Review for Twin Star Exorcists - Part 3
My own procrastination certainly hasn’t helped when it comes to appreciating Twin Star Exorcists. I’m only getting around to these check discs some six months after their release, but Anime Limited’s release schedule certainly hasn’t helped. Twin Star Exorcists Part 1 was released on the 10th of September 2018. Part 2 came out on the 27th of May 2019. That kind of gap doesn’t help the appreciation of a serialised anime series. And then, Parts 3 and 4 were unceremoniously rushed out at the end of the year, both released on December the 16th. It gives the sense that Twin Star Exorcists was a burden that Anime Limited had to deal with, rather than a passion project that they were invested in.
A trauma in her past gave Benio Adashino cause to become an exorcist, the best exorcist there is, swearing to destroy all the Kegare demons that reside in the parallel realm of Magano, bringing havoc to this world. Rokuro Enmado is a natural born exorcist with an innate talent, but a trauma in his past caused him to shun the Onmyouji exorcist path, and search for something, anything else to do with his life. But it is prophesied that the two most powerful exorcists will marry, and have a child, and that child will be the one to destroy the Kegare once and for all. That’s why Benio and Rokuro are the Twin Star Exorcists, whether they want to be or not.
The next fourteen episodes of Twin Star Exorcists are presented across two discs from All the Anime.
27. Mayura-chan’s Secret – MAYURA’S SECRET LESSON
28. Unomiya Tenma – TRANSCENDENCE
29. A Promise With Sae – MISSING EXORCIST MASTER
30. Forever Smiling – LOVELY SMILE FOREVER
31. Because I’m With You – WAI WA KINAKO YA!
32. Into Chaos – SEEKING THE PAST, SEEKING THE FUTURE
33. The Master Repays a Favour – I WANT YOU TO EAT ME
34. The Greatest Duo – WACHI vs, WASHI & WATASHI
35. The Puppeteer’s Revenge – I AM NOT ALONE
36. What Must Be Protected – WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT?
37. Spirits Soaring in the City of Romance – TELL ME HONEST FEELINGS
38. Narukami’s Most Ill-Fated Day – NO WAY TO RUN, NO PLACE TO HIDE
39. The Sacred Beast of Love – DAUGHTER’S FIGHT! FATHER’S DELIGHT
40. Twin Stars’ Hearts Dance – FINALLY THEY KISSED?
Twin Star Exorcists gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on these Blu-ray discs. The image is clear and sharp, with strong colours and excellent detail. The animation is smooth and expressive, and comes across well in this transfer, with no visible compression or aliasing or even digital banding. It’s a stylish, shonen action battle anime, with appealing character designs, and a comic book approach to its action sequences (plenty of dynamic freeze frames and text spelling out special moves). The Kegare initially seem a rather monotonous dark menace, but it isn’t long before you can see character and individuality in their ominous forms.
You have the choice between Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English and Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo Japanese with player locked subtitles and signs. I gave the English dub a quick try and nothing really struck me as painful about it, but as always I prefer the Japanese with subtitles. The dialogue is clear, the actors are suited to their roles, and the action comes across well, even through the stereo track. What impresses about this show is the incidental music, really driving that action with stylish and memorable tunes. The last time I heard music this good for a shonen action show was for Soul Eater. The subtitles are timed accurately and are free of typos.
The discs present their content with animated menus.
Disc 1 autoplays with a trailer for Steins;Gate the Movie Load Region of Déjà Vu.
Disc 2 autoplays a trailer for Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
The extras comprise the textless credits and trailers for Code: Realise – Guardian of Rebirth, Juni Taise: Zodiac War Season 1, Black Clover Season 1 Part 2, and 18if.
I had my doubts about the second half of Twin Star Exorcists, not least in the way that All the Anime released it, but also by noting the lack of extra features in the second half, compared to the consideration given by Funimation to the first half. These are barebones vanilla discs seemingly rushed out as an afterthought. The critical, and the fan response to the second half of the show was also enough to make me shudder, and quite honestly reluctant to tackle this review. And in the end, Twin Star Exorcists turns out to be not that bad. Certainly, the point where the show jumps from manga adapted material to original anime storyline is a jarring transition, but over its first twenty episodes, Twin Star Exorcists only really promised, never delivered, and while entertaining, it was a potentially great show, and actually just a good one.
With the anime original material that began around episode 21, and continues here, we’re in fairly middle of the road shonen territory; nothing spectacular, but nothing downright mediocre either. It’s the usual good guy versus bad guy material, with plenty of levelling up and epic battles to paper over the wafer thin character development, and the central romance which remains in the eternal ‘will they, won’t they’ zone. Yet, quite early on in this collection, it seems the studio realised that they weren’t going to animate the rest of the manga, and that any story that they would tell would be complete in and of itself. There’s no need to go the Naruto filler route, and keep the wheels spinning with a collection of increasingly daft stand -alone episodes, hoping that one day the real story will resume. There are character revelations and story developments here that there is no coming back from, and it’s clear that Twin Star Exorcists is building up to a climax, although whether part 4 will deliver is a matter for another review.
There are a couple of ‘stand-alone’ episodes in this collection, which step away from the main storyline a bit. The first sees Rokuro’s childhood friend Mayura getting some training as an exorcist (which actually pays back later), before we get back to the current story of Rokuro and Benio’s road trip with their mystically adoptive “daughter” Sae, as they seek out the Dragon Spots and deal with the Kegare and Basara that come forth from them into the real world. This has the kind of portent that you’d think would lead to the end of the series, but the story arc actually ends early when Sae’s true nature is revealed. This also coincides with the head of the Exorcists, Arima going missing.
It looks as if the problem has been dealt with, but for the villain behind the scheme, the Basara named Kuranashi, it’s just the first step into realising his plan. There is another fill-in episode at this point looking at Benio’s fox-familiar Kinako, and how he first encountered his master. The next arc gets off to a slow-ish start with Rokuro discovering something about his past, and one of the twelve Guardians, Shimon transferring into their school to protect the Twin Stars. But then Kuranashi enacts the next step in his plan, and exorcists all over Japan start vanishing, leaving the 12 Guardians run ragged trying to investigate. This has the effect of drawing them all away from Rokuro’s home of Narukami, which first allows the Basara named Chijiwa to reappear and seek revenge against the Twin Stars, and then Kuranashi attacks Narukami directly. And just when they think they have a handle on that situation, Kuranashi pulls another bait and switch leaving this collection on quite the cliff-hanger.
Twin Star Exorcists has production values that grab the attention, but it really is just another forgettable shonen anime show, stacking up with countless others that have come and gone over the years. But just because it’s forgettable, doesn’t by any means imply that it’s unwatchable.