Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 29 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
Benio, Rokuro, let's have a chat. Real talk. If you have an adorable and mysterious daughter figure who's exhibiting increasing magical powers as the world is slowly crumbling all around you, the absolute last question you want to ask her is,” What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then you take her on a sightseeing adventure in Kyoto, and you even go so far as to promise her you can go wherever she wants?
Guys, you're pretty much begging for a bittersweet ending.
To be fair, a Sad Ending for Sae has been in the cards all throughout this Dragon Spot arc. Ever since the adorable little cherub popped into the Twin Stars' lives, we knew the arrangement wasn't permanent. Her mysterious powers and obvious link to the Dragon Spots meant that, in some way or another, Sae was destined to depart Twin Star Exorcists sooner rather than later.
So as we conclude the penultimate episode of our anime-only material, let me take one last moment to appreciate how well the show has handled what many people have called its “filler arc”. While I still disagree with that sentiment, I can't deny the Dragon Spot arc certainly has the unmistakable “slightly-off” quality that anime-only material tends to have. That being said, I do think that the road trip we've been on with Rokuro and Benio and Sae has turned out to be more for good than ill. While the repetition of the Basara encounters ended up feeling somewhat rote by the end, I've valued the time we've had to explore more of the Exorcists' world, while Rokuro and Benio grow and develop as a team. Sae's charm that's helped bring out the Twin Stars' parental instincts has been the highlight of the entire run.
That remains true in this episode, though the makeshift family's interactions take on an air of ironic sadness, since the audience knows that our time with Sae is almost certainly about to end, even if Rokuro and Benio themselves are blissfully unaware. I will say that their discovery of the Exorcists' main headquarters and the big reveal about Sae turned out to be more interesting than I expected. I was prepared for Sae to be a Basara of some sort, but it turns out she has actually been borne from the Ame-no-mihashira, a magical barrier that separates Magano from the human world. After breaking off from this mystical tree, she has been able to take on human form, but the resulting destabilization has also allowed for the Dragon Spots to begin breaking their way into the human world. It's an effective reveal, and it'll allow for a neat wrap-up to this arc.
Meanwhile, the B-plot of the week focuses on Tsuchimikado's fight with Kuranashi. While Kuranashi's motivations and character remain a bit too vague for the fight to be exceptional, it was still entertaining. Finally seeing Tsuchimikado in a real fight was a treat, as his cocky exuberance lent an exciting flair to an otherwise straightforward plot. He ends the fight in a pretty low spot, so I am interested to see how that resolves next week.
Overall, I'm glad we've gotten this arc. It offered us something different from TSE's usual fare, and Rokuro and Benio have had some excellent moments of character development (Benio especially). All things must end eventually though, and if we've got to say goodbye to Sae, my only hope is that the studio pulls it off with some style and panache. We'll find out next week whether or not TSE can turn that hope into reality!
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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