The latest volume of Blue Exorcist has arrived, so let’s give it a look and see what it has to offer this time around. Is it good?
Blue Exorcist Vol. 16 (Viz Media)
Written and drawn by: Kazue Kato
Translated and adapted by: John Werry
Lettering by: John Hunt
We’ll keep this review particularly short and to the point, since the latest volume of Blue Exorcist is on the weaker side of things this time around. It was good and fun to read, make no mistake about it. However, the series is between story arcs in this book, so there’s not a whole lot of excitement, story progression happening, or any answers being given out. The volume is mostly about setting the stage for where things are going and dealing out some character development.
Character growth and development is the primary focus here. There isn’t too much attention given to Rin or following up on Shima being a spy, but attention is given to others like Ryuji, Shiemi, and Yukio. Shiemi’s development is very minor in the volume, though how she deals with some rather embarrassing family issues in the future offers some potential. With Yukio, you see the fallout from last volume about him possibly having demonic powers within him and his desperate, suicidal attempts to bring them out. For a guy who has been pretty serious and sure of himself for the entire series, the situation he is in is rather uncomfortable and worrisome.
Ryuji’s development, ties in with the proper introduction of Lewin “Lightning” Light, an arch-knight of the Order. Lightning comes in to act as a teacher for the academy and Ryuji, awed by his strength and power, wants to be his apprentice. It’s a typical setup–one is super serious and the other lazy, laid back, but incredibly skilled–but the dynamic between the two and their reasoning behind the things they do are interesting. Lightning in particular is very strong here with his surprising motivations and personality traits, which I won’t spoil–let’s just say that I don’t hear that motivation often, since creators love writing characters inspired by heroes or driven by revenge.
Ok, who let the crazy man come inside again?
Writing-wise, the volume is solid like the rest of the series. Dialogue was charming, had personality, and never veered into being too expositional. It was just right and there was a lot of fun to be had reading it. The humor was amusing and there several good gags sprinkled throughout, though the bathhouse chapter felt rather odd and almost out of place in the entirety of the series so far. The pacing was pretty good and the same could be said for the other technical parts of the writing. No real big problems or issues overall with writing here.
The artwork in this volume is very good, much like the rest of the series. Characters are drawn well, capable of showing a lot of expression and depth in their faces and body language. The scenes are all drawn well and have no issues with transitioning from one to another. The designs of the monsters and characters remain fairly strong and the tiny bit of action was nice to look at. However, there is only a tiny bit of it, so the creator didn’t really get to draw anything very exciting or eye-catching this time around. It’s a good-looking book, but like the story and writing, it didn’t come out being the most memorable.
You are? Oh! Well then this is rather awkward.
Is It Good?
Blue Exorcist Vol. 16, like the last volume, is a slow-moving book. It mostly serves as setting up for future events and character arcs, but it lacks in the story development, progression, and action. Despite some heavy scenes, it’s one of the quieter books of the series. However, things should really pick up in the next volume.