What They Say:
Follow the exciting tale of two star-crossed rivals as the fate of the world is placed in their young hands.
He vows to never use his incredible powers after surviving a tragedy. She wants revenge for the loss of her family. But when a prophecy states that 14-year-olds Rokuro and Benio will be the parents of the child destined to save the world, things don’t go quite as planned. While the unlikely duo refuse to be paired, more and more monsters known as Kegare are spilling from the mirroring world of Megano, and a familiar face from the past is behind it all. Soon, Rokuro and Benio discover that their powers are stronger combined, and before these two can have a baby, they’ll have to raise a little hell.
The sound quality has options of 5.1 English Dolby Surround and the Japanese a 2.0 Stereo option. There were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using. There were no problems with the video synching in with subtitles as definitely acceptable as a DVD release.
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – with DVD releases nowadays the effect definitely seems more grainier compared to HD and with me doing a ton of Blu-ray reviews recently this is a good way to remind you how the times have changed. That said, the animation was good overall, and despite the use of CGI during a lot of the attack sequences when they travel to the other worlds, it isn’t horrendously noticeable compared to other series I’ve reviewed in the past so kudos.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu on both discs pretty basic – the first disc having images of Benio and Rokuro as the menus have a similar menu selection of Play All, Set Up (audio and subtitles), Episodes and on disc 2, trailers. Both set on a dark background, the menus and images are unremarkable and standard, menu is quick and does its job with no glitches and can quickly return back to the main menu when watching the series, just uninspiring.
The only extras were on disc 2 with some trailers for Tokyo Ravens, Noragami Aragato, Seraph Of The End: Vampire Reign, Gintama, Tales of Zesteria: The X and Berserk (the new version, a.k.a. the one with THAT style of animation…urgh)
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Twin Star Exorcists, a currently still running manga from 2013, got an anime adaption in 2016 until March 2017, spanning 50 episodes. And whilst this set only has the first 13 episodes, you can tell the way this is going. Boy meets girl, team up for shounen style action scenes whilst they are continuously tried to be paired together (albeit for an interesting reason)…
Sound familiar? Yeah…this is part of the problem but as we go through the usual clichés, how does it start?
We start with a flashback sequence with a young boy being the survivor in an onslaught of demon activity…before cutting to a cute long black haired girl named Benio, who is an exorcist and an expert in killing the demons known as Kegare. We also see our male protagonist, Rokuro, an apparently below average guy who is a bit embarrassing and nerdy, but seems to have exorcist skills of his own…which he refuses to use for some reason (perhaps the flashback?)….however when Benio escapes a demon world and literally lands on top of him (cliché count – don’t bother counting, too many to list), she is stand offish but grateful for treating her to lunch, before more Kegare attack. With one being very powerful, Rokuro is forced to unleash his own powers, which as prophesied by Benio’s guardian, there is one more powerful than her…but another mysterious man watches from afar and declares them to be the ‘Twin Star Exorcists…’
So of course this new super team… don’t like each other, and of course plot twist, they are now living together. How? Well, the leader of all exorcists Arima arrives with all the other regional leaders and reveal a prophecy with the identity of someone known as the Miko, who is destined to be the strongest exorcist of all time, and after demonstrating Rokuro and Benio’s abilities (albeit with a bit of producing) he then reveals who is the Miko…the child of the Twin Star Exorcists. So basically Benio and Rokuro are ‘destined’ to marry and have a child.
Cue romantic plot comedy.
OK so this is definitely a cliché storm which leads to Benio being at his school, which brings in the rival and childhood friend in Mayura into play (albeit not as a true antagonist rival, in fact she has some good chemistry with Benio) with the trauma of Rokuro’s past and not wanting to be an exorcist at all with fellow friends and leaders wishing he would return, letting to altercations, realisations and friendships associated as you’d expect whilst Benio and Rokuro’s relationship slowly becomes something – it is clear though that it does feel like Benio despite being really powerful tends to be there to demonstrate as a powerful enemy can beat her, only for Rokuro for there to save the day as he’s technically more powerful. Again, very standard and sadly predictable.
