Ao no Exorcist Episode 21

Standard

In the aftermath of the masked demon’s attack in the previous episode, the Okumura brothers set about conducting their own separate investigations. While Rin interrogates the detained former professor Nehaus, Yukio is escorted into the presence of an elderly clergyman, whose mask conceals burns he claims he received on the Blue Night of destruction caused by the devil and his minions so many years before. He reveals himself to Yukio as Ernst Frederick Egin, the brothers’ long-lost grandfather; while that is surprising enough, he doesn’t stop there.

Would you trust this man?

Again and again, Egin hammers Yukio with one shocking revelation after another. Egin’s daughter Yui, whom he identifies as the boys’ mother, did not die at the hands of Satan. Apparently, shortly after giving birth to them, she was sentenced to death by the Vatican and subsequently burned at the stake for being a witch. Egin himself was betrayed and imprisoned for the past fifteen years; now, amidst the upheaval of recent events, including the arrest of Sir Mephisto Pheles, he has decided that the time has come to take Yukio under his wing and prepare to root out the corruption within the Order (although, curiously, he could not secure safe passage for Rin).

Alright now, Yukio. Surely with all the experience one has gained as an intelligent, battle-proven exorcist, one has developed a keen eye and powerful discernment warring with ghouls, demons and all kinds of unholy terrors of the supernatural. After all, the world is perilous enough as it is just dealing with ordinary humans. At this point, we really have to stop and ask ourselves some questions:

  • First of all, where is this train really going?
  • Who is this mysterious, vaguely sinister masked man claiming to be my grandfather?
  • Is the woman in the photo he refers to as Yui really our mother? For that matter, is she even the old man’s daughter? Is this person even dead?
  • How did he come by the keepsake locket with our childhood picture? How come dad never mentioned him?
  • If this man was imprisoned because of his relationship with the woman who gave birth to the sons of the devil, how and when did he get released?
  • Why didn’t he take care to make proper arrangements for Rin to come along as well? Wasn’t he trying to protect both of us?

However, the sudden onslaught of disturbing information proves too much of a shock for Yukio, causing him to quietly accept everything Egin has told up to this point as fact.

Angel and Demon in Paradise

I’ve really enjoyed the series thus far, and up to now things have progressed more or less at a nice pace with decent plot, engaging characters with reasonable development and motivations but it just seems too convenient for Yukio to simply take everything Egin said at face value and go along with it. On the other hand, it’s apparent Yukio’s psyche is in great turmoil, brought on perhaps by the deep-seated feelings of inadequacy he feels at being unable to help/protect his older brother. It’s unclear whether Egin knew of this in particular and took advantage of this insecurity but the timing couldn’t have been more devilish. In the end, though, the truth remains: a stranger who you’ve only just met has given you dubious credentials, outlined to you his plot for revenge, shown you the means with which he intends to carry it out and moreover has invited you to become party and instrument in his machinations. How do you respond? A. No thanks. B. OK, sign me up! Hint: Pick A.

Meanwhile Rin tracks Michelle to Shiemi, who has been facilitating Michelle’s convalescence. However, Arthur has arrived to destroy the supposed demon resurrected by forbidden means and a violent confrontation ensues between the Paladin and Rin, who suddenly defends Michelle as a matter of principle against her would-be executioners. In the end, Michelle and Nehaus are reunited, and vow to search for their own paradise together in this life or the next.

In sum, this was a well-balanced episode of an overall very satisfying and well-balanced series. It’s hard to tell how A-1 will settle things at this point but here’s to hoping that they’ll produce a conclusion that will leave room for a continuation in the future. In the meantime, the preview portends rocky relations between the Okumura brothers in the coming episodes as they find themselves on opposing sides of a looming conflict that will surely test their ideals and their bond as brothers.

It’s a confrontation that’s been in the making since the start. Stay tuned.

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