Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume 12

The main character of Blue Exorcist is Rin Okumura, a high school boy who learns through an argument with his foster father that he’s really the son of Satan. After his foster father is killed by Satan, Rin decides to become an Exorcist in order to eventually defeat his father. He’s now a first-year student at True Cross Academy and an Exwire at the Exorcism Cram School.

At this point in the story, a secret society known as the Illuminati is causing various phenomena to happen. An investigation by the True Cross Academy reveals that there are Illuminati spies that have infiltrated the school.

Blue Exorcist Volume 12
Written by: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Volume 12 opens on the day of the academy festival, and most of the story focuses on Rin’s friend and classmate, Izumo Kamiki. Renzo Shima reveals himself as a spy and helps the Illuminati kidnap Izumo for a plot they have. When Rin and some of the other Exwires are sent on a mission to find Izumo, they, along with the reader, learn a lot about Izumo’s past.

I have to admit that my first exposure to Blue Exorcist came earlier this year when I started reading VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital anthology. After reading this volume, I can tell that what’s included here is the setup for the storyline I started seeing in Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of this year. So for me, this volume started to explain to me what I’ve been reading in the magazine these past few months.

Izumo has an interesting, yet tragic, background, and I’ve come to like her better as a character after reading her backstory in this volume. But, man, I have to say that after seeing Professor Geodin in this volume, he sure comes across as a major creeper. I thought he was bad enough in the later chapters I’ve read, but… wow. He’s even creepier than I thought he was.

Personally, I also appreciated getting to know Renzo better. Without providing any “spoilers,” I’ll say that he plays a major part later on in this story arc. But when I read those later chapters, I had no idea who he was or why he caused Rin to react in certain ways. Reading this volume, though, it’s all starting to make sense now.

And I liked getting to see Rin interacting with the other Exwires that he’s been assigned to work with in order to find and rescue Izumo. There’s a great scene between Rin and Ryuji, where Ryuji vents his frustration about Renzo being a traitor. Rin understands where Ryuji’s coming from due to his own background from earlier in the series; this was a nice character development and bonding moment between these two characters.

I have to say that I enjoy Kato’s art style, especially how distinct each character looks. There’s also just something about the art style that really grabs the reader’s interest and helps to keep them engaged with the story that’s being told, especially in the flashback that explains Izumo’s backstory. Another thing that impressed me is just how much light Kato uses in some of the scenes that feature the Illuminati early on in the volume.

Now that I’ve gotten to read a whole volume of Blue Exorcist, in addition to the chapters I’ve read over the past few months, I’m much more interested in this series than I had been previously. I’m going to have to find a way to read the previous eleven volumes in order to fill in the rest of the story leading up to this point.

If you’re a fan of Blue Exorcist, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 12 for the action and revelations that it contains.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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