Review: Blue Exorcist Vol. 15

Comics and manga are weird. People get intimidated by the number on the book, like there’s no possible way for them to figure out what’s happening in the story because they haven’t read everything before it. What people fail to realize is that good writers will bring you into the fold rather than tell you to start at the beginning. That said, most people still want to start at the beginning, but won’t. Which is crazy because the books are always available if you have the interest. With all that said, I’m not the type to shy away from starting in the middle. I figure if I like a book enough I can always go back and check it out later and so this was my first reading experience with Blue Exorcist and it was not a good place to start. Remember… I said a good writer will bring you into the fold. Not that I felt left out, but there are a couple of things that need to be said about this volume.

The first is that this is a payoff volume. If you’ve been reading the series for a long while it’s going to have a bunch of key moments that are payoff moments to the series. Not that this was lost on me, but without that extra context, I wasn’t moved by it. The second is that it becomes painfully clear that this story is finding ways to stretch itself out. This being my first volume I could no wrap my head around why the good guys and the bad guys were taking it slow and waiting to fight. The one and only purpose is to continue the story and that’s not something I want to read. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of American comics when they start as a mini-series and get extended for an ongoing due to sales and then suddenly they’re just watering down the story to make more issues.

Blue Exorcist 15Due to the nature of the story, there’s a lot of characters. It also means that there’s a lot of character development and while that’s usually a good thing, there’s too much of it here. I don’t know anything about the main character other than what was in the recap. I know way too much about the supporting cast and that’s just too much. The main character should still always be our main focus and that’s not the case here.

Then there’s the fact that the story, for some reason, has given the main character a smarter twin brother, but no one thought to see if he had human/demon blood as well. I mean… twin brother. Why the fuck would one of them be Satan’s son and the other just be human? This was a breaking point for me which will ultimately keep me from reading more because it’s just so utterly ridiculous. It’s an afterthought of an idea to make a storyline in the future. Really, it just shows how shortsighted this story idea originally was and the weakness of the storyteller.

The art actually has some uniqueness to it. A lot of manga has a similar look and even bad stories can have great art. The art is what kept me reading this volume because I did genuinely enjoy the look of it. There’s too many damn characters so the pages are cluttered with people, but when they’re given a solo panel, its quite good. The demon designs are uninspired, but hey, it’s a story that is trying to make demons seem like they’re not that bad. I do hate the fact that color of “flames” are even mentioned because the book is in all black and white. It’s just really pointless to mention it over and over when clearly it’s just pining for an anime adaptation.

Really, the twin blood thing and the fact that there’s a demon working with the good guys and is an obvious deus ex machina waiting to happen to the story to continue it further; this book is okay. I won’t be reading more, but I can completely understand why a lot of people like it. Just from reading one volume, though, I can tell it has a lot of filler and that’s not something I care to read more of.

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Blue Exorcist Vol. 15
Creator: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 5/3/16
Format: TPB; Print/Digital