Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 38 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
This week's episode of Twin Star Exorcists represents what I would consider a good model for the quality standard the show has settled into in its back half. While it hasn't quite been able to match the epic heights of its 20th episode, the past few months have seen the series run at a much more even keel; the high points remain relatively scarce, but the lows are much more tolerable than the really rough spots of the first dozen or so episodes. In between those highs and lows we get episodes like this, which are perfectly functional and keep the plot moving at a brisk pace, even if they don't measure up to what we know the series is capable of.
Really, this episode does a surprisingly good job of keeping everything moving after last week's big push into this final story arc. Kuranashi has lifted a giant section of the city into the air to hold it captive within the writhing limbs of a massive Kegare. The exorcists of Seika dormitory are doing their best to round up the civilians while Rokuro and Benio do their thing, and the rest of the guardians are operating groundside, dealing with the other Basara that are in cahoots with Kuranashi. This means that the episode is mostly action, diving in and out of multiple different conflicts while our heroes race to put a stop to Kuranashi's schemes. This is meant to be an epic, gripping episode, but unfortunately, the direction and animation can only barely keep up with the script, meaning that most of the fights are merely passable instead of being actively engaging. This has long been one of TSE's biggest flaws, so it's unsurprising to see it persist into its 38th week. As always though, it does manage to hold together, and while I was never quite as excited as the show so clearly wants its audience to be, I was never bored either.
These different vignettes do give a lot of supporting characters some time to flex their muscles and contribute to the proceedings, if only a little. All of the Seika Dormitory members get little moments to shine; even Ryogo and Haruka get to suit up and fight a little after being delegated to background status for months now. While none of these characters have yet been given the attention they deserve, it is good to see that the writers haven't forgotten about them, and their banter works well enough to keep the energy up throughout.
Even better, we get more time to spend with some of the Twelve Guardians, who are in sore need of both screen time and character development. At this point, I'm not holding out for anything revelatory, just enough to get me to care about more than three or four of the twelve. Kenjo and Kankuro are never going to be the most interesting of the guardians, but they actually get to do a little bit of bantering and fighting themselves, which can only be good for the show at this point.
At its core, this episode was about keeping things moving, even if it means rushing through details that warrant some more explanation. The bits of exposition Kuranashi drops are more morsels than anything, though we do learn that the Basara apparently consume spell power to become more human. Of course, we're still in the dark about the specifics of what they want or what becoming human might have to do with that; it's possible that's all Kuranashi wants, which would be a bit disappointing, so I hope Yuto's eventual reappearance can mix things up a bit. Extra points will get dished out if Kamui returns too. His presence has been sorely missed, since none of these new Basara hold a candle to Kamui as antagonists.
So yes, this episode contains all of the uneven characterization and inconsistent production values we've come to expect from the show, but it also does a solid job of keeping things just urgent enough to maintain the story's momentum. I'm still interested to see if this arc can eventually bring the series to a proper and satisfying close. It isn't a great episode, but it is just good enough to get a passing grade from me.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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