Considering the sheer amount of manga out there for this franchise, as well as one season of anime and a movie (two movies?), plus that this tale isn’t told out, it was no real surprise that “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” (“Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen”) came out. It had to be.
The tale picks up actually after Episode 17 of Season 1 (so everything after that is mere enjoyment and not related to the overall story arc for this season). So, they were set upon by a demon and Rin is taken prisoner, as being out of control. Meanwhile there is fear in the exorcist community, as the ‘Left Eye of the Impure King’ is stolen and by one of their own. When the Right Eye is stolen, all hell breaks loose (figuratively and actually) and the exorcists come together to try and defeat a monster that could easily destroy the Earth.
Meanwhile, Rin has to prove his true value as an exorcist or risk being executed by members of the Vatican. But no one wants to trust him, so he has a hard mountain to climb when even his own brother begins to doubt everything about him.
This is a show that can stand up to binge-watching, as the action flow is vital to the plotting. You also run into one of the more annoying villains in all of anime, Saburota Todo, as he is smug and condescending and deserves to get hit in the back of the head with a phonebook or a Grainger catalog. But everyone in this show has some degree of problem or skeleton or other roadblock on their emotions, so it makes it hard for them to focus on the tasks at hand, which, get out of hand rather quickly. Who would have seen that coming?
It sometimes felt that we had to wait for the plot to catch up with us before we could proceed with the story, as someone had to say their peace or make a pronouncement or deal with another annoyance, the biggest being the on-going fight between Ryuji “Bon” Suguro and his father Tatsuma. At one point, it was the soap opera “As the Ghost Turns”. The story eventually showed up and it is a doozie of a tale, but the key elements are not fully resolved, so I would expect a third season to close it all up.
It’s just that more could have been done with it, as everyone slipped into being A Symbol of Something, so they stopped growing as characters and were there to merely hang dialogue from, so a lot of the goodwill from the first season was watered down. Not a bad middle passage series, but it needed a bit more meat on its bones.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Some rather odd design choices)
Plot 7 (Too predictable)
Pacing 8 (Very dynamic)
Effectiveness 7 (A lot of annoying people about)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (They let a good thing slip away)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You despise your brother, don’t you?