by Emily Reuben
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for all previous episodes of this series.
Episode three of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga offers much less in the way of engaging conflict than its preceding episodes. While the past few entries have teased action, episode three drops all pretenses and focuses on interpersonal drama. After all, why focus on the struggles of the literal son of Satan when there is tedious high school drama unfolding onscreen?
“Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” begins with some attempted reconciliation between Rin and the other exorcists in training. In a brief conversation with Shima, Konekomaru wants to know why Shima is being so accepting of Rin. After their quick exchange, they are interrupted when a meeting is called for all of the leaders of the temple, with Bon and Konekomaru also attending. It is determined that a traitor is working from within, causing a heated debate that sees multiple accusations directed at several characters. With Bon’s father suspiciously absent from the meeting, he quickly becomes one of the suspects, leaving Bon unsure of how to handle the situation.
Shortly after, Rin stumbles upon Konekomaru praying in front of his parents’ graves. At Rin’s appearance, Konekomaru attempts to flee, but is ultimately stopped and questioned as to why he is being so standoffish. Konekomaru and Rin get some decent character development in this scene, but neither does or says anything that wouldn’t be expected. The emotional impact of the scene is somewhat lessened by the stilted dialogue exchanged. The character motivations come off as artificial decisions made because of plot contrivances instead of genuine, emotional responses. For a character that received minimal development and screen time in the first season, it seems like this soft reboot will not be used to make Konekomaru more sympathetic or relatable, which is a shame.
As distracting as the problems with Konekomaru are, the biggest problem stems from Rin’s love interest, Shiemi. In Kyoto Saga, Shiemi has yet to have any meaningful dialogue or purpose and is ultimately forgettable. While she had never been a particularly active character in the first season of Blue Exorcist, Shiemi did at least receive some form of character development and romantic attention from Rin. Here she simply cries and whines about her perceived uselessness in the group. Frankly her tedious outburst interrupts the flow of the episode with a scene that only serves to remind the audience that she still exists.
As evidenced by Shiemi’s pointless spiel, the pacing here seems rather slow. The ending of Episode 2 explicitly stated a traitor is present within the temple, and while this episode mentions it briefly, there are no new developments. The audience has already been made aware a traitor exists, but the majority of this episode focuses on watching the characters learn this information. If the arguments regarding the identity of the traitor were more confrontational or any real consequences seemed evident for those accused, “Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” may have been a more interesting episode.
The strongest aspect of “Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” are the sparse scenes of Rin’s training scattered throughout the episode. It is refreshing to see a protagonist actually struggle with honing their abilities rather than immediately grasping them. Rin’s lack of self-discipline keeps him from becoming too powerful and allows for some realism regarding the implied difficulty of his training.
“Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” may not be a filler episode, but it does make for a dull viewing. Hopefully, the next episode will actually offer some plot development and minimize the woe-is-me interactions between characters.
All Images From: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, Episode 3 - Suspicion Will Raise Bogies
“Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” offers less engaging character development than the previous episode and still lacks any real action. The once charming interactions between characters have grown somewhat stale and repetitive, making “Suspicion Will Raise Bogies” a nearly forgettable experience.
Ryan is a Music Media Production major who wrote the first ever Byte music review and has been involved with nearly every other section at some point. He is also an event planner at Village Green Records and the primary booking coordinator for the store’s outdoor concerts.