Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 49 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
I just can't stay mad at you, can I, Twin Star Exorcists? No matter how sloppy or frustratingly inconsistent you are, you always find some way to pull me back into your good graces. It's been that way from the beginning, so it's only fitting that the pattern would remain the same until the very end. This episode can't completely make up for some of this final arc's biggest missteps, but a healthy dose of wish fulfillment and refreshingly solid production values make TSE's penultimate episode satisfying overall.
True to form, even the wish fulfillment is inconsistent this week. In the span of twenty-two minutes, Twin Star Exorcists managed to grant two of my most long-standing wishes for the show, but only one of those was done well. The first wish, and easily the most mixed part of the episode, was Kamui's long awaited return. The countdown-obsessed Basara has remained one of TSE's most compelling and threatening antagonists, and I've frequently bemoaned his complete absence from the show for the entirety of its second half. Well, he makes his grand re-entrance this time, and I must admit, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. The bit is essentially a cameo, with Kamui popping in to kick Abe no Seimei in the face for no clearly defined reason, then go blasting off again once Benio and Rokuro are ready to face off against the Big Bad themselves. A character as interesting and threatening as Kamui deserved a much better sendoff than this throwaway scene, and while I definitely appreciated seeing him again, I was just left wanting more by the time things finished.
Thankfully, Twin Star Exorcists was able to lift my spirits by finally, after almost a year of teases and last-minute complications, allowing Rokuro and Benio to seal the deal with a kiss. I won't lie, all of my disappointment with Kamui's return was completely washed away when this happened; I was clapping and cheering like the sappy shipper I am. The scene itself was expertly animated and executed, allowing both Rokuro and Benio to get in their share of bickering and smooching. Seeing them in their usual routine after so long was pretty nostalgic, and the payoff after fifty weeks of buildup was a real treat. Twin Star Exorcists has missed the mark on a lot of potentially satisfying developments, but it absolutely nailed the kiss. For that alone, I left this episode a satisfied customer.
Speaking of nostalgia, the way the episode handled this first part of the showdown with Abe no Seimei has me conflicted. On the one hand, I really don't like it when Fate of The World Battles like these get reduced to endless monologuing and implausible philosophizing, which is kind of what happened here. On the other hand, I really appreciated Rokuro and Benio's cheesy (and wordy) trip down memory lane, if only because it really did help me appreciate the journey the show has taken over the past year. Just seeing how small and innocent these two looked from all the way back at the season's start had me a little misty-eyed. It was a blatantly manipulative ploy that conveniently glossed over the uneven filler and downright bad episodes that came in between all those nice memories, but I'll be damned if it didn't work on me.
This entire episode felt uneven, overstuffed, and brazenly sincere to a fault, all of which describes Twin Star Exorcists perfectly. Next week is the end, and I have no doubts that it will contain all the faults and charms the series has been peddling for almost a year now. It has been a rough and wild ride, and many of this shows followers have felt rightly burned by the series' failure to live up to its own potential. For every nailed moment of pathos and romance, there has been a blundered opportunity or a string of less-than-stellar episodes. I wouldn't blame anyone for losing faith in the series a long time ago, but I'll miss Twin Star Exorcists when it's gone. I really will.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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