How would you rate episode 6 of
Blue Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Saga ?
Community score: 4.0
Yo, remember that time last week when I was impressed by how dark and horrific was playing Izumo’s story (even if the show’s kind of flat aesthetic wasn’t able to fully sell the tonal shift)? Well, “I Can’t Rely on Anyone” is an episode that saw what its predecessor did and responded with an enthusiastic, “Hold my beer!” It’s difficult for me to say that has never tried something like this before—I’m turning thirty-two in a couple of weeks so I can’t remember every detail of what happened in episodes that aired a decade ago—but this approach feels like a territory that the show hasn’t explored before, and that feeling is enough. Izumo’s life is indeed filled with heartbreak, tragedy, and terror, and we must bear witness to it to understand what the Illuminati has in store for her.
In the big picture, most of what we discover in “I Can’t Rely on Anyone” is stuff that we could easily have inferred based on last week’s climax: Izumo comes from a long line of mediums who use the power of their bloodline to channel their familiars and appease the Nine-Tailed Fox Spirit with the Divine Summoning Ritual, and the Illuminati, led by Dr. Gedoin, have been performing experiments on the Inamaki family to harness the power of the Fox Spirit for themselves. In terms of new plot revelations or character motivations, nothing here is going to drastically change our perspectives or transform the narrative going forward, and that’s perfectly okay.
What this episode excels in, instead, is the coloring in of Izumo’s past in such a way that she becomes a much more interesting and empathetic character. Everything we see unfold in this extended flashback works towards getting us to feel Izumo’s current plight, rather than just understanding it on an intellectual level: Her mom’s flighty and unserious nature; the close relationship she has with her younger sister Tsukumo, in contrast to the cold and judgmental gazes of everyone else in Inami; not to mention the horrifying cruelty of Dr. Gedoin, contrasted against the humanity of Maria, the doomed Illuminati researcher. It’s all very compelling and rewarding stuff to get for a character who has spent the vast majority of this series simply filling the role of “The Tsundere Girl.”
Like last week, my one major gripe with this episode comes down to issues in presentation and tone that diminish the horror of the story, a little. The episode looks perfectly fine on a technical level, sure, and there are some scenes, such as Maria’s brutal execution at the end of the episode, that still manage to get the awful nature of the situation across. By and large, though, I just wish that could be actually scary, instead of merely being an action anime that borrows some themes and visual cues from real horror stories. The lighting in Tamamo’s big possession scene, for instance, is just too flat and muted to be atmospheric, and even Maria’s death scene is shot in such a way that ends up underselling the tortuous nature of her death. It’s one thing to hold off on the blood and gore to leave more of the nasty details up to viewers’ imaginations, but “I Can’t Rely on Anyone” just doesn’t have the directorial chops to make up for the lack of explicit details with mood and atmosphere.
This is still a very good episode of . I just would love to have seen the absolutely incredible thing this story could have been in different hands. Still, the show has certainly done its job in making me wish for Dr. Gedoin and all of his cronies to suffer some horrible vengeance at Izumo’s hands (or claws, as it seems likely to go). Hopefully, we will get to see the good doctor get his just desserts soon enough.
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.