Wednesday, December 2, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: Blue Exorcist Volume 23


MANGAKA: Kazue Kato
LETTERS: John Hunt, Primary Graphix
EDITOR: Mike Montesa
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1172-4; paperback (February 2020); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
202pp, 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. 23 (Chapters 104 to 108) opens, Lord Mephisto Pheles continues to take Rin on a journey into his and his brother's past.  Mephisto is more than delighted to use his time-traveling powers to show Rin what happened all those years ago.  Rin sees his mother, Yuri Egin, as a girl and watches her grow into a young woman.  He also sees his foster father, Shiro Fujimoto, who has a dark and troubled past.

Yuri has revealed her feelings about Shuri to him, but she is soon reunited with her “friend,” Rinka.  Rinka moves to the secret “Section 13.”  There, the exorcists are involved in the research of elixirs for immortality and in developing clones to house the spirits of demons.  Now, the most powerful demon of all is moving into a clone body.  Mephisto warns Rin, this story can only end in tragedy, and the tragic part may be about to begin.

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

THE LOWDOWN:  The Blue Exorcist manga has been one of the manga that I have read the most in 2020.  This calendar year, I have read six volume volumes.

Blue Exorcist Graphic Novel Volume 23 continues what has been an excellent run of volumes in this series, beginning with Vol. 20.  In Vol. 23, creator Kazue Kato balances a love story of sorts with the depiction of the conniving and abominations committed by the Knights of the True Cross.  For long time readers, it will all pay off in a tragic origin story that is about to reach its climax.

John Werry's usually excellent translation continues to reveal the story in delicate strokes with occasional intimate details.  John Hunt's lettering continues to convey the constant shifts in tone, especially in regards to Shiro Fujimoto's anger and bitterness.  These two contributors are preparing us for big things ahead in this series.

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

9 out of 10

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

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