Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 45

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 45 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

This week's episode picks up right where last week left off, Rokuro is out to face Yuto one-on-one, while Benio is left behind to recover alone. Rokuro and Yuto duke it out for a bit, while also poking and prodding at one another's psyches. Arima and Seigen discuss Abe no Seimei for a bit, as do Rokuro and Yuto, and eventually all of that punching leads into a cliffhanger for next week. As episodes of Twin Star Exorcists go, this is about as straightforward as it gets.

Funnily enough, it was the conversations that took center stage this week, not the fisticuffs. Once again, the animation is vacillating between “decent” and “awkward," which makes the resulting fight fall pretty flat. There are a few flashes of inspired action, but only a few. The conversations that intercut that action are interesting, though.

Probably about 50% of this episode is devoted to Yuto aggressively coming on to Rokuro. That isn't just subtext either; Yuto makes it pretty clear that his obsession with Rokuro has become the only driving factor in his existence. He gets jealous of his sister having all Rokuro's affection, talks of “falling for Rokuro” when they attended school together, and he says all this with limited irony. I won't explicitly label his feelings for Rokuro as sexual or romantic, but it's clear that the writers are drawing a parallel between Yuto and a jealous, obsessive lover. With Yuto's motivations having essentially devolved from ambition to antipathy toward all existence, it makes sense that he would anchor his goals to the one person in his life he's ever had any interest in. This isn't really an original premise, but it is more compelling than “I want to be the strongest.”

It's also interesting how the show has twisted Abe no Seimei's motivations into something more gray and sinister. It all comes back to Rokuro's being The Cataclysm King, whose entire existence is predicated on wiping out the source of the Kegare infestation: humanity. I still feel like more time with Arima in the past would make these machinations feel less vague and nebulous, but the way I understand it is that Rokuro's being such a deadly force falls within Abe's plans, a kind of failsafe in case the prophecy of the Twin Star Exorcists doesn't come to pass. If there's anything I like about this, it's that it puts added pressure on Rokuro and Benio both as a couple and as a team, since they'll obviously have to factor these developments into how these last episodes resolve.

Speaking of resolutions, the ending was my biggest issue with this episode, with the flashback to the fatal effects of Rokuro transforming into the Cataclysm King feeling forced and awkwardly placed. I always hate it when shows save these kinds of reveals for last minute flashbacks, because knowing The Big Twist upfront usually makes the situation more suspenseful. If we'd known that Rokuro's power-up could prove fatal from the beginning, it would have gone a long way toward spicing up the underwhelming action this week. All in all though, this episode did its job in getting us further into the final conflict with Yuto and raising the stakes between our two combatants. All we need is for Benio to finally make her way back in to the fray, and we'll have a perfectly fine setup for the finale.

Rating: B-

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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