Blu-ray Review: Blue Exorcist – The Movie

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Curious as to where the Blue Exorcist film ties into the storyline of series or even what the film has to? well find out as we take a look at Manga Entertainment UK’s release in our Blu-ray review of the film.

Synopsis:

When his adopted father, Shiro Fujimoto was killed by his biological father, Satan, Rin Okumura swore to become an exorcist to avenge Shiro’s death declaring war on his own blood-relatives of the underworld…

Everyone is in the midst of preparing for a festival which is celebrated once every 11 years in True Cross Academy Town. However behind the scenes in the shadows, a “Phantom Train” goes berserk while the barriers protecting the town from demon intrusions were under repair. Rin, Yukio, and Shiemi are sent to exorcise the Phantom Train, but as usual Rin complicates the situation.

Among all of the chaos, Rin meets a demon in the form of a young boy. Meanwhile, Cheng-Long Liu, a Senior Exorcist First Class from the Taiwan Branch joins Shura in the repair operation and the story takes an unexpected turn as all their fates cross.

Our View:

With the TV series drawn to close, and ending slightly different to the manga it was based upon, a new tale is told within the Blue Exorcist movie, a movie which uses very little from the TV series (except it’s characters) but introduces a wealth of content, such as detailed environments and some new characters. The movie itself follows the events of Rin Okumura and his twin brother Yukio who, after uncovering a young demon during a botched exorcism, are left to take care of him until the barrier which released him is restored. During this time Rin develops an attachment to the demon, so much so that not only is he given a name (Usamaro) but Rin ends up treating him like a younger brother.

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This ‘attachment’ is shown through various different activities and the emotional bond between the two characters are clearly shown as the story progresses, however this bond soon causes problems for the exorcists. When Usamaro’s true identity is revealed he starts to cause a ruckus across the city in an attempt to escape, It’s not the usual type of ruckus either, as Usamaro’s ability allows memories to be removed, and as such the entire Japan Branch of exorcists forget about their important roles within the city. With majority of the exorcists, including the Exwires, taking part in festival celebrations the city is left defenceless, and as such multiple demon outbursts occur within the city limits. With only Rin and Yukio remembering who Usamaro is it soon becomes a race to find him, but with the city being overrun by demons this task is going to be a lot harder than it seems.

When it comes to feature-length animated movies telling an untold story from within a TV series my mind always seems to wander during the half-way point, a feat which has occurred to me during Naruto Shippuden and Bleach Movies, and to a certain extent the K-On and Blood-C movies, however with this Blue Exorcist movie it was extremely different. I found myself to become completely absorbed within this fresh, but familiar, world and as the credits started to roll I was left completely puzzled as to where the time had gone.

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Thinking back I cannot pinpoint a reason as to why my eyes were glued to the ever developing drama on screen, maybe it was the relationship between Usamaro and Rin or maybe I was waiting for another fight to take place, I am not sure but for whatever the reason the film was entertaining in its own right. It might be a stupid thing to say but what you are getting isn’t a movie about it’s about the developing bond between friends and the memories that people share, it’s quite a heart warming movie which at some points can feel rather sentimental, especially when it comes to Rin’s flashbacks of his foster farther.

Unfortunately in order to get ‘the best’ experience from the film you will need to have watched the TV Series, at least until episode 19, otherwise the sudden appearance of some characters, such as Arthur Auguste Angel and Shura Kirigakure, and behaviour of others will be a relatively puzzling experience. It’s basically a movie aimed at the fans, like any other tv-series-related movie, but at the same time offers a stand-a-lone story whereby relative newcomers to the franchise can still enjoy it, just as long as they know about the Okumura brothers, Rin and Yukio.

Extras:

When the film finally does draw to a close there is still plenty of additional content to keep fans of the franchise tide over, as not only is there a variety of promotional material, such as original Japanese promotional trailers, but there is the inclusion of two Japanese staff commentaries.

