Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 43

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 43 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

Now that Arima's returned from being presumed dead, he sure does have a lot of explaining to do, and explain Arima does. In fact, that might be my biggest issue with this week's episode; we learn a lot of very important information in a very short amount of time. Despite being grateful for the knowledge, the way the show chooses to communicate all this leaves something to be desired.

First off, there's the issue of Arima's flashback, which takes up a good 50% of the episode. It turns out being “killed” by Kuranashi was all a part of Arima's master plan, as being pushed to the brink of oblivion allowed him to complete a ritual that would send him back in time to learn the secrets of the Kegare. While in the past, he learns that in addition to being the founder of the Exorcists, Abe no Seimei is also secretly the creator of Magano; the priest created the otherworld as a way of containing all the destructive Yin energy created by humans, but in the end, all it did was give the malignant spirits a place to grow more powerful and destructive. The founding of the Exorcists (and the twelve Guardians who lead them) was essentially to solve a problem that Abe no Seimei himself created, with the Twin Stars and their prophesied progeny being the ultimate solution.

I find all of this fascinating in theory, and I think it makes sense given what we've learned about the world so far—I just have issues with how swiftly and unceremoniously we've learned it all. To actually see Arima (or better yet, Rokuro and Benio) go back into the past and learn these things could've been a fascinating multi-episode arc for the series, as well as a great opportunity to flesh out the unseen depths of TSE's world. As it stands, Arima's story feels more like an info dump, necessary but not at all dramatically satisfying. The same goes for the revelation of Rokuro not just being a Kegare, but the Cataclysm King, who was born to wipe out all human life. This is a bit cliché; I can still get behind the idea, but the blasé way the show handles this revelation robs it of much potential emotional impact. For the show to shoot itself in the foot so hard this late in the game is especially frustrating.

Contrast that with Rokuro's later encounter with the Rock and Roll Basara, Suzu, which spends a good amount of time accomplishing very little. I actually like Suzu as a character, and I can appreciate there being a Basara that actively helps Rokuro deal with his newfound Kegare origins, since it adds another layer of depth to the largely one-dimensional villains. Still, I can't help but be concerned that we're only a handful of weeks away from the end, and Suzu still isn't explaining who she is or what she wants from “observing” our heroes. Ambiguities like that were fine twenty episodes ago, but it just comes across as stalling for time at this point.

That's what was so disappointing about this episode. It had so many important details to share, but it still felt like it was dragging its feet. Even Yuto's reappearance at the end of the episode lacked any sense of danger or threat, because the character is just posturing, repeating the same vague threats over and over in an effort to goad Rokuro. When the most compelling villain in the series comes off as toothless, there's a problem. I can't help but worry about the state of things with the script being so sloppy heading into the last act of the show. Twin Star Exorcists needs to shake off its doldrums fast, or it could very well fail to stick the landing.

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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