The Third Exorcist Program, which was founded and run by the North American Branch of the Black Order and overseen by North American Branch Head Renny Epstain, was an extension of the Second Exorcist Program that attempted to create artificial Exorcists. Subjects of this program are called Third Exorcists (
Started not long after the staved-off invasion of the original European Branch, the project's origin can be traced back to an order issued to Howard Link by Malcolm C. Lvellie, instructing him to retrieve a shard of the fractured Akuma Egg. This shard was implanted into the body of Alma Karma, whose regenerative seal allowed him to survive the implantation, causing him to adapt to it and mutate into the "First Womb" (第一母胎,, 'Dai ichi Botai').
These mutated cells were then implanted into the human bodies of several members of Central's CROW unit, which resulted in their left arms mutating into Akuma-like appendages capable of swallowing Akuma whole.
Following their capture by the Noah Family during various coordinated attacks on Exorcists around the world, the Third Exorcists appear to have fallen under the Earl's sway. When Tyki Mikk and Road Kamelot broke into Allen's cell in the Black Order Headquarters to save him from Apocryphos, the Third Exorcists were seen outside of the building, having absorbed the golems and CROWs assigned to guard the perimeter. They apparently used spells that allowed Road to open a Dream Door into the prison, neutralizing the seals that protected the cell from intrusion.
After the Akuma invasion of the European Branch, Renny Epstain realized that abandoning the Second Exorcist Program had been a "mistake," claiming that there was "a price to be paid if human beings want to defeat the Akuma." In turn, she received permission from Lvellie, on behalf of the Pope, to create the Third Exorcists as a way to add to the Black Order's dwindling offensive forces.
Like its predecessor, however, the Third Exorcist Program had dismal results; with the awakening of Alma Karma, who went mad from his intense hatred of the Black Order, the mutated cells within the Third Exorcists resonated with Alma's and caused the Thirds to be consumed by his anger, their bodies warping into Alma/Akuma-like forms that were driven to destroy Exorcists and the Order. Two of the Thirds, Goushi and Kiredori, were killed by the Exorcist teams they were assigned to (by Lenalee Lee and Winters Socalo, respectively), while the other three, Madarao, Tewaku and Tokusa, were kidnapped by the Noah Family.
Chapter 205 reveals that there is more in the third exorcist program's purpose than simply than adding to the Order's forces.
Third Exorcists are almost completely human in appearance, save their eyes, which have marking beneath the lower eyelid and pupils that appear either non-existent (Madarao and Tewaku) or stilted (Tokusa, Kiredori and Goushi).
As members of CROW, Third Exorcists tend to wear their uniform, consisting of long, loose pants, tunics bearing the CROW emblem, robes, and veiled hats.
Powers and Abiilities
Note: The power and abilities are of the Third Exorcists only. For equipment, spell casting etc., move to CROW article.
Immense Strength: Madarao has shown incredible strength, effortlessly blocking a blow from a Level 3 Akuma with his bare hand. Goushi was also able to hurl Allen into a stone pillar with enough force to partially destroy it.
Advanced Healing: Third Exorcists have a limited capacity to heal themselves, a trait they inherited from Alma Karma. They cannot regenerate limbs or revive themselves from the brink of death, but they can, at the very least, staunch major wounds.
Akuma Presence: Because of their nature, which is more like that of an Akuma than an actual Exorcist, Third Exorcists are recognized by Allen Walker's Pentacle Eye as Akuma, though this is only when the Eating Machines in their arms are released. Their arms also react violently to Innocence as a result of their similarity to Akuma.
Cannibalism: Though Third Exorcists possess no Innocence and therefore cannot destroy Akuma through Exorcism, they can invoke the Akuma cells in their body to transform their left arm into an appendage known as an Eating Machine (
- Eating Machine: Primordial Well (
喰機開闢孔,, Gaki Kaibyaku Kō): An attack in which the Third Exorcist transforms their left arm, causing the flesh to part away and reveal a core of Dark Matter within their forearm and a hole in their palm, through which they can create a vortex that resembles a black hole. This can be used to absorb an Akuma directly, or to spread a dark, shadowy quagmire across the ground which will swallow up any Akuma in the vicinity. The Thirds currently under the Noah family (Madarao, Tokusa and Tewaku) were shown using their Akuma arms to devour human bodies, as well as absorb the Innocence-based attacks.
- Unlike Innocence, which purifies the souls shackled to the Akuma's body, the cannibalistic arms of the Third Exorcist devour the souls completely, just like Akuma when they self-destruct.
Mother-enation: By cannibalizing the body and mutated Akuma cells of a fellow Third, other Third Exorcists can pass their powers and skills on to the next generation through a process known as Mother-enation (母胎化,, Botaika; lit. Surrogacy), allowing the combat abilities of the Third Exorcist bloodline to gradually expand with each new generation. This is considered both an honor and the foremost duty of a Third Exorcist, and mortally wounded Thirds willingly offer themselves as sacrifices for the next generation.
All Third Exorcists are former members of a particular unit of CROW (the same unit Howard Link used to be apart of):
- The Japanese pronunciation for "Eating Machine" is given as Gaki, a play on words referring to the Preta, a type of spiritual being from Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain texts also known in English as a "hungry ghost."
|The Noah||The Earl of Millennium • Road Kamelot • Tyki Mikk • Skinn Bolic • Jasdevi • Lulu Bell • Nea D. Campbell • Sheril Kamelot • Wisely • Toraido • Fiedla • Maushyma • Maitora • Allen Walker|
|Akuma||Mana Walker • Claire • Leo • Pierrot • Eliade • Eshi • Thread • Chomesuke • Lesley • Alma Karma • Mimi • Doug • Ice • Pang • Kazekiri • Sara • Doug • Sophia • Wizard Akuma • Rabbit Akuma • Level 3 (Paris) • Level 4 (Headquarters) • Level 4 (Paris)|
|Other||Dark Matter • Noah's Ark • Cell Roron • Lero • Teez • Akuma Egg • Skull • Brokers • Golem|