As I was watching Seraph Of The End, I was bothered by the fact that Hyakuya Yuu, the main character, had a personality that reminded me of another character from anime I had watched a while back. And then I realized the other character was Okumura Rin. In this piece, I am going to compare and contrast Okumura Rin from Blue Exorcist and Hyakuya Yuu from Seraph Of The End, discussing their similarities and differences. (If you are not familiar with the shows or characters, click on their names to be sent over to My Anime List for synopsis and character profiles).
So, what makes Rin and Yuu alike in my opinion? To put it briefly, they have similar personalities, a similar background, and go through similar situations. If you have watched the shows, you might be thinking that Yuu is from a post-apocalyptic world that is overrun by vampires, while Rin is in modern day Japan, learning to be a exorcist despite the fact he is the son of Satan- how in the world are they alike?
Let’s break it down from the beginning, starting with their personalities and then their histories.
*Note- My analysis is based on the anime alone. It may different from the manga or newer anime material released. Also, this post WILL contain many spoilers.
First and foremost, both Rin and Yuu have very alike personalities. They are hotheaded. They are easily angered or irritated and react to things without thinking them through. Because of this, Rin and Yuu get into fights often, whether verbal or physical. They aren’t afraid to “tell someone like it is” or punch them in the face to make a point. However, this kind of behavior is usually regarded as bad and others look down upon it, making Yuu and Rin (Rin especially) outcasts.
You could argue that both of them are this way because they are passionate. They have strong senses of justice, so much that it can blind them at times. Rin and Yuu are good people inside, despite their appearance or behavior. Rin gets into a fist fight with some guys, which makes him look like a delinquent. But in reality, the guys were harassing animals and Rin was trying to stop them. On the other hand, Yuu wants to kill vampires and obtain justice for his family and humanity. He just wants it so much that he has tunnel vision and only focuses on his goal, rather than listening to other people. As the series go on, they both mature and aren’t as hotheaded as before, but they still both act rashly because that is just who they are as people.
Here are pictures of them smiling, so you can see how nice they can be.
Both Yuu and Rin are orphans. In Seraph of The End, when Yuu is a small child, his mother and father claim he is a monster and try to kill him, but luckily he survives. Yuu is sent to an orphanage, where he meets Mika and other orphan children. After the vampires take over the world and most of humanity dies out, Yuu and his orphan friends are taken into the vampire’s city, but make an escape plan to get out. However, they are caught and killed by a vampire noble named Ferid Bathory. The only one who lives is Yuu.
Although his situation is quite different, Rin is also an orphan in a sense. In the anime, it is revealed that Rin’s mother formed a relationship with Satan, eventually falling in love with him and bearing his children: Rin and his twin brother Yukio. However, their mother does not survive the childbirth and the twins are left without a guardian. Technically, Rin still has a father, but he isn’t exactly caring, supportive… or human. He is literally the incarnation of evil and wants Rin dead. Therefore, I consider Rin to be an orphan.
When Yuu escapes the vampire city, he meets Ichinose Guren, Lieutenant Colonel of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. Guren enlists Yuu into the army and becomes Yuu’s mentor, but they do not always get along. Guren is very unconventional. He is snarky, doesn’t listen to his superior officers, and does whatever he wants, even if it seems wrong or rude to others. Yuu and Guren often butt heads and get into arguments. However, there are times when Guren supported Yuu and gave him crucial advice. In this capacity, Guren is almost like a father figure to Yuu. He challenges Yuu, but is someone he can look up to and rely on (most of the time).
After the death of their mother, Rin and Yukio get taken in by a priest and exorcist named Shiro. Despite the fact that Rin is a demon, Shiro raises him like any other human child. Shiro is literally Rin’s adoptive father. He teaches Rin to control his anger and challenges him to stay out of fights and get a respectable job. Just like Yuu and Guren, they don’t always get along, but deep inside they truly care about each other.
