Blue Exorcist, Volume 4 – DVD Review

Review by: Felicia Day

Publisher: Aniplex of America
MSRP: $37.48 US
Running Time: 150 minutes
Genre: Action/Supernatural
Rating: 13 UP
Release Date: Available Now

The war against Satan has begun but will Satan’s own sons be enough to stop him?

Blue Exorcist is one of those shonen anime series that you cannot help but liking from the very beginning and despite the fact that it has elements that are familiar to the genre it marches to the beat of its own drum, which is definitely a good thing. So how does a story that began in the most exciting way end it’s 25-episode run? Well, let’s just say that Volume 4 of Blue Exorcist will have you on the edge of your seat. I mean, how many anime series do you know that have you rooting for the sons of Satan?

Volume 3 heated things up in a major way as not only have Rin Okumura’s classmates and friends found out he’s Satan’s offspring but now his younger brother, Yukio, is showing signs that he’s not quite human himself. It wasn’t easy to accept a son of the devil in their class but Rin’s friends know that the young man has a good heart and has hatred for Satan that is matches their own. However, not everyone welcomes him with open arms like Igor Noihaus – a renegade Exorcist who has targeted Rin purely out of hatred for Satan.

That is why, in Volume 4, Rin and Yukio believe that Noihaus might be behind a vicious and strange attack on the monks of the monastery where both boys grew up. While the monks are still alive, they’re wrapped in spider webbing and the culprit left a message in Polish, which is Noihaus’ native tongue. However, after Rin chases a masked assailant who can produce webbing much like Spider-Man and Yukio runs into Noihaus, the boys come to the obvious conclusion that Noihaus has a partner. Then again, Noihaus denies being involved with the attack on the monks.

Meanwhile, the Vatican sends Arthur Auguste Angel with an arrest warrant for Mephisto for suspicion of being involved in researching artificial life. That has certainly come at a bad time since the masked web-slinger invades the boys’ dormitory of the True Cross Academy grounds and hold Rin’s friends as hostages unless he shows up. While Rin wants to aid his friends, the busty Shura gives him a quick training lesson that could help him control his blue flames.

While Rin rushes off to confront the masked attacker, Yukio has been called upon by a Vatican official to meet with a Vatican priest named Ernst Frederik Egin who claims to be his and Rin’s grandfather by way of their mother. What he reveals to Yukio is convincing enough for Yukio to blindly take his place by his grandfather’s side as he reveals his plan to destroy Satan’s realm of Gehenna using a secret weapon that is sure to pull off this feat. It is clear that he is also behind Mephisto’s arrest and the removal of the Grigori.

Back in the True Cross Academy grounds, the masked intruder manages to escape a battle against Rin and ends up in Shiemi’s gorgeous garden. The identity of the intruder is revealed as well as the connection to Noihaus and it becomes clear to Shiemi that this person isn’t bad at all. However, this doesn’t mean anything to Arthur and his men who arrive. Unexpectedly, Rin shows up and stands in Arthur’s way defending the intruder. In the end, both Noihaus and the intruder’s fate end unexpectedly.

Just when things finally calm down, however, Rin and his friends discover that there’s a new Pope and it is Ernst who makes Yukio the new Preceptor of True Cross Academy in Mephisto’s place. The new order of the Pope is to begin an operation called Jacob’s Ladder that calls for the extermination of all demons no matter how small and insignificant. Even the young Academy students are given unusual guns to carry out the operation that – to all of them – just seems like mass murder.

All of this leads to a ritual that involves Rin being a sort of sacrificial lamb to carry out the plan to open the gateway between the living world and Satan’s world. To Yukio’s horror, however, this ritual would mean the end of his brother instead of what his grandfather had promised. On top of that, Satan shows up to confront them all in a climactic showdown that you must really see for yourself. I won’t spoil the surprise, but Yukio’s true self is revealed as well as is Satan’s real plan.

Speaking of Satan, it is in this collection of episodes that we meet Rin and Yukio’s mother, a young woman named Yuri who Father Fujimoto – the priest who raised both boys – knew very well. We discover who Yuri was but also how she has come to meet and become involved with Satan. Her story is short, fascinating and tragic and is one of the highlights of this final chapter. It is but part of what makes Blue Exorcist, as a whole, an absorbing series to watch.

As far as finales are concerned, Volume 4 of Blue Exorcist makes for a fitting end that is both riveting and engaging to the point that you will not want this series to end. Blue Exorcist is one of those fun anime series that hit all the right notes to create an engaging series worth watching. If you have been following this series, then this volume deserves to be in your collection right away.

BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A-
Rin and Yukio head back home to the monastery where they were raised only to find the monks wrapped in webbing and as they pursue this mystery attacker they go up against Noihaus one last time. Meanwhile, Yukio is approached by a Vatican priest who not only claims to be his and Rin’s grandfather but also has Yukio join his cause to launch a major attack against Satan in an astonishing final battle.

VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The series has always sported some gorgeous animation with flashy visual effects and solid action sequences. If it looks this good on DVD it would look amazing on Blu-ray if Aniplex decides to give it the BD treatment.

AUDIO QUALITY: B+
Thanks to a brilliant voice cast, the series contains some impressive performances with Nobuhiko Okamoto being on to very top of that impressive cast list. On top of that, the original score is perfect and the opening and closing theme songs have been awesome.

EXTRAS: B
This being the final volume we would have expected a little more but it’s hard to complain when the Ura-Ex bonus movies are actually fun to watch. You’ll also find the clean opening and closing animation as well as the Web Version previews. Blue Exorcist fans will also love the 2-sided mini-poster as well as the 2-sided reversible cover for the DVD box.

OVERALL: A-
Volume 4 of Blue Exorcist does not disappoint in the very least and even more so when it reaches its intense and satisfying climax that will give fans an ending that is fitting to the series. As far as shonen action series are concerned, Blue Exorcist manages to be genuinely fun and action-packed without sacrificing character development so, in the end, what we have is an anime series that will quickly make a fan out of you. For those who already are fans, then this final chapter should definitely not be missed.

Review copy provided by Aniplex of America

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