Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
True to form, Twin Star Exorcists picks back up again this week after last week's bumpy filler episode. At long last, we get a little more information on why Benio became such a stoic, closed-off individual. Her brother obviously played a role in it, but what about the parents they both lost? TSE answers that question in a big way, since we not only learn that a particularly cruel Kegare tortured and killed them right in front of Benio, but that very same monster is the villain Benio runs into this week. What are the odds?
It all smacks a little of plot convenience, but it also does an excellent job of introducing drama and tension into an episode that otherwise seemed like another perfectly adequate rom-com outing. Benio and Rokuro's bet on who could make the better dinner was actually pretty cute, much more enjoyable than the hide-and-seek padding we got last week. Plus, the emotional ties of the family dinner playing into Benio reminiscing about her own family worked pretty well. When Kamui finally arrived though, things turned up a notch.
While we got a tease of him in the pre-credits sequence, Kamui's main entrance was still appropriately moody and tense, even if the encounter felt a tad too convenient overall. He had a pretty awesome design: cool, threatening, and uncharacteristically human-looking. His laconic line delivery hits an emotionally detached range that works well for villains of his type; his habit of slowly counting down from ten while his victims choose how they want to die is pretty great, as far as Bad Guy Gimmicks go. He has the kind of visual and personal flair that the faceless Kegare hordes lack, so I hope he sticks around longer than just a few episodes.
Kamui and Benio's entire fight was easily the highlight of the episode, working around the limited animation to produce a scene that felt genuinely intense. The moment where you can hear Benio's leg audibly snap from the force of Kamui's blow is both awful and memorable. It's one of those unexpectedly visceral moments that I want to see more of. And even though you could predict Rokuro's entrance from a mile away, I still couldn't help but clap a little bit when he showed up to punch out Kamui before he could deal the killing blow to Benio. I honestly enjoy cheesy little moments like that, especially when they're followed up by talk of patching up wounds and sitting down for dinner. Call me a sap if you want, but for me it totally worked. My one worry is for this Hero Guy Saves The Girl thing to become a recurring theme, since that would feel way too cheap. We'll just have to see how the big showdown is handled next week.
The biggest things bringing this episode down are middling production values and a sense of rushed storytelling. Kamui's arrival could have been even more powerful if we had more of a build leading up to it. He and Benio's fight could also have been more impactful if it weren't marred by a few sloppy reactions from both characters. Still, since next week is another Big Fight, it's safe to bet that the animation budget and choreography will be amped up accordingly. It might not be ideal for a show to have such predictable lows following its high points, but that consistency means you can usually predict when an episode is going to be a winner. We'll just have to see how my powers of prediction hold up next week!
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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