Volume three of Blue Exorcist opens with Rin and Yukio arguing over Rin’s lackadaisical work habits. The argument is interrupted by Yukio being called on a mission. The mission concerns Father Fujimoto’s familiar, a Cat Sidhe named Kuro who has recently learned of Father Fujimoto’s death. Rin is successfully able to calm the distraught feline down. (Funny bit: Rin states that he will “use his head” to deal with the problem instead of his sword. Of course, this does not mean Rin is going to try to be smart, he is literally going to use his head.)
Next, Mephisto gets Amaimon to test how strong Rin is. Amaimon is at first uninterested; he is more interested in playing tourist, but he does eventually go after Rin. The attack takes place while Rin and the rest of his class are attempting to capture a ghost that is causing problems at a Mephisto-themed amusement park. (Mephisto takes “whimsical” to entirely new heights.)
After the battle, one of the students turns out to be a first class senior exorcist in disguise. Her name is Shura Kirigakuri and she has been sent to uncover “dangerous elements” (read: Rin). Shura was also a former student of Fujimoto, and she was extremely unhappy to learn of Rin’s existence. (We also learn that Fujimoto had asked her to teach Rin.) Shura’s original intent is to kill Rin, but he manages to win her over because his ambition to beat up Satan is just that hilariously ridiculous. She decides to hold off on her report and teach Rin how to control his fire.
The next chapter involves a camping trip in a demon-infested forest. The purpose of this trip is a training exercise that is also a competition to win the chance to go on missions. The competition is a race to retrieve a lantern and bring it back to the camp site. Rin is warned to avoid using his fire under any circumstances. Unfortunately, Rin is not able to do this, and he may have been seen by a classmate.
So far, it is really apparent that the anime followed the manga very closely. Most of the differences between the two have been small and related to pacing. In this volume, we also learn a little more about Fujimoto and Rin’s relationship. (Fujimoto is the best dad ever.) It is little sad that Rin ended up with such a low self-esteem despite his dad’s best efforts. (Yes, Rin does have a low self-esteem, even if he comes off as cocky and overly self-assured. He has an “I am a bad kid so I will pretend I don’t care even though I do,” kind of attitude.) This was another good volume, and I enjoyed reading it despite being spoiled for it by the anime.