Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 37 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
Ah, the confession of love. It's such a staple for romance in anime that it hardly even seems possible to have a romance go without one these days. Even though Twin Star Exorcists is technically a shonen action series, it's always worn its romantic heart on its sleeve, and so much of the show has been devoted to chronicling the growing relationship between Rokuro and Benio that an episode focusing on a confession of love between the two was all but inevitable. Wouldn't you know, that's exactly what we got this week. I've never hidden my enthusiasm for this series' title couple, so the shipper in me was predictably glad to finally hit this milestone. The funniest thing about this entire episode though? It is 100% unnecessary, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Really, it's a testament to how thoughtfully and carefully this show has put together Rokuro and Benio as characters, and how wonderfully they have come to function as a unit, that their going through the “love confession routine” is genuinely not needed. We have seen firsthand how well they work together and how good they are for one another, so much so that their “togetherness” has been a given for a long time, both for the supporting cast and the audience. Don't get me wrong, I loved everything about the clichéd and cheesy proceedings in this episode. Everything from Mayura being so enthusiastic about Rokuro's surprise secret crush (a great callback to the show's very first episode) to Rokuro and Benio's perfectly sweet scene alone together near the episode's end. Still, if I'm being honest, Twin Star Exorcists could have gone on just fine even if this episode had never occurred. Rokuro and Benio have been a constant joy to watch for the past 37 weeks. Even when the story faltered, the animation cramped up, or the filler got just a little too daunting, seeing the Twin Stars learn and grow beside one another has been a blast.
It wasn't all Twin Star romance this week, though. The whole love confession scene was precipitated by Ryogo and Haruka finally getting engaged in another adorable scene. The characters themselves have been criminally underused for pretty much the entirety of Twin Star Exorcists' run, but it was nice to see them have such a happy life together, continuing their fallen friend's work at the daycare. Even if the two don't contribute much to the plot, they proved useful this week in modeling the kind of unabashed intimacy that Rokuro and Benio have been dancing around for quite some time now.
On the “Not Related to Smooching” side of the spectrum, the Twelve Guardians have to do all the heavy lifting, as they try to prevent the havoc Kuranashi is set to wreak all across Narukami. These scenes worked well enough, with a nice animation bump and some decent Kegare designs to keep the momentum going in between all the cheesy high school romance. The Guardians even attempt the Rikujin Shinka, a ritual that Abe no Seimei devised, in an effort to fight off the giant monster horde, but the harvesting of all the missing Exorcists seems to have given Team Basara quite the power boost. All that and a new challenger is set to enter the fray: Yuto!
It's too early to say whether Yuto's appearance will prove to be an interesting return of the series' best villain, or if it will just come off as a sloppy melding of the manga material with the anime-only stuff. We still have a dozen or so episodes to go, so hopefully the writers will have enough time to reintegrate Yuto into the proceedings without letting Kuranashi fade into the background, or vice versa. It's a delicate balancing act the show will have to pull off, and lord knows TSE doesn't have the best track record when it comes to balanced writing. Still, I'm glad to see Yuto finally make his return, since the finale of his arc from way back when is still the series' high water mark. Will it be able to reach such heights again? I don't know, but with Yuto back on board, the odds of that happening are looking a heck of a lot better.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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