Once again this week, it’s all about the execution with Ao no Exorcist. There’s not much going on here that we haven’t seen before, but we usually don’t see it done this well.
So it appears that the first two eps (GAR performance by Keiji Fujiwara aside) were basically the prologue. For now at least, the series is apparently going to focus on the True Cross Academy, where Mephistopheles (except he calls himself Mr. Faust to the general public – now that’s subtle) is the Principal. So Yukio and Rin are attending the same school, but nothing is as it first appears. Mephistopheles – who transforms into a dog to act as a kind of campus tour guide for some reason – tells Rin that in addition to his regular high school classes, he’ll be attending secret exorcist training. Not only that, but the teacher for the first-year exorcists is none other than… Yukio. Yes, he was a genius who started training at age seven and became the youngest exorcist ever.
The shounen trope at the core of the story this week is definitely the sibling relationship, and as the paternal one was, this is handled very well. The emotions between Rin and Yukio seem spot-on (if painted with a pretty broad palette). Rin of course resents that Yukio knew all along that he was a demon and kept it a secret, along with his training – which everyone in the house except Rin knew. It cements Rin’s outsider syndrome, though he appears ready to forgive Yukio – but Yukio appears to blame him for their father’s death and tells him to “just die already”. I suspect there was an element of testing going on for Yukio’s part there, and he really does care for Rin.
At the same time, though, that distrust is obviously real. He assigns Rin to be his roommate and they share a dorm with no other students, all so Yukio can keep an eye on his brother and keep him out of trouble. That seems like a tall order, but if anyone can do it I suppose super-seiyan overachiever Yukio can.
This now being a school series, we have to have wacky classmates – and though there wasn’t much opportunity for them to distinguish themselves in their brief scenes, Yukio’s fellow first-year exorcists seem like an oddball bunch – two girls who complete each others sentences, a weird shota who plays with a bunny puppet, the punk from every shounen manga ever with the stubble and the sloppy uniform. On them, we have to go with an “Incomplete” at this point.