ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Blue Exorcist,’ Volume 25

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Blue Exorcist Volume 25

The multi-volume trip to the past finally concludes in Blue Exorcist Volume 25, and what really happened on The Blue Night is revealed. Kazue Kato’s manga focuses on Rin Okumura and his twin brother, Yukio. It is revealed that they are the sons of Satan after tragedy takes their foster father. Rin begins training to be an exorcist at Cross Academy, with the hopes of one day bringing down Satan. The manga is published in English by VIZ Media, and available on the Weekly Shonen Jump subscription service. At the time of writing, localization credits for this volume had not been provided.

Blue Exorcist Volume 25 is a hard read for multiple reasons. The flashback, in part due to the length of time between volume releases, has at times felt like a bit of a slog. With the resolution nigh, those pacing issues are no longer present in this volume, but the exhaustion may be replaced emotionally because of how heavy the content is. Yuri Egin, Rin and Yukio’s mother, has an incredibly traumatic birth experience. It doesn’t feel like trauma porn, but it can still be difficult to stomach how cruel The Knights of the True Cross are to her. Blue Exorcist Volume 25 goes to probably the darkest point the series has yet. Satan is chilling. His obsession with Yuri is that of an abusive partner. Once again, it isn’t handled poorly but deserves a content warning for readers. Some of Satan’s lines to Yuri could be triggering to those who have once been on the receiving end of such verbal abuse. It is nice that Kato doesn’t make readers feel sentimental towards Satan, he is a villain, regardless of Yuri’s initial beliefs and intent to save him.

The story can be rocky. The Knights of the True Cross victim-blame Yuri, and while Father Sugimoto steps in, his personal feelings also skew the condemnation. He is mad that she was in a relationship with Satan, to begin with. The story would have been stronger if Yuri wasn’t turned into such a “pure-hearted” martyr. Beyond that, however, Blue Exorcist Volume 25 includes beautiful moments too. Rin has struggled with self-loathing for most of the series. Here, his character arc hits a nice peak, coming to terms with his desire to live. Even amidst all the supernatural action, it is very emotional to see a young boy tell himself it is okay to live.

Kato’s art is still detailed and strong. Blue Exorcist Volume 25‘s action sequences can get a bit messy, and it is easy to lose track of what is happening when the action is on as large a scale as that of The Blue Night. However, the standout element of the art is Kato’s design of demon baby Rin. He is genuinely creepy. Rin’s horror likely mirrors the readers, and that is important. It truly makes readers question the humanity of his character when they see him as a baby. We know better, but the fact that his design is unsettling enough to throw that into question is thanks to Kato’s artwork.

Blue Exorcist Volume 25 hits some of the most thematically dark points of the series yet. Yukio and Rin both have strong high points in their character arcs. The action of The Blue Night can get a bit confusing in the art, and Satan’s clear abusive behavior towards Yuri can be difficult to stomach. It is a strong installment, only really weakened by its treatment of Yuri, and turning her into too much of a pure-hearted martyr.

Blue Exorcist Volume 25 will be available February 2nd, 2021 wherever books are sold.

Blue Exorcist Volume 25
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TL;DR

Blue Exorcist Volume 25 hits some of the most thematically dark points of the series yet. Yukio and Rin both have strong high points in their character arcs. The action of The Blue Night can get a bit confusing in the art, and Satan’s clear abusive behavior towards Yuri can be difficult to stomach. It is a strong installment, only really weakened by its treatment of Yuri, and turning her into too much of a pure-hearted martyr.