  • Japanese Staff Commentaries
  • Japanese Trailers
  • Promotional Video
  • English Trailer

The collection of trailers, namely Japanese Trailers, English Trailer and Promotional Videos, each offer a ‘quick-view’ of what to expect from the film but the main highlight for me was the inclusion of the Japanese staff commentaries, as it’s an extra feature that we are not usually treated to on UK Blu-ray and DVD releases.

In total two different Japanese commenataries are included, the first commentary features Nobuhiko Okamoto (voice of Rin), Hidenobu Kiuchi (voice of Cheng-Long Liu), Atsushi Takahashi (Director) and Kenichi Hayashi (A-1 Pictures) as they discuss their impressions and experiences of the movie. Meanwhile second audio commentary features Jun Fukuyama (voice of Yukio), Rie Kugimiya (Usamaro), Takamitsu Inoue (Aniplex) and Atsushi Takahashi (Director) as they discuss more in-depth about the production of the film and the ideas that inspired.

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Both audio commentaries provide an ‘extremely’ detailed look into how the film was produced, but at the same time both are notably different. For instance the first audio commentary is light-hearted and features some jokes between the people commentating on the film, including one that involves Shura’s on-screen appearance being ‘more bouncy’ than the TV version, a decision they decided was left to the director. On the other hand the second commentary is more mature and down-to-earth with informative behind-the-scenes styled facts.

Specs:

Media: BD 50
Region: B
Running Time: 1:28:47
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS 5.1 (English & Japanese) , LPCM 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

In hindsight the Blue Exorcist film is different to what I was initially expecting, I expected the Okumura brothers would be protecting Usamuaro from a bigger, more dangerous threat with an explosive demonic battle to end the movie, instead we are treated to a steadily paced film that shows a developing bond between two demons but more importantly it highlights that memories are important no matter how painful they may be.

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Like I said the film kept me glued to the TV screen from the moment I pressed play, with the only time I considered looking at the runtime was when Rin’s classmates/friends appeared on screen and this (amusingly)did not happen until the 31 minute mark. I find it unusual that popular characters would be side-lined until an appropriate time, but at the same time it’s a fresh approach to storytelling and keeps viewers waiting to see their favourite character, unlike most tv-series-based-movies whereby characters are on screen within the first 20 minutes.

Despite the film being overly entertaining I was slightly disappointed by the lack of any fighting, as other than the botched exorcism at the start their isn’t exactly another 1on1 demon fight. Of course you do see various exorcists interact with demons but never anything on a grand scale, which considering it’s a film you expect it. The other disappointing elements remain with the blu-ray itself, first of all only a standard ‘DVD’ quality DTS Surround Sound is used, now don’t get me wrong it sounds ‘fantastic’ and even the English Voices actors have done a superb job in reprising their roles, but for a high definition release you expect to receive a lossy audio or TrueHD version of the audio. The final issue I had was with the blu-ray menu design, sure enough it looks fantastic and does the job perfectly fine, however it’s the fact that the text on the extras is small and can be difficult to read when viewing on curtained sized screens from a great distance. These are mere personal problems than a flaw, but they are issues that can effect some viewers – especially if you are looking for the definitive release.

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Overall Blue Exorcist The Movie is a superbly entertaining film that has a unique story which blends naturally into the world of the Blue Exorcist and while the film is of top-quality I think the Blu-ray disc content and design could have been improved slightly, mainly with the inclusion of better menu layout and more ‘productional’ bonus content, but neither of this effect the films entertaining merits. If you enjoyed the TV series, and to an extent the manga series, then owning the film is a must.

Score: review-stars-5

Blue Exorcist – The Movie will be available on DVD and Collectors Edition Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack from the 26th May 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to Blu-ray Review: Blue Exorcist – The Movie

  1. Pingback: Interview: A Q&A Session with Blue Exorcist Movie Director Atsushi Takahashi and Producer Takamitsu Inoue | AnimeBlurayUK

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