While in his dreams Rin is a hero, praised by all his classmates, the reality is far from his imagination. Rin’s slacking off during class starts to get on the nerves of one of his classmates, a straight A student who may not look like it, but is in fact the inheritor of a temple. Ryuji Suguro thinks Rin isn’t taking becoming an exorcist seriously, and when Shiemi doesn’t do well on a test either, Ryuji thinks that the two of them are just goofing off.
After antagonizing each other for a while, Rin discovers that Ryuji wants to defeat Satan, just like him. During gym class, where they have to run away from low level giant frog demons, after the teacher leaves due to a “suspicious” phone call Ryuji challenges Rin to touch one of the demons and come back. Rin refuses, showing a surprising level of maturity for your average shonen protagonist. Ryuji, after being laughed at for his goal of defeating Satan, goes to touch the demon, but the turmoil in his heart sets the demon off, and it’s only because Rin is able to intimidate the giant frog that Ryuji survives. Rin then tells Ryuji that he can’t defeat Satan, because he will do it first.
If I were to summarize exactly why this episode is good, we would be here for a long time. So to keep things brief I’ll only touch on the important parts. First off, Ryuji’s antagonizing of Rin. The rival character that the protagonist is always getting into fights with isn’t something new. In the wrong hands this kind of dynamic could be a disaster. However it works here because Ryuji’s problem with Rin is fairly legitimate. The episode explains exactly why he thinks the way he does, and why Rin’s apparent lack-luster attitude is so offensive to him. His actions aren’t dictated by the demands of the plot, but are instead determined by his personality, which has been crafted by his past. It also helps that he is voiced by Kazuya Nakai, the voice of Roronoa Zoro, who is himself not unfamiliar with characters with antagonistic relationships.
The episode explores Ryuji’s character, as well as Rin’s motivation to become an exorcist. It also explains the opening scene of the first episode, explaining that it was known as the Blue Night among exorcists, when Satan murdered several of the most powerful clergymen.
There are several really good gags during the episode, there wouldn’t be any point saying what exactly the jokes are, just know that they are there and if nothing else a good laugh will be had from this episode.
While I knew that at least the first two episodes, and most likely the rest of the series, were going to be good. I am pleasantly justified that five episodes in my faith in this series has been justified. After the initial two connected episodes, Blue Exorcist has come well into the standalone episodes. This is a perfect place for a series narrative to fall apart, because sometimes writers are better with overarching stories than self contained episodic stories. This is definitely going to be one of my favorites, and I can’t wait for the episodes to come out on DVD.