Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 26

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 26 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

Twin Star Exorcists has delivered another Basara-of-the-Week episode for its Dragon Spot Arc, though I am happy to report that this week is a much stronger entry than the last one we got. The Basara are more compelling, the Twin Stars have more to do, and everything generally felt livelier and more engaging. While lazy direction and obtuse writing is still holding this filler arc back from greatness, episodes like these keep the adventure relevant and entertaining.

I'm of two minds about the structure that the Dragon Spot Arc has taken so far. Every week we've met new and (mostly) interesting Basara from Magano, and most every week we've also been introduced to one or two (or three, in this case) members of the Twelve Guardians, who help our Twin Stars defeat the Basara and destroy the Dragon Spots. On the one hand, this has proven to be an effective setup for villain-of-the-week stories, which the show was struggling with in its early days. On the other hand, this method of doling out new Basara and new Guardians every week has significantly dampened the mystery and impact of both groups of characters. The Basara were initially the show's greatest and most threatening source of antagonism, with Kamui and Yuto being the only faces we could ascribe to an otherwise nebulous enemy. Likewise, the Twelve Guardians were imposing, larger-than-life figures who had an appropriate air of dignified mystery to them.

Now both the Basara and Guardians are dime a dozen. I think I get what the show is going for, setting up the dozen or so Basara as a Kegare-infused mirror to the Exorcists' Twelve Guardians. It's potentially an interesting setup, but the execution has been rushed, and I feel like neither the Basara nor the Guardians have served well as individual characters. Still, I have to admit that the increasingly sympathetic light the Basara are being portrayed in does have fascinating implications for the future of the show. Momochi and Chijiwa were the dapper villains of this episode, and despite their attempts to maim and murder our heroes, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for them as their battle with the Exorcists left them torn apart and broken. I wager Benio and Rokuro feel somewhat the same way, and I'm very interested to see if their feelings towards the Kegare start to shift as their war against them moves forward.

Despite this being more or less a filler episode, we do get the tiniest clues about the grander scheme of this arc. Kuranashi has revealed himself to be a manipulator of Basara, a new Big Bad for our Twin Stars to face off against soon enough. We also see Sae finally reveal some of her hidden magical potential, as a burst of protective motion helps her shield Rokuro and Benio from Momochi and Chijiwa's wrath. It's clear that Sae's origins and destiny lie somewhere within Magano, but we have very little information to go on besides. Her adorable family bonding with Rokuro and Benio continues to be a highlight for me though, so I can't complain too much.

Outside of silly games of rock-paper-scissors and some minor hints regarding the mystery of Sae, this episode is largely a protracted fight scene between the Twin Stars and the Twin Basara. Thematically, it works pretty well, contrasting the eerie and inhuman synchronization of the Basara to the Twin Stars' messier and more emotional union. As spectacle though, it leaves a bit to be desired. The animation is too clunky and the direction too scattershot for the fight to have as much impact as it intends. It was certainly entertaining, but the middling art made for a conflict that was more interesting in concept than execution.

There weren't any random sports stars around to muddle things up this week, though, and that's a relief. Overall, this was a fine episode, moving the plot along just barely enough to justify its own existence. As much as I've enjoyed this arc, I'm excited to switch things up. Next week, it seems as if Mayura will have her hands full with Shimon, who we've not heard from in quite a while. Sounds like a fun time for everyone (except maybe Shimon).

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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