Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume 1 by Kazue Kato
Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
Published: April 5, 2011
Page Count: 202 pages
Availability: In print, buy a digital copy on Kindle, or read a digital copy free on the Shounen Jump IOS or Android apps
Rin Okumura discovers he’s not a normal human after he is attacked by a man possessed by a demon. His adoptive father, Shiro Fujimoto, is an exorcist and reveals that Rin is the son of Satan, and Shiro sacrifices his life to protect Rin.
Rin decides to follow his father’s path and become an exorcist so he can defeat Satan.
The Initial Set-up Is Interesting
The initial set up for Blue Exorcist is interesting. The characters are good, and it’s a good origin story for Rin Okumura as a character. While there aren’t too many action scenes, there is a lot of character development for Rin and his twin brother Yukio. I also like the introduction of new characters like Shiemi Moriyama and Mephisto Pheles. They’re interesting characters that keep your attention.
The Artwork Is Good
Kazue Kato’s art is good; it’s not particularly outstanding, but it does have a good art style and character design that I do like. The action scenes are very well done, and it looks good.
The art does look kind of generic, but I know that I haven’t gotten to the fight scenes that stand out more in the manga. I did watch the anime a long time ago, so I know that better action scenes are coming. Blue Exorcist Volume 1 has better fight scenes to show off the art style in future volumes.
The character designs are nice, so that's a plus for the manga because the art is half the story.
The Pacing Is Slow
One thing that is a little disappointing is how slow-paced Volume 1 is. Outside of a few action scenes, this manga is mostly exposition and world-building. While that can be good, it does feel slow, and some readers might lose interest because the story feels slow and not a lot happens.
Not a Whole Lot Happens in This Volume
Because this is the origin story arc, not too much happens in this story—it has to set up everything. While Blue Exorcist Volume 1 does a good job setting up the story, some readers might be a little disappointed that not a whole lot happens in this volume outside of Rin discovering he’s not a normal human being.
If you’re looking for a lot more to happen, you might be disappointed that this volume is mostly exposition and set-up.
The Manga Is Pricey
The manga is somewhat expensive both digitally and physically, so I don’t really recommend buying a physical copy. While $6.99 doesn’t seem like a lot, it will add up, and you never know if the price will go up for the digital copy. Buying a physical copy means it’s yours forever with no worry about losing access to your digital copy.
Physical copies are also retailed at $9.99, which is a lot for a manga volume, and while there are sales, you really have to keep an eye out for them if you want a good deal on a physical copy.
Plus, there are a lot of volumes in this series, and that does add up over time. Subscribing to the Shounen Jump app is a less expensive option, but if you have a PC, you’ll have to use either an iPhone or an Android emulator to use the app.
You can buy digital if you’re on a budget, but physical copies are better unless you don’t have the bookshelf space for it.
Overall, It’s a Fun Manga, but a Little Slow Paced
Blue Exorcist is an interesting manga that’s off to a promising start with a riveting premise. It is held back by the slow pacing, but it has nice artwork and character designs.
It is popular for a reason—the characters and the story. This volume has a promising story, and I’m going to keep reading it until I’m caught up since I have the Shounen Jump app on my PC using an Android emulator. The slow pacing might not appeal to some readers, so if you want something with faster pacing, you might want to read something else.
Will you buy "Blue Exorcist Volume 1" by Kazue Kato?
What Doesn't Work
Good story, world-building, and characters
Uses generic Shounen tropes
Interesting set-up for the story
Not a lot happens in this volume
There's a lot of exposition
My Grade: B-
While I do enjoy Blue Exorcist a lot, it is an interesting book bogged down by a slow start due to pacing. It is a very good book, but because it’s not off to a fast start, you might not want to pick up the next volume if you aren’t impressed with what you’ve read so far.
I recommend trying to borrow the first two volumes from your local library or signing up for the Shounen Jump app using an iPhone or Android emulator if your PC can run it, then reading at least the first two volumes to see if you want to continue reading. At only $1.99 a month, it is worth subscribing to for access to Shounen Jump’s popular titles, including Blue Exorcist, straight from Japan.
I can’t really say I’m going to buy this for my collection because I’m subscribed to the Shounen Jump app and I don’t feel I need to buy it because I’m going to just read it once and then move to the next volume. I don’t have the shelf space for a physical copy either.
If you really love the anime but can’t afford to buy AniplexUSA’s expensive Blu-ray set, you should buy the manga that way you don’t have to deal with filler. You’ll be way ahead of the anime by reading the manga.
Blue Exorcist Volume 1 is worth your time but not necessarily your money. Kazue Kato’s story is off to a decent start but might not appeal to everyone; it’s worth reading at least, and if you subscribe to the Shounen Jump app, you can get caught up on the manga. There’s also the plus of no anime filler like the first season of the Blue Exorcist anime.
It’s also less expensive than the anime, too, so it’s good if you’re on a budget.
It’s worth reading, and this is a series I have wanted to read for a while, so it was worth it for me to subscribe to Shounen Jump’s manga app to read it.
It is a little pricey per volume even on Kindle so I would recommend buying a hard copy instead of digital if you don’t want to subscribe to the Shounen Jump app.
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