Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 17

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 17 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

Yuto has returned, and he's made sure to draw first blood in the war against the Exorcists. After Seigen and Mayura's relationship got out of the spotlight last week, I was not at all surprised to see how his confrontation with Yuto played out, he got literally torn apart. I am surprised that he survived at all, though the episode makes it clear that no matter what happened, Seigen's life as an exorcist is over. Rokuro is out for blood, Benio's heart is breaking over her brother's actions, and Yuto is determined to throw the Union of Exorcists into chaos.

This week, Twin Star Exorcists has decided to up the ante and really accelerate the conflict, with Seigen acting as the archetypal sacrifice needed to push our heroes over the edge and into action. It's an emotional turning point that the show has needed for a while now, even it felt a little unearned, which has me of two minds about this episode overall. I think it exemplifies the strength of character and direction that has gotten this series this far in the first place, while also highlighting the uneven storytelling that has been holding the series back at the same time.

I think the biggest issue is Yuto; not just the character, but what he represents about the series' structural problems. I've gone out of my way before to praise the level of tension and identifiable antagonism he brings to the story, and I still feel that way. The problem is, we're now seventeen episodes into this series, and I don't know if I could tell you what's actually fueling all of this fighting. I understand the general need to eliminate the Kegare, but the show has been dropping breadcrumbs for a while that the situation is more dire now than ever before. Why? How? Is it because of Yuto, or is he just one piece in a larger puzzle? What does Yuto even want, exactly? And what caused him to resort to such evil methods to achieve it? We've gotten glimpses at the answers to those questions, but nothing concrete, and I'm starting to get a little impatient.

When Yuto first arrived, he was the appropriate balance of menacing and mysterious, and he elevated the series into something better than it was before. Now he's just another thinly-defined monster in a long line of thinly-defined monsters. I have no doubt that TSE is going to delve into Yuto's character and motivations; I just want it to pick up the pace a little bit. Not only will this help out the larger foundations of the show's plot, but it'll put Benio and Rokuro in a more proactive spot too. Their string of defeats and humbling close calls has been good character-building, but the cycle grows tiresome after awhile. Our heroes are in need of a victory, some kind of lasting success that demonstrates the growth that the series has been harping on ever since Yuto's first appearance.

Despite my misgivings about Twin Star Exorcist's lingering storytelling issues, I would still say that I enjoyed this episode overall. The emotional beats were predictable yet effective, in true Twin Star fashion, and I found myself genuinely invested in whether or not Siegen would survive, even if he isn't as well developed as he could be at this point in the show's run. I just hope that all of this buildup is going to be worth it in the long run.

I've said from the beginning that Twin Star Exorcists is more than the sum of its parts. This week's episode showed more cracks in the stability of the overarching plot than I would have liked so far into a show's run, but it managed to engage me and keep me entertained all the same. The arrival of Rokuro's sleek new armor seems to promise a satisfying bout in the near future, one that will hopefully shake off the last of the series' story doldrums. Here's to hoping that the show will make good on that promise.

Rating: B-

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 and his blog.

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