Thursday, October 29, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: BLUE EXORCIST Volume 22


MANGAKA: Kazue Kato
LETTERS: John Hunt, Primary Graphix
EDITOR: Mike Montesa
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0873-4; paperback (September 2019); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
210pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Blue Exorcist is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Kato.  The manga has been serialized in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine since April 2009.  VIZ Media has been publishing an English-language edition of the manga as a paperback graphic novel series under its “Shonen Jump Advanced” and “Shonen Jump” imprints since April 2011

Blue Exorcist focuses on Rin Okumura.  He has an argument with his foster father, the famous exorcist, Father Shiro Fujimoto.  That is how he learns that the Demon Lord Satan is his father!  Even after Satan suddenly appears and tries to drag him to hell, Rin is still determined to reject his demonic blood line.  He enrolls at True Cross Academy Private High School in order to train to become an exorcist.  Rin’s twin brother, Yukio Okumura, already an exorcist, is one of his instructors.

As Blue Exorcist, Vol. 22 (Chapters 99 to 103) opens, the seals binding the artificial “Gehenna Gate” are broken, and the world is beset by an invasion of demons.  The “Exwires” must fight without brothers, Rin and Yukio Okumara, the latter being under arrest.  Rin, meanwhile, has demanded that Mephisto Pheles, his and his brother's guardian, reveal the Okumara family's past to him.

Mephisto is more than delighted to use his time-traveling powers to show Rin what happened all those years ago.  Rin will meet his mother, Yuri Egin, as a girl and watch her grow, and he will meet his foster father, Shiro Fujimoto, who has a dark and troubled past.  But, Mephisto warns Rin, this story can only end in tragedy.

[This volume contains bonus comics, art, text, etc.]

THE LOWDOWN:  Once a year, I get around to reading the Blue Exorcist manga.  This calendar year, I have read five volumes.

Blue Exorcist Graphic Novel Volume 22 can be joined with Vols. 20 and 21 to form what is one of the series best three-volume runs that I have read.  At this point, creator Kazue Kato brings a turning point to the narrative, but Vol. 22 has a laser focus and is almost intimate in the way Kato unveils the past of the Okumara brothers.

John Werry's usually excellent translation reveals the story in delicate strokes with occasional intimate details.  John Hunt's lettering conveys the constant shifts in tone, especially in regards to Shiro Fujimoto's anger and bitterness.  If you are a manga reader not reading Blue Exorcist, dear readers, you are missing a tremendous read.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Readers looking for dark magic and action comics will want to try the “Shonen Jump Advanced” title, Blue Exorcist.

10 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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