Of course Rokuro also slowly begins to be drawn back into the world of exorcism, and as his true power surprises people who don’t realise what he is capable of, it definitely draws some unwarranted attention. In two forms…the first is of course in Arima trying to get the two to get together by doing ‘trials’ whilst they live together to get them to work together and we learn more of the past of not just Rokuro, but Benio who tells him that her brother was killed during an exorcism – keep this in mind for a bit later…
We discover then that humans can be ‘corrupted’ by Kegare which becomes a plot point soon as this is in league with what happened to Rokuro in that opening scene where Rokuro was the only survivor…but of interest is that Benio’s brother was someone who died during said tragedy…which then is revealed even worse, that Rokuro was the one who killed him. The exorcist Seigen (Mayura’s father – it seems Mayura may also have some power as well…) however explains that there is more surprises….
…and lo and behold, Benio’s brother is not quite dead, his name is Yuto and…he’s not quite the guy Benio thought he was. He actually caused the tragedy as a way to receive spiritual energy and the trainees were going through Kegare corruption, which gave Rokuro his powers and the only one who could exorcise the demons as it will and forced to kill the corrupted former comrades. He is deceitful, powerful and clearly didn’t care for Benio at all – it leads to Yuto retreating after Benio snaps out of it and joins with Rokuro, which in turn suggest the two can definitely work together better now…
…so of course the training they get is of a different kind when Benio’s former master Subaru goes to teach them…and her training involved…holding hands, feeding each other and eventually kissing. Yeah, the training is to get them romantically involved as soon as possible which the two object to and whilst Subaru is clearly a powerful exorcist, her ‘training’ loses its novelty soon so she promises to train them properly if they can find her in a game – which was a form of training in trust. Which is perfect because the last two episodes seem to focus on one of the true bosses, a man named Kamui who killed Benio’s parents and she is powerless against him, so Rokuro appears to save the day but Kamui is two strong even for the two of them….they manage to combine their strengths and wound him, but he escapes as he sees them as interesting despite wanting to kill them to stop the Miko from being born.
And it ends with their bedroom rearranged by Arima much to their anger and the audience’s amusement. Maybe.
O.K, so this premise is very familiar and has every cliché in the book – it even has the mascot character but unlike many other mascot characters I’m giving him as much attention in this review as the amount of use he was in the show – zero. He was just added because why not? Boy meets girl, girl kicks butt but eventually loses, boy is more powerful (despite the show definitely saying Benio is the stronger of the two, she frequently falls into the damsel in distress syndrome which gets annoying even when they do work together and it is about 50/50) and saves the day – destined to each other, don’t like each other at first but eventually warm up to each other. The only extra is the fact is if they do have a child, that child becomes the chosen one…oh wait, maybe it isn’t that new after all…
The thing is the show isn’t insulting or unpleasant, the characters are quite fun and Benio/Rokuro’s back stories are interesting and do give dynamics to the story, it is just the stories are ones that you can predict a mile away when the villains do show up and the addition of them being the Twin Star Exorcists just makes it more convenient. There is some fun comedy moments especially when they are being forced to together and I do like the engagement with Mayura as the childhood friend with both Benio and Rokuro that she isn’t been showcased as a rival for Rokuro (at the moment) but in the end, it is a show that uses familiar shounen tropes with a bit of comedy, and because bar the two main leads, no-one is on screen much, nothing really stands out as something away from the pack.
It definitely has potential but for the moment it is just set in its ways, and in a big market for similar anime, for the time being, that isn’t enough.
Twin Star Exorcists is a standard show with mystery, intrigue and background stories which incorporates two engaging leads and sets up for some hijinks, both comical and deadly for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, many of these things can be called ahead in advance and whilst there are some moments that make it unique and fun, it comes off as clichéd, annoying and predictable most of the time. Granted, there is plenty more to come and the villains have just started to be introduced, but for the moment, it is just one of many in a sea of shounen.
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Anime Ltd
Release Date: September 10th, 2018
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.