Demonic chaos: A review of the Blue Exorcist movie

I’ve reviewed the two parts of the Blue Exorcist TV show on Geek Native and rather enjoyed the show. Those encounters were based off the subbed version of the anime. I jumped at the chance to watch Blue Exorcist: The Movie at my local indie cinema but made a surprise discovery when I got there. The cinema had failed to secure the subbed version (as advertised) and would have to run with a dubbed version of the film instead.

As a result I settled into my seat feeling slightly worried. Would I cope with the characters sounding so very different?

It took a while to get used to the change but from the outset the Blue Exorcist has a number of things going for it that allow you to settle in. There’s action straight away; good and distracting action. Rin, Yukio and Shiemi are sent to deal with a demonic train and… yeah, Rin tries to help, messes up and the dangerous situation quickly explodes into chaos.

The fact that Rin, Yukio and Shiemi are on an exorcist mission in the first place mean that the film is somewhat detached from the TV series. You don’t actually need to know anything about the TV series to enjoy the film – even though there are some flashbacks (with early episode spoilers). That said, you do need to be quick on the uptake (as anime fans generally) in order to ambushed by throwaway comments and characters. This is a movie in which a new character introduces himself with the line, “Spawn of Satan, I presume.”

I enjoyed the art and the world most of all in the Blue Exorcist movie. In the TV show we’ve seen the sprawling town around the True Cross Academy but only from afar. In the movie we get to explore it. It’s wonderful. It’s a mix of modern Japan with the ancient and supernatural. Teams of exorcists patrol routinely, fending off demon incursions and it looks like the town has been built up in layers.

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In fact, the True Cross Academy Town inspired the gamer part of my brain. This is a good thing. The settling seems ideal for an RPG. Players could be part of exorcist squads. The setting oozes adventure.

The True Cross Academy Town is beautifully drawn in the movie too. Furthermore, as the backdrop to the story the town is taking part in a festival that happens every 11 years. We’ve huge crowds out on the streets at time. There’s music and dancing. There’s some really impressive scenes.

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The plot doesn’t do the powerful setting justice. The festival that the True Cross Academy Town is celebrating happens every 11 years. We also know that a playful demon turned up in a village years ago, made everyone forget their chores and responsibilities until an exorcist turned up. It was too late for the town and although the demon was banished the town faded into nothingness. To make sure the event was never forgotten the villagers decided to hold a festival every 11 years.

In the chaos of the opening scene as Rin, Yuikio and Shiemi battle with the phantom train an old and forgotten shrine gets demolished and a playful demon turns up immediately afterwards. You don’t have to be Sherlock to work out the connection. In fact, the plot highlight of the movie for me was one brief moment of doubt when I wondered whether there would be a plot twist.

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Despite the surprise dubbing, even though there’s some unnecessary cameos and a straight forward plot – I enjoyed the Blue Exorcist movie.

I enjoyed the Blue Exorcist movie because of the gorgeous festival scenes and the inspirational True Cross Academy Town. It makes me wish for more Blue Exorcist series, lower powered and more gritty than the original show.

There’s good news for Blue Exorcist fans who might have missed the movie hitting a few cinemas very briefly. Manga UK have the license and will be releasing the DVD and Blu-ray of the movie on the 26th of May. Amazon is already accepting Blue Exorcist: The Movie pre-orders.

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