Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
Rokuro and Benio's Bogus Journey continues this week, as the Twin Star Exorcists head into yet another town afflicted with Kegare infection, though the Basara they find there completely defies their expectations. What follows is an enjoyable and thoughtful episode still weighed down a little by its lackluster art and general lack of momentum.
I tend to enjoy it when anime slow down a bit to offer a story that works more as drama than action, and this is no exception. Sae is thrust into the spotlight this week, as she befriends the unnaturally gentle Basara called Leo. (Get it? Because he's a lion?) Their arc is a predictable one, with Sae offering up her usual wide-eyed cutesy innocence as Leo wanders the empty town in search of “something beautiful.” Leo himself plays into the very familiar Gentle Giant/Misunderstood Monster trope, which works pretty okay this week, even if it does mean his character lacks definition. To go to such lengths to humanize a Basara while also making him such a vague stock character seems counterintuitive, which meant that the creature's predictably tragic end lost some of the emotional impact it was going for.
Still, I like that the show is actually presenting the Basara as more complicated than simply being monstrous and mysterious villains. Even if Leo is ultimately more of a plot device than a character, his gentle bonding time with Sae does give the Basara a dimensionality that they've been lacking up until now, which I appreciate. It remains to be seen if this will pay off in the long run or only serve as a light, but ultimately trivial, detour within the detour that is this anime-only arc. My hope is that this fleshing-out of the Kegare will deepen and strengthen the conflict that fuels the show, but I've been let down before, so I'm keeping my hopes leveled.
Outside of the main chunk of story with Sae and Leo, most everything else about this episode is lightweight fun. We're introduced to a couple new members of the Twelve Guardians, whose exaggerated character designs make up for their lack of personality, at least for right now. Rokuro and Benio also share some amusing romcom banter, though I was surprised at how passive a role they played in this episode. Everything from Leo's arc to the destruction of the Dragon Spot was largely handled by other characters; Rokuro and Benio were more or less resigned to simply observing everything as it unfolded. This isn't necessarily a complaint; I just think it's interesting that the characters who've been the primary focus of the show for most every episode would take such a minor role in this episode.
Unfortunately, the art continues to suffer in this Dragon Spot Arc, and poor Sae receives the worst of it. I had to fight to get a screen cap of her and Leo that didn't feature awkward framing or blatantly off-model proportions. While I've come to expect artistic ups and downs from the show, this was much more on the “down” side of the spectrum. It didn't ruin the episode, but it definitely stood out more than it has in previous entries.
I enjoyed this episode in the end though, warts and all. As clichéd as it was, Leo's story asks some valuable questions about the motivations of both the Kegare and the Exorcists that could provide interesting wrinkles for the future. Now we just have to see if these planted seeds will pay off in the long run. The Twin Stars' Road Trip has been a fun one so far, and I'm eager to see where their next stop takes them.Rating: B-
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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