by Emily Reuben
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for all previous episodes of this series.
While the previous entries of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga alluded to more of a focus on Rin’s character, “From Father to Son” dismisses Rin’s role as the protagonist once again. Instead, Bon and his father take the spotlight once more, and Yukio receives a fair amount of screen time towards the end of the episode.
The Impure King is now a threat to the residents of Kyoto, as it releases Miasma, a dangerous substance exuded by demons. “From Father to Son” begins with Shura joining a group of exorcists. Together, they aim to summon a powerful demon able to confront the Impure King head on. At the same time, Rin and his group of friend’s find Bon’s father wounded from the previous episode. Bon’s father is alive thanks to the intervention of his demon familiar with whom he has a contract. On the verge of collapse, Bon’s father reveals the key to defeating the Impure King.
The final scene involves Yukio tracking Saburota Todo, the man responsible for persuading Mamushi to betray Bon’s family in episodes prior. After consuming a powerful demon, Todo’s powers have become extremely dangerous, posing quite the threat to Yukio. Once confronted, Todo beings to simultaneously attack and toy with Yukio.
“From Father to Son” offers some of the best action in Kyoto Saga. Visually, this episode is by far the most aesthetically pleasing. Fighting sequences break up the extraneous dialogue with fluid, bright animation. Notably, Yukio is given a powerful fight, resulting in a fun battle that serves simultaneously as character development for Yukio. Seeing Yukio being handed more of a purposeful role in the episode is a refreshing change of pace from the relationship constantly reinforced between Bon and his father. While the animation is not spectacular by anime standards, it certainly serves its purpose and is a welcome addition.
While the character interactions between Bon and his father are growing stale, Yukio’s interaction with Todo is quite interesting. Here, Yukio is constantly needled about his relationship with his brother and father, revealing a lot of personal baggage. This gives past instances regarding Yukio and Rin’s relationship new relevance as well as further developing a character that has been largely absent from the majority of the season.
Despite the interesting developments of Yukio’s character and a fun fight scene, “From Father to Son” does commit some repeat offenses. Though less intrusive in “From Father to Son”, this season still tries to meet its flashback quota in each installment. Bon still feels like the protagonist, not Rin. The events surrounding the Impure King have thus far related to Bon and his family while Rin is hardly given a role. Once he is given the opportunity to take action by Bon’s father, he must deny it due to his inability to draw the Koma Sword. This results in Bon, once again, taking the lead. This is rather annoying, as Rin’s emotional struggles are being largely undermined by the issues surrounding Bon’s family.
Another major annoyance is the role of the female exorcists. Conveyed in a slightly sexist way, Shiemi and Izumo are tasked with guarding Bon’s wounded father while the male exorcists go off to fight. This is ridiculous in regards to Izumo, as she has proven herself to be a strong asset in the previous season. As for Shiemi, she cries, again. It is extremely grating to hear Shiemi continuously whine about her uselessness and subsequently cry about it. This does not make her more relatable, just more of a nuisance. At this point, I agree with Shiemi: she is useless.
Despite these grievances actual plot progression is taking place, which is more than can be said for the first half of this season. While some of the talking scenes may be a bit of a pain, there are some instances of genuinely good character development and interaction. While far from perfect, “From Father to Son” is worth a watch.
All Images From: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, Episode 8 – From Father to Son
Overall, “From Father to Son” offers some of the best character moments in regards to Yukio, but at the same time, every other character seems to be either largely unexplored or given too much screen time. The fight scene is genuinely fun to watch, but is ultimately too short to justify the amount of time dedicated to tedious dialogue.