Ao no Exorcist: Brotherhood
Yes, they should totally make an Ao no Exorcist: Brotherhood and actually follow the damn manga, but that’s not the point of this post. Ao no Exorcist was a series that was about many things – an experience that was distinctly less than the sum of its parts – but it centered around the single most believable and relatable idea known to humankind: family.
In fact, the more I squinted at this show, the more I got the distinct impression that my brother should have been born a shonen protagonist and the son of Satan.
Basically, what I’m saying is that he’s Rin and I’m Yukio.
The theme of the younger brother outdoing the older brother in anime has been done to more recent acclaim in Space Brothers, but honestly, Hibito’s character is a bit difficult to swallow at times. And anyway, in AnE, it’s not so much that Yukio is better than Rin so much as they’ve picked different areas to excel in, which I think is closer to my own experience.
Before I get to the character-specific analysis in this post, let me tell you a story about my brother and how we interact:
My brother is the kind of guy who leaves the toilet seat up. His room looks like a tornado went through it. He’s great at playing music, but if I asked him what the capital city of Canada was, he would have no clue.
Last year, he went up to me and asked me to write his college essay for him. He expected me, who was two years younger than him, to write an essay for his third-year subject. “But you’re good at writing,” he said.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it wasn’t so much me who was good but more the case of him not possessing the greatest grasp on English grammar. But I said okay to writing his essay because he said he would pay me, and that’s what good siblings do.
I had no knowledge of this subject whatsoever. The essay topic was about Kant and Plato’s philosophies on music aesthetics. I said to my brother, “So what did you learn from your lectures?” and he said, “I use my lectures to catch up on my sleep time.”
But still, he was very eager to help me out, thinking it was his brotherly duty. “Look, look, I found a great source!” he said to me. “You can put this in the essay!”
I said, “No.”
“Why not?” he asked.
I said, “Do you honestly expect me to cite Yahoo Answers in your bibliography?”
After that, I decided to take this up in my own hands. I went to the library and read up on Kant’s Critique of Judgment and Plato’s Republic. Anyone who has ever been a philosophy student knows that Kant is unreadable and that Plato contradicts himself. Writing the essay was a difficult task and I felt worried about the quality. In my eyes, it wasn’t up to my own standards. I’d done my best with my crash course on music aesthetics, but I thought my inexperience on the subject showed.
I mentioned these concerns to my brother and that made him pretty worried. It was obvious he had taken my skill for granted. “I already failed the class test,” he said. “I need to get a Distinction for this essay or else I’ll fail the unit.”
“Oh gee,” I said. “Way to put pressure.”
It was a nerve-wracking couple of weeks waiting for the essay to come back. Finally, my brother came up to me and said, “I got the mark back.”
“What was it?” I asked anxiously.
He scratched his head, blinked a couple of times and said, “You got the highest mark in the class.”
Then he said, “Geez, you shouldn’t’ve worried about how much you sucked. Take a chill pill, bro.”
I threw up my hands at what he said, but I had to admit I was pretty relieved.
Of course, then it turned out that my brother, being absent-minded like he is, completely forgot to pay me the money he promised. But what he did do was buy Super Smash Bros Brawl and we played it together – I guess I got my money’s worth that way.
So what does this say about the relationship between brothers and siblings? Every pair of siblings has a different dynamic, but sometimes in fiction, it’s possible to see those little moments that make you think, “Yeah, that’s pretty universal.” I think it’s those moments, when you see a little bit of yourself in a story, that you get the most out of it.
In Ao no Exorcist, the sibling relationship comes off as pretty balanced. Rin and Yukio help each other out. And despite Yukio’s status as a teacher and his higher rank as an exorcist, Rin doesn’t begrudge him or feel jealous of him. Instead, in a good-natured way, he feels proud of his younger brother, just as I’m sure my older brother felt proud of me.
They do fight, though, and Yukio does have some deep-buried feelings of resentment towards his brother. Some of it has to do with their father (Shiro, not Satan), and some other part of it has to do with Yukio being human and Rin inheriting the demon blood. Yukio – the analytic, the overthinker – broods and allows this to bother him. That’s pretty human of him. But ultimately, he doesn’t let these feelings conquer him – and that too, is a testament to how strong the bond between the two brothers is.
Still, in the end, I have to say my favourite character from AnE was always Rin. A shonen hero through and through but always kind and always thoughtful. He could always do the little things Yukio thought he could never do. Watching him, I got flashbacks of a time when me and my brother were stuck on a mountain trail alone as kids. It was scary; I cried because I was such a crybaby back then. My brother climbed down the cliffs and held my hand through it all and smiled the whole way through it, saying we’d definitely get down together.
And we did.
Posted on May 27, 2013, in Anime Analysis, Uncategorized and tagged ao no exorcist, blue exorcist, DO PEOPLE EVEN CARE ABOUT THIS SHOW ANYMORE, I am a sap, me and my boring life, okumura rin, okumura yukio. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.