Another similarity between Yuu and Rin is that they both end up losing their father figures to a demon. But in Rin’s case, the loss is permanent. Shiro ends up getting possessed by Satan. The devil’s presence and power are so strong that Shiro’s body takes extreme damage and is unable to expel Satan. Therefore, Shiro commits suicide, making it impossible for Satan to control him. The loss of his foster father is life-changing for Rin and he is once again an orphan.
In Yuu’s situation, Guren becomes possessed by his weapon, which houses a demon. While under the demon’s influence, Guren becomes evil and turns against Yuu and his comrades. Although this is distressing for Yuu, there is the chance that Guren may regain his senses and once again become a positive force in Yuu’s life, unlike in Blue Exorcist, where Rin will never get to see his father figure again.
Revenge For Family
Revenge plays a huge part in both shows. The death of Shiro makes Rin proclaim that he is going to defeat Satan. He decides to become an exorcist and learn how to kill demons, even though he himself is a demon. On the other hand, Yuu’s family of orphan children were all murdered and he vows to get revenge on not just the vampire who killed them, but all vampires. In both cases, the two characters are going after supernatural beings and need to learn certain methods and techniques to slay them.
A School Posing As Something Else
So, how does one get revenge in such a specialized field? Well, according to anime, you simply need to go to a seemingly normal high school that is really a front for a secret organization. Both Rin and Yuu do exactly this. In Blue Exorcist, Rin attends True Cross Academy, which appears to be a fancy high school. He finds out later, however, that the academy secretly runs a school for exorcists in training and this is where Rin learns how to take down demons.
In Seraph of The End, Yuu is transferred to a regular high school after getting in trouble. At first, he hates it because he feels he is accomplishing nothing in his quest to kill vampires. However, he finds out that underneath the school, there is an underground area that the Japanese Imperial Army uses to train soldiers. This is where Yuu makes progress as a solider and obtains Asuramaru, a rare and powerful weapon.
Both schools are essential to Rin and Yuu growing as characters and fighters, but they pose challenges as well. The organizations running them are corrupt. The True Cross Order in Blue Exorcist is run by the Vatican and religious zealots. At one point in the anime, Rin goes on trial and is almost killed because of his family heritage. The Order did other things that were questionable as well. In Seraph of The End, The Japanese Imperial Army is run by the Hiragi family. Within their system there is a hierarchy in place and if you aren’t a favored individual, you are treated like garbage. The army also partakes in experiments, torture, and every other unethical act imaginable.
One major difference between the two anime is that a lot of the plot is centered around Rin and his activities at the school, whereas Yuu does not stay at the school for long, and ventures out into the open to carry out missions. Another difference is that True Cross Academy almost looks like a castle- its architecture is very ornate and antiquated. The school itself is old-fashion, without a lot of technology. On the other hand, Second Shibuya High School is fancy in a modern sense. It’s brand new, crisp, and clean. The area around the school also has contemporary laboratories and facilities. You can see the difference between the two in the pictures below.
Trouble Making Friends
When they arrive at their new schools, both Rin and Yuu have trouble making friends. This is mostly due to their personalities. As I explained earlier, they are hotheaded, impatient, and quick to get into an argument or fight. Neither of them are really used to being in a class or teamwork-oriented setting. Right away, Rin and Yuu do not get along with their fellow classmates or team members. Things progress differently for the two of them, though. In my opinion, Yuu was more difficult to work with than Rin. He is pretentious and does not want to interact with anyone else. He wants to do everything by himself and thinks others will just get in his way. Despite this, however, through missions and other hardships, he becomes very close with all of his comrades in his unit, going so far as to call them his new family. Protecting your family is an important and
redundant recurring theme in Seraph of The End.
