Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 6

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

I am happy to report that Twin Star Exorcists managed to pull itself together after last week's less-than-stellar outing, providing an episode that brings back the sense of friendly charm and likability that was sorely missing earlier on, though it also retained the weaker qualities that keep it sitting in the shadow of this season's more compelling titles.

The worst of the show's wrongs has been righted though; it actually looks decent again. It's not the top-form animation we got in the first two episodes by any stretch of the imagination, but it's much more consistent and engaging than the visual mess we were treated to last week. It helps that this week's story was much more focused on developing Benio and Mayura's budding friendship than it was on action. What little action we got was perfectly fine, though far from the best the show has to offer. I didn't mind, because a character-development episode for Benio has been long overdue. The problem with last week's episode was its total dependence on extended battle scenes and characters looking cool, when it didn't have the execution to match its ambition. If the studio can learn to balance its budget with the rhythm of its story, maybe the animation shortcomings won't be so problematic in the future.

Either way, I was really glad to see Benio get more time in the spotlight. The past few weeks, she's essentially acted as a glorified deus ex machina, swooping in to save the other exorcists when they inevitably failed to vanquish the Kegare. That's kind of what Benio does this week too, but we actually got to see her and Mayura bond a good deal beforehand, so her presence doesn't feel so wasted this time around. Plus, Mayura's earnestness in pursuing Benio's friendship was just adorable. Mayura could have easily been a grating and obnoxious character, but her seiyuu finds just the right balance of earnest and quirky. I would love to see her and Benio's friendship develop more.

What I wouldn't want to see is that friendship develop into some kind of clichéd romantic rivalry though, and I worry that's what the end of this episode might be building towards. There's a chance the show could pull off a love triangle that doesn't feel tired, especially considering the unique circumstances of Benio and Rokuro's relationship. Twin Star seems a little too content to fall back on easy tropes though, and it would be a real shame to see Mayura demoted to The Other Girl, since it's clear that she and Benio have potential to be genuinely good friends. We'll see what the future holds there.

Another thing I noticed this week was the show's penchant for including unnecessary flashbacks getting a little out of hand. This is a problem for many anime to some degree, pausing everything to show us clips of scenes from minutes beforehand, but Twin Star Exorcists has got a bad case of flashback fever. It bugs me a lot to see these flashbacks overused so much, because it communicates a lack of confidence on the part of the creators. They either don't think the audience can keep up with the story without pausing every three minutes for a refresher, or they don't trust their own ability to communicate characters' thoughts and feelings without them. Either way, it's a distracting device, and I'm hoping Twin Star Exorcists can kick the habit soon.

At the end of the day, this episode was a return to form, even if that form had a few rough edges to begin with. I'm pretty much done holding out hope that the show will surprise me with some sort of genre-defying twist or turn, which is okay. Twin Star Exorcists has proven to be an entertaining action comedy, with characters who are fun to spend time with. Sometimes that's good enough.

What I'm really hoping is that next week will buck the show's trend of alternating between being good enough and being disappointingly bland. This is B-grade entertainment through and through, but now we just have to see if the show can prove to be consistent B-grade entertainment.

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.

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