What They Say:
He vows to never use his powers-she wants revenge for her family. But when a prophecy states that 14-year-old Rokuro and Benio will be the parents of the child destined to save the world, things don’t go as planned. Only their combined powers can defeat the invasion of monsters from another realm. Which means that before these two can have a baby, they’ll have to raise a little hell.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub that gets the 5.1 bump to it, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is very much a traditional shonen one where there’s a lot of action, overacting, and activity in general so it’s a pretty busy mix. The stereo side handles things well across the forward soundstage with lots of fun moments of directionality to be had and placement when it comes to the dialogue. Action works in a similar way while the music has a good warm and rich feeling to it. The 5.1 mix bumps all of this up a bit with a few things thrown to the rears which may not be as distinct as you’d like but serves to enhance the action overall. It’s a good mix for both tracks and they both come across clean and clear with no problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016 and into 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes for this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second. Animated by Pierrot, the show has a pretty good look about it in general with some nice detail to be had in both character designs and backgrounds. It has a lot of the hallmarks of shonen series of this nature in the modern sense so it goes big with the action and keeps things a bit calmer elsewhere. Color definition is great with a rich selection to work from that holds up in a solid and problem free way while the encoding handles all the high motion sequences wonderfully with no visible breakup or issues to be had there. It’s a clean looking and very solidly done presentation that delivers the show in the best light.
This release comes with a limited edition that’s a collector’s edition with the rare box to hold the whole run as it comes out. These used to be a lot more common but they’re very rare these days for several reasons. This one looks great with key visual artwork on both sides of the cast and setting shown well and inside there’s an empty spacer box with some mild artwork on it that you can toss and fill with the other releases as they come out. Within the box we get the thick Blu-ray case that holds the discs for both formats along with an o-card that replicates the case artwork. Here, it works the Japanese artwork nicely with this set focusing on Rokuro on its cover against the grey background, which means we get a black stripe along the top. The back cover goes dark with the battlefield along the left that blends into a black background where the summary of the premise is handled well. The discs features are clearly laid out and we get a few nice shots from the show as well. The technical grid fills out the rest as it breaks down both formats in a pretty clear and accurate way. While there are no show related inserts we do get a reversible cover that lets Benio take the front side, so you can decide who you want gracing your case cover.
The menu design for this release goes with clips from the series which shows a little more effort put into it. The logo along the top doesn’t obscure much and I like the way it flows and the detail of it, which provides a balance to the navigation along the bottom that’s done with a black section and white borders to give it a little more class. The clips showcase characters and settings well with a lot of grim and darker tones to it but there’s also the vibrancy of the reds and oranges that work really well. The menu navigation is pretty basic but it works well to get around in with clean and easy selections that load quickly and accurately both as the top-level menu but as the pop-up menu during playback as well.
The extras for this release have some of the usual things we get with the clean opening and closing sequences as well as a making of the opening which is a nice touch. We also get the “Twin Star Room” episodes from the Japanese release with the first three episodes of character fun with Hanae and Natsuki here. Clocking in on average of ten minutes, the live-action pieces bring the two leads together as they kind of play games, have food, talk with visitors from the production, and provide some cute and inoffensive fluff for fans with the creative behind the project.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga of the same name from Yoshiaki Sukeno, Twin Star Exorcists is a fifty-episode anime series of which the first thirteen episodes are here. Animated by JC STaff, it ran from the spring of 2016 with a straight run before wrapping up just about a year later. It proved fairly popular and saw both a simulcast and a dub produced for it. The original manga began in 2013 as serialized in Jump Square and has fifteen volumes to its name. Like a lot of shonen properties there are some fairly straightforward aspects here and knowing that it was going to be fifty episodes going into it meant we’d see some traditional things with a long running show in that there are, essentially, a lot of one-off stories. What helped is that while it does keep to a somewhat simple design overall it uses the backgrounds to very good effect to make it feel richer than it is and the overall character and costume designs play to that feeling as well. So it doesn’t feel like an on the cheap show with its budget spread too thin, at least at first.
The premise for the series is one that makes for easy episodic stories and some smaller arcs as we get introduced to middle school student Rokuro. Rokuro’s a pretty decent kid that has done his best in recent memory to avoid dealing with being an exorcist. The world, as it turns out, is in a thousand-year-long battle with the Kegare, creatures from the spirit world Magano that can break through and cause problems. The high-end exorcists work their abilities in order to take the fight to the other side and keep it there but it makes for some neat moments amid a battle when a high-powered Kegare can create an opening to our world and cause destruction there that’s problematic. Rokuro really wants nothing to do with a lot of this but ends up being drawn into it far more than he wants to because of the arrival of Benio in Tokyo as she’s looking for the rumored exorcist that’s more powerful than her if not equal.
While there’s a lot of early episode craziness in that we see exactly what both Benio and Rokuro are capable of, and that Rokuro has some hints that he can go full-on crazy and uncontrolled, the big reveal that amuses me is that when the high-ranking exorcist comes to visit Tokyo to see what’s been going on he reveals that both of them are now key players in this grand fight. And that they must both become much more because their eventual child will be the Miko that will end this war once and for all with the Kegare. That changes up to some degree the will they or won’t they angle that a lot of shonen shows play when it has characters like this combined with the way Rokuro has an edge of the crazy in him, or a big susceptibility to rage that can override common sense. It’s something that’s appealing as is the way everyone reacts and deals with the proclamation about what they’ll bring into existence as a child someday. That really does alter how people would view them.
A lot of this opening set of episodes is pretty much what I expected. We get the problems of how Benio and Rokuro don’t exactly like each other much this early in the run and being forced to live together, which leads to other complications from friends and the like. It also shows us how they both dial down the frustration a bit over it as they simply have to engage with each other in some normal fashion and for Rokuro to accept more of his own destiny as an exorcist. That’s what leads to a lot of the adventures on the other side against the Kegare, though not all of it is him willingly running into the danger but rather being dragged into it at times. But those flashes of being the hero type show up more than enough so that you know what the real personality is underneath the bluster and general male fragility of someone like Rokuro, especially since he’s living with Benio and isn’t sure how to act. It’s not a tough balancing act overall but the show generally seems to manage it well. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of events going on here that feel meaningful, though you come away from this first set more with just the sense that the two are well-paired for the larger fight and life ahead of them more than anything else.
Twin Star Exorcists is a perfectly serviceable shonen series. With a four-cour run for it that ran continually for a year, if you have experience with this type of property as a manga you can see how the adaptation will go. That’s not a bad thing because shows like these used to be a lot more common and accessible for people instead of just one-cour shows that disappeared never to be heard of again. It’s shows like these that seed audiences for the late night material to come. With some interesting designs and a really good sense of color use, Twin Star Exorcists focuses heavily on our leads to the point where others are negligible until it starts to really draw things together on the opponent side toward the end here. I’m definitely interested in the potential of it is and really like how Funimation has handled the release with a good box set to hold the run and a sharp looking and sounding presentation.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Hanae Natsuki & Han Megumi’s Twin Star Room 1-3, Opening Making-Of, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, plus Trailers
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 24th, 2018
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.