Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
Twin Star continues its rom-com run this week, though it doesn't work quite as well as it has in the past. This is largely because the episode's proceedings veer dangerously close to wheel-spinning territory, losing some of the steam the show picked up only a few episodes ago.
The setup is very similar to last week's, with Subaru putting Benio and Rokuro through marriage training that seems inane at first, but ends up benefiting their relationship both on and off the battlefield. Last week it was a mock first date, while this time our heroes spend a bulk of the episode playing hide-and-seek with their inscrutable master. This setup isn't as effective as it was in the previous episode because the humor just doesn't work as well. The show leans on the most familiar tropes and cliches, while neglecting to add anything particularly new to the mix.
A lot of time is spent on tired gags about Benio discovering Rokuro's dirty magazine collection or Rokuro and Benio hunting down Subaru based on her leisure habits; by the time everything's said and done, it all just comes across as lazy writing. The animation also hasn't improved much, though it hasn't gotten noticeably worse either. Last week, a lot of those writing and animation quirks got a pass based on the story generally being a fun time, but this week doesn't pull that off so neatly. The only reason I'm not completely writing it off as pointless fluff is because we do get that reinforcement of how Rokuro and Benio are improving and growing with each new lesson foisted on them. It's the kind of repetitive beat that can carry a couple of filler episodes, though not much more than that.
The action this week was definitely in the lower tiers of Twin Star Exorcists's potential, but it wasn't the worst thing we've gotten. I honestly think the show is better off when it works with its low budget and plays with the still frames and repetitive animation cycles as creatively as possible. It makes the budgetary constraints a lot less distracting, which I personally prefer over the show trying too hard and giving us something truly garish to deal with. Next week looks like it's going to focus more on the action, which is definitely welcome. Hopefully it can bring back some of the edge and momentum the series has let slack over the past couple of episodes.
Before wrapping up, I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention Tatara, especially since he gets the best gag Twin Star Exorcists has produced so far. I always enjoyed his emoticon-based expressions, but when his face-cloth straight up turned into a a GPS screen for Subaru, I just about lost it. Hopefully those two will be back soon, because they might be my favorite secondary characters of the entire bunch.
Other than that, there isn't too much else to say for this one. Twin Star gave us another intentionally lightweight adventure in romantic-comedy, but it was much clunkier filler than the last one we got. A breather every now and again is fine, but it's high time we picked things up again and returned to the larger story at hand.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
James is an English teacher who has loved anime his entire life, and he spends way too much time on Twitter.
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