For Rin, he has a little more trouble. He gets along with Shiemi very well from the beginning, but clashes with his other classmates, mostly because he does not take school or his studies seriously (or really he just sucks at them). Over time, through trials and class activities, Rin starts to become closer to his fellow exorcists. But their friendship becomes unstable when the class finds out that Rin is the son of Satan. Many students in the school want to become exorcists because Satan somehow hurt them or their family. When they find out Rin is the offspring of the very demon that ruined their lives, they are not willing to accept him. Through his efforts, the students begin to see that Rin isn’t evil like his father and that he actually cares for them as people. The students slowly accept Rin for who he is, but it isn’t anywhere near as cozy as the “family” in Seraph of The End. It is interesting to point out that Yuu’s friends still accept him when they find out about the creature sleeping inside him, which brings me to…
Demons and Other Creatures
I have already explained that Rin is the son of Satan; he is literally part demon. Because of this, he has demon powers and amazing physical abilities. Rin needs to learn to control his powers because otherwise they may lose control and consume him. In the anime, he learns to gradually control his blue flames and uses them to defeat different enemies and demons.
Yuu is a little more complicated. Yuu has two supernatural creatures he needs to keep in check. The weapons used to kill vampires are literally possessed by demons. In order to get one of these weapons, the soldiers go through a test where they need to fight off a demon’s mental attacks. If they lose, they will be possessed and killed. When using the weapon, the soldiers need to be very careful; there is always the threat that the demon will possess them. Yuu went through this whole process. He managed to get through the test, defeating his demon, Asuramaru. But Yuu needs to be aware and make sure Asuramaru doesn’t possess him. So, while Yuu technically doesn’t have demon powers himself or have a demon within him all the time, his situation is very similar to Rin’s. He needs to make sure that the demon doesn’t go out of control.
However, it doesn’t end there for Yuu. He doesn’t just have to worry about demons- there are seraphs as well. If you aren’t aware, seraphs are a type of powerful angel. Unlike the demon, Yuu actually has a seraph living inside of him. When this seraph awakens, Yuu gets taken over and becomes a mindless, destructive force. The angel’s sole purpose is to destroy humanity. Asuramaru can take back control of Yuu by possessing him, making him into a demon, and then turning him back into a human. It sounds complex, right? Well, it is. Yuu has to manage both demons and angels, making sure neither of them go berserk. He needs to stay emotionally stable. It is an interesting concept and I want to see how it progresses throughout the series. Which side will win- human, demon, or seraph?
Even though they are from different shows, universes, and backgrounds, these two are quite similar, aren’t they? When I broke everything down, I was truly amazed at all of the commonalities between the two protagonists. They really could be brothers based on their personalities and they could bond over all the situations they have been through. It is hard to determine if they are more similar or different. Even though I enjoyed both, if I had to choose which anime or character I liked more, I would have to say Rin and Blue Exorcist. That anime has a humor to it that Seraph of The End doesn’t and Rin cracks me up. I also prefer the art more in Blue Exorcist and find the other characters more relatable. And although both anime had some problems with consistent plot, I feel like Blue Exorcist is a little more organized (the end of Season 2 of Seraph of The End was all over the place in my opinion). Do you agree with me? Are there any similarities or differences that I missed? Which character do you prefer? Please let me know by leaving a comment!
Note: It has been announced that Blue Exorcist is getting a new season soon! I am excited about this, but I hope it doesn’t change too much of the story because then this blog post may be irrelevant .-.
Ao No Exorcist Animated GIF. Digital image. Giphy. Giphy, n.d. Web.
Sawano, Hiroyuki. “Blue Exorcist.” Blue Exocist. Dir. Tensai Okamura. Prod. Hiro Maruyama. JNN. Tokyo, 17 Apr. 2011. Television.
Seko, Hiroshi. “Seraph Of The End.” Seraph Of The End. Dir. Daisuke Tokudo. Tokyo MX. Tokyo, 4 Apr. 2015. Television.
Seraph Yuu Gif. Digital image. We Heart It. We Heart It, n.d. Web.
viacursecasting. “Headcanon that Mika relishes in making Yuu-blush.” +I’LL SAVE YOU+. Tumblr, 4 Feb. 2016. http://viacursecasting.tumblr.com/post/138674970806/headcanon-that-mika-relishes-in-making-yuu-blush
One thought on “Similar Shonen Characters: Okumura Rin (Blue Exorcist) and Hyakuya Yuuichiro (Seraph of The End)”