Shura Kirigakure has vanished, with the last known hint to her whereabouts being somewhere in the snowy Aomori Prefecture. The Okumura Brothers are on the case and hoping to find and bring her home. However, things are much more complicated than they can imagine; Shura has a history with a demon in the land, one that spans back many generations in her family.

The latest volume of Blue Exorcist is a bit of a sidetrack. The main plot with the Illuminati is put on hold and most of the characters from the series are not present here, putting the focus entirely on the Okumura Brothers and most importantly, Shura. While this may disappoint some who wanted a continuation with the plot, especially considering how little happened in the previous book, the overall experience is still very enjoyable. We progress Yukio’s characters arc here and show how weak the relationship is becoming as he keeps pushing away from his brother. Shura, who has been mostly just a supporting character for the longest time, is finally getting an in-depth look and backstory.

Shura’s always been shown as a carefree and teasing, but still a serious and powerful mentor figure for the students in the series. We’ve known she had some sort of relationship or connection with Shiro Fujimoto, but other than that, we’ve seen very little of her. This volume corrects that and what we learn about her is rather illuminating — her immaturity and carefree nature and even her dress-style, comes from the fact her life has always been limited. Due to a family “curse”, she is set to die at the age of 30 and before then has to give birth to continue the depressing cycle. With how little time she has, she lives how she wants to, caring very little about how people see and view her. She’s not going to live long, so what’s the point of building connections? Even though she is far more serious now, this revelation shines quite a different light on her than I expected to see.

The only other characters of significance are Yukio, Rin, and Hachirotaro. Rin’s character stays mostly the same, though desperately trying to reach out to his brother really does a lot to make their connection feel real and difficult. It also shows how much has really changed since the beginning and hints at something
very bad happening on the horizon. Yukio’s character is still changing, growing darker and pushing himself further and further away from everyone as he tries to understand what is going on within him. Again, what’ll happen to him in the future has me curious. Hachirotaro is this arc’s villain, a hydra who made a deal with Shura’s ancestor. He’s obsessive, trying desperately to hang onto something that has long since faded away, and incredibly vicious in his pursuit. In comparison to other villains in the series, he’s not as particularly deep or as memorable, but his desires and wants are different from the others though. It does at least give
him his own uniqueness to help him stand out at least.

The artwork for Blue Exorcist looks as good as it usually does. The characters are drawn rather well, the layouts are constructed nicely, and the action, while oftentimes stiff and static, has a lot of energy and excitement as the characters face off against the villain. Some of the expressions the cast has, combined with the more dramatic moments do really work. There’s not much new here to see overall, but I will say the design of Hachirotaro looks particularly good. Both the human-ish and true forms are rather elaborate, very befitting of the hydra title the demon is based on here.

Is It Good?

Blue Exorcist Vol. 17 is another fine outing for the series. While the main plot isn’t progressing as much as one may hope, the expanded look at one of the side characters and the continued buildup of Yukio’s arc still make this quite the enjoyable and engaging read. Not much else to say but check it out if you’ve been
enjoying the series thus far.

‘Blue Exorcist Vol. 17’ is a solid look at a key side character
Is it good?
Great character building with Shura and Yukio
Unique villain
Artwork is good as always
Most of the cast are not present here in any form
The main plotline is put on hold
8
Good