Title: “Blue Exorcist (Ao no Exorcist): Volume 8”
Author: Kato Kazue
Genre: Paranormal, Slice-of-Life, Coming of Age, Manga/Comics, AWESOME
Publication Date: November 6, 2012 (Viz – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Reads R to L (Japanese Style for teen plus audiences. Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth—the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won’t be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!
☆: 4/5 stars – one of the most emotionally riveting volume in the series so far!
Review: This is one of the rawest books in the series so far – there are a LOT of feels to be felt by pretty much everyone in the book. Identity comes into question – both for the group as one unit and the individuals within it. The burden of inheritance. The pain of growing up with a sibling that might have been favored over you. The fear of going up against an enemy that could destroy the world – will you run? Or will you fight? In “Blue Exorcist: Volume 8”, all of these questions are answered, and more in a really great addition to this series. However, if you haven’t read the Impure King arc up thus far (books 5-7), you might be a bit lost. Just a warning.
There are a lot of moments in this book for all of the characters in the main cast – not just Rin and Yukio – where they question their place not only in this battle against the Impure King, but their place in the world. Who am I? What am I? What am I doing here? Why should I fight? What do these people mean to me? All of these questions are hit on repeatedly throughout the volume, but it’s not redundant – it’s awesome. For each character, there’s a different answer, a “I am ___, and I fight (or in some cases, won’t fight) because of ____.” And the answers aren’t straightforward – even though the pace of this volume is very fast, there’s a lot of soul-searching that goes on within these chapters as there are some huge decisions to be made and a lot of asses to be saved.
And you know what? That was refreshing. We rarely get such emotionally rich volumes in shounen manga, so it was so good to have this volume both emotionally and action rich.
In this volume, we also get final confirmation about Yukio’s identity (and how his time with Rin in the womb affected him) toward the end of the fight. We get to see the breadth and width of everyone’s abilities – both of the sect and of the main cast – with Mephy narrating the whole thing. The downside? The battle isn’t over yet – it reaches a peak with Ucchsma agreeing to teach Rin the secrets of his sword, but Kato kind of otherwise strings us along with this volume. Hopefully in volume 9 we can move on. Not that I haven’t enjoyed this arc, but I think 3 books is enough, don’t you?
Final verdict? Definitely one of the most pivotal volumes in terms of character development within the series, if you’re a fan or if you’ve just been reading “Blue Exorcist”, you simply cannot miss this eighth volume. “Blue Exorcist: Volume 8” will be out from Viz on November 6, 2012 in North America, so be sure to check it out then.