A new Blue Exorcist season was confirmed to be in production at Jump Stage NEO at Jump Festa 2023. The studio, main staff, and cast will be announced at a later date.
While some anime fans were hoping it might be Ao no Exorcist Season 3, it turns out that it might be a Blue Exorcist reboot of the anime TV series. During the panel, it was promised that the new Ao no Exorcist season would be more faithful to the manga series and it’s claimed the new TV series will have better quality animation. But there seems to be conflicting opinions from those who watched the announcement panel on whether or not they announced a reboot or a sequel that’s a direct continuation of the existing two seasons.
The confusion was understandable since the official website only announced the production of a new Ao no Exorcist season but it did not specify whether it was an anime TV sequel. Even Crunchyroll News contributed to the misunderstanding since they reported that “fans have been waiting for a third season to be announced” and “the cast of the anime franchise announced that a third season is in production”. So, Blue Exorcist Season 3 is confirmed, right?
However, Oricon News reported via Twitter that the new anime “will not be positioned” as Blue Exorcist Season 3. Instead, the new series will be a new work. Thus, the new series might be an Ao no Exorcist reboot similar to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Fruits Basket 2019.
On the other hand, some fans are insisting that the Oricon statement is being misinterpreted and that a new season will be a direct continuation of the previous anime seasons. As such, the “new work” of Blue Exorcist Season 3 will be “positioned” as Blue Exorcist: Illuminati Saga similar to how the 2nd season was titled Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga.
NOTE: The above clarification was added after the initial publishing of this news story. Until official sources specify the story for the new season it’s uncertain whether it’ll be a Blue Exorcist reboot or a 3rd season that adapts the Blue Exorcist: Illuminati Saga. Anime Geek apologizes for any confusion caused by the initial report.
The manga was first adapted into a two-cour anime television series directed by Tensai Okumaru. It was produced by Studio A-1 Pictures and broadcast from April to October 2011.
Afterward, a film was produced by the same studio, titled the Blue Exorcist: The Movie, which premiered in December 2012.
In January 2017, a second season of the anime was released. The English Sub and Dub of the anime series are available for streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation, Netflix, and Hulu.
Why an Ao no Exorcist reboot is necessary
Anime audiences who had not read the manga were probably confused when Blue Exorcist Season 2 premiered in 2017. Brothers Yukio and Rin Okumura were immediately knocking heads, even though that was a hard reset of the characterization based on what had previously taken place in the anime TV series.
At the end of the first season, Yukio was bursting with demonic power, but in the second season he’s suddenly surprised when his eyes turn blue and he assumes a demonic form. Rin went completely OP when battling Satan, but the 2nd season had Rin suffering from sword dysfunction disorder.
The most confusing part was how Rin’s ExWire friends from True Cross Academy were suddenly fearful of Rin. Yes, they rightfully feared him since his father is Satan, the being responsible for killing their family and friends during the Blue Night, but the first season ended with these characters getting over their fear of Rin.
The reason for all the confusion was that Blue Exorcist Season 2 essentially retconned the entire epic ending from the first season. When the first season was being produced for 2011, the manga creator was only up to Volume 5 (Chapter 19), so A-1 Pictures created an anime original ending for episodes 18 through 25.
Thus, the 2nd season, Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga was not well-received by the fandom. While the Blu-Ray/DVD box sets for the first season sold very well, the second season did merely okay, selling less than one-sixth the number of copies.
Regardless, the manga series maintained its popularity over the years, which was probably enough for the producers to pull the trigger on the production of a new Blue Exorcist season. It’s important that they’re promising up-front that the Blue Exorcist reboot will remain true to the source material since they’re hoping to win back the fans with a faithful adaptation.
It’s also good timing for a Blue Exorcist reboot since the new series could potentially adapt the Ao no Exorcist manga’s ending.
Blue Exorcist manga ending relatively soon?
The story for the anime TV series is based on the Ao no Exorcist manga series by creator Kazue Kato. Serialized in Shueisha’s Jump Square magazine since April 2009, the manga was up to Blue Exorcist Volume 28 (which included up through Chapter 135) as of November 28, 2022.
The official English translation by VIZ Media is not too far behind the Japanese language release. The English Volume 27 was released on May 3, 2022. There are fan-made scanlation projects, but most of them have been shut down due to copyright issues.
As of December 2022, the Blue Exorcist manga had over 25 million copies in circulation.
The author releases chapters on a monthly basis, although she usually takes at least one month off per year. In recent years, there was a long Blue Exorcist hiatus that lasted from July 2021 through May 2022.
“I ask for one month off a year, but in Japan, it’s standard for serializations to go on continuously without breaks, so they don’t take that very well. Sorry for taking off!” she said in a July 2016 interview with ComicsVerse.
“I’m serialized in a monthly magazine and barely make it work, so I have a lot of respect for authors who do weekly serializations. They often sacrifice their health and their private lives to do it. It’s a job that only a chosen few who have the skill and the fortitude, both mental and physical, can do. I’m definitely not one of them.”
Kato has given some hints about when fans should expect Blue Exorcist manga’s ending. In another interview from the summer of 2016, Kato estimated that “there might be four more arcs,” which meant that about “half of the entire story arc [had] been completed.”
“We’ve talked about the ending a couple times, many times,” she explained. “There’s a couple patterns right now for the ending, and we’re hoping one of those will solidify eventually. Of those patterns, sometimes it’s just like ‘Oh, that’s not going to work.’ So that gets deleted.”
Kato has written a “rough storyline complete for the ending.” To put her comments into perspective, she had published Chapter 80 of Volume 18 at the time. If that’s the halfway point, the Blue Exorcist manga’s ending could happen around Volume 36 (Chapter 160) in the twelfth story arc.
The manga was up to Blue Exorcist Chapter 137 when the Blue Exorcist reboot was announced. Since she publishes 11 chapters a year, that could mean the ending will come out in 2024 or 2025. That timing would perfectly coincide with the anime production schedule since the rebooted series could adapt the entire story without worrying about catching up.
Of course, that prediction assumes the mangaka hasn’t changed her plans for the ending, and it’s always possible she could take another long break.
There’s also the possibility of a direct Blue Exorcist sequel, although she has indicated she’d prefer to create “an Edo period piece, one about anthropomorphic animals, or a cooking manga” once she’s done with the Blue Exorcist manga. She also admits that her “top request is to adapt another work into manga form.”
Let’s just hope that the Blue Exorcist 2023 reboot (or Blue Exorcist Season 3: Illuminati Saga) will be coming out sooner than the manga’s ending. Stay tuned!