Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date in 2024: Ao no Exorcist Season 3 -Shimane Illuminati Saga- confirmed

Blue Exorcist anime cover
Blue Exorcist anime promotional image. Pic credit: IMDB

TL;DR The Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date will be in January 2024, the Winter 2024 anime season. Read more below for a much deeper dive!

The Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date is finally on the horizon!

During Aniplex Online Fest 2023 on September 10, 2023, it was confirmed that the Blue Exorcist -Shimane Illuminati Saga- release date will be in January 2024.

A new key visual and a teaser PV trailer for Ao no Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati-hen was also released that day.

On October 28, 2023, it was announced that the Blue Exorcist Season 3 OP (opening) theme song music “Eye’s Sentry” would be performed by UVERworld.

The Ao no Exorcist Season 3 anime TV show was officially confirmed to be in production during an anime panel at Jump Festa 2023. A new official website was launched along with a teaser trailer and a visual.

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.

Unfortunately, there was conflicting opinions from those who watched the announcement panel on whether or not they announced a Blue Exorcist 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 until months later in 2023.

There were also conflicting views on how to interpret news reports. Oricon News reported via Twitter back then that the new anime “will not be positioned” as Blue Exorcist Season 3. On the other hand, Crunchyroll News directly stated in English that “the cast of the anime franchise announced that a third season is in production”.

It turns out that what the Oricon statement meant is that the “new work” of Blue Exorcist Season 3 will be “positioned” as Blue Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Saga similar to how the 2nd season was titled Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga.

A teaser trailer for Blue Exorcist Season 3 was released at Jump Festa 2023.

The Blue Exorcist Season 3 anime will be based on the Blue Exorcist Illuminati arc from the manga series. The story will feature a spy in the True Cross Academy and an attack by the true enemy called the Illuminati.

Based on the pacing of the manga’s story and the length of the next story arcs, it’s predicted that Blue Exorcist Season 3 will be 2 cours.

Studio VOLN will be animating the third season. The main staff making Ao no Exorcist Season 3 includes Director Daisuke Yoshida, series composition writer Toshiya Oono, character design and chief animation director, Yuri Ootou, and music composers Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto.

The original manga creator Kazue Katou is also credited. It’s uncertain what her role will be but it’s a good sign that the original creator is directly involved.

The manga was first adapted into an anime television series directed by Tensai Okumaru. It was produced by 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, and Funimation.

This article provides everything that is known about Blue Exorcist Season 3 (Ao no Exorcist Season 3) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Why the Ao No Exorcist Season 3 release date is in 2024

As of the last update, any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the exact Ao No Exorcist Season 3 release date. However, the production of a Blue Exorcist Season 3 anime sequel was announced on December 18, 2022. The Winter 2024 time frame was announced on September 10, 2023, alongside the confirmation of its status as a true sequel.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information.

Ao no Exorcist Season 3
The Blue Exorcist Season 3 teaser visual from Jump Festa 2023. Pic credit:

Years ago, Anime Geek predicted that the wait for the Ao no Exorcist Season 3 release date was going to be a long one based on the history of the anime series. Blue Exorcist Season 2 took six years to continue the story of Blue Exorcist’s Rin Okumura so anime fans knew the third season was a long-term waiting game.

While there are plenty of manga chapters available for producing a third season, the biggest issue is finding a good stopping point. The best option would be to adapt the next three story arcs of chapters 35 through 64. If that happens, it’d mean the number of episodes would definitely require Blue Exorcist Season 3 to be two cours.

The biggest obstacle to a third season was always the money. 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.

At the same time, the anime industry changed dramatically in the six years between those two seasons, with streaming revenue becoming the major factor determining an anime’s success. And the series maintained its popularity over the years, which was probably enough for the producers to pull the trigger on the production of a third season.

When the production of an anime sequel is publicly announced it typically means that the pre-production phase already began where the producer schedules the animation studio, the main staff, and the voice actors. Actual animation work and voice recording does not begin until later in the production process.

When there is a large time gap between seasons, most of the time the public announcement takes place shortly before the main production work begins.

Therefore, at the time, Anime Geek predicted that the Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date would be in late 2023 to early 2024.

Blue Exorcist OVA 3 episode connects to the third season

There have been multiple Blue Exorcist OVA episodes released over the years. The first OVA was based on a bonus manga chapter from Volume 6, while the second OVA episode acted as a prelude to the events of Blue Exorcist Season 2.

The third OVA, Spy Game, is where things get interesting since the story is directly connected to a major character development in Blue Exorcist Season 3. The episode is based on a chapter of the same name from the Ao no Exorcist: Spy Game novel.

As the title would suggest, the story for OVA 3 focuses on a spy at True Cross Academy. Without getting into major spoilers (see below), this spy’s worth is tested and these events could be considered a prelude to Blue Exorcist Season 3. (Warning: Don’t look at the cover of the book unless you want the identity of the spy spoiled.)

Blue Exorcist Season 3 spoilers: Illuminati story arc

The last time we saw Rin and company they were heading home from Kyoto. But, first, they will make a pitstop for yet another obligatory beach episode.

Unfortunately, instead of ogling girls in bikinis, Rin and his friends True Cross Academy find themselves staring down a giant Kraken. But the story really gets crackin’ when the students start preparing for the True Cross Academy festival.

Lurking in the background is a conspiracy involving a group called the Illuminati. Their goal is to resurrect Satan and they’re led by Lucifer, the King of Light and the strongest among the demons.

Blue Exorcist Manga Volume 13 Cover Illuminati
The Illuminati dress like soldiers and their demon-tailed leader, Lucifer, wears a mask. — Pic credit: Kazue Kato

The Illuminati was behind the Exorcist traitor Saburota Todou, who was defeated by Rin’s brother, Yukio, near the ending of the second season. Todou manages to survive being reduced to ash because Karura the phoenix fire demon granted him regenerative capabilities.

This battle revealed that Yukio had inherited demonic powers from his father, Satan, but in the third season, Yukio chooses to hide this fact from Rin and the ExWires.

The Illuminati are performing human experiments and creating zombies, but their ultimate goal is to create a perfect elixir capable of reviving demons. They desire to coerce a certain ExWire into helping them create this demonic revival elixir and an Illuminati spy has been sent into True Cross Academy. But the Illuminati have other plans in the works.

Besides reviving Satan, the Illuminati believe that Assiah, the physical world, and Gehenna, the realm of the demons, were once a single realm that originated the forces of both light and darkness. The Illuminati are attempting to forcibly merge the separate worlds. Their experimental failures have resulted in terrible consequences for the test subjects.

Exorcist Arthur A. Angel and the Angelic Legion of the True Cross Order discover that the Illuminati have created an artificial Gehenna Gate within a Russian waste facility. This portal connects together Assiah and Gehenna. The gate has not completely opened, but even though the Exorcists attempt to slow its growth by sealing the particle accelerator the gate is expected to open within four to five months.

Blue Exorcist Artificial Gehenna Gate
The artificial Gehenna Gate as portrayed by the Blue Exorcist manga. – Pic credit: Kazue Kato

Meanwhile, Mephisto Pheles is up to his usual games. The anime already revealed that Mephisto and Rin are related, but Blue Exorcist Season 3 will show Mephisto admitting to his true identity. It turns out Mephisto is the Demon King of Time, Samael, and among Gehenna’s eight Demon Kings he is the second strongest.

After making these revelations, Mephisto transports Rin to Gehenna where a demonic cuckoo clock tests his battle skills. Mephisto also tasks Rin and his friends with solving True Cross Academy’s Seven Mysteries. These mysteries involve a demonic street car, moving statues, cross-dressing ghosts, and a variety of odd things.

What the boys find most challenging is gaining entry into dance at the True Cross Academy festival. Students panic when they realize that attendance is only for couples and the girls find themselves besieged by a zombie-like horde of guys asking them out on dates to the music fest. (Guess which girl the desperate Rin ends up taking to the dance?)

The Exorcists believe they’ve captured an Illuminati spy and it’s revealed that the demons are attempting to kidnap Izumo Kamaiki. The big-eyebrowed girl comes from a long line of shrine maidens with demon blood and the Illuminati desire to perform an experiment on her using the Nine-Tailed Fox Spirit pulled from her mother, Tamamo.

Unfortunately, the festival is not all fun and games since Lucifer turns out to be a party crasher. Demonic Seraphim destroy the barriers protecting the academy and Lucifer himself arrives to declare war on the True Cross Order.

The Illuminati use the chaos to infiltrate the academy and they successfully kidnap Izumo. In response, Mephisto orders Yukio and the ExWires to rescue their friend.

The biggest shocker is the revelation that the Illuminati spy is one of Rin’s friends in the ExWires! This person helps with Izumo’s kidnapping and even believes that Izumo has similar beliefs due to her past history of mistreatment. She slaps the traitor in response.

Blue Exorcist Manga Volume 12 Cover
If someone asked Izumo what she does on the internet what would she say? “Eyebrows.” — Pic credit: Kazue Kato

Why would a human ExWire spy for demons? This spy grew up with high expectations that over time generated a seething hatred for the people in this person’s life.

This person enjoys deceiving friends and family for the sake of it and that’s why this person found a true calling as a spy. Redemption will eventually come for this spy, but those events will need to wait until Blue Exorcist Season 4.

These events will culminate in the invasion of an Illuminati base where Izumo is being held captive. Rin will confront the Illuminati spy in battle, but the ExWires must also face off against failed demonic experiments and something bad happens to Shura “Boobzilla” Kirigakure. The ExWires find themselves separated and Lucifer attempts to persuade a conflicted Yukio to join their cause.

Unfortunately, anime fans will need to wait until the Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date to watch how the Ao no Exorcist: Illuminati Saga will end.

A celebratory image created by the Blue Exorcist manga creator.

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 29 (which included up through Chapter 140) as of July 4, 2023.

The official English translation by VIZ Media is not too far behind the Japanese language release. The English Volume 28 was released on November 14, 2023. 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. In early 2023 she also took a two-month hiatus.

“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 3rd season was announced. Since she publishes 11 chapters a year, that could mean the ending will come out in 2024 or 2025. Of course, that prediction assumes she 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.”

Why some fans wanted a full Blue Exorcist reboot

Anime audiences who have 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.

Blue Exorcist Yukio Satan
This scene from the first season of the anime adaptation never happened in the manga. Pic credit: Studio A-1 Pictures

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 Studio A-1 Pictures created an anime original ending for episodes 18 through 25.

Thus, the 2nd season ignored the first season’s ending in order to reconnect the anime series back to the manga’s story in Chapter 16. Unfortunately, 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.

All in all, the 2nd season’s finale, Blue Exorcist Season 2 Episode 12, found a stopping point corresponding to Volume 9: Chapter 34.

The good news is that English-only manga readers who want to read ahead of the anime can start with Chapter 35 of Volume 9. Better yet, there are plenty of manga chapters available for creating Blue Exorcist Season 3.

Based on the pacing of the manga, the third season would need to be at least a two-cour season. Volume 9 finished the Kyoto story arc but also included a mini-arc related to a monster. The next two interrelated story arcs, the True Cross Academy Festival and Illuminati saga, are 30 chapters combined in volumes 10 through 15.

Let’s just be glad that the Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date is coming up soon in 2024. Stay tuned!

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