Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 8

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?

Twin Star Exorcists' biggest problem so far has been one of consistency. Over the past two months, we've gotten a series of episodes that flip-flop in quality, with every good outing followed by one that veers closer and closer towards mediocrity. After last week's noticeable uptick in quality, a part of me was nervous that the pattern would continue, and that this week would be another slide back into disappointment. Thankfully, my worries were completely unfounded. Episode 8 of Twin Star Exorcists wasn't just good, it was excellent. It answered a lot of burning questions about the show's lore and overall storyline, while also making sure to include some truly compelling sequences of action and drama. It's easily the most confident and composed the show has felt since it's premiere, promising good things for the future of the series.

It starts out promising from the get-go, with Mayura and Benio engaging in frank and heartfelt discussion about everything our two exorcists have been though thus far. I was worried Mayura was going to be left in the dark for a lot longer than this, so it was refreshing to see her included in the proceedings without any needless fake-outs or false suspense. The whole confrontation could have easily been a cat-fight between Rokuro's two love interests, but it felt honest and funny in a way that helped the whole scene ring genuine. I'm all for love triangles if the relationships between the parties involved are actually compelling. This is a step in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned.

Things only got better from there, with scenes between Rokuro and Benio, as well as the other exorcists, finally giving some details on what exactly the Kegare are after. Learning that the creatures hunt humans for the innate "spell power" they possess helps give their threat a weight that it's been lacking so far, not to mention that people with very high spell power are even in danger of becoming Kegare themselves. Finding out that Mayura has an especially high level of that spell power gives her a lot more potential as a character; even though she ended up being this week's damsel-in-distress, I could see more interesting complications developing for her in the future. It also helped that the madly grinning Kegare hunting after Mayura was such a fun monster-of-the-week. I've said from the beginning that the show would do well to embrace its horror influences as much as possible, and this was probably the creepiest and most well designed creature the show has thrown at us so far.

We also got to meet Seigen Amawaka, another of the Twelve Guardians, who is not only Mauyra's absentee father, but also Rokuro's former mentor. His arrival to the battlefield forces Rokuro to question his place as an exorcist, and we finally get more information about the great disaster that's left Rokuro so traumatized. The final reveal that Benio's brother was killed in the massacre that Rokuro was seemingly directly responsible for wasn't exactly surprising, but it was played up with enough gravitas that it worked in spite of its predictability. I expected some kind of tragic wrench to get thrown in their burgeoning feelings for one another, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. Again, I still really doubt Benio's brother is actually dead, and the ominous hooded figure that keeps popping up for a few moments each episode is likely going to play into that somehow. Still, the drama works for what it is, and I'm genuinely eager to see the consequences of everything that the characters learned this week unfurl.

Really, my biggest complaint would be that there was a little too much info-dumping going on. We learned so much, so fast, that the characters (and the audience) got almost no time to breathe and take it all in. The final shots of the episode feel less like a cliffhanger sting and more like the show finally running out of breath and collapsing. Some of the expository dialogue ended up feeling choppy and stilted, especially between the other exorcists back at home base. The show just can't seem to make these side characters compelling; I honestly wouldn't mind seeing the show get rid of them altogether, or at least give them more to do than just sitting around and exchanging exposition. I think even Kinako might have been more useful than the other exorcists this week, and given the less-than-stellar reception I've seen the little familiar get from viewers online, that's saying something.

Hopefully the show can keep those animation SNAFUs and filler adventures to an absolute minimum and maintain the level of popcorn-worthy entertainment the past couple of weeks have given us. According to Crunchyroll, Twin Star Exorcists could be set for a 50 episode run. If that is indeed the case, we need as many weeks like this one as possible. It was funny and suspenseful in equal measure, and it sets forward a trajectory of potential for the show that I'm genuinely excited to see play out.

Rating: A-

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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