instructor there and that he plays hardball was a real shock to the system. While he had thought his brother was just a studious bookworm all these years, finding out that he knew about a whole lot of the reality of the situation for many, many years felt like a betrayal. But the two did manage to work things out, though Rin really didn’t care for the way the two became roommates at the end of the last episode so that he can keep an eye on him since Rin is something of a special situation out there due to his heritage.
With this episode, Rin is getting used to things around there, though he does push back some against his brother simply because there are unrealistic expectations about his study habits in that they shouldn’t see him change dramatically all of a sudden from how he was. With some of the basics taken care of, Blue Exorcist does take the opportunity to start fleshing things out a bit more by slowing events down here, pairing Rin and Yukio together as they head to the supply shop for some things that Yukio needs, though Yukio insists that Rin stay outside. Of course, he can’tjust stand around much and ends up investigating a bit, which leads him to meeting a young girl named Shiemi that’s working in a rather beautiful garden there. Naturally, there’s a mystery that comes up with her as Yukio discovers that there’s a demon’s taint to her legs which has likely come from something within the garden itself.
The exploration of how Shiemi was manipulated isn’t all that much of a surprise as it unfolds in a rather predictable manner, though it has a certain beauty to it. Her love of the garden that stems from her grandmother and the care that she put into it is strong, and having some very low level demons bonded within them adds a new wrinkle to the kind of influence that they can have, nudging here and there. There’s a sadness to it because Shiemi’s love of her grandmother is abused by these creatures through the plants and flowers, but also because of the guilt that Shiemi has over a separate event. Seeing it all come together is Rin, who spends his time largely off screen, but when he’s involved, he’s making things happen and being the blunt force in her life to get her on the right path. It’s a simple and straightforward story all told, but it’s nicely executed and the animation – the backgrounds in particular – are very beautiful which helps to draw you into the episode all the more.
The fourth episode of Blue Exorcist doesn’t exactly do anything special, but it does what the series has done from the start and that’s to look head and shoulders better than most other shows airing out there. With its more serious approach, the right mix of humor into it and a great sense of color and design, Blue Exorcist has all the hallmarks of a glossy and strong production. The first three episodes brought a lot of things to the table, so taking an episode at this point to sort of back away from it all, acknowledge that it’s there but to them work with something smaller and more personal without the same connection is definitely good to do. It helps to ease the intensity that the show was moving towards that could have burned it out a bit too early. There’s nothing here that we haven’t seen done elsewhere, but because of the work put into it, it feels fresh and engaging in a way that it might not have under lesser talented hands. It’s a small piece of the larger picture, but a good one to have worked in early.
Simulcast By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.