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Blue Exorcist Vol. #22 Manga Review

3 min read
This is a book that establishes a nice stage for the future of the series, but isn’t the most exciting thing in and of itself.

A stroll into the past!

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kazue Kato
Translation: John Werry

What They Say
The seals binding the artificial Gehenna Gate are broken, and the world is gripped by demonic chaos! As the Exwires try to figure out what to do without Rin and Yukio, and the Knights of the True Cross scramble to regroup, everyone seems lost. As nations around the world struggle to contain the outbreaks, Rin faces Mephisto, demanding to hear about his past. Mephisto couldn’t be more delighted to show Rin what happened all those years ago—but as Mephisto warns him, the story can only end in tragedy…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Thanks to the collapse of the artificial Gehenna gate, the world finds itself in quite a state. Which is to say, people the world over are now seeing demons, and it’s making an absolute mess of things. The book does a real good job of capturing the chaos, which is really neat to see considering how long we’ve been fixated solely on the viewpoint of the Knights of the True Cross. In the midst of all this, Shiemi has a heartfelt talk with Kamiki, only to be suddenly taken away for completely mysterious reasons. And as all that’s going on, Yukio’s situation with the Illuminati continues to advance, bringing him to a point where he can learn more about himself, but with significant risks.

All of that doesn’t really amount to anything here, though as the real meat of the book is kicked off by Mephisto sending Rin for a trip into the past to figure out his own history. In essence this is one giant flashback, though it’s interesting in that Rin is apparently actively there but can’t actually truly impact things… I think? Or at least, it’s said that he shouldn’t try to interact with people, as it apparently won’t cause time paradoxes, but will lead to confusion. So we just sort of get Rin slinking around in the background as the events play out. It feels like kind of a weird framing device, but maybe there will eventually be a good reason for it even if there isn’t one here.

As for the actual contents of what happens, we join both Shiro Fujimoto and Rin’s mother Yuri Egin at a young age, and see how their lives progress as they become caught up with the Knights of the True Cross. And for what it’s worth, it’s handled quite well. It feels like we not only naturally get to know both characters, but also some more backstory on what was happening in the world itself. But just what will happen to the pair as things steadily tumble toward inevitable tragedy?

In Summary
With this volume, we’re given a rather interesting structure, as we start off being given a ton of mysterious setup… and then depart on a long flashback. It does feel like a bit of a tease as it seems like we’re given a number of questions that clearly won’t be answered for a while, but at the very least, I like the way the book displays the state of the world. As for the flashback itself, it has a bit of an unusual framing mechanism, but there are already a number of intriguing threads set up here that have me very interested to see where it will go. Things obviously still have a way to go, though, so admittedly this volume isn’t exactly the most packed in terms of action or huge events. And so, what we’re left with is a book that establishes a nice stage for the future of the series, but isn’t the most exciting thing in and of itself.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
MSRP: $9.99

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