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Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date: Ao No Exorcist manga compared to the anime — OVA episodes preview Rin’s adventures in Illuminati story arc [Spoilers]

Blue Exorcist anime artwork
Blue Exorcist Season 3 will feature a spy in the academy and an attack by the true enemy. — Pic credit: A-1 Pictures

The wait for the Blue Exorcist Season 3 release date is 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 and it seems like the third season will also be a waiting game.

Thankfully, there are multiple Blue Exorcist OVA episodes to fill in the gap. Blue Exorcist OVA 3 is a story that works almost like a spoiler-filled preview for the events of the main anime series. The Ao No Exorcist Season 3 anime will be based on the Blue Exorcist Illuminati arc from the manga series.

What’s more, the author of the manga series has indicated roughly how many chapters there will be until the story reaches an ending.

This article provides everything that is known about Blue 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.

Blue Exorcist manga ending in 2023?

Written by author Kazue Kato, the Ao No Exorcist manga has been Serialized in Jump Square magazine since 2009. The Blue Exorcist manga is currently up to Volume 21, which includes up through Chapter 98. Volume 22 will include chapters 99 through 102 and will be released in Japan on November 2, 2018.

The official English translation by VIZ Media is not too far behind the Japanese language release. The English Volume 20 released in October 201 and Volume 21 is scheduled to come out on January 1, 2019. There are fan-made scanlation projects, but most of them have been shut down due to copyright issues.

The author releases chapters on a monthly basis, although she usually takes at least one month off per year.

“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.

“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.

Since she publishes 11 chapters a year, that would mean the ending would come in 2023. Of course, that assumes Kato does not pull an Eiichiro Oda and keeps putting out new chapters. Kato was in the eighth story arc in 2016 and by late 2018 she still wasn’t done with the ninth story arc.

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.”

Blue Exorcist manga compared to the anime

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 knocking heads.

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 Kyoto Saga 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.

Episode 17 of the first season finished the second manga story arc that ended with Chapter 15. Blue Exorcist Season 2 picked up with Chapter 16 and ended by adapting all the way up to Chapter 34.

The good news is that anime fans who want to read more of the story 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 (see spoilers below for more details). The next two interrelated story arcs, the True Cross Academy Festival and Illuminati saga, are 30 chapters combined in volumes 10 through 15.

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

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.)

Ao No Exorcist Season 3 release date

As of the last update, A-1 Pictures or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Ao No Exorcist Season 3 release date. Nor has the production of a sequel been announced.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Blue Exorcist Season 3 premiere date will occur in the future.

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 a two-cour Season 3.

The biggest obstacle to a third season is 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.

While it seems like Blue Exorcist Season 3 faces an uphill battle, it could be argued the third season stands a fighting chance. Tokyo Ghoul Season 2 had very similar Blu-Ray/DVD sales numbers and yet when the Tokyo Ghoul manga was finished the entire story was animated (albeit in a rushed fashion).

Fans will just have to hope that Ao No Exorcist Season 3 is given a similar chance, as well.

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 find out how the Ao no Exorcist: Illuminati Saga will end. Let’s just hope that wait is not forever. Stay tuned!

Patrick Frye is Monsters and Critics' Anime Editor. He considers himself a "woke-taku" and he enjoys covering all the latest news related to Japanese entertainment.... read more

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