Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 33

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 33 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

We're a few episodes out of the Dragon Spot arc, and it's becoming clear that whatever climax the show is heading toward in these last dozen or so episodes, it's going to deviate pretty heavily from the manga. I'm certainly no expert on the manga-only happenings, but Kuranashi is a character original to this anime adaptation, and his schemes have only grown, even as the Dragon Spot arc has concluded. While Yuto still has to factor back into things somehow, Kuranashi is the most pressing threat that the exorcists face right now. While this episode does do a couple things to further that thread, I can't help but feel like the show is still spinning its wheels. The tension should be feeling more and more palpable with each passing episode, but that just isn't happening.

This is especially strange given the big bombshell dropped this week: Arima is apparently dead. This news should be a game-changer, since this is a character that's been with us since the beginning, guiding the Twin Stars and the other exorcists from day one. However, the way the information is delivered feels like absolute anticlimax, to the point where I have to wonder if this is a deliberate fake out. I checked back through the last few episodes, and I couldn't find anything that explicitly pointed to Arima's status one way or the other, so the ambiguity is frustrating. Either way it lands, the scene doesn't play out like it should, generating neither emotional response nor intellectual curiosity over what might happen next. It's a fumble that taints the rest of the episode, since it simply doesn't have enough substance otherwise to sustain itself.

Essentially, this week is yet another mini-recap of what we've already learned in the Dragon Spot arc, more specifically serving to reintroduce the Twelve Guardians. It's an odd choice, not only because we've already had a dozen episodes to do just this, but also because it doesn't show us anything we haven't already seen before. Save for Shimon and others we got to meet before the arc, the rest of the Twelve Guardians are little more than elaborate costumes and speaking quirks. Everyone is shown reacting differently to Arima's death, but since that news fell so flat, it's hard to connect to the responses of the Guardians themselves. We do get to see a bit of Miku's background, though it hardly seems relevant to the proceedings until the last seconds of the episode, so it ends up feeling like more padding than anything else.

The only other piece of interesting news we get is the tiniest morsel of Kuranashi's plan. Apparently, healing the victims of the Magano miasma has corrupted the exorcists doing the healing, which will presumably lead to some kind of disaster down the road. This is another reveal that could have been more effectively executed, such as if we could actually see the ill effects of this miasma before Kuranashi suddenly announces its effects. Still, in an episode that feels so sleight and off-kilter, I'll take anything I can get.

This was less of a standstill than last week, and it didn't feature any out-of-nowhere musical interludes, so it was a slight improvement over last week. Still, it's hard not to feel like this is a rut the show is working through, and I hope it picks up speed soon. We're slowly but surely approaching the end of the line for Twin Star Exorcists, and now is the worst possible time for the show to decide to drop the ball. Let's hope next week can finally be the return to form we've been waiting for.

Rating: C